Stalin – Historically Incorrect
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In the first week of February 2006, the BBC's The History Channel televised Stalin Declassified, an attempt to shed light on the Soviet dictator's reign of terror. The History Channel is to be congratulated for devoting time to Stalin, who gets little public attention, although his crimes and durability far outweigh that of German dictator, Adolph Hitler.
Unfortunately, Stalin Declassified also supported several myths which are dangerous for the safety and well-being of those living not only in Russia, but also in the United States.
The first myth is that Stalin was a mere aberration in the Communist system. This is a line of thinking prominent in Russia today, and at certain universities in the United States. This is an important and dangerous misunderstanding, because the world is witnessing an increase of Communist activity, especially in Latin America, and resurgence in the popularity of Stalin in Russia.
During an interview broadcast on Stalin Declassified, former Secretary of State during the Clinton administration, Madeleine Albright, gave support to the Communist revolution-was-not-so-bad-just-misdirected-by-Stalin crowd. She asserted that Stalin took some of the ideas of Lenin and "translated them into a state that was a terror state."
The movie Stalin Declassified promotes the false notion that Stalin misinterpreted the "good" Marxism of Lenin
In other words, Lenin, the leader of the Bolshevik revolution - which toppled the government which had toppled the Tsarist government - was not such a bad guy. It was his successor, Stalin, who got things off track.
Wrong. Lenin established the guiding ideas that led to even greater slaughter under Stalin. The best known among these was the concept of "enemy of the people," still a favorite among Communist-dominated regimes. Entire classes of people, the rich, the not so rich, independent intellectuals, and simply those who disagreed with "the Party" were all given this label, and then eliminated.
To carry out the job of mass murder, Lenin established a secret police system unlike any seen before. This leads to Madame Albright's second error, the declaration that "one of Stalin's greatest horrors" was the "creation of the secret police, the KGB."
The Communist system needed the secret police from the beginning. Two months after the October revolution Lenin established the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission to Combat the Counter-Revolution, Speculation, and Sabotage, known by its Russian initials, the Cheka. It is the Cheka that carried out Lenin's campaign to "suppress and liquidate" the "enemies of the people." Eventually millions would die at the hands of the Bolsheviks, before Stalin came to power.
Russian president Vladimir Putin, a former KGB operative, traces his professional heritage to the Cheka, as do all Russian and former Soviet intelligence officers.
Albright was wrong on another point: Stalin did not found the KGB, it came into being as a reorganization of the Soviet secret police and intelligence operations following the death of Stalin.
Stalin Declassified only vaguely referred to Soviet atomic weapons spying, and completely ignored Soviet penetration of the top levels of the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and its impressive campaign to influence journalists, businessmen, and Hollywood movie luminaries. In Russia Stalin was known as "Father Stalin," in the United States, Roosevelt referred to him as "Uncle Joe."
To this day, "liberals" decry the "Red Scare" of the early 1950s, and abruptly disregard the evidence of infiltration, espionage, and influence by Stalin's spy services, even as millions of Soviet citizens - "enemies of the people" - went to their deaths for "crimes against the Soviet state."
The tradition of anti-Americanism and pro-just-about-anything-else in American Liberalism goes back to Stalin's agents of influence in the 1930s and '40s - and even further, to Lenin's plan to disinform America about the intentions of the Bolshevik revolution.
The disinformation continues, as does the knee jerk hatred of America. The mythology surrounding Stalin remains all too powerful today.
Posted February 15, 2006
Toby Westerman publishes
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