Feb 7th 2008
Russia revives a vicious lie
IMAGINE Nazi rule in Germany surviving for decades, with Hitler undefeated in war and succeeded on his death in the early 1950s by a series of lacklustre party hacks who more or less disowned his “excesses”. Imagine then a “reform Nazi” (call him Michael Gorbach) coming to power in the 1980s and dismantling the National Socialist system, only to fall from power as the Third Reich collapsed in political and economic chaos.
Imagine a shrunken “German Federation” suffering ten years of upheaval, before an SS officer (call him Voldemar Puschnik) came to power, first as prime minister and then as president. Under eight years of rule by Herr Puschnik, Germany regains economic stability, largely thanks to a sky-high coal price.
AP The Soviets did it
That would be distasteful to put it mildly. But it might be tolerable. The SS, for all its faults, attracted bright, ambitious people, and Mr Puschnik’s career in its external espionage division meant that he was not directly tainted by the crimes of the past. Better a stable Germany than a chaotic one. Any big country is going to have its own security interests, and the Dutch, Czechs, Danes and Poles would safeguard their regained independence best by trying to get along with Mr Puschnik, rather than harping on about the evils of Nazism.
It’s much the same in Russia. It would be quite wrong to blame modern Russians for Stalin-era crimes. Russia is not going to go away, and Poles, Balts and others should try not to provoke the Kremlin unnecessarily. The KGB had a dreadful history, but Mr Putin’s role was seemingly anodyne.
But that calculus holds only if modern day rulers show no hint of sympathy for their predecessors’ atrocities. If Herr Puschnik, our putative leader of a post-Nazi Germany, starts flirting with Holocaust denial, every alarm should ring.
Vladimir Putin has already come dangerously close to this in Russia. He has claimed that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was legal. He sees no need to apologise to Baltic victims of Stalinism.
But the Russian media is going further. In the past six months no fewer than four different outlets have revived the outrageous falsehood that it was the Nazis, not the Soviets, who murdered 20,000 captured Polish officers at Katyn in 1940. That Stalin-era lie, enforced at gun-point in post-war Poland, viciously aggravated the original crime. It was buried in 1990, with solemn Kremlin support.
The falsehoods are not in fringe publications. It started with Rossiiskaya Gazeta, a state-owned newspaper, on September 18th last year. It was repeated by the mass-market Komsomolskaya Pravda on October 22nd and again by TV Tsentr—a station in effect run by the Moscow Mayor’s office—on November 4th. Now it has been repeated again by what used to be an upmarket broadsheet, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in its weekend supplement on military affairs.
This comes not in response to some Polish provocation, but at a time when the government in Warsaw has been bending over backwards to soothe relations with Moscow.
The Russian media—in theory at least—can print what it likes. But it is hard not to conclude that this outbreak of revisionist history comes with at least tacit official blessing.
The best way to dispel this would be for the Kremlin and the Russian foreign ministry to come out with a clear and forceful statement saying that from the official side at least, no doubt whatsoever exists that the Soviet secret police, acting on Stalin’s orders, carried out the Katyn massacre. Failure to do that suggests at best atrocious cynicism and at worst a nauseating sympathy with the perpetrators.
STOP IMAGINING just look at Turkey!
Sent to The Economist : Saturday, February 09, 2008
Imagine Nazi Rule in Turkey
Imagine Nazi Rule in Turkey, surviving for decades, with the chauvinist Young Turk regime and ideology defeated but quickly revived after WWI with western headgear replacing the Young Turk Fez! Imagine then a “reform/Islamist Nationalist Turk” (call him M-abdulah Gul-bach or Ragib Erdogab) coming to power in the late 1990s and ...
Then STOP IMAGINING and just look at Turkey! Having committed massacres in the 19th century and Genocide in the 20th century against its Armenian, Assyrian and Greek (Christian) populations wiping them and their entire civilisations out almost completely (from 25% of Ottoman population in 1900 to less than 0.25% now after a 100 years when it should have stayed at least static even without any growth but without mass slaughter either!), having been defeated in WWI but, unlike the Nazi state and criminals, not dismantled, punished or prosecuted, all its governments since 1918 have denied and distorted the fact of their genocidal past and continue to do so with impunity up to the present, even enjoying full support from the likes of the Economist, the UK and the US, with occasional mild criticism. It maintains an authoritarian, virulently nationalist and now Islamist government which prosecutes its own journalists, publishers and Nobel Prize winning authors for "insulting Turkishness", that is the very few who dare or are brave enough to speak the truth about Turkey's criminal past in general or refer to the Armenian Genocide!
Furthermore, this unpunished and unreformed staunchly chauvinist nationalist Turkey, heavily militarised and armed to its teeth, is invading at will (Cyprus, 1973, Iraq, the Kurds repeatedly...) or threatening to invade and bullying its other large and small neighbours (Greece in the Aegean and Armenia ever since its independence in 1991)... . It is blockading Armenia and keeping the border with it closed (the only closed border in Europe) and refusing to establish diplomatic relations with it until it meets Turkey's various bullying preconditions, such as accepting that it - Armenia - committed Genocide against Turkey and apologises to it!
The Economist has never exposed Turkey's heinous criminal past properly, the murder of 1.5 million Armenians and their civilisation, or its present unacceptable authoritarian regime and its internal repression or external bullying, especially towards Armenia.
In fact the Economist is one of the main advocates of its membership of European Union and other democratic organisations.
Yet the very same Economist is devoting hypocritical and false editorials and comments about the apparent dangers emanating from Putin's Russia, of all things over the Katyn massacres, when the Russian government is on record for accepting the Stalinist era crime; just because some cranky old Soviet era General has written an article or a book denying the involvement of the Stalinist era NKVD!
What rank hypocrisy and warped Disraelian anti-Russian propaganda. The Economists agenda is a new cold war against Russia so any petty and disgusting lie will do to paint Russia in cold war distorted shades. Equally, the same warped ideology still needs the real authoritarian/unreformed even barbarian Turkey as a buffer against Russia so will go to any length to protect it.
The Economist, like the British government, has no credibility or any constructive European ideas but peddling the same old, warped and now bankrupt cold war rhetoric.