The Other Russia reports:
As Russia celebrates the 66th anniversary of the Nazi’s capitulation in World War II, 83-year-old veteran Anton Karavanets describes his life like this: “I live the life of a pauper, I feel redundant in my own country, the country I once risked my life for. Yet another anniversary since the end of the Second World War is approaching, and there are fewer and fewer of us, war survivors, left.”
Despite repeated promises from the Russian government to ensure a good life for its veterans, Karavanets is not alone in his sentiments. Feeling abandoned, some have returned their medals as they literally struggle to survive in abysmal conditions.
As United Civil Front leader Garry Kasparov argues, Russia’s ruling regime has offended its veterans in the worst possible way: by essentially carrying out the work of the Third Reich.
By Garry Kasparov
May 11, 2011
In Brezhnev’s time, Victory Day began to be actively used to strengthen the ideological basis of the Soviet system. Victory in the Great Patriotic War became not just a symbol to bring society together, but a central element of Soviet propaganda, justifying growing socio-economic problems and all the crimes of the Stalin era. Naturally, the real history of the Great War was sacrificed for a semi-official myth that worked to their advantage.
Advertisement for a World War II party in Moscow. The message reads: Thank you Granddad for the victory we had!
Get it Straight, Russia Lost World War II
Three were killed. No, four. Wait a minute, it was seven. No, no . . . eight!!
You could be forgiven if you were somewhat perplexed reading the news out of the Caucasus on May 8th. Each different media outlet you turned to seemed to have a different figure for the number of “militants” and “rebels” Russia had killed in its latest confrontation, though in each case they insisted only one member of the Russian armed forces had perished in the exchange.
As you can well imagine, if you could’n’t even get the number of militants, it was pretty darned impossible to find out anything about who they were or why they had been killed. Russians lack real information about such events, just as they lack real information about World War II, a conflict they lost but foolishly believe they won.
A movie review in The New Yorker shows the horrifying similarity of behavior between Russians and Nazis during World War II. In fact, it’s easily arguable that the Nazis were not as a bad as the Russians when it came to murdering innocent people in Eastern Europe:
Claude Lanzmann’s “Shoah,” the shattering nine-hour documentary about the Holocaust, which was first shown in New York in 1985, has, on its twenty-fifth anniversary, reopened here and will soon appear in museums, universities, and select theatres across the country. Back in 1985, the film left me bruised and sore, moved by its clarifying passions and its electrifying rhetoric, and amazed by its revolutionary form. Lanzmann, a French filmmaker and intellectual journalist, omitted photographs, newsreels, and documents (all the usual historical materials), and, instead, reconstructed the past from what remained of it in the present.
Canadian military history professor Alexander Hill, writing in the Moscow Times:
Many Russians are understandably proud of the Soviet victory in the Great Patriotic War — the Soviet term for their war against Nazi Germany fr om June 22, 1941 to May 9, 1945. Few historians in the East or West would disagree that the bulk of the German army was destroyed on the Eastern Front during World War II. The eastward advance of the German army and its allies was halted initially at Moscow in December 1941, then again at Stalingrad in November 1942, almost two years before the Americans had committed significant ground forces against Germany.
The surrender of German and Romanian forces at Stalingrad in February 1943 marked the destruction of a force of more than 250,000 men, of whom more than 91,000 surrendered to the Red Army. By the time of the D-Day landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944, the Red Army was advancing rapidly westward through Ukraine and Belarus, recapturing Minsk in July 1944 and reaching the gates of Warsaw by August. Berlin finally fell to the Red Army on May 2, 1945, with German capitulation following shortly afterward — technically on May 8 according to the Western Allies, or May 9 for the Soviets, although sporadic fighting continued for a day or two afterward.
These victories were achieved at horrendous cost — more than 8.5 million Soviet soldiers were either killed, died later of wounds or did not return from German captivity. Up to 27 million Soviet citizens died as a result of the war.
World War II was not, however, just a war between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, and the victory in May 1945 was not just a Soviet victory but a victory for the Allied alliance as well. From June 1940 to June 1941, Britain and the Commonwealth fought alone against Nazi Germany, even while material assistance increased from the United States as 1941 progressed.
Russia Lost the Great Patriotic War
Who won the battle of Ryazan in Russia during World War II, which Russians crazily refer to as “The Great Patriotic War”? Was it the Germans, who lost 500,000 soldiers, or was it the Russians, who lost a million?
Who won the battle of Stalingrad (now Volgograd)? Did Russians “win” that battle the same way they “won” the battle of Moscow against Napoleon, by cleverly razing the city to the ground and wiping out its population so the invaders couldn’t make use of them? If so, then “win” a few more battles like that and you don’t really have much country left to defend, do you?
If you, like any normal person who can count, say it was Russia which lost these battles and which, indeed, lost the “GPW” in its entirety, then you’d better be careful where you say it. Utter those words in Russia and you may be heading for prison if Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu has his way. So-called “liberal president” Dima Medvedev is fully supportive of the effort. In other words Russia won because if you say it lost Russia will erase you. That’s the same technique the wacko Nikita Khruschev used to “bury” the USA!
We’ve addressed this issue before, when Shoigu first made his maniacal statement, but now that Russians are parading nuclear weapons through Red Square to “celebrate” their “victory” in the “GPW,” it’s appropriate to revisit the issue.