Soviet Crimes Documented on the Silver Screen

The JB Spins blog reviews a new film documenting the horror of life in the USSR, currently screening in New York City:

Prior to Sunday night’s Lincoln Center screening of Katyń, Andrzej Wajda gave the audience a probably much-needed history lesson, explaining the Soviet-German alliance during the early years of WWII. When he concluded, Wajda received a well-deserved standing ovation. However, for his in-depth survey of Soviet crimes against humanity, including Soviet cooperation with the Third Reich, Latvian director Edvins Snore was burned in effigy by Neo-Soviet Russians. It is an ominous badge of honor. The film that you are not supposed to see is titled The Soviet Story (trailer here), and it opens in New York this Friday.

From its inception, the story of the Soviet Union was writ in blood. As former Soviet dissident (now essentially a dissident again under the Putin regime) Vladimir Bukovsky explains: “When Communists come to power, it does not matter where, let it be in Russia, in Poland, in Cuba, in Nicaragua, in China, initially they destroy about ten percent of the population” in order to “restructure the fabric of society.”

Soviet Story acts as an effective corrective to the popular notion that the Communist experiment only turned horrific when Stalin ascended to power. The film documents orders mandating mass executions, estimated in the tens of millions, originating with the father of the revolution, Lenin. Still, it is devilishly difficult to outdo Stalin’s sheer capacity for terror. For instance, the deliberate use of famine to pacify Ukraine is explained here in chilling detail. In a crime against humanity largely ignored by the West, seven million Ukrainians were intentionally starved in the cordoned Republic, as foodstuffs were confiscated at gunpoint by the Red Army.

The heart of Soviet Story explores the close ideological similarities and barbaric collusion between the Soviet Socialists of Stalin and the National Socialists of Hitler. There is an eerie sequence juxtaposing thematically similar propaganda posters from both regimes, side-by-side on-screen. Even more damning are the documents Snore uncovers establishing close links between the SS and the Soviet NKVD (the precursor to the KGD), discussing among other issues, the “Jewish Question.” They did not just talk. They carved up Poland between themselves, and at Stalin’s prompting, staked their claims to the rest of Europe.

Soviet Story is most devastating when discussing the ways in which the more advanced Soviet killing machine served as the inspiration and model for the Holocaust. According former Soviet intelligence officer Viktor Suvorov: “A delegation of German Gestapo and SS came to the Soviet Union to learn how to build concentration camps.”

Snore has produced a chilling indictment of the Soviet experience with Socialism. He calls some very convincing witnesses, including Bukovsky, and the eloquent Cambridge historians Norman Davies and George Watson. As evidence, he produces some shocking archival film and documents. However, as the film makes clear, none of those who did (and However, as the film makes clear, none of those who did (and still do) the Soviet dirty work has ever faced justice for their crimes. All told, Snore has produced a passionate but thoroughly reasoned case against the bloodiest regime of the twentieth century. His only misstep is the periodic use of animated titles, which feel like the commercial bumpers in a History Channel special.

While this is a period of history I consider myself well versed in, Communist oppression was so ruthless and pervasive, Soviet Story was able to catalogue many fresh horrors I was not previously aware of. Probably the scariest aspect of the film is its timeliness, releasing as the Putin regime increasingly embraces its Stalinist roots. Everybody who wishes to continue thinking themselves well-informed should see this film. Since Soviet Story should be seen by a wide audience, I highly recommend seeing it opening weekend, when a strong showing could help it secure further distribution. Soviet Story opens in New York this Friday at the Village East Cinema.

17 responses to “Soviet Crimes Documented on the Silver Screen

  1. Tower Bolshevik

    I’ve seen “Soviet Story”, and quite frankly its a load of bull. Starting with the slanders of Lenin, at which point I ask any anti-Communist that if Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolsheviks were such ruthless butchers; then why with the supposedly “democratic” Czarist-led White Army with the support of some 17 armies who poured troops in the destroy the Bolsheviks, did the Red Army come out victorious and popular? The Red Army was NOT in charge of the Holodomor, the work was done by NKVD troops. Funny about “Soviet Story” is that while it cries crocodile tears for the Kulaks; there is not one mention of Stalin and Bukharin strengthening their power by telling them to “enrich yourselves” in the 1920’s.

    Furthermore, “Soviet Story” and those who made put these lies onto a big screen make no mention of the countless Communists murdered by Stalin. German and Austrian Communists whom were handed over to the Gestapo by the NKVD on Stalin’s orders as compensation for the Nazi-Soviet Pact. Or the number of Communists in Spain who were killed by the Stalinists, there by killing the Spanish Revolution, and giving victory to Franco’s fascists (supported by Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, United States, Great Britain). Stalin should be every anti-Communist’s hero.

    I can tell you this much: You are NOT well versed in Soviet history. That much is clear, as you think capitalist Russia is Communist.

  2. the movie mounts Vera Mukhina’s The Worker and the Peasant Woman statue on the top of a pile of bodies…

    this same statue is now being argued to be returned to its old place…

    how interesting… :)

  3. Tower Bolshevik

    ‘According former Soviet intelligence officer Viktor Suvorov: “A delegation of German Gestapo and SS came to the Soviet Union to learn how to build concentration camps.”’

    One thing I forgot to add, Viktor Suvorov is not someone with credibility. He maintains that the Red Army was to attack the Nazis in July 1941; when the Red Army was in fact in no position to do so. Mainly due to Stalin’s decapitation of the Red Army. The performance of a decapitated Red Army was seen in the Winter War against Finland. Further, it was the British who were the masters of the concentration camps, as they came up with the name. This was seen in South Africa when the British locked up tens of thousands of Afrikaners, many of whom died under horrible conditions.

  4. Hey Tower,
    i am a person whose family experienced that bull first hand… FIRST HAND….

    my father was 7… i wouldnt be here if the events didnt happen cause he and his mother would not have come here, since no one had yet tortured his father to death in front of him and her…

    your ‘logic’ contradicts lenins own words of literally doing anything without any limits, and his opening of the prisons to create the kgb..

    you call it bullshit..

    the relatives of more than 30 million victims know better…

    what i find most intriguing is that you deny the ruthlessness and such of the events, and say they are bull…

    then like an ass, you then start listing nasty things that the russian leaders did to their own people as some way of equalizing what you say wasnt done…

    you are one schizo funny riot.

  5. your comment as to the boer war is correct, though its also called the last British imperial war. not making any excuses for the british, but the two situations are not related as much as you would like. the DETAILS are important.

    at the time there was a WAR going on, and kitchener was an ass. not all of england, kitchener… just as not all of russia, lenin, stalin, beria, etc…

    just so someone doesent skate by and then say, yeah.. there the same… the camps were awful, but they were not the same as the gulag system, nor the nazi camps. conditions were poor, logistics were bad, and many died of desease. mostly women and children… about 26,000 in total… even if you say its ten times as much, it still doesnt compare to the camps your trying to equivocate to.

    the english were not trying to kill them, they were trying to pen them up for the war since it turned into a gorrilla action. but the british were no were near as capable as they assumed they would be, and bungled the care. due to not having enough food, they were not fair in how they gave out the food. most died of measles, typhoid, and dysentery. the medical facilities werent sufficient… there ar emore deaths.. there were 14,000 african deaths…

    all in all the war cost 75,000 lives, and about 50,000 in the camps… (and died in various horrible ways).

    would you call that a pretty honest and fair assesment of a history Tower?

    but what about what your comparing it to?

    lets see… the starving to death of over 7 million ukranians? 7-10 million died under Lenin..
    the median estimate of stalins murders is 51 million and 20 million during the 30s. though even the low estimates by those favoring the situation are in the tens of millions. and with archives open and having been able to read their orders in their own hand, we know more than we ever did.

    to make this quick, hitler ended up getting rid of around only 12 million… he was a piker compared to the soviet rulers.

    and how they all died was different than the boer women…

    the people were tortured, starved intentionally, frozen, experimented on, and worked to death under truly hellish conditions.

    they made films of their work… they were and still are proud of it.. despite their usful idiots trying to defend them.

    the state still lies to them about the truth… we know what happened inteh boer war, we dont deny that… we dont think it was good… we dont try to rationalize it… we refuse to let ourselves do that again, and we try to stop it when others try to do it too (if it wont light up the world).

    but now a textbook “A History of Russia, 1900-1945” teaches that stalin acted rationally in terrorizing his own people to insure no change of power ever.

    you can usually tell the age of a russian debater from that area because each generation or segment in time has a differently tweaked history!!!

    that alone should have been a big hint.

  6. Why deny history? The Soviet Union- whether you want to believe it or not- is responsible for so much death, suffering and destruction. People are alive now say they remember. If the atrocities are fiction, what is it that they remember?

  7. Some related info here, if you will allow.

    Few fragments of “The Soviet Story” with Russian subtitles:

    Some background info on Latvia in this context:

  8. (“Oh, those Russians…”)

    Baltic News Service, June 6, 2008 Friday:

    “Russian historian Aleksander Dyukov has said he wants to kill the Latvian director of the Soviet Story, a documentary on Soviet era atrocities, and to burn down the Latvian embassy in a highly critical review of the film posted on the Internet on Friday

    Representatives of Latvia’s Labvakar production company told BNS that not only the Latvian filmmaker but also Cambridge University professor Norman Davies and Sorbonne University professor Francoise Tomme whose comments appear in the documentary have been accused of lying in the Russian historian’s article.”

  9. Tower Bolshevik

    For Artfldgr:

    Spare me your crocodile tears, and go whine to someone who cares. The October Revolution was hated by upper class people like your family no doubt, and the proto-fascist fanatics lke the Cossacks and Black Hundreds who fled with the invaders. Lenin created the Cheka, not the KGB. The Cheka was designed for repressive measures against White terror. That was its function.

    Lenin did not kill 10 mllion? What conservative twit told you that? If you’re refering t the incident on the Volga the number was about five million; and perhaps just perhaps that the famine was the result of the starvation blockade of Russia’s port bythe Americans, British, Japanese, and Turks?

    I don’t know what made you reply, because it has nothing to do with what I said. Nor was I comparing British concentration camps to Stalin’s gulags. The blog owners believe concentration camps are a Russian invention, but the official founders were the “democratic” British. Maybe you’re used to hearing from pro-Stalin people. Sorry, I’m not a Stalinist. And I’m not Russian.

  10. This really shows how disgusting the Russians are. They still cannot face the truth about the nature of the Soviet Union.

    ‘Moscow court rejects exoneration of WWII Katyn massacre victims’

    Russia had a non-aggression pact in place with Poland, had not declared war on it when they invaded in cahoots with their fellow genocidal allies Nazi Germany.

    They shot thousands of Poles on pre-prepared lists, even exchanged individuals in co-operation with the Gestapo/SS to be murdered. They then deported 0.5 million-1.5 million ethnic Poles (men, women, children and the elderly) to the Soviet interior to rot, half died within the year.

    But how can one be surprised they cannot acknowledge this when they can’t even acknowledge that the abomonation that was the Soviet Union killed more of their own people than anyone else.

    The only Russian organisation, an NGO that addresses this and current crimes, are Memorial. They are frequently subject to harrassment in Chechnya for addressing human rights abuses there.

  11. Is Tower Bolshevik a troll? I just want to know if I should respond or not.

  12. from either “Stalin: the Court of the red Czar” by Simon Montefiore or… I’ve forgotten the name of the book and the euthor, it was about Chrustchev, or maybe from too many articles I read on the first leaders of the Soviet Union, there was a quote by a hardened communist party member after Stalin had died and the state was trying to paint him as black as possible. Anyway, the quote was an answer to the question “You knew both Lenin and Stalin, who was worse?” and the guy went (paraphrasing here) “Lenin, I remember him berating Stalin for being a soft little sissy”

    point being that even though sometimes the evidence is debatable or tainted by pre-conceptions, it is still evidence. And just because both Lenin and Stalin have been depicted in pretty propaganda pictures and poems with rosy-cheeked children does not mean that they were nice guys.

    Or, to quote Stalin: “One death is a tragedy, a million: statistics”

  13. Why is Russia not ever accountable for its past transgressions, but everyone else is.

    Face your demons, only then will people forgive you.

  14. In anticipation, america gives checks to american indians monthly for living on reservations, not to downplay the checks that are being paid out to people that have no interest in finding jobs in the first place.

    Government cheese has been poisoned with envy and greed.

  15. It’s not new info that there was strong similarities between natzism socialism and bolshevism. Even Churchill noticed this thing quite soon.

  16. There was a article report of some sort that my dad read about a guy who was prisoner in a Soviet Labor camp back in 1953, a couple months before Stalin’s death. The article said that one of the guards there rammed a metal pole up his private and that it hurt so bad that afterwards he had trouble urinating. According to the article this guy was released several months after Stalin’s death.

  17. Please no flames. I’m only going by what my dad told me. While I can’t verify it since my dad doesn’t know what happened to the article, I remember seeing on a website about a guy who paints pictures of what life was like in the gulag after world war 2. And he said that people were tied up to posts by guards so the misquotoes could bite him.

    What is most depressing of all is that it probably in the next 20 or 30 years from now, all of the eyewitnesses and survivers of the gulag will most likely have passed on.

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