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How to get the Cheka, OGPU, NKVD, KGB…

Posted December 13th, 2010 in International and tagged , , , , , , , , , by MarkOttawa

…and other manifestations of Soviet security and intelligence a better reputation.  From an article worth the read in the London Review of Books:

…One of my fantasies – along with importing a branch of Marks and Spencer and a Penguin bookshop to Moscow – was that one day the Soviets would…give Western scholars access to the most taboo of Soviet archives, the NKVD’s, so that the scholars would stop slandering this fine institution and see things from its perspective: the Central Committee cadres department reassigning any Gulag officers who showed signs of competence and sending the Gulag administration nothing but duds, the difficulties in setting up native-language kindergartens for Chechen deportees to Kazakhstan, and so on…

On the other hand:

Katyn and coming clean about a mass murderer

Good writing does not excuse moral vacuity.  It is revealing to realize that no-one would (at least one hopes) ever be so jocular about the tough lives of those who ran the Nazi extermination camps.  There still is a serious double standard in dealing with the monstrous crimes Hitler and Stalin (not to mention Lenin and Mao) are responsible for.  Bloodlands is an effort to right the balance–see also this exchange of letters in the LRB.

The Polish movie “Katyn” is itself well worth the watch (saw it via Fred).  As far as I know not one Soviet killer in this, and their countless other killings, ever faced any justice.  Think about it.

Mark
Ottawa

3 Responses so far.

  1. KVBNo Gravatar says:

    The Soviet system was of egalitarian intent, concerned with nothing more than the workers of the world. How can we find them guilty of anything? It was a system of pure, absolute goodness!
    ;-)

    Sarc off.

  2. Larry BennettNo Gravatar says:

    “The decree (Stalin’s) required that the peasants of the Ukraine, the Don and the Kuban be put to death by starvation, put to death along with their little children”.

    Vasily Grossman.

  3. comrade homer simpsonNo Gravatar says:

    Mmm. Omelettes.