Vladimir Putin held an impressive march this past May 9 in Russia’s counterpart of VE (Victory in Europe) Day as reported here and elsewhere.
It was a false spectacle, as the Second World War was not won by the government of the USSR, which did its best to lose it. It was won by the United States, United Kingdom, ANZAC, the Free French, the Polish Resistance, other Allied nations, and ordinary Russians and Ukrainians whose lives were squandered by incompetent leaders who stayed as far as they could from actual combat.
Russians and Ukrainians who suffered by the millions while their “leaders” dined on lavish meals and caviar in Moscow were indeed heroes. The Night Witches were women who volunteered to fly relatively primitive aircraft to bomb Axis positions at night. Ukrainian-born Lyudmila Pavlichenko, also known as Lady Death, could have had a non-combat position as a nurse but wanted instead to fight the Axis on the front lines where she disposed of 309 enemies. She was among the one out of every four female snipers who survived the war. These ordinary Ukrainians and Russians deserve the same respect we accord American, British, ANZAC, and other veterans of the war against the worst evil the world has ever known.
Victory Day is otherwise stolen valor on the part of the USSR’s and the Russian Federation’s governments. The USSR ended up on the winning side in spite of rather than because of its conduct prior to and during the war.
Here are some of the reasons why:
1. The USSR perpetrated a mass extermination of Ukrainians during the early 1930s. This is why many Ukrainians collaborated with the Axis at the outset of the war; they wanted to fight against the same regime that had recently perpetrated a genocide against them. Has the Nazis not then applied their own racial ideology to the Slavic Ukrainians, thus forcing them onto the Russian side, the Axis might well have won on the Eastern Front.
2. Joseph Stalin was on Adolf Hitler’s side when he helped start the war by invading Poland in 1939. The USSR changed sides only when it was forced to do so for its own survival.
3. The USSR perpetrated the Katyn massacre of thousands of Polish officers.
4. The USSR decapitated its own military during wartime with mass executions of Soviet generals, thus turning the Red Army into a relatively leaderless mob to face well-led and well-disciplined Germans. This may well have cost millions of Russian and Ukrainian lives by itself. Stalin was fortunately unable to purge Generals January and February, which is the only reason the Nazis did not use Moscow as a parade ground.
5. The USSR started a war with Finland, thus forcing Finland onto the Axis side. This diverted soldiers and materiel from the war against Germany to the Finnish front.
6. The famous science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein reported that the government of the USSR used aid delivered, at enormous risk to Allied sailors via the Murmansk Run, to construct stadiums instead of prosecute the war.
7. The USSR often sent men into battle without proper equipment, and in some cases without rifles as depicted in the film Enemy at the Gates
. “Blocking units” were positioned behind them to shoot anybody who wouldn’t go forward. (Putin is now doing the same thing in Ukraine: “It has been claimed that the Russian Armed Forces uses Chechens “Kadyrovite” detachments as barrier troops, executing deserters seeking to leave the combat zone.”)
8. The USSR intentionally withheld support from the Polish Resistance in the summer of 1944 with the intention that the Axis kill as many Poles as possible to prevent Poland from becoming a “problem” after the war.
9. The Red Army then, like any self-respecting carrion animal that goes after something other animals (the American Eagle and British Lion to be precise) have mortally wounded, took the opportunity to rampage against German civilians and commit war crimes (similar to those Putin’s army is committing now in Ukraine), with violent sexual assaults figuring prominently among them. The Yalta Pact meanwhile condemned tens if not hundreds of millions of Eastern Europeans to decades of subjugation.
Edgar Rice Burroughs’s protagonist in I am a Barbarian said, “I suppose Romans will always be Romans until the end of time; that is if both they and the supply of poison and daggers hold out.” Russia, the purported Third Rome, has put this into practice for centuries with succession as Tsar or Tsaritsa, or more recently General Secretary of the Communist Party, or, Vozhd, (Stalin) and “President” (Putin’s title) depending as often as not upon coups d’état or outright murder. Russian history has been rotten for hundreds of years, and it will always be rotten until the Russian people reenact the October Revolution of 1917 and get it right this time. It is in fact to be remembered that the so-called Bolsheviks (the majority party even though they were the minority) seized power unlawfully from the Provisional Government.
It is vital, however, that this change come from the Russian people and not from outsiders, as some have proposed to do by using the war in Ukraine to destroy the Putin regime. The practical problem is that the Russian Federation has more than six thousand nuclear weapons. It is one matter to drive a rat back into its hole, or the Russian Bear back into its den, but following the rat into the hole or the bear into the den is not likely to have a good outcome for anybody. The Russian economy is suffering enormously and is probably on the edge of collapse, and the Russian people and the Russian Army can figure out what to do themselves.
Civis Americanus is the pen name of a contributor who remembers the lessons of history, and wants to ensure that our country never needs to learn those lessons again the hard way. He or she is remaining anonymous due to the likely prospect of being subjected to “cancel culture” for exposing the Big Lie behind Black Lives Matter.