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Monday, May 08, 2006

Happy "Victory" Day?

According to RIA Novosti:

MOSCOW, May 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin met with WWII veterans Monday on the eve of Victory Day, the anniversary of Nazi forces' surrender to the Soviet Union in Berlin in 1945, marking the end of the Great Patriotic War which claimed the lives of over 20 million Soviet citizens. Putin told a Kremlin reception with veterans of WWII and later conflicts that he proposed introducing a new honorary title, "City of Military Glory," for cities that played a key role in the war but were not given the status of "Hero City" by the Soviet authorities to honor their residents. Putin also attended a wreath-laying ceremony at Moscow's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and sent congratulatory message to the leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States, an alliance of former Soviet republics for the role of their citizens in the Great Patriotic War. Last year Russia invited world leaders to Moscow for events to commemorate of the 60th anniversary of Victory Day.

Russian standards for "victory" and "glory" are exceedingly . . . oh, how shall we put it . . . flexible.
Shall we review the nature of this so-called "victory"? Let's do:

First, Russia sells out its European allies with a secret pact between Stalin and Hitler carving up the imaginary post-war world. Is stabbing your unwary ally in the back considered victory in Russia? Mayhap. Russia loses twice, first the dishonor of betrayal and then the ignominy of being suckered by the Nazis.

Then, Hitler invades Russia and slices through the country like a hot knife through butter, obliterating the major city of Stalingrad and laying seige to the even more major city of Leningrad. He stomps just about every city in between. Millions upon millions of Russians are killed outright by German guns, millions upon millions more suffer the slow torture of starvation. Countless billions of dollars in Russian cultural history, from churches to palaces, are destroyed forever, a few to be replaced by copies. In the end 20 million Russians lose their lives. That's glorious victory? Well, Russians also consider the loss of Moscow to Napoleon to be a victory (Tolstoy basically said so in War and Peace), so anything is possible. You have to admit it's a wonderful idea: if you give Moscow to France, you win. If you defend it from Germany, you win. Basically, you win no matter what you do, just as Russia is winning right now while its population dwindles down to a nub.

Next, the "victorious" Russian solidiers lay waste to Eastern Europe, lauching an indescribable litany of barbarity from which the region has still not fully recovered and culminating in the cold-blooded massacre of thousands of Polish officers in the Katyn forest, a crime which the Russians then tried to blame on the Germans. Recently, as reported by La Russophobe, the Poles have dragged Russia into international court over this incident, for which Russia has still not even come close to making amends. Victory? You'd have to be pretty hard up for wins to think so.

Then last, but certainly not least, the "victorious" USSR only lasts another few decades after this great "victory" whereupon it suddenly and summarily collapses of its own fetid, sordid, bloated weight. One is reminded of Tom & Jerry, where Jerry induces Tom to run off a table to his doom but his legs continue spinning furiously in the air for several seconds before he drops. When the dust clears, Russians go right back down the same dead-end street, freely electing a proud KGB spy as their president and, once again, turning their backs on Europe and the West as they begin to do to their own population a job which their "enemny" Germany could not even achieve, actual extinction.

Meanwhile, and even as they claim American schools are full of propaganda in the teaching of World War II, Russians refuse to acknowledge the slightest contribution to this "victory" by the soldiers of those they betrayed, particularly Americans, on the sands of North Africa and Normandy. Had the allies not diverted a huge part of Hitler's army to the South, who knows what Russia's fate would have been.

Even more important, although Russians commemorate their losses to Hitler, they do nothing to remember their losses to Stalin, who killed more Russians in his Gulag Archipelago than did Hitler's stormtroopers. Those who lost their lives for criticizing Stalinism were certainly at least as great Russian heroes as those who fought Hitler, yet Russia ignores them totally.

One can, of course, cling petulantly to the thin reed that Germany didn't actually "conquer" Russia in a formal sense and try to convince oneself that there is some grounds for pride there. The fact remains, though, that Germany did conquer France and France emerged from World War II a far healthier country than Russia. Today, with one-third Russia's population, the French GDP is larger than Russia's and the standard of living of the average Frenchman immeasurably higher. Conversely Britian of today shows what real "victory" in the face of relentless pounding actually looks like.

If given all this you, dear reader, are brave enough to imagine what a Russian might classify as a "defeat" you are a better man than she is, Gunga Din.


Anonymous said...

You wouldn't think that anyone else was fighting the Germans if you read Pravda today. The caption reads "It was only the USSR that defeated Nazism". There is no question mark after the sentence.

Well, breathtaking isn't it?

And the 20 odd million dead... Does that include the millions of Red Army soldiers allowed to starve to death in German POW camps because Soviet refusal to sign the Geneva Convention and obstruction of the Red Cross efforts to list German POWs meant that the Red Cross could not deliver food parcels to Soviet soldiers in captivity?

....does it inlcude those taken officers taken prisoner in Voroshilovs fiasco in Finland who were SHOT by their own side after their repatriation?

Or the thousands the NKVD had arrested just before Barbarossa and who they hadn't tried but couldn't evacuate in time, so they just shot.

The successors of Stalin and Khrushchev (including a certain former KGB officer) should be on their knees before the Russian people apologising for the millions of lives squandered needlessly.

Sadly there is nothing heroic about losing your life because of the incompetence and callousness of your rulers - who should have known better but were too blinkered by their own arrogance to see what was coming. And they'd just shot half their Generals as spies. That's why the losses were so huge.

A dreadful waste of humanity.

La Russophobe said...

WINSTON: Even I couldn't bring myself to read Pravda today. I guess I'll have to sooner or later, but there are some things even I can't stomach. You're a better man than I am, Gunga Winston!

Anonymous said...

The callousness of the Soviet leaders does not diminish the achievement of ordinairy Russian soldiers and civilians during the war. Victory day is a day in which the bravery of the Russian people is celebrated. It takes some gall to heap scorn upon the pride that veterans take in being part of that tragic struggle. This day is not about Pravda or Putin, but about the people whose lives were devastated by the cataclysm of World War. How vile can anybody be not to see that?

La Russophobe said...

How vile can anybody be not to see that Russians ignominious cowards, not even brave enough to choose a new form of government, instead electing a proud KGB spy as their president and thereby ratifying all the atrocities committed by the KGB, such as Katyn?

How vile can anybody be not to see that Russians are ignominious cowards, not even brave enough to face the atrocities they committed at Katyn or to commemorate the millions who perished as the rest of the country cowardly looked the other way during the time of Stalin?

It was not bravery that motivated Russians to fight Germany, it was hatred (of foreigners) and fear (of their own brutal dictatorship).

How vile can anybody be not to see that Russians are fools, celebrating as a victory an event that marked the end of their civilization?

I don't know, REITH, tell me: How vile can you be? Vile enough to have a war in Chechnya and mass race murder with no significant protest movement? As vile as that? Or even more vile?

Anonymous said...

REITH: You said "The callousness of the Soviet leaders does not diminish the achievement of ordinary Russian soldiers and civilians during the war."

I never said that it did.

You also said: "It takes some gall to heap scorn upon the pride that veterans take in being part of that tragic struggle."

I didn't heap scorn on the veterans.

Scorn on the leaders, yes. The people no.

Read it again, silly.

La Russophobe said...

REITH: By your twisted, bizarre "logic," since American soldiers fought bravely in Vietnam, America should have an annual holiday to celebrate its "victory" there. The French, who fought bravely, should celebrate their defeat at Waterloo. It's exactly this kind of thinking that has got Russia to the point where it at today, namely on the verge of extinction. Russia needs to actually do something good before it starts celebrating. Only Russians and blind, crazed Russophiles fail to realize that.

Anonymous said...

If we can agree that Russian veterans can have cause for being proud in their part in the fall of the Hitler, then that's all fine. Since this is, and has long been, the defining ethos of the Victory Day, there should be no room for rhetorical broadswipes at Russia on the basis of this annual event.
LR, the events which you mention are not celebrated for the simple reason that they do not warrant it. Defeating the Nazis does. Surely even you can see that.

La Russophobe said...

The behavior of the Russian people during World War II was outrageous and shameful, and they have no more cause for celebration of it than the American people have for celebrating Vietnam or their eradiction of the Native Americans. American soldiers fought bravely at the Battle of Little Bighorn, but that doesn't mean it should be given a Victory Day.

The only difference is that Americans KNOW they have no cause and DON'T celebrate, whereas Russians do. Why don't you ask the families of Katyn whether Russians should be celebrating. Ask the Czechs, Hungarians and Lithuanians whether Russia should be celebrating. Ask the familes of those sent to the Gulag. Germans soldiers fought bravely while they were killing Russians at Volgograd, but Germans have the good sense and simple good taste not to celebrate it the way Russia celebrates Victory Day. The fact that morons like you can't see that and go on arrogantly, haughtily claiming pride in Russia's behavior explains as much as anything else why the Russian population is disappearing from the face of the earth.

Anonymous said...

Your vile attempt to smear the memory of millions who died defending their country from Nazi Germany with the events of Katyn has to be most offensive thing you have done so far on this site, and there is no shortage of competition. It proves that your contempt of Russians is only outweighed by your disregard for human decency itself. This blog has slipped from mere stupidity to outright barbarity, so I guess this site can become a club of mutual appreciation to full effect from now on.

Anonymous said...

but the americans celebrate independence day, don't they?
what did you say about the eradication of native americans?

Anonymous said...

Russophobe -- looks like you've still got the same five readers (if Winston is really anyone other than you pretending to be a reader).

Anyway, my question is this.

Would you rather Germany have defeated Russia?

A follow up is this:

Without the Soviet Army's war on the Eastern Front, do you think Germany would have been defeated?

On a separate topic, do Americans celebrate the victory over Nazism? Or are they ashamed for turning up late?

Browler said...

Hmm. Thanks for the answers.

Browler said...

I think you had a good article. I agree with much of what you say there. But there are points you need to answer.

La Russophobe said...

IVANUSHKA INTERNATIONAL: Five readers is five more than YOU'VE got, now isn't it darling?

Would I rather Russia was governed today as Germany is governed today? Yes. Would I rather Germany had defeated Russia if, in so doing, that outcome would have resulted? Yes.

I didn't say Russia's war against Hitler wasn't important in diverting his attention while the Allies attacked. You are a pure dishonest propagandist and your comment is laughable. I said Russians don't give the West credit for their actions. Do YOU think Russia would have prevailed over Germany without the aid of the NATO countries? Why do you only ASK questions and not ANSWER them as well? Is it because you have the brain of a fungus?

Americans are ashamed to have had Russia as an ally in World War II, and they are ashamed that while they give Russia some credit for World War II, Russians give Americans none.