Another Original LR Translation: Latynina on Golodomor via Essel

The “So-Called” Golodomor

Yuliya Latynina

Yezhednevny Zhurnal

24 November 2008

Translated from the Russian by Dave Essel

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev did not attend the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Golodomor. Instead, he sent a letter in which he waxed wrathful about the wedge being driven between two brotherly peoples by ill-wishers who speak of a “so-called” Golodomor.

“The tragic events of the early 1930s are being used to further transient and fleeting political aims,” the President wrote.  He added:  “Without waiting for the results of a wide-ranging study of the problems by competent experts, we are having a simplistic depiction of the past imposed on us. The people who are promoting the thesis of a “genocidal man-made famine” do not care in the least about scientific accuracy. Their aim is to drive a wedge between our fraternal peoples.”

Last Friday, I was on Savik Shuster’s “Shuster Live” program which was dedicated to the Golodomor. The guests on the programme divided into two parties. One group consisted of Russophile politicians. The view they expounded was that firstly, there wasn’t any Golodomor, secondly, the Americans were to blame, and thirdly, that everyone suffered from it.

Some of the attendees actually managed to combine various points of view within a single statement. Thus former Duma deputy Mitrofanov declared that firstly, the Americans with their Great Depression were to blame for the Golodomor, secondly, a Georgian organised crime group was tat the root of it, and thirdly, the Ukrainians committed genocide against the Russians because in the 1970s there were many Ukrainians at the summit of power and the USSR built its best factories in the Ukraine. “Don’t talk to me about dead bodies in the streets!” thundered Mitrofanov. “Just tell me why was Yuzhmash built in the Ukraine?”

Others – Duma deputy Sergei Markov, for example – insisted that the famine was a crime committed by Stalin’s régime against the country as a whole. This member of the Duma was promulgating the export version of the Putinite ideology. He refrained from mentioning that the Duma of which he is a member does not refer to Stalinist crimes, that on April 2nd, this very Duma passed a decree (proposed by a number of general and a drugs dealer) on the Golodomor in which it declares that the annihilation of “petty property owners was driven by the need to ‘resolve the tasks’ of ‘forming an army of workers’ for the rapid industrialisation of the country” and that the “DneproGES hydro-electric dam, the Krivorozhstal steel works and other projects stand as the eternal monuments to the heroes and victims of the 1930s”.

Of note is the fact that the Russophile guests of various stripes all had one thing in common: the ability to perceive as facts things that are simply not true. They called against “driving wedges between…”, against “distorting history.” Yet their opponents were not trying to drive wedges between anyone and not distorting history in any way. Ex-president Kravchuk (who was constantly interrupted by a yelping Markov) calmly described how is uncle was shot merely for reading in barracks a letter about victims of the famine. And that he, as president of the Ukraine, could not very well investigate famine in Russia.

I should state here that I agree that the Golodomor, the use of famine as a means of genocide against the Ukrainian nation, took place. It is not true to say that Ukrainians were not especially targeted. Stalin’s terror was directed against all sorts of different groupings. Sometimes Stalin worked on annihilating classes – nobles, peasants, and at one period – members of the Party. At others, it was directed against peoples. The whole population of Chechnya was exiled (some were exiled, some burnt to death – for example, in the high-mountain village of Khaibakh, since it was too much trouble to get transport there). We cannot forbid the Chechens from saying they they were not particularly victimised, that their miseries were not separate from the general misery Stalin visited upon us. Polish officers were shot en masse at Katyn and there’s no way we can say that it’s unfair for the Poles to be driving a wedge between our two peoples because not only Poles were shot there.

Stalin annihilated the peasantry to drive them into the collective farms. It so happened that the richest peasants were in the Ukraine. It so happened that no fewer than 8 million Ukrainians were killed. It so happened that Stalin was afraid of the Ukraine’s desire for independence and exerted especial efforts to break the Ukraine, just as he exerted especial efforts to break Chechnya.

Maybe the word “genocide” is not quite the appropriate word, however. As a term, it is usually used to describe the murder of one nation by another – e.g. of Jews by the Germans, of Armenians by the Turks. In the USSR, and also in China and Cambodia, a new kind of genocide was invented: the total annihilation of society, with particular reference to certain classes and ethnicities if such existed. A new term is perhaps required: Autocide? Selfcide?

If there is something that is most peculiar about our foreign policy, it is the way in which Putinite Russia chooses to relate to its close neighbours. It would seem that we are more or less prepared to be friendly with France and Germany but that any attempt by the former constituent parts of the former empire to shed light on their own history drives the Kremlin into unconcealed fits of fury, to accusations of “wanting to lay blame” without “waiting for the results of an all-round study of the problem by competent experts”.

The Poles request that a criminal case be opened on the subject of Katyn. I’m sorry, but they have every right to ask for that. The response is an avalanche of publications from which it would seem that, firstly. Katyn didn’t happen, and secondly, the Poles deserved it. Instead of explaining how it came to be that tens of thousands of doctors, teachers, and officers – who had not fought against the Soviet Army but on the contrary gave it arms because they thought that army would pass through Poland on its way to fight Hitler – were shot in the back of the head by the side of a ravine. To top it all, Putin also institutes and celebrates November 4th as a day of victory over Poland.

In Tallin, the Monument to the Unknown Soldier is taken down. I’m sorry, but the Estonians have every right to do what they want. I personally would not be too happy about, say, keeping in Red Square a monument to the Mongol-Liberator erected long ago by Mongol General Batya. In Estonia NKVD veteran Arnold Meri is on trial for genocide (against his own people, by the way). What business of ours is it that an Estonian is being tried in Estonia for killing Estonians? But no! “Kangaroo court!”, “WWII Revisionism!” the Duma fumes, then passes a resolution in his support. Meanwhile, in Gorny Altai region, where Meri also engaged in a spot of murdering (Russians, this time), a street is named after him.

Just imagine a letter being sent from Kazan in Tatarstan to the Kremlin angrily denouncing “ the policy of reviewing the results of the Tartars’ liberation of Russia from the Teutonic invaders” and the “incorrect interpretation put upon the actions of the vassal to the Tartar Khans Alexander Nevsky”.

The letter would go on to remind us that it was Khan Batya who gave permission for Alexander Nevsky to call himself king. That Tartar troops were sent to aid him against his brothers when they rose up against the Tartars. That Alexander Nevsky by the force of his iron fist obliged the citizens of Novgorod to pay their tribute to the Khan after they rose up against him. And that even when another uprising against the Tartars was headed by Nevsky’s son Vasili, Alexander rode with the Tartars and did not flinch from exiling his son and severely punishing his son’s comrades.

In conclusion, we are encouraged not to drive wedges between brotherly nations and not to review the results of history by celebrating the liberation of Russia from the “so-called Mongol yoke”. Something tells me that our historians are not rushing out to re-write the history books.

Least clear of all is what the Kremlin hopes to gain from this. We seem to have set ourselves the aim of proving to our neighbours that Russia is ruled by the successors of the very people who in the past shot Polish officers in the back of the head at Katyn and exported millions of tons of grain abroad when people were dying of famine at home. The only difference would seem to be that back them, the rulers, contemptuous of their own people, dreamt of world domination, while today their dreams are more modest – a villa in Nice, a Jaguar, and a Swiss bank account.

These people are too nasty to be friendly with in any way and too petty to be afraid of.

10 responses to “Another Original LR Translation: Latynina on Golodomor via Essel

  1. Former Duma deputy Mitrofanov declared that firstly, the Americans with their Great Depression were to blame for the Golodomor,

    This is why there needs to be education reform in Russia. How come America is too blame for everything? The sad thing is that people begin to believe it if it is repeated enough.

    I’d love to send Mr. Mitrofanov a copy of Tzoulidis book, The Forsaken. Oh, Why bother.

  2. What is it in Russia that causes such bad government, such delusion on the part of its government? Here’s Latynina, who is able to deal with facts, and to be a – human being.

    Why can’t Russia have a human government?

    Worst of all, why does Russia insist on hanging on to Stalin? When Krushchev came to power in 1956, there was a thaw, and an investigation into the Great Terror.

    In his notable speech denouncing Stalin, Krushchev himself said: “What kind of leader destroys everyone?”

    The poetess Akhmatova said, when people started returning from the Siberian death camps orchestrated by Stalin, those who had not been shot or killed or died, and started being “rehabilitated” because they were sent on trumped up charges to begin with:

    Now those are were arrested will return, and two Russias will look each other in the eye: the one that sent these people to the camps and the one that came back.

    Putin is still covering for Stalin. Why??????

  3. Sadly this is not new. By coincidence I have just spent the last two days transcribing the pro-Soviet writings of an influential socialist minister in the British Government of the 1929-31.

    His theory? 1) There was no famine 2) There was localised malnutrition but due to a different cause – attempted suicide by apathy. The peasants chose not to sow the grain deliberately because they hated the Soviet regime and their new lives on collective farms. And so the OGPU had to deport them so they could find them useful work in order that they could be fed.

    Plus ca change …

    It seems there will always be deluded mad men in British and Russian parliaments.

  4. elmer,

    Putin is not the only one to cover for Stalin – the NY Times is doing the same to no lesser degree:

    Seeing NYT to cover up such horrible lies so stubbornly – one cannot help wondering what else they have been lying about and how one can ever trust such a newspaper at all.

    I believe it is about time for NY Times to officially become a subsidiary to the Gazprom propaganda branch, as it already is for all practical purposes.

  5. This is why I wish someone from the West would tell Russia to can it. They can deny the Holodmir and the Katyn forest massacre until they are blue in the face. They can brush the cause of the Second World War under the rug until there is no more room for anything else (whatever one may think about George Bush he was very right in putting Putin to task concerning that). They were caught. Everyone (except those in Russia, apparently) knows. This denial and refusal to accept past wrongs is not just insulting, it’s tiresome!

  6. I found something interesting by the Heritage Foundation.

    For Russophobes, it’s no surprise, but your detractors might want to take a look at it.

    If your wondering why so many foreign companies pulled up roots to get out, this could explain why.

  7. “Putin is still covering for Stalin. Why??????”

    elmer, he’s a KGB careerist, the roots of most of his clan in power now. To purge Stalin would be to bring attention to the most dreaded agency entrenched in Russia history. We wouldn’t want that, would we.

    What percentage of the population was complicit in Stalin’s/USSR’s crimes is probably like Nazi Germany another reason the public never wants to bring their history to the surface. Unfortunately, like post-war Germany and Japan until you face up to your history and repent there is no moving forward.

    Russians will be forever frozen in place with autocratic thugs always at the top, victims of their failure to deal with shame in a constructive way. Guilt and shame like that felt over slavery in America can make a society better if you own up to the flaws in your history. I don’t see that in Russia’s future.

  8. Sichovyk, sometimes I think that the actual motto of the NY Times is:

    “All the news that fits – we print.”

    And, yes, someone ought to tell roosha to can it.

    Ironic, isn’t it, that rooshan “businessmen” go all over the world, and take advantage of solid property rights in London(grad), and of transparent, audited financial statements on stock exchanges and in business transactions.

    But when it comes to doing anything in roosha – watch out! Some “inspector” of one sort of another will come by either to demand a bribe or shut you down, depending on whether Putin sees you as a threat, or you will be prosecuted for “tax evasion” (HA!!!! noone pays taxes in roosha).

    roosha seems to me like a nation of rabid, delusional, insane, vicious thugs and morons who thrive on being told what to do – by someone like Stalin.

  9. Penny, I could not agree with you more.

    One of the books that covers it very, very well is “The Whisperers.”

    What is amazing is that people, even victims of the Great Terror, thought, among other things, that there was “law and order,” as compared to “managed democracy” today.

    Yeah – the only ones who could kill you were the thugs in power – and they did – by the millions.

    You could say anything you liked – as long as it didn’t criticize Stalin (Putin).

    All for the greater glory of soviet oily orthodox mother roosha.

    You are right, Penny. “The Whisperers” covers very well how “enemies of the state” were “rehabilitated.”

    After being shot in 1937 or 1938 because someone turned them in for no reason at all, they were “rehabilitated” in 1957 or later – posthumously.

    Almost. Because, after all, “they must have been guilty of something.” So there was never a total “rehabilitation,” because of 2 things:

    1) exactly as you say – the ones who put them in the death camps of the Gulags were still alive

    2) total “rehabilitation” would mean admitting that the entire sovok system stank. Which it did.

    Which is why husbands and wives and children of “enemies of the people” were also put into the death camps, and forever branded on their internal passports – unless they managed to hide their background somehow.

    Which is also the reason for the — Holodomor.

    When you can’t convince people that you have a good idea, especially if they are Ukrainian, you simply starve them to death.

    And then lie about.

    Even 75 years later, you lie about it.

  10. There is something which has struck me very hard, and it revolves around Latynina describing that the Kremlin goes into fits of fury when its neighbors seek to explore their history accurately, and the willingness of Kremlinites to simply accept distortions of history.

    We all know that the sovok union operated on propaganda. But what strikes me is that also operated on massive psychological conditioning, which the Kremlinites are still trying to use to this day.

    Example: in the sovok union, people were literally conditioned to tremble in fear at the mention of the word “nationalist.” That was a bad thing in the sovok union. There was only homo sovieticus, and the Russian language.

    Another word, constantly repeated, was “fascist,” as “we beat the fascists in WWII,” or “America is fascist.”

    There are also code words: a government’s response is “inadequate.”

    People were literally conditioned to react like Pavlov’s dogs to certain words and phrases – and it continues to this day.

    The Kyiv Post has posted an article about the remembrance of Holodomor in Ukraine, and about the monument that was built.

    What has happened – a couple of rooskie sovoks show up to scream about how the remembrance by Ukraine of millions of its people being starved to death by Stalin and his sovok supporters “for their own good” is actually a “political stunt” by President Yushchenko.

    And an attempt to “drive a wedge” between the “fraternal countries” of Ukraine and roosha.

    And that “Ukraine owes roosha,” because, according to the little rooskie sovoks, roosha “created” Ukraine.

    There are also the classic and time-honored sovok techniques of distraction, and endless repetition.

    “look at how Canada treated the Inuits.”

    “President Bush is an idiot.”

    What any of that, true or not, has to do with the Famine is, of course, not evident – except if one is a sovok who instinctively uses these distraction techniques to eliminate any discussion about the topic at hand – the Famine.

    What is even more unbelievable is that these people show up with no expression of empathy or sympathy for the vicitims.

    Their only concern is about continued attempted rooshan domination of its neighbors, and how the remembrance of the Famine will “drive a wedge” between two “fraternal countries,” and about how Ukraine “owes” roosha for its existence.

    Talk about standing history on its head!

    I did not realize how psychologically damaged these people truly are, until I saw the comments on the Kyiv Post web site.

    Utterly, truly hideous.

    No morals, no conscience, no humanity – only sovok slogans and the continued expectation of Pavlovian conditioned responses.

    Putin, Medvedev, Zvirinovsky (spelling intentional) and the whole gang – all continue to spout the same sovok catch phrases, and all try to continue the same techniques from the sovok handbook of intimidation, threats and insults, and of deception, denial, distraction and delusion.

    Utterly hideous.

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