Sunday, May 15, 2016

Review: "The Soviet Story"

At the Libertarian Party of Iowa's state convention in March the keynote speaker, Dr. Yuri N. Maltsev, recommended watching the 2008 documentary "The Soviet Story." The film studies the fascinating relationship and similarities between the Soviet Union (USSR) and Nazi Germany. I just watched it and I too highly recommend the film. If you watch it, you will learn a lot about communism and our World War Two ally that they didn't teach you in school. It is available on Amazon video, YouTube and probably elsewhere.

The film first spends some time illustrating that communism and Nazism are not as different as many think. It shows how both are largely based on the writings of Marx & Engels. You'll see early Nazi symbology with the swastika literally between the hammer and sickle.

The film highlights the many mass extermination atrocities committed by the Soviet Union including The Holodomor, the deliberate starvation of 7 million Ukrainians in one year alone. The film attributes some 20 million total murders to Soviet communism over the course of its history. In his book "The Great Terror," researcher Robert Conquest puts that number at about 15 million. Whichever, it's a lot.

It's important that we remember and understand this bloody history, lest we repeat it. While the crimes of the Nazis have rightly been widely denounced and their ideology discredited as a result, the same can't be said for the communists. You can say, "Soviet communists made mistakes and had some excesses, but they were mostly right," among Western intelligentsia today, whereas saying the same thing about the Nazis would get you booed out of the room. While modern Germany condemns the Nazi regime, Vladimir Putin, current ruler of Russia, calls the collapse of the Soviet Union "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century." Most American millennials wouldn't know to disagree with him.

The film also spends significant time on the wartime collaboration between the USSR and Nazi Germany. I was aware the two countries had a non-aggression pact with each other initially, but was unaware of the degree that the two regimes actively aided each other. There were plans on which country would get to consume which smaller countries, Poland was split between the two, the Soviets let the Nazis use their naval base to stage their invasion of Norway, the Soviet NKVD (secret police) taught the Nazi Gestapo torture techniques and how to set up concentration camps, and the Soviets provided food and materials to the Nazi war machine. When many Jews fled to the USSR to escape the Nazis, the NKVD rounded them up and turned them over to the Gestapo.

It's obvious that Stalin and Hitler were planning on carving up Europe for themselves before the two monsters began quarreling. This is not the image of our wonderful World War Two ally that we are often presented with in the West.

Please check out this film! You'll learn a lot. This is a Latvian film (Latvia being one of the three "Baltic states" that didn't appreciate their time under the boot of Soviet oppression) and there are several different versions of the film out there in different languages. Make sure you grab one in English.

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