a 2014 image resurfaced featuring her posing with her then-boss, former Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova during her tenure as a State Department spokesperson.
Psaki is seen wearing a pink shapka, or fur hat, that bears the communist hammer-and-sickle logo as part of a gift exchange between herself and her Russian counterpart Zakharova.
After Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine condemned the honoring of Nazi collaborators in the former Soviet republic, dozens of people rallied outside the Israeli Embassy in Kyiv demanding that Jews apologize for Soviet oppression.
The far-right activists called on Israel and the Jews to assume responsibility specifically for Holodomor, a famine that killed millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s and is widely believed to have been caused by the government of Joseph Stalin, then the leader of the Soviet Union.
Last night, we drove to Kyiv with the kids, ate at one of our favorite restaurants, located in the chic central mall, Tsum. Then walked up to the Christmas tree by Saint Sofia’s, and on the way home, stopped at another mall which has a huge play area with carnival rides and a trampoline room.
It was a pretty good New Year’s Eve.
As reported by PolandIN.com, while the Big Tech battle continues to rage in the U.S., the conservative government in Poland has enacted a new law to hold companies accountable for what now will be illegal censorship or suppression of legal content.
If there is no violation of Polish law, social media companies cannot remove content or block accounts, according to the draft of the “Act for the Freedom to Express One’s Views and Obtain and Disseminate Information on the Internet.”
Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro of Poland “announced the legal initiative earlier this month aimed at enabling internet users to file complaints against the removal of online posts as well as the creation of a special court for freedom of speech,” according to Poland In.
“Under its provisions, social media services will not be allowed to remove content or block accounts if the content on them does not break Polish law.
“In the event of removal or blockage, a complaint can be sent to the platform, which will have 24 hours to consider it.
“Within 48 hours of the decision, the user will be able to file a petition to the court for the return of access. The court will consider complaints within seven days of receipt and the entire process is to be electronic.”
Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sundar Pichai were unavailable for comments. [sarc]
Sebastian Kaleta, secretary of state in the Ministry of Justice, noted that the new legislation is “supposed to protect against excessive interference of the moderators of this content.”
“The draft law that we have prepared meets various disturbing signals, and on the other hand, guarantees the possibility of expressing your opinions, as long as they do not violate the law.
“A balance must be found between the exercise of freedom and the abuse thereof. Today in Europe, censorship solutions are sought rather than to protect freedom of speech.”
And Ziobor nailed it.
“Often, the victims of tendencies for ideological censorship are also representatives of various groups operating in Poland, whose content is removed or blocked, just because they express views and refer to values that are unacceptable from the point of view of communities… with an ever-stronger influence on the functioning of social media.”
Last month, the Gold Newsletter Podcast invited me to speak about my essay 30 Methods and Characteristics of Communism.
Christmas is a confusing time in Ukraine.
Most of the country follows the “old calendar” and celebrates Christmas Eve on January 6th. The Catholics and many under the way of Western traditions celebrate December 25th. And the hang over of the godless Soviet Union is to celebrate the tree and exchange gifts on New Years.
Recently, many Americans haven’t cared so much about elections, thinking there ultimately wasn’t much difference between Republicans and Democrats, or between specific candidates.
However, with the approach of the 2020 election, many people became alarmed. They realized how far our country had strayed from its foundations. If we don’t take ownership now, they thought, it will be beyond repair.
The whole world is watching this election closely. Some Chinese have commented: “We thought China was going to become America. Instead, America is becoming China!”
It is so true. At this point, there are a lot of things we cannot say in America. Political correctness is not a matter of choice; it is a survival skill. If you say one word wrong, you can lose your job. If you don’t follow the mainstream narrative, you will get attacked by the mainstream media. It has reached such an extent that we should ask, do we still have freedom of speech?
This reminds me of China. Fifty years ago in communist China, if you made casual comments about the communists, you would end up in jail or a labor camp.
Someone who was at home and made one comment not in line with the CCP would be punished. A son would report on his father, a daughter on her mother, and a husband and wife on each other. Fear of the Communist Party, and indoctrination by it, had become a second human nature, pushing out natural feelings.
I immigrated to America more than 30 years ago. I always tell people, “America is the least discriminatory country in the whole world.” Yet we hear “discrimination” and “racism” daily in news reports. “Discrimination” and “racism” have become political weapons. They are no longer a matter of moral principle.
Early in 1932 Mendel Osherowitch journeyed to Soviet Ukraine on assignment for Forverts (Forward), a Yiddish-language newspaper in New York City boasting a daily circulation of 275,000 copies. Born in Trostianets before the Great War, and speaking Yiddish, Ukrainian and Russian like a native, Osherowitch astutely recorded life under a Communist system he found markedly dysfunctional, sometimes criminal.
He documented a pervasive fear of the secret police, the GPU, recounting how parents were scared their children might betray them. He watched hordes of peasants clambering onto trains escaping to the cities in an anguished search for bread. He heard stories about rural uprisings brutally suppressed, saw how Western reporters self-sequestered in Moscow were failing to report what was happening and observed growing tensions between the beneficiaries of Bolshevik rule and those for whom it was an enervating nightmare.
What puzzled him most was how his beloved Ukraine, once Europe’s breadbasket, was being reduced to a land without bread:
“… Ukraine was already experiencing an appalling famine. Millions of people had been driven to the greatest desperation, to a life sometimes even worse than death. Plagues circulated in villages and in the towns. People died because they could no longer endure their terrible hunger. On many roads, covered with snow, lay dead horses, withered away from hunger. At the train stations, thousands and thousands of peasants wandered around, covered in bodily filth and dirt, waiting for trains they hoped would take them into the cities, where they could perhaps sell something, maybe get bread. The dreadful misery of these people, this harrowing state of affairs, tore at one’s heart.”
. . . .
When Osherowitch’s book was published, in 1933, its reception was mixed, despite its favorable reporting on how many Jews benefitted from the Revolution. Pogroms were of the past. Previously unheard of educational prospects had opened for younger generations, with almost unrestricted social mobility, including opportunities for joining the Communist Party, even serving in the secret police. Yet Osherowitch also deplored the negative consequences of these erstwhile gains. Jewish religious life and cultural institutions were being undermined, the Yiddish press and arts reduced to little more than tools for propagating Soviet ideology. Repeatedly, Osherowitch listened to tales of woe, almost to the point of suffering complete mental exhaustion, as his people repeatedly implored him to alert relatives abroad to their plight, begged for aid. The only exceptions were younger Jews. They spoke mostly of the Revolution’s purported achievements, of how the Soviet Union was overtaking and would soon overpass the U.S.A., of an even-better future to come.
What separated his interlocutors in Soviet Ukraine from left-leaning Jews and fellow travelers in North America, who proved unwilling to credit Osherowitch’s account, was that the former admitted how harsh their present circumstances were – after all, Osherowitch was there among them, could see what their lives were truly like. Yet they swore their sacrifices were necessary offerings, expected from everyone caught up in the messianic chore of “building socialism.”
Portentous omens were appearing. The Jewish minority in rural areas was reduced by outmigration to the big cities. Many who left, including Osherowitch’s brother, Buzi, joined the dreaded GPU. His other brother, Daniel, stayed home, an armed enforcer of collectivization. While everyone in the countryside suffered, it was the Ukrainians who were fated to starve in their millions, the principal victims of the Holodomor. By the early winter of 1932 they had begun questioning whose side their Jewish neighbors were on. Osherowitch heard tell of how, in the town of Haisyn, Ukrainians had called upon local Jews to join them in breaking down the gates of a government granary. Those Jews were warned that their refusal would be remembered as a treachery and, sooner or later, avenged.
. . . .
There were also famine deniers. As Malcolm Muggeridge, Rhea Clyman and others attempted to alert the world to what was going on, very powerful forces ranged up against them, stifling their reports by branding them alarmist, nothing but anti-Soviet propaganda. Adroitly, the principal obfuscator, Walter Duranty of The New York Times, buried the truth.
What of Mendel Osherowitch? He returned “a changed person… more politically aware,” published articles in Forverts, then a book, all a matter of record. But his words came out only in Yiddish. Why was his testimony not made available in English, to reach a broader audience? No record exists of him ever trying to reach beyond the borders of his kith and kin, among whom more than a few preferred to stay ignorant, indifferent, or even hostile to his cri de coeur.
Did Osherowitch fall into shocked silence after being denounced by his brothers or a Jewish diaspora still enthralled by Stalinism? Was he hushed after receiving news that family members had been repressed, fearing they would fare worse if he gave public witness? We will never know. All that is certain is that he did not. Though living in New York, and working for a socialist newspaper, Osherowitch remained conspicuously silent, even as Walter Duranty and Gareth Jones contested the truth of the famine on the pages of The New York Times.
My four-and-a-half year old just told me that he’s a “pro” and I’m a “noob”.
There’s a fascinating museum in Ukraine run by a fascinating man. It’s the Museum of Repression in Ternopil. It was formerly a communist prison. Amazingly, it is run by a former prisoner who was held and tortured there.
Do you want to take a tour?
We are trying to make that possible. I’m helping a Ukrainian director crowd fund a documentary about him and the museum.
If it interests you, please contribute by clicking this link: https://igg.me/at/blindhopedocumentary
Or if you can’t, please share the link among those who may be interested, perhaps diaspora groups on social media, or among people interested in Communist history.
It’s an important part of Ukrainian history, and it helps tell the tragedy of Communism in Eastern Europe.
Thank you very much!
In Kherson oblast, Southern Ukraine, a Soviet occupation monument has been festively renovated. The monument has been installed by Soviets in 1955 in memory of a HQ of terror bolshevik units which stood here during the first Bolshevik occupation of Ukraine in 1920. Just terrible
The preliminary results of the local elections show that local elites easily and drastically outdistance Zelenskyy’s party Servant of the People. Even the party-list voting (the so-called proportional electoral system, – Ed.), introduced at the last moment before the campaigning for small municipalities, barely helped the presidential party to win more than a modest 5-15% at most councils, while at the last year’s parliamentary elections the Servants had 43% of votes. . . .
Poroshenko’s European Solidarity demonstrated a rather high level of support ranging from 7% in the country’s east to 32% in the west – a major increase compared to the 2019 parliamentary elections, where it landed in fourth place with only 8.1% of the votes. . . .
As for the pro-Russian parties, Opposition Platform, the successor to fugitive president Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, and the novel Shariy’s Party run by popular pro-Russian blogger Anatoliy Shariy, they jointly have up to 20% of votes in the East-Ukrainian cities and almost no votes in the west of the country. This level of support for pro-Russian elites has remained rather stable over the last years. . . .
Kyiv – Incumbent mayor Vitaliy Klitschko is close to a landslide victory with 47% of votes (according to Interfax-Ukraine’s source close to the ongoing process of counting the votes, Klitschko may even win in the first round with 50+%). His closest rival Oleksandr Popov has only 9% of the votes.
Kharkiv – In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, incumbent since 2010 Hennadiy Kernes was re-elected as mayor by 58% of votes (despite scandalous levels of corruption).
However, despite widespread fears, the pro-Russian Opposition Platform obtains a rather moderate 17% of votes in Kharkiv, coming second after Kernes’ party (40%). Another pro-Russian party of Anatoliy Shariy got 6%. Zelenskyy’s Servant of the People won just 12%. At the same time, Poroshenko’s European Solidarity obtains 9% of votes, which is a relatively high number for this party in Kharkiv.
Odesa – In Odesa, Ukraine’s largest port city, the incumbent mayor Hennadiy Trukhanov secured 34% of votes and is likely to gain the upper hand over his closest rival (17%) in the runoff.
Lviv – In Lviv, the biggest city of western Ukraine, incumbent mayor Andriy Sadovyi (41%) is also likely to overcome his closest rival (27%) in the second round. Yet, Lviv is the only city where the mayor’s local party finished second (21%) after Poroshenko’s European Solidarity (28%). No pro-Russian party is going to win seats in the Lviv city council as liberal Voice and nationalist Svoboda got 12% and 6% respectively.
Threatening Ukraine’s IMF accord and potentially its visa-free agreement with the EU, Ukraine’s Constitutional Court has ruled invalid the law on illegal enrichment and penalties for false declarations of assets and income, Sergii Leshchenko, a former Rada member, wrote last night on Facebook. The Court’s move comes as four judges are under investigation for potentially lying on their asset declarations. Earlier this month, in advance of President Zelenskiy’s visit to Brussels, several key members of the European Parliament said Ukraine’s failure to combat corruption threatens the 2017 visa-free deal.
Separately, the Kyiv District Administrative Court, has ordered the dismissal of a Western-supported anti-corruption investigator that was investigating corruption in the Court. Justice Minister Denys Malyuska responded on Facebook that he would not dismiss the investigator, Artem Sytnyk, head of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine. The Bureau said of the Court ruling. “Its purpose is to block the work of an institution that has exposed large-scale violations and an attempt to usurp power by the Kyiv District Administrative Court’s judges…investigations of multi-billion corruption in the Ukrainian government will be blocked.”
Richard Peter Moore, the new head of Britain’s MI6 intelligence service, warned President Zelenskiy in a face to face meeting in London earlier this month that his chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, is a Russian agent, reports PolitUA. The news site bases the charge on an extensive interview with Andrei Piontkovsky, the Russian mathematician and dissident living in the US since 2016. One week after Zelenskiy’s Oct. 7-8 trip to London, it became public that Moore met with Zelenskiy and warned him about leaks from his office.