On March 11, 1933, a plan for a very different kind of gulag was presented to Joseph Stalin. Devised by Genrikh Yagoda, Stalin’s head of the Secret Service and Matvei Berman, the head of the Soviet Gulag system, the scheme proposed that the government resettle 2,000,000 political undesirables in self-sufficient settlements in Siberia and Kazakhstan. The idea was that the “settlers” would work to bring a million hectares of untouched land into agricultural production, thus helping famine struck Russia- and sustaining themselves. So, in May 1933 the first assortment of 6,000 political dissidents and petty criminals were loaded up into trains. Their destination was the isolated Western Siberian Island of Nazino.
The Nazino colony was meant to achieve self-sufficiency in two years. However, thirteen weeks after its conception, the project had failed spectacularly. For the settlers were abandoned in a hostile Siberian wilderness, under-resourced and unprepared. All too soon, anarchy, violence, and disease became rife in the community. When the authorities finally intervened, after the rejection of the plan by Stalin, they discovered that 4,000 of the original deportees were either dead or missing. Most disturbingly of all, however, was the number of survivors who had turned to cannibalism. Until Glasnost, the Nazino Affair remained buried. Since then, historians have revealed what happened on that remote Siberian Island. . . .
As a result, the original target of 2,000,000 deportees over ten years was halved. However, worries about costs did not stop the deportations beginning immediately- even before Stalin had given his official approval. . . .
. . . by the time the barges reached Nazino on May 18th, twenty-seven people were already dead. . . .
On board the barges, the deportees had been issued with 200grams of bread a day. Now, they had nothing but 20 tonnes of flour- around 4 tons per person. For the first four days, even this was denied them. In these conditions, it is hardly surprising that in the initial twenty-four hours, a further 295 people died. . . .
When the guards finally attempted to distribute the flour, there were riots as the hungry settlers began to fight for rations. Unable to restore order, the guards fired shots and moved the flour to the shore opposite the island while the settlers calmed down. The guards tried to distribute the supplies again the next day. However, once more fights broke out. Finally, it was decided to split the settlers into brigades of 150 people, each represented by a leader or Brigadier. These brigadiers were responsible for collecting the flour and distributing it. Unfortunately, many of these leaders were self-nominated criminals appropriated all the flour for themselves. This inauspicious beginning was only the prelude for the horrors to come. . . .
Apart from the imprisonment of several of the surviving guards, the authorities swept the whole matter under the carpet. However, with the advent of Glasnost in 1988, the details of the tragedy became publicly available for the first time. However, the Ostyak people around Nazino never forgot the terrible events of summer 1933. To them, Nazino was and always will be Death Island.
Archaeologists have found what they believe to be the world’s oldest intact shipwreck at the bottom of the Black Sea where it appears to have lain undisturbed for more than 2,400 years.
The 23-metre (75ft) vessel, thought to be ancient Greek, was discovered with its mast, rudders and rowing benches all present and correct just over a mile below the surface. A lack of oxygen at that depth preserved it, the researchers said.
“A ship surviving intact from the classical world, lying in over 2km of water, is something I would never have believed possible,” said Professor Jon Adams, the principal investigator with the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (MAP), the team that made the find. “This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world.”
The ship is believed to have been a trading vessel of a type that researchers say has only previously been seen “on the side of ancient Greek pottery such as the ‘Siren Vase’ in the British Museum”.
. . . .
It was among more than 60 shipwrecks found by the international team of maritime archaeologists, scientists and marine surveyors, which has been on a three-year mission to explore the depths of the Black Sea to gain a greater understanding of the impact of prehistoric sea-level changes.
They said the finds varied in age from a “17th-century Cossack raiding fleet, through Roman trading vessels, complete with amphorae, to a complete ship from the classical period”.
‘Communism is not love. Communism is the hammer which we use to crush the enemy.’ – Mao Zedong
On 25 March, twenty thousand candles, one for each of the men, women and children deported by the Soviets to Siberia in 1949, will be lighted in Tallinn, Tartu and Pärnu. Nearly 3% of the Estonian population were seized in a few days and dispatched to remote areas of Siberia.*
In the summer of 1940 the Soviet Union occupied Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as a result of the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact signed between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union on 23 August 1939. In the aftermath of the Second World War, Estonia lost approximately 17.5% of its population.
This historian is in conflict with other parts of the Ukrainian community. In this interview, he outlines the evidence of OUN and UPA explicitly killing Jews, advocating their displacement, and rounding them up on behalf of the Nazis.
OUN/UPA viewed Russian and Poles as their main enemy, but believed Jews were also against a Ukrainian state, and in some cases sympathetic to the Soviets.
I would be curious to look for evidence of the reasoning behind these decisions. Was there an association between the Communism, the Red Terror and Holodomor on one hand, and Ukraine’s Jewish community on the other. This association certainly exists in today’s far-right communities. Is this a recent invention, or was it palpable then?
I’ve heard elsewhere that some UPA leaders made a distinction between religious Ukrainian Jews who weren’t communism, and secular Russian Jews who were fervently Communist.
On this day 1933, Koisor writes to Stalin that “the famine still hasn’t taught many collective farmers a lesson.”
Having studied the Soviet Union as extensively as I have, the parallels between today’s cultural Marxists, and yesterdays economic Marxists are terrifying.
The communists didn’t just murder people one day. They spent decades building an ideological bulwark that made it okay to murder people. They’d have traveling theaters go to villages and put on vulgar plays that blamed everyone’s suffering on the priests and the more successful farmers.
In every bureaucracy, they promoted the most fervent supporters of class hatred, and excluded its detractors.
They created such class hatred, that in some cases, after the “red terror” visited a region, the bodies of victims would be left on the street to rot. Their relatives were scared to bury them, because sympathy would indicate counter-revolutionary sentiment.
When burials did happen, it was at night. This is a recurring theme in almost every book I read about the Soviet Union.
Lazar Kaganovych, responsible for the red terror in Ukraine, set a quota of 10,000 executions a week.
I think this historic reality is similar to how everyone is afraid to condemn people who explicitly call for, or celebrate violence against white people — because pointing it out that makes a member of the condemned class.
Now in his 70s, and alarmed by the perverse sympathies toward communism and socialism he’s seeing in our new America, especially among Millennials, Cole in 2017 marked the centenary of communism by writing a memoir of his six surreal months in the USSR, in hopes of not only preserving that history but begging Americans to pay heed to the lessons of the failed communist experiment. He hopes to offer truth as an antidote to “mind-numbing propaganda,” then and still today.
Cole’s account is titled In Russian Wonderland, an engaging journey through unique remembrances of everything from Russia’s laughable but scary “Aeroflot” airlines, to the Russian people’s shocking abuse of “oceans of vodka,” to the omnipresence of state surveillance, to the grim behavior of Soviet workers from waitresses and waiters to hotel maids, to the diabolical annihilation of religion — from what the Kremlin called its approved “working churches” to the desecration and conversion of great holy places like Leningrad’s Kazan Cathedral into the Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism.
On and on it went, this strange life in the worker’s paradise. Truly, it was a Wonderland, at times more bizarre than the oddest scenes from Lewis Carroll’s classic. Indeed, Alice might have found herself less confused in her weird Wonderland than this baffling Bolshevik rendition drawn up in Russian.
Among Cole’s many telling anecdotes, here are a few that beg our attention and remembrance:
At one exhibit in Kazan, which, as usual, was monitored by heckling KGB hacks pretending to be passersby, an elderly gentleman discreetly brought Charles a bag of freshly picked apples. He asked Charles to accept it as a gift from an old Russian who admired the United States. Before walking away, he winked at Charles and whispered, “The sweetest of these apples are toward the bottom of the bag.”
Charles later retrieved from the bottom a piece of paper folded into a tiny cube. He opened it to find this note from the old timer: “We have a totalitarian regime. If we had a democratic republic, we would have progressed further and achieved more. Nowadays the psychiatric hospitals are filled with dissidents. All the positive comments in your comments book are immediately torn out by the KGB. You should take pride in having such a democratic country and not be overly tolerant in the face of those who have been blinded and deceived by propaganda.”
The KGB plants were stationed at every exhibit — watching, staring, brooding. As soon as the American representative would strike up a conversation with curious Russians, the plants would start up with their canned litany of harassing questions, badgering the American about his country being rife with racism, sexism, unemployment, homelessness, excoriating U.S. foreign policy, especially in Vietnam, and on and on (what we’d call liberal talking points). “But you discriminate against black people.” “Why is your government killing babies in Vietnam?”
In one case, something tragic ensued that remains seared in Charles’ memory: During most Q&A sessions at the exhibits, everyday Russians quickly clamped up when the KGB plants started their antics and barrage of mendacity. They didn’t want trouble. One day in Leningrad, however, a young man couldn’t contain his rage at the masquerade of lies dished by the government propagandist. He responded, and then the plant responded, and back and forth it went. Fact vs. falsehood, fact vs. falsehood. The young man would not back down. The crowd watched nervously. The young man’s wife pleaded with him to stop, tugging at his coat to leave. She knew the danger, but the young man couldn’t help himself. This was too unjust. In short order, says Cole, a group of “dour-looking guys in black leather jackets” suddenly materialized, as did a black van at the rear door. A goon in the van got out, signaled to the thugs, and they seized the young man, speeding away.
Charles many times has wondered what happened to that poor kid — hauled off by scoundrels serving their police state.
And if that image doesn’t shake you, picture this scenario reported by Charles when finally departing commie wonderland as his train approached Finland: The locomotive came to an unexpected full stop on an elevated trestle. From the window, Charles and friends glimpsed a powerful searchlight from somewhere below the railroad bridge. It turned out that this was standard procedure for Soviet border guards. They fixed their beaming lights under the train cars to see if any desperate soul had somehow clung himself to the bottom of the locomotive to escape utopia.
In the treaty, Bolshevik Russia ceded the Baltic States to Germany; they were meant to become German vassal states under German princelings. Russia also ceded its province of Kars Oblast in the South Caucasus to the Ottoman Empire and recognized the independence of Ukraine. According to Spencer Tucker, a historian of World War I, “The German General Staff had formulated extraordinarily harsh terms that shocked even the German negotiator.” Congress Poland was not mentioned in the treaty, as Germans refused to recognize the existence of any Polish representatives, which in turn led to Polish protests. When Germans later complained that the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 was too harsh on them, the Allies (and historians favorable to the Allies) responded that it was more benign than Brest-Litovsk.
The treaty was effectively terminated in November 1918, when Germany surrendered to the Allies. However, in the meantime, it did provide some relief to the Bolsheviks, already fighting the Russian Civil War, by the renunciation of Russia’s claims on modern-day Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine and Lithuania.
По всій Україні офіційно було оголошено, що кобзарів з усіх областей запрошують до Харкова на Всеукраїнський кобзарський з’їзд. Всі повинні були з’явитися з бандурами, тому що крім власне з’їзду, будуть і творчі змагання. 30 грудня 1930 – день відкриття з’їзду. У кожного в руках інструмент, кожен одягнений у святкову вишиванку. Делегатів (337 людей) утримували в залі до вечора, потім, під суворим наглядом, стали виводити у двір, щільно уклали в вантажівки і накрили брезентом. Вже через 1 годину всi делегати були в залізничних вагонах для тварин. Їх привезли до околиць станції Козача Лопань, вивели з вагонів до лісосмуги, де були заздалегідь вириті траншеї. Вишикували незрячих кобзарів i їхніх малолітніх поводарів в одну шеренгу. Загін особливого відділу НКВС УРСР почав розстріл. Коли все було закінчено, тіла розстріляних закидали вапном і присипали землею. Музичні інструменти спалили поряд. Комуністична більшовитська верхівка назвала українські народні музичні інструменти «класово-ворожими». Влада зобов’язала музичні фабрики виготовляти гармошки, баяни і балалайки навіть не сотнями, а мільйонами.
It’s nothing new. Communists always want to obliterate culture and history.
It was 1969. Kate invited me to join her for a gathering at the home of her friend, Lila Karp. They called the assemblage a “consciousness-raising-group,” a typical communist exercise, something practiced in Maoist China. We gathered at a large table as the chairperson opened the meeting with a back-and-forth recitation, like a Litany, a type of prayer done in Catholic Church. But now it was Marxism, the Church of the Left, mimicking religious practice:
“Why are we here today?” she asked.
“To make revolution,” they answered.
“What kind of revolution?” she replied.
“The Cultural Revolution,” they chanted.
“And how do we make Cultural Revolution?” she demanded.
“By destroying the American family!” they answered.
“How do we destroy the family?” she came back.
“By destroying the American Patriarch,” they cried exuberantly.
“And how do we destroy the American Patriarch?” she replied.
“By taking away his power!”
“How do we do that?”
“By destroying monogamy!” they shouted.
“How can we destroy monogamy?”
Their answer left me dumbstruck, breathless, disbelieving my ears. Was I on planet earth? Who were these people?
“By promoting promiscuity, eroticism, prostitution and homosexuality!” they resounded.
They proceeded with a long discussion on how to advance these goals by establishing The National Organization of Women. It was clear they desired nothing less than the utter deconstruction of Western society. The upshot was that the only way to do this was “to invade every American institution. Every one must be permeated with ‘The Revolution’”: The media, the educational system, universities, high schools, K-12, school boards, etc.; then, the judiciary, the legislatures, the executive branches and even the library system.
In a masterful dissection of Russian history (Lost Kingdom: The Quest for Empire and the Making of the Russian Nation, 2017) Harvard professor Serhii Plokhy focuses on the sources of identity adopted by Russia’s rulers since the Principality of Moscow launched its drive for territorial expansion in the 15th century.
Plokhy asserts that Russia’s “myth of origin” was the medieval state of Kyivan Rus—a multi-Slavic kingdom centered in modern-day Ukraine and established 200 years before Moscow appeared as a small town located in an outlying province. The Rus were a Norse tribe that founded the ruling Rurik dynasty in Kyiv, but the “Rus” name was subsequently appropriated by Moscow in one of the earliest recorded examples of identity theft. Muscovite rulers feigned descent from the Ruriks and claimed Kyiv as the birthplace of the Russian monarchy, state, and church. This fraudulent history became the legitimizing narrative for Russian tsars when the small autocratic Muscovite polity began its imperial adventure in the 15th century.
Moscow’s earliest propagandists depicted the three developing East Slavic nations (Belarusian, Russian, and Ukrainian) as “tribes” of one Russian nation. Moscow’s rulers consolidated their claims to dominate all Eastern Slavs by declaring Russia as the “Third Rome” or successor to Christian Byzantium, which was extinguished by the Muslim Turks in the 15th century. For the next 400 years, Muscovy annexed its neighbors’ territories and prevented the emergence of other East Slavic states. Its Russification campaign was crafted to eradicate the distinct identities and languages of neighboring Slavic peoples, particularly the Ukrainians, who had a more direct claim to Kyivan Rus.
Very close idea to my essay: A Look at Russian Civilization: Power, Truth, Trust, and War .
I like to state is this way: “Russia is an empire seeking legitimacy through nationhood. Ukraine is a nation seeking legitimacy through statehood.”
On January 29, 1918, in a battle near the train station at Kruty, some 80 miles northeast of Kyiv, a small contingent of Ukrainian forces – composed mainly of a student battalion of the Sich Riflemen and a company from the Khmelnytsky Cadet School – faced a superior Russian Bolshevik force of 4,000 men. The Ukrainian contingent succeeded in blocking the Bolshevik advance on Kyiv for several days. The young Ukrainians’ resistance also enabled the Ukrainian National Republic to conclude the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, a major accomplishment as a result of which the UNR was recognized by the Central Powers despite the Bolsheviks’ attempts to represent Ukraine.
But the losses at Kruty were great. After several days of intense fighting, the Ukrainian contingent was forced to retreat, and 300 young men died defending their country. They were surrounded and slaughtered, noted the late Dr. Orest Subtelny in his book “Ukraine: A History,” and their deaths “earned for them a place of honor in the Ukrainian national pantheon.” As the Encyclopedia of Ukraine underscores, the battle of Kruty “is commemorated as a symbol of patriotic self-sacrifice and is immortalized in numerous literary and publicistic works.”
My excerpts below:
Alain Brossat and Sylvie Klingberg’s Revolutionary Yiddishland: A History of Jewish Radicalism was first published in France in 1983. A revised edition appeared in 2009 and an English translation in 2016. Intended for a mainly Jewish readership, the book is essentially an apologia for Jewish communist militants in Eastern Europe in the early to mid-twentieth century. Brossat, a Jewish lecturer in philosophy at the University of Paris, and Klingberg, an Israeli sociologist, interviewed dozens of former revolutionaries living in Israel in the early 1980s. In their testimony they recalled “the great scenes” of their lives such as “the Russian Civil War, the building of the USSR, resistance in the camps, the war in Spain, the armed struggle against Nazism, and the formation of socialist states in Eastern Europe.”[i] While each followed different paths, “the constancy of these militants’ commitment was remarkable, as was the firmness of the ideas and aspirations that underlay it.” Between the two world wars, communist militancy was “the center of gravity of their lives.”[ii]