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As I write this—on Monday, January 24, 2022—Vladimir Putin’s tanks and troops are poised for a possible incursion, “minor” or otherwise, of Ukraine.
For what purpose? Putin already “owns” a country of 6.6 million square miles and twelve time zones. How much more does a man need?
Apologists for the former KGB thug claim that a move on Ukraine can be justified as a legitimate Russian response to a threat from NATO. That’s just a convenient excuse. Nobody in his right mind thinks that NATO is planning to invade Russia. In any event, killing and subjugating your innocent neighbors would hardly be superior to just building up your own defenses if you thought you were threatened.
A better explanation is that after nearly a quarter-century in office, Putin is thoroughly besotted with that proven intoxicant, power. Those who have it too long get drunk on it and can’t get enough of it. Moreover, Putin is doing what power-hungry Russian dictators have done to Ukraine multiple times since Lenin’s day. Why stop with your own country if you can swallow another?
Decent people the world over pray that Ukrainian blood will not yet again be spilled for Russian ambitions. If it is, Ukrainians know their history and love their freedom. They will fight. It’s heartening to know, according to GunPolicy.org, that Ukrainians possess 11 million firearms, and 40 percent of them are in private hands. Outside of the most radical, socialist gun-grabbers, does anybody believe that gun control in Ukraine is a good idea right now?
World War I ended in November 1918 but within weeks, the Bolshevik regime in Moscow invaded Ukraine. By 1922, communist forces crushed the Ukrainian freedom fighters and forcibly incorporated the country within the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Not until the disintegration of the USSR in December 1991 would Ukraine be free again.
Turning Ukraine into a Soviet puppet state for seven decades ranks as a heinous crime by itself. And no account of that nightmare would ever be complete without recalling the almost unspeakable horror of the Holodomor—the man-made, Soviet-imposed, Ukrainian famine that began 90 years ago this year. From 1932-34, an estimated six to eight million people died because of it. It was one of the worst genocides of the 20th Century.
In his riveting book, Stalin: Breaker of Nations, Robert Conquest recounts the inception and course of the Holodomor:
Stalin personally drafted the notorious law of 7 August 1932, “On the Safeguarding of State Property,” defining all collective farm property as such—cattle, standing crops, produce. Any offense against them was to be met by execution or, in extenuating circumstances, not less than ten years’ imprisonment, with confiscation of property. Tens of thousands were sentenced for such crimes as “stealing” a few ears of corn…
It was a fight to the death against the peasantry—and, blended with it, against the Ukrainian nationality. When Stalin was engaged in a fight to the death, there was always plenty of death to go around…
While millions starved to death, it was simply denied that any famine existed. This line was taken not only to the outside world, but even in the Soviet Union itself.
The Soviets lied about the famine, as you might expect. Truth to a good communist or socialist is whatever serves his agenda, even if it’s mass murder on behalf of an egalitarian police state. Thousands of miles away, The New York Times’s Moscow correspondent and a most useful idiot for the Soviets, Walter Duranty, shamelessly smeared the one journalist most responsible for exposing the famine, Gareth Jones.
You can learn more about the courageous Jones and the evil Duranty in my essay, A Revolution to Always Remember but Never Celebrate. Better yet, watch the recent film, Mr. Jones:
For a detailed and definitive account of the Holodomor, read Anne Applebaum’s chilling Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine. She concludes her final chapter with these observations:
History offers hope as well as tragedy. In the end, Ukraine was not destroyed. The Ukrainian language did not disappear. The desire for independence did not disappear either—and neither did the desire for democracy, or for a more just society, or for a Ukrainian state that truly represented Ukrainians. When it became possible, Ukrainians expressed these desires. When they were allowed to do so, in 1991, they voted overwhelmingly for independence… As a nation, Ukrainians know what happened in the twentieth century, and that knowledge can help shape their future.
So do not be surprised when Ukrainians fight if Putin invades. Who can blame them? I for one will be cheering them on. Who cannot lend at least moral support to people who stand up for their liberty? Marauding tyrants deserve a bloody nose at the very least.
Indeed, the best outcome of the current crisis (though it may presently seem improbable) would be an uprising of the Russian people against the autocrat Putin. While they’re freeing themselves, they should also invade the mausoleum of Lenin, then beat into dust the rotting corpse of the monster whose legacy still haunts the world.
Lawrence writes a weekly op-ed for El American. He is President Emeritus of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) in Atlanta, Georgia; and is the author of “Real heroes: inspiring true stories of courage, character, and conviction“ and the best-seller “Was Jesus a Socialist?“ //
Lawrence escribe un artículo de opinión semanal para El American. Es presidente emérito de la Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) en Atlanta, Georgia; y es el autor de “Héroes reales: inspirando historias reales de coraje, carácter y convicción” y el best-seller “¿Fue Jesús un socialista?”