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Bret Stephens: A Century of Progressive Excuses for Communism

People gathered to honor Stalin’s victims at a ceremony in Kiev, Ukraine, last year. Valentyn Ogirenko / Reuters

People gathered to honor Stalin’s victims at a ceremony in Kiev, Ukraine, last year. Valentyn Ogirenko / Reuters

Communism Through Rose-Colored Glasses.

Bret Stephens writes: “In the spring of 1932 desperate officials, anxious for their jobs and even their lives, aware that a new famine might be on its way, began to collect grain wherever and however they could. Mass confiscations occurred all across the U.S.S.R. In Ukraine they took on an almost fanatical intensity.”

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I am quoting a few lines from “Red Famine,” Anne Applebaum’s brilliant new history of the deliberate policy of mass starvation inflicted on Ukraine by Joseph Stalin in the early 1930s. An estimated five million or more people perished in just a few years. Walter Duranty, The Times’s correspondent in the Soviet Union, insisted the stories of famine were false. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for reportage the paper later called “completely misleading.”

trud-fidel

How many readers, I wonder, are familiar with this history of atrocity and denial, except in a vague way? How many know the name of Lazar Kaganovich, one of Stalin’s principal henchmen in the famine? What about other chapters large and small in the history of Communist horror, from the deportation of the Crimean Tatars to the depredations of Peru’s Shining Path to the Brezhnev-era psychiatric wards that were used to torture and imprison political dissidents?

Mao-etc-Hulton-Archive-Getty-Images

Archive/Getty Images

Why is it that people who know all about the infamous prison on Robben Island in South Africa have never heard of the prison on Cuba’s Isle of Pines? Why is Marxism still taken seriously on college campuses and in the progressive press? Do the same people whoObaMao
rightly demand the removal of Confederate statues ever feel even a shiver of inner revulsion at hipsters in Lenin or Mao T-shirts?

These aren’t original questions. But they’re worth asking because so many of today’s progressives remain in a permanent and dangerous state of semi-denial about the legacy of Communism a century after its birth in Russia.

No, they are not true-believing Communists. No, they are not unaware of the toll of the Great Leap Forward or the Killing Fields. No, they are not plotting to undermine democracy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Запрещено! Не считайте это: Inside The Soviet Union’s Massive, Secret Porno Stash

vintage-soviet-porn-tall

For The Daily CallerEmma Colton writes: Locked up in the belly of Russia’s main library is a massive collection of porn and erotica collected by the Soviet Union, and it was allegedly visited often by Stalinist henchmen.

“We chose to preserve it intact, as a relic of the era when it was created.”

During the Soviet’s reign, the Communist Union collected pornographic material from aristocrats that was deemed “ideologically harmful,” and threw it into a padlocked room in the Russian State Libraryaccording to The Moscow Times.

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Today, over 12,000 articles of titillating books, paintings, pictures and pornos are locked away from the public in the building across from the Kremlin.

But not everything is explicitly sexual in the collection. In addition to copies of the 1970s memoir “The Happy Hooker,” and anti-homosexuality writing called “Gay is Not Good,” a coffee table book of Picasso paintings and even an album of Beatles photos can be found. Read the rest of this entry »