I love Russia, and today I am in pain. I am in pain because Russia is increasingly manipulated by Putin’s propaganda, so manipulated that there’s even chances that some of my Russian and Russophile friends will be angry at me when they read this. It is pathetic and it hurts.
Russia is frustrated and angry at the Western world for not attending the 9th of May celebrations. But the truth is, there is nothing to celebrate. There is nothing to parade about. All there is, is a disgraceful misappropriation of a traumatic historical experience by a KGB officer and dictator. Who would want to be associated to this? Only Kim Jong-Un, Robert Mugabe and other dictators do.
You don’t believe me, Russia? How about these 5 very simple facts:
1- Russian propaganda is funded on the paradigm that the defeat of the Nazis is entirely to be credited to the Soviet efforts and sacrifices. This denies the role played by all other factors – the role of others in maintaining the second front in the West, the role of Resistance movements in all of Europe, the role of the US intervention on European soil, and even the weather conditions that the Soviet were more ready for than the Nazis.
The truth is, the Soviet Union played a huge role in defeating the Nazis, but it is an alliance that won the war.
2- Russian propaganda relies abundantly on the number of dead in the Soviet camp: 26, perhaps 27 million. In reality, this estimated number refers to the Soviet Union, not to Russia – and moreover it refers both to military and civilian casualties. A hard to believe number of millions Russians did perish – about 12% of the Russian pre-war population. But also 13% of Latvians and Lithuanians did, and 16% of Ukrainians, and even 25% of Belarussians – all who were counted as Soviet. So why is Putin’s Russia trying to claim the monopole of the sacrifice against the Nazis?
The truth is, 9th May celebrates a Soviet victory, not a Russian victory. Putin abuses history by replacing the word “Soviet” by the word “Russian” everywhere as if they were synonyms- they are not.
3- In Russia, 9th of May is referred to as a Victory and it is celebrated. What do you mean, celebrated?
Celebration of a war that made more victims than necessary because the Red Army was chaotic and disorganised after all officers were purged in 1937 and after failed diplomacy caused that the Soviet Union was not ready to fight against a Nazi attack?
Celebration of a war that was hysterically led because of psychopath Beria’s method of two lines, where every Soviet soldier was watched by a second soldier who would shoot the first immediately if he would retreat?
Celebration of a war that ended in atrocities, rapes and pillages made by the exhausted Red Army soldiers all over Eastern and Central Europe?
The truth is: 9th May is a sad day. It should be a commemoration of the victims, not something to celebrate. The parades and festivities are inappropriate and obscene.
4- And how about the worst victims of all: those people that Stalin took advantage of the total WWII confusion to simply deport? Those Soviet soldiers who survived the war but perished in gulag camps immediately after? Stalin could not tolerate that so many soldiers, who had been made prisoners during WWII and therefore had seen the West, would return home. They were all sent to gulag. As did the whole intelligentsia of the Baltic countries, and the Germans of the Volga regions, and many other nations that just perished along with the “Soviet casuaties”.
The truth is: it is not this year again that Putin will take the opportunity of the “celebrations” to reiterate the Nation’s excuses to these victims.
5- Finally, I hear and read everywhere that the Western leaders’ boycott of Putin’s big party is an insult to the Russian people, as if it meant that the Western leaders don’t care. But this is wrong again. Yes, Angela Merkel will not participate to the 9th May celebrations because she does not want to support Putin. But yes, Angela Merkel does have respect for the Russian people and for the victims, and this is why she will come on 10th May and pay her respects to the victims by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The truth is: yes the world cares and has empathy for the Soviet and Russian victims of WWII.
So Russia, do you understand now?
In my world, we do not celebrate massacres and disasters.
In my world, we do not empathise with a President-dictator who recuperates historical facts, takes them out of their context, selects what supports him and ignores what does not, and takes his whole Nation (you, my Russian friend) as a hostage to blackmail his enemies.
In my world, what we do, is remember the dead, respect the survivors, regret all these horrors happened, and hope they will not happen ever again.
I am not against you, Russia. On the contrary. I hope one day you will understand me.