Whitewashing CommunismPosted: February 13, 2014
John Fund writes: We didn’t need the Olympics to be reminded that Vladimir Putin still has a soft spot for his nation’s defunct Communist system. In 2009, Russian state television aired a documentary called “The Wall.” It detailed how, as a KGB major in Dresden in 1989, he faced down a crowd of East German dissidents who tried to storm the local KGB office and steal its files.
“Putin succeeded in persuading the crowd to fall back,” the documentary’s maker gushed.
Russian state television had aired another program claiming that Putin brandished a pistol and told the crowd: “This is Soviet territory and you’re standing on our border. I’m serious when I say that I will shoot trespassers.”
Putin has never lost his Commie-stalgia. In 2005, he used his “state of the nation” address to tell Russians that “the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century. . . . As for the Russian people, it became a genuine tragedy.”
If that weren’t enough proof, the Sochi Olympic Games opened last Friday with a lavish choreographed tour of Russian history. The 20th century was depicted as a time of rapid industrialization, symbolized by a hammer and a sickle floating above the performers. There wasn’t even a hint of the horrors of Stalinism or the deaths it caused.
Many Russian émigrés were disgusted, and they were appalled that there was so little censure of the use of the provocative symbols. “We don’t need to imagine the reaction if an Olympic ceremony in Germany featured a swastika,” Cathy Young, a columnist for Newsday who emigrated from Russia in the 1980s, told me.
To make matters worse, NBC whitewashed Russia’s Communist past in its video tribute to the host country that preceded the opening ceremonies. Actor PeterDinklage began by intoning that “Russia overwhelms. Russia mystifies. Russia transcends.” He lapsed into phrases that truly have a double meaning, given the 70 years of Communist conquest in the 20th century, such as references to Russia’s resisting “any notion of limitation” and “redoubling its desire to cast a towering presence.”
But then NBC’s video really went over the top: “The empire that ascended to affirm a colossal footprint; the revolution that birthed one of modern history’s pivotal experiments.”
Hmmm . . . my dictionary says “pivotal” means vitally important. That could be said in a tragic way of Communism’s blood-soaked record, but is that the best way to refer to it? Garry Kasparov, the Russian former world chess champion, accused NBC of pushing Putin propaganda, and Florida senator Marco Rubio noted that when Soviet Communism collapsed even some of its ideologists finally agreed with Ronald Reagan that it had been “an evil empire.”
But NBC wasn’t finished with wretched commentary….
— John Fund is a national-affairs columnist for National Review Online.
- John Fund: Whitewashing Communism Sochi Coverage Is Too Soft on Putingrad (ruthfullyyours.com)
- NBC’s Olympic Whitewashing of the Soviet Union and Communism (usnews.com)
- Putin’s grand ego wins gold (mysanantonio.com)
- Americans Have Mostly Negative View Of Putin And Russia (outsidethebeltway.com)
- NBC Glorifies Soviet Era Tyranny During Lead Segment of Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Sochi (sfcmac.wordpress.com)
- Putin’s potemkin games: Rich Lowry (oregonlive.com)
- NBC Glorifies Russia’s Soviet Past as ‘One of Modern History’s Pivotal Experiments’ (newsbusters.org)
- Video Report – In Case You Missed It, Mainstream Media Outlet, NBC, Describes Soviet Communism as a “Pivotal Experiment” During the Opening of the 2014 Sochi Olympics (libertynews.com)
- Satirist under fire for comparing Sochi Games and Hitler’s Olympics (sbs.com.au)
- Distorting Russia (counterinformation.wordpress.com)