Newsreal Looks at the World: This Week, Ukraine
Americans who are enamored of Socialism, believing that it is the best way to govern a nation, do not know their history. They don’t know that Socialism has only one end result for those unfortunate enough to be trapped living in a Socialist state: misery and death.
Ask the Poles, Hungarians, Czechs, Lithuanians, or the citizens of any country in the former “Eastern Bloc,” that found themselves oppressed under the yoke of Soviet hegemony (including those in Russia itself) for over 70 years, and you will hear stories of immense hardship and suffering. If you want a truly horrific portrayal of life under Socialism, ask the Ukrainians.
Ukrainians are still so bitter about the legacy of Socialism, that even the unveiling of a recently restored granite statue of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin is enough to spark bitter street demonstrations.
Last week, that’s exactly what happened.
Even before the covering sheet was completely pulled from the 11-foot-tall Lenin statue (which had been previously damaged earlier this year when someone smashed its face with a hammer), Ukrainians hurled red paint on it and broke out in spontaneous jeers.
Andriy Mokhnik, head of an anti-communist group named “Freedom,” expressed the crowd’s sentiments when he declared that:
History cannot be turned back. Lenin monuments across Ukraine will be destroyed, and communist ideology prohibited.
Why does the mere unveiling of a statue of Lenin prompt such negative emotions in Ukraine?
The short answer is that the Ukrainians believe that Lenin’s socialist nightmare is directly responsible for the famine of 1932-1933.
Viktor Yushchenko, the President of Ukraine, has called for the international community to recognize the famine—which killed an estimated seven million people—as an act of genocide against Ukraine by the Soviet government, ruled in 1932 by Josef Stalin, Lenin’s intellectual and political successor.
The famine, which engulfed Ukraine and the northern Caucasus area in 1932-1933, was the direct result of Joseph Stalin‘s socialist policy of forced collectivization.
The Ukraine, which was the most productive agricultural area of the Soviet Union (its “breadbasket”), had resisted Stalin’s collectivization (which was, basically, just a euphemism for the re-distribution of Ukraine’s wealth). Because of this, Stalin made it his goal to both crush Ukrainian nationalism and distribute Ukrainian agricultural products to less successful areas of the Soviet Empire.
Stalin imposed heavy quotas on the Ukrainians. By 1932, he had raised Ukraine’s grain procurement quotas by forty-four percent. This meant that there would no longer be enough grain to feed the peasants, and it was only a matter of time before they started dying of starvation.
According to an eye-witness account:
Party officials, with the aid of regular troops and secret police units, waged a merciless war of attrition against peasants who refused to give up their grain. Even indispensable seed grain was forcibly confiscated from peasant households. Any man, woman, or child caught taking even a handful of grain from a collective farm could be, and often was, executed or deported. Those who did not appear to be starving were often suspected of hoarding grain. Peasants were prevented from leaving their villages by the NKVD [secret police] and a system of internal passports.
Before they died, people often lost their senses and ceased to be human beings.
One of Stalin’s lieutenants in Ukraine summed up the true nature of Socialism’s achievements in the Ukraine in 1933, when he declared that:
The famine was a great success. It showed the peasants ‘who is the master here.’ It cost millions of lives, but the collective farm system is here to stay.
That is the true legacy of Socialism: Socialists only care about the principles of Socialism; they don’t care about individual human beings.