Vladimir Putin, the courageous and bold president of the Russain Federation, has responded to the 60th anniversary of the Stalin Purges. This has been another Churchillian moment for the emerging spokesperson for the oppressed peoples of the Earth. In 1937 thousands of Russians were killed, arrested, shot and subjected to show-trials as a maniacal effort to cleanse the Communist Party of revisionists and disloyal members. While these Communist Party purges had begun in 1934, they reached a quantitative zenith in 1937. Mr Putin acknowledged the excesses of this period but claims Russia should not be forced to feel guilty about them.
I don’t agree with that but I do agree with his insistence that the United States should not pass judgment on the atrocities of the Stalin Era. He appropriately compares U.S. conduct in external affairs as equivalent to some of Josef Stalin’s horrors. If one were to add centuries of slavery, and another century of Jim Crow, one could argue that the United States has the worst human rights record in modern history and has committed the most war crimes in its conduct of interstate relations since the invasion of Poland by Germany on September 1, 1939.
Mr Putin stated:
“We have not used nuclear weapons against a civilian population,” he said. “We have not sprayed thousands of kilometers (miles) with chemicals, (or) dropped on a small country seven times more bombs than in all the Great Patriotic (War)” – Russia’s name for World War II.
He is referring to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9, 1945 and the Vietnam genocide in which agent orange and Napalm were used to destroy the green vegetation of South Vietnam–our so-called ally–and as an anti-personnel burn-the-skin torture weapon. He is referencing that more bomb tonnage was dropped by U.S. imperialist forces in the Vietnam genocide than was dropped in Europe during World War II.
The president was speaking to an audience of history and social science teachers. I wonder if an American chief executive could be as self-critical and introspective as the Russian president.