May 092009

64 years ago today, the Soviet Union was victorious against Nazi Germany in what they came to know as the Great Patriotic War. The Soviet Union may have ceased to exist almost two decades ago but you wouldn’t know that by looking at the military parade that took place on Red Square today:

Soviet-style parade

Soviet-style parade

Perhaps this display should serve as a reminder that what really happened on May 9, 1945, was that the struggle between the world’s two worst totalitarian, militaristic tyrannies ended with the victory of one and the complete defeat of the other.

Revolting as the Nazi regime was, Soviet style communism was just as oppressive and murderous. Sure, for members of “inferior races”, as the Nazis called them, a Soviet victory was preferable because at the very least, Stalin did not institute a systematic program to eradicate entire ethnicities and turn their ashes into soap. (Arguably, he didn’t have to; whereas Hitler’s plans to deport Jews to Madagaskar had no basis in reality, Stalin had room in his vast empire to set up a “Jewish Autonomous District” some five thousand miles east of Moscow, where he planned to deport most of the Soviet Union’s Jewish population. The district curiously still exists in today’s Russia, although only about 1% of its population is actually Jewish.) But in terms of overall results, Stalin was just as “productive” as the Führer, murdering countless millions and ruining the lives of many more, governing an empire that was founded on fear and oppression.

An empire that, curiously, many Russians would like to see return, as this fine military display reminds us.

 Posted by at 12:39 pm