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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Russian Imperialism and World War II

On Tuesday, Russians marched in World War II garb to commemorate the 65th anniversary of a parade by thousands of Soviet troops who were heading off to the front in 1941. Writing in the Times of London (and arguing that Russia should get more credit than it does for defeating Nazi Germany), historian Norman Davies reminds us that at the beginning of World War II Russia was right next to Germany at the feeding trough of imperialism, greedly scarfing down as many smaller contries as it could get its hands on:

The attack on the Third Reich was a joint effort. But it was not a joint effort of two equal parts. The lion’s share of victory in Europe can be awarded only to Stalin’s forces and it is a fantasy to believe that he was fighting for justice and democracy.

Separating the facts from the myths and the propaganda is not easy. One of the trickiest problems in establishing a credible narrative of the war arises from the misconception that the largest combatant state, the USSR, stayed neutral before the German attack of June 1941. Soviet accounts have always preferred to focus on the so-called Great Fatherland War, and carefully avoids close examination of Stalin’s political and military machinations in the preceding years.

Western commentators have usually followed this line, reluctant to publicise their embarrassment at Hitler’s initial partner becoming the ally of the democratic West.

In reality, in the first 22 months of fighting when the Wehrmacht attacked and occupied eight countries, the Red Army attacked and occupied five. These manifest aggressions make nonsense of any claims of neutrality or of defensive responses to the provocations of others. In November 1939, for example, Stalin’s unprovoked invasion of Finland resulted in a war that lasted for twice as long as any of Hitler’s early campaigns.

Similarly, the Soviet annexation of the Baltic states in 1940 was no mere “strengthening of the defences” or “readjustment of frontiers”. It was a brutal act of depredation that destroyed three sovereign European states, together with a quarter of their population. All these events were facilitated by the Nazi-Soviet pact, which gave Stalin the same licence for banditry in the Soviet sphere that Hitler was exploiting in the German.

7 comments:

17 ugly raccoons said...

Similarly, the Soviet annexation of the Baltic states in 1940 was no mere “strengthening of the defences” or “readjustment of frontiers”.

Anyway, pre-war politic gave USSR some very important edge in fight against Europe united by fuhrer.

It was a brutal act of depredation that destroyed three sovereign European states, together with a quarter of their population.

Yeah, sovereign european states. Three little dull dictatorships made out of thin air 20 years ago after Great War. About quarter of population - questionable. Heavily depends from methodic of counting used and bias of the one who counting. Nevertheless, it is not important. 'Moral' arguments are groundless as usual, but advantages for Russia in fight for her survival were doubtless.

La Russophobe said...

UGLY:

Oh, does being a "dull little dictatorship" mean a country is fair game for imperialism? In that case, America has carte blanche to take over Russia any time it chooses, right?

17 ugly raccoons said...

Oh, does being a "dull little dictatorship" mean a country is fair game for imperialism?

You missed my point which was the term 'sovereign european state' changes its meaning over the course of time so author tried to create false impression.

If you wish answer to your question, ask Saddam but you better hurry.

In that case, America has carte blanche to take over Russia any time it chooses, right?

Right, carte blanche to TRY take over Russia... if US wouldn't mind to turn its real estate from Atlantic to Pacific shores in radioactive wasteland covered with glass craters.

But, as I said, there is no 'moral' argument pro et contra US invasion in Iraq or Vietnam or Russia, Soviet invasion in Afghanistan or West Germany, imaginable New Zealand invasion to Congo and so on.

La Russophobe said...

UGLY:

So let me get this straight. If America invades Russia the way it invaded Iraq, and Russia can't handle America's conventional forces, then you think Russia would launch a nuclear strike on the US? And in so doing, invite a retaliatory strike that would obliterate Russia forever?

And you feel that Russian ICBM's are realiable enough to launch such a strike, despite US missile defense systems and even though the rest of Russia is a total basket case and soccer teams can't even drive to their matches, right?

Pure unmitigated gibberish.

But let's say it's true. Let's say that instead the US decides to simply destroy Russia economically, using it's many allies and its massively greater economy. What then? Still a nuclear strike?

Don't make me laugh.

17 ugly raccoons said...

So let me get this straight. If America invades Russia the way it invaded Iraq, and Russia can't handle America's conventional forces, then you think Russia would launch a nuclear strike on the US?

I'd do it without blink. Putin... I doubt he'll do it because he is a coward and his (and his cronies') money stolen from Russia are in Western banks.

And in so doing, invite a retaliatory strike that would obliterate Russia forever?

Yes. If war cannot be won, better destroy enemy and die than lose and die.

And you feel that Russian ICBM's are realiable enough to launch such a strike, despite US missile defense systems

US have missile defence systems? Good joke. And our ICBMs are in perfect form, don't worry. Now there is some mish-mash linked with development of new systems using solid propellant, but good old Satans are as ready to incinerate US cities as ever - what a joyful thought, right, LR?

and even though the rest of Russia is a total basket case and soccer teams can't even drive to their matches, right?

Weapon always should be kept in top form, regardless of other shortages. BTW, how many teams got late on their matches? I know about ONE case (Spartak-Inter). Could you provide me information about two or three such cases? Or you lied again, right?

17 ugly raccoons said...

But let's say it's true. Let's say that instead the US decides to simply destroy Russia economically, using it's many allies and its massively greater economy. What then? Still a nuclear strike?

Don't make me laugh.


Your thinking is rigid. There is many methods to strike back in supposedly 'peaceful' competition. Just to use your stereotypes - how about some smallpox from unindentified source pulverized over NY? Let me make a wild guess - US will have its hand full with that, despite its 'allies' and 'massively greater economy'. And that's why all your cryings about 'confront evil Russia' will go unheeded. It is really dangerous to corner Russians. Ask great Russophobe Adolf Hitler.

Anonymous said...

> Oh, does being a "dull little dictatorship" mean a country is fair game for imperialism? In that case, America has carte blanche to take over Russia any time it chooses, right?

Isn't that what your beloved America has been doing ever since its inception - invading 'dull little dictatorships'???. Do you want to know how many vibrant democracies have been destroyed by the token of democracy? check www.americanempireproject.com