Sunday, November 27, 2016

Russians Fail to Remember the Terror Famine Stalin Organized against Them, Ikhlov Says

Paul Goble
            Staunton, November 27 – Russian commentators spend a great deal of time denouncing Ukrainians for remembering the Holodomor, but they and the Russian people as a whole fail to remember the horrific terror famine Stalin used as part of his war against the peasantry, a battle that cost millions of lives.

            In a commentary on the day that Ukrainians and people of good will around the world remember the Holodomor in Ukraine, Russian commentator Yevgeny Ikhlov asks “why don’t people in Russia remember the millions of victims of Stalin’s war against the peasantry?” (

            “I understand why for Ukrainians this day [of memory] is holy” because it is the same reason “why the Poles cannot forget the Katyn massacres,” Ikhlov says.

            But “I cannot understand by in post-August [1991] Russia which frequently has declared the Orthodox Russian (all three Slavic peoples[ peasantry the salt of the earth, people do not recall at all the millions of victims of Stalin’s war with the peasantry.”

            And Ikhlov continues, “I do not understand why the large number of Cossack and militant Orthodox organizations do not promote this as a public initiative.” Choosing just the right day for a memorial may be difficult, but given that “millions died,” one could select “any day at all.”

            This difference between the reactions of Ukrainians and those of Russians to the horrors of Stalin’s war against the peasantry, an action that in fact became “a real terrorist ‘revolution from above,’” reflect the fact that Ukrainians are a European nation while the Russians remain idolators of state criminals like Stalin who are ready to be “building material for the empire.”

            One aspect of this Russian failure to remember the victims in this case is the differences between the famines in tsarist times and those organized by the Soviet state later, the Russian commentator says. The first, which were not organized, hit the poorest elements hardest and drove them out of the country.

            The latter were directed “at the most economically strong and psychologically independent social groups” of the population, groups like the Cossacks, the Kazakhs and the Ukrainians, that Stalin had particular reason to hate because of the threat they posed to his totalitarian project.

            The reason that Stalin’s famine killed so many ethnic Ukrainians is because “from the time of the Civil War, Stalin hated the independent Ukrainian peasants who were very skeptical about the Reds,” an attitude he extended to the Cossacks in the North Caucasus and to the nomads in Kazakhstan.

            Thus is it important to remember, Ikhlov continues, that “Bolshevik, Stalinist and Andropovite repressions destroyed both the population of the glorious pre-Soviet culture and all the vital elements in Russian civilization just as the socio-cultural groups most valuable for the development of the country.”

            At a “homological” level, the commentator concludes, Putin’s repressions fit into the same pattern: they are driving out the most energetic and independent people and thus leaving Russia once again without those it needs to develop. Perhaps, he implies, that is why few now want to talk about Stalin’s terror famine against Russian peasants.


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