Additional information on the USSR/RUSSIAN Gulags
By CRC Staff | June 24, 2013, 3:01 PM EDT
Research Topics: China, Communism, Heritage Foundation, socialism, Soviet Union, Stalin
This summer marks the 60th anniversary of the Norilsk and Vorkuta Gulag uprisingsand yet you probably don't remember those events, or more likely, you've never even heard of them.
In fact, they were just two horrors in the long, long catalogue of horrors perpetrated by communists in the twentieth century. The need to remember these and other such outrages was the theme of a recent panel discussion at the Heritage Foundation, led by Lee Edwards. He and his fellow experts addressed communism's legacy, including the bizarre tendency to ignore that legacy, especially compared to the legacy of another murderous totalitarian regime, the Germany of National Socialism (aka Nazism).
The neglect of communism, the panel agreed, is largely attributable to the world's ignorance of the atrocities committed by communist regimes. The Third Reich, however, has had its horrors portrayed many times over in movies and books since the regime fell in 1945, just as one would expect of a world-class evil that produced the Holocaust and the deaths of well over 10 million people.
But the same has not occurred with communism, even after the fall of the Soviet Union. Rather, many intellectuals remain fascinated by the utopian ideas of communism and have been gradually pushing us closer and closer ideologically towards socialism, precisely because they ignore the evils of communism. Stalin's gulags, which were also a world-class evil, do not receive nearly as much publicity as Hitler's concentration camps.
The Norilsk and Vorkuta Gulags, for example, whose uprisings were brutally put down, were part of a chain of forced labor camps used by Lenin and Stalin to exterminate their political enemies, and yet we have a bust of Stalin at our D-Day memorial in Bedford, Virginia. Public media are rife with examples of the atrocities of Hitler's concentration camps, and rightly so, but we refuse to view Stalin and his gulags with horror. Nor does one often hear of the thousands upon thousands who were murdered by the Stalinist government during its collectivization of agricultural property in the 1930s.
Dr. Ariel Cohen, a senior research fellow at Heritage, told the story of how he received the files in which his own grandfather confessed to crimes against the Soviet government while being tortured, in the vain hope that he would not be executed. And yet neither these historical evils, nor the continuing evils that are their legacy, are much considered these days. That helps explain why we overlook many communist practices that still exist, including secret police and political prisoners. Russia retains many remnants of communism, preventing the nation from more fully revitalizing its economy and creating a nation based upon freedom.
Julek California USA