Comment on the article ‘Shot for collecting stamps’: gulag letters lay bare the dystopia of Stalin’s Russia by Roger Lewis in The Telegraph, 20 March 2021.
Let us look at the opening paragraph.
In Russia, during the decades of the Communist experiment, was there a single person who was happy? “Millions of the citizens of this great country,” writes Ludmila Ulitskaya in this harrowing book, “were killed by the very Utopia that they strived to create.”
There are several falsifications here already. It is a falsification to use the term ‘Communist experiment’ to refer to bloody terror of the Communist dictatorship. We do not normally use the words ‘Nazi experiment’, unless referring to cruel medical experiments, conducted by the Nazis. To say ‘experiment’ about the Soviet dictatorship is, in essence, to defend it.
Next, we have the word ‘happy’. This is a very strange way to talk about, again, bloody terror. Implicitly, it suggests, that the functionaries of the dictatorship and millions of denunciators and informers were in it together with millions of people with anti-Communist views, and that everyone was a similar victim of the ‘Experiment’. The rhetorical question posed by Roger Lewis has an affirmative answer. There were plenty of happy people. They have eagerly taken part in the criminal, genocidal pursuit of their conception of happiness. Mass crimes were part of this genocidal project from the very beginning.
If, as Roger Lewis suggests, no one was happy in the Soviet Union, we would also have to conclude that there must have been many unhappy people in Nazi Germany, who were unhappy for different reasons. Some were unhappy because they were sent to concentration camps. Others were not content because the killing apparatus they identified with was not efficient enough, terror imposed on the occupied lands has not stopped resistance and Germany was losing the war. We do not use this word, however, in the Nazi context, because it is inappropriate under the circumstances. Similarly, there is a huge difference between an unhappy functionary of the terror apparatus and unhappy dying victim. They are both unhappy but on opposite sides of the killing axis, hardly a unifying feature.
Alexander Dolgun was personally tortured by General Ryumin, deputy chief of MGB, the Soviet Ministry of State Security, see ‘Alexander Dolgun’s Story. An American in the Gulag’, by Alexander Dolgun with Patrick Watson, Knopf, New York 1975:
“Do you just sit there?” Ryumin yelled. He knocked me off the chair with a blow to the head. It hurt like hell. I roared as I fell on the floor. Ryumin yelled again, “Aha!”
By article’s author prescription this is apparently an interaction between two unhappy people.
‘Millions killed by the very Utopia they strived to create’, by an anonymised and depersonalised killing machine? This again is a defense of the Communist perpetrators. Those millions were killed by other human beings who served the dictatorship. And who was tried at Nuremberg? Was it Nazi Utopia or specific persons? There is no legal concept of being killed by a Utopia.
‘…killed by the very Utopia that they strived to create’. This is a Bolshevik-style falsification when minority of Communists among victims is presented as the majority of all.
This is clearly a Communist narrative seeking to purge non-Communist victims from history, while expressing sorrow for killing fellow comrades.
My family members, citizens of Poland, were long-time prisoners of Communist concentration camps after WWII: my parents in the Arkhangelsk region, others at Vorkuta, Norilsk, and other places. My uncle Klemens Ostrowski Jr was tortured and was disabled both physically and mentally when released from the camp. While he gradually recovered physically, he never regained his mental faculty. The document my father received upon release from the camp in 1954 can be viewed here.
My parents lived in eastern Poland, which was occupied by the Soviet Union from 1939 to 1941 and then again from 1944. Communist occupiers stripped them of their Polish citizenship and confiscated their families farms.
My family were targeted in a planned genocidal activity. There was nothing accidental about it. All those resisting Communism were to be either physically killed, crippled, or delivered social death. A Communist Final Solution.
This criminal Communist activity evolved and is continued today, albeit in a more camouflaged way. After a long and vicious campaign, my wife and I were expelled from our jobs in Poland in 2015 from state school of music and university, respectively. Her grandfather fought the Nazi forces as a Polish officer in 1939, was later imprisoned by the Soviet authorities, managed to leave the Soviet Union after German attack on Russia in 1941, fought with the Polish forces on the western front of WWII, and was imprisoned again upon his return to Poland under Communist control in 1947.