Today is the 80th anniversary since the end of the Battle of Stalingrad, when on the 2nd of February 1943 the world saw the turning point in the course of The Great Patriotic War – the Second World War.
This blog marks the occasion with a series of historic flashbacks, found on the pages that can be accessed either through the top menu or by diving into the link below!
With the New Year coming up, it is time to look hopefully into the coming year and to send someone you love a post card with the best wishes. For me, few modern cards come close to the personality and warmth eminating from the vintage cards. In my family’s archive there are a number of such cards, that were collected by my grandparents from the time even before my mother was born.
Inspired by the article 15 nostalgic Soviet New Year postcards in Russia Beyond the Headlines and by a Telegram post showing how “In the city of Sovetsky, bus stops were decorated with drawings from old Soviet postcards.”, I started scanning this festive part of the collection.
Each postcard is represented with both the face and reverse sides, in the original, aged, paper colour and with the white balance restored (see the links under each picture for the additional versions). The cards are indexed by the year they were approved from printing, meaning that they were used to congratulate people with the next, coming, year.
The battles for Bahmut/Artyomovsk have been raging for some time, the city becoming the focal point of defence the the Ukrainians were building up over the last 8 years, while hiding under the fig leaf of the Minsk peace accord. The Western/Ukrainian publications stick to the name Bahmut as a true “Ukrainian” one. (Incidentally, the name Bahmut has a Turkic sound to it.) The Russian side sticks with Artyomovsk. The article that I am going to translate below looks at the history of the name, and may be an eye-opened for both parties.
And so, the article in question, published in Deita.ru on the 26th of December 2022. Note that the names may alternatively be transliterated as Bakhmut and Artyomovsk.
The conflict in Ukraine is being fought not only on the battlefield – with artillery and missiles, but also in the information space, where symbolism becomes the main weapon. The city of Bahmut, where fierce battles continue, has become a mini-field of a global information and semantic struggle. The Ukrainian modern name of the city is Bahmut, while Russian media and bloggers persistently use the Soviet toponym Artyomovsk.
This material of IA DEITA.RU is about where both names of the city came from, why the heated argument, and what is the problem with the position of our information attack.
Today I observed a conversation in Putinger’s Cat Telegram channel chat that revolved about Russia and USSR and the Westerner’s view of Russia being weak, countered by a very good string of arguments by Milana Attison. The topic resonated strongly with what I’ve written earlier in this blog in the following articles about the Wild ’90s:
There were several lines of conversation going at once, but in reality they all boiled down to one thing: countering the centuries-old Western stereotype of bad USSR/Russia.
At first Milana replied to a member Jason, who postulated that everything was miserable in the USSR, based on some second-hand information, yet he did not make a distinction between the pre-War USSR or Russia after the 90’s.
A few weeks ago Poland made an official demand of Germany for the reparations for damages incurred during WWII. That, despite the fact that all reparations had already been settled after the War.
At the same time Poland had the audaciousness to say that they are considering a similar claim for reparations from Russia. That, despite Poland being one of the main benefactors from the USSR in the Soviet block.
So I do hope Russians won’t try to whitewash the truth, when and if it comes out! Russians in the past whitewashed the crimes of others to keep peace in the family, so to speak, including the Poles, as well as Latvian, Finnish and German Nazis, and Bandera ukro-nazis after WWII. This led to the current situation! Better painful truth right away than a major problem years from now.
And indeed, Poland enjoyed Russian leniency and whitewashing of the “brotherly nation” after the war to a great extent. Just how great, and who should pay reparations to whom is explored in the article that I want to translate today. It was published on the 29th of September in “Argumenty i Fakty”:
The word “reparations” in Poland is gradually acquiring the character of a national sacrament. This time, President Andrzej Duda decided to talk about the reparations from the rostrum of the UN General Assembly. The object of the claim this time was Russia.
After Gorbachev’s passing, a lot can be said about his deeds and legacy. Little of it will be positive.
At best, he’s remembered as a bumbling fool, who started reforms that he was in no position to bring to a positive fruition.
At worst he – along with Yeltsin – is remembered as a malicious traitor to the Russian world, responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people as the result of the demolition of the USSR, which started several years before the fateful events of 1991.
As a middle-ground, I would recommend Scott Ritter’s article in Consortium News SCOTT RITTER: Mikhail Gorbachev, a Vector of Change
My today’s translation takes a look at Gorbachev’s legacy from a different angle – from the perspective of the reunification of Germany. It was in 2014 that first read a short comment about the German counter-historical stance on the reunification of Crimea in light of the prior reunification of Germany. Back then it was just that – a comment in some other discussion. Yesterday I came across an article at the Federal News Agency site that makes a much deeper , and more passionate dive into the matter. And article, a translation of which I am presenting below.
In Germany, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is very much loved. Much more than in Russia and many former Soviet republics. Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev was even called “the best German” because he did a huge historical thing for the German people. He united a divided Germany.
I am reposting an article under the same name from the English edition of NewsFront. This is probably the best – in its brevity – description of Russia’s role in state-building in the recent history! This is the kind of material that cannot be re-posted or re-told too few times.
A blogger from the Finnish city of Oulu Veikko Korhonen, as most modern Finns periodically fell under the corrupting influence of pro-Western history textbooks.
Everything related to Russia there was usually poured with total mud, the joint Russian-Finnish history was presented as a nightmare, and the pernicious influence of the present was constantly supported by stories about the aggressiveness and hostility of the nearest neighbour.
Fortunately, Veikko Korhonen had a very wise and well-educated grandmother, and so he knew very well about the true course of our joint history.
And once, tired of constant disputes with anti-Russian compatriots, he wrote a small article on his Facebook page, and whenever he met another Russophobe, just gave him direct link.
Are you asking about the results of Russia’s “aggression”? They are as follows: half of Europe and part of Asia got their statehood from the hands of this particular state.
Let’s remember who:
– Finland in 1802 and 1918. (Until 1802, never had its own state).
– Latvia in 1918 (before 1918 it never had its own state).
The demilitarisation of Ukraine (and the Greater Ukraine – that is NATO) is going to switch into another gear in a few days, and it will hopefully be concluded to a satisfactory degree some time in the next year.
This brings to the fore the other objective – denazification of the former Ukraine. Here, one must draw on the experience of the denazification of Germany done after the conclusion of WWII – in fact on the outcomes of two different approaches to the denazification. I am presenting below a translation of a historical work, that was published on Lenta.ru, with a back-up re-publicationon Cont. The article gives an excellent retrospective of the process. One thing that it should have mentioned is the process of denazification on the Banderite-festered territories of the Western Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and in the Blatic states. Sadly, after Hrushev came to power, he undid much of the effort to prosecute the Bandera Nazi collaborators, pardoning all of them. The majority settled in the city of Kharkov, which is one of the explanations why Kharkov of all cities had such an unexpectedly large concentration of the neo-Nazi Bandera followers – the descendents of those insufficiently denazified banderites.
The denazification project. How did the USSR and the West arrange the denazification of Germany after World War II?
8th of April 2022
by Alevtina Zapolskaya
The trial of Nazi war criminals at the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg. Photo: AP
Denazification is named among the main goals of the Russian special operation in Ukraine. But unlike demilitarization, which methods and goals are quite clear, few people are able to say what exactly lies behind the concept of “denazification” today. According to Moscow’s official position, its meaning is to abolish all laws and institutions that discriminate against citizens on the basis of language and nationality. And it’s time to turn to history in order to determine how this work should be carried out in practice. After the Second World War, Germany underwent a complex and multi-stage process of denazification. This gave her the opportunity to build relations with her neighbours from scratch and eventually become part of the world community. However, Moscow’s experience in this regard differed from the approach adopted in the zones controlled by the allied forces of the United States, Great Britain and France. What was the difference between the two approaches to denazification, why did USSR achieve the best results and how applicable this experience is today, — was analysed by Lenta.ru.
Goals and objectives
Battles were still raging on the fronts of the Second World War, while the allied countries were already thinking about what peaceful life would be like after the defeat of the Third Reich. Everyone understood perfectly well that the post-war settlement should also be political. It was necessary not only to destroy the German war machine, but also the regime itself, which unleashed the largest war in world history.
The result of sitting on two chairs with one side of your backside on each chair is well-known, especially when the chairs are steadily moving apart.
Yanukovich barely made it alive in 2014, while Ukraine became engulfed by the Brown Plague which tormented the South-East of the country for long 8 years, before Russia was forced to put an end to it.
Lukashenko waited until a Polish-Ukrainian attempt at a colour revolution was staged in Belorussia, but stood his ground with massive Russian help. He drew the right conclusions about who’s Belorussia’s real friend. Thankfully.
Tokaev faced a colour revolution in Kazahstan and only with the collective help of Russia and the ODKB military block did Kazahstan avoid being plunged into a civil war. One can listen to it in greater detail in Lada Ray’s Earth Shift Report 9: ATTACK ON KAZAKHSTAN. WHO DESTABILIZES EURASIAN UNION?. But it does not seem that he drew any conclusions from that and continues the dual-chair-sitting act. Newly, he tried to please the US/NATO-West by imposing sanctions on Russia in a round-about way, while trying to make it look like he doesn’t. As the result came a mild warning, and the oil export from Kazahstan was suspended “for technical reasons” through the Caspian Sea. (There is a real technical reason for suspension, but the Russian authorities did not look too closely at it before Kazahstan started making destabilising moves in the Southern underbelly of Russia.)
Before the start of the Special Military Operation to free Ukraine from the Brown Plague, President Putin said in his address to the nation – and the World at large – that there are countries that have their statehood and territories thanks to the presents from Russia. It did not apply just to Ukraine, but it seems not all had ears to listen. Even Ukraine can sport a history that is about 60 years longer than that of Kazahstan…
I came across a map from the textbook “History of the USSR” published in 1971, depicting a map of the foundation of the USSR in 1922 and the emergence of the Central-Asian Republics in 1924-1925. I remember this map well, having had a similar textbook in my schooldays.
(Click on the map to enlarge)
Let me give a short translation of some parts of the map above:
The big map is the formation of the USSR on the 30th of December 1922, where Russian SFSR was established on the 7th of December 1917, Ukrainian SSR on the 25th of December 1917 with the capital in Harkov. Orange is the tiny Belorussian SSR (01.01.1919) founded on the remains of the Minsk Governorship of the Russian Empire. Between the Black Sea and the Caspian is the Trans-Caucasian Socialist Federative Republic, founded on the 12th of March 1922.
I wanted to make a simple and poignant commemoration of the 9th of May celebration in these difficult times, when Russia once again is fighting against Nazism – and not just in the Southern Russian lands, currently known as Ukraine (Ukraine is just a battlefield, where, after 8 years of genocide of the Russian population, it was said, “enough is enough”), but also on the wider, so far, diplomatic front against the resurgence of the Nazism in the whole West. When the West is cancelling and banning the commemoration of the Victory Day – both in the birthplace of the 20th century Nazism – Austria, and in the hotbeds of Nazi SS punisher battalions, like Latvia.
“If I had to speak in the Bundestag like the boy Kolya, then I would probably say these words:
– Dear deputies. Today I saw a miracle. And this miracle is called Germany. I walked to you and looked at the beautiful Berlin streets, at the people, at the wonderful architectural monuments, and now I’m standing here and looking at you. And I understand that all this is a miracle. That you were all born and live in Germany. Why do I think so? Because considering what your soldiers did in our occupied territories, the Red Army soldiers had the full moral right to destroy the entire German people. To leave in place of Germany a scorched field, ruins and only textbook paragraphs would remind that there was once such a country. You probably don’t remember all the details of the occupation, but it’s not necessary. I’m just going to remind you of what the Wehrmacht and SS soldiers did to Soviet children.
They were shot. Often in front of parents. Or vice versa, first they shot at mom and dad, and then at the children. Your soldiers raped children. Children were burned alive. They were sent to concentration camps. Where their blood was taken from them to make serum for your soldiers. Children were starved. Children were eaten to death by your sheepdogs. Children were used as targets. Children were brutally tortured just for fun.
Or here are two examples. The Wehrmacht officer was prevented from sleeping by a baby, he took him by the leg and smashed his head against the corner of the stove. Your pilots at the Lychkovo station bombed the train on which we tried to take the children to the rear, and then your aces chased the frightened kids, shooting them in a bare field. Two thousand children were killed.
Just for what you did with children, I repeat, the Red Army could destroy Germany completely with its inhabitants. It had a full moral right. But it didn’t.
Do I regret it? Of course not. I bow to the steely will of my ancestors, who found some incredible strength in themselves so as not to become the same brutes as the soldiers of the Wehrmacht.
On the buckles of German soldiers it was written “God is with us.” But they were a product of hell and brought hell to our land. The soldiers of the Red Army were Komsomol members and Communists, but the Soviet people turned out to be much bigger and more cordial than the inhabitants of enlightened religious Europe. And they did not take revenge. They were able to understand that hell cannot be defeated by hell.
You should not ask us for forgiveness, because you personally are not to blame for anything. You cannot be responsible for your grandfathers and great-grandfathers. But I will be honest – for me the Germans are forever an utterly alien people. It’s not because you’re personally bad. It’s the pain of the children burned by the Wehrmacht that screams in me. And you will have to accept that at least my generation – for whom the memory of the war is in my grandfather’s awards, his scars, his front-line friends – will perceive you this way.
What will happen then, I do not know. Perhaps mankurts will come after us who will forget everything. And we have done a lot for this, we have foiled a lot ourselves, but I hope that all is not lost for Russia yet.
Of course we need to cooperate. Russians and Germans. We need to solve problems together. Fight ISIS and build gas pipelines. But you will have to accept one fact: WE WILL NEVER REPENT for our Great War. And even more so for the Victory. And even more so in front of you. Anyway, I repeat, my generation. Because back then we saved not only ourselves. We saved you from yourself. And I don’t even know what’s more important.”
I finally pinned down what the Bucha massacre staged by the UkroNazis reminded me of! The very same thing was done by the Germans in Germany in the last months of WWII. As the Soviet troops were advancing, Hitler issued an order that all civilian Germans must evacuate westwards. anyone disobeying and staying would be considered a traitor to the Third Reich and no longer be seen as a true German. Naturally, quite a large number of people decided that they did not want to abandon their homes, and continued going about their business.
As the ebb and flow of the battles went, some town changed hands between the German and the Soviet troops. The Nazis staged false flag provocations in some towns, temporarily abandoned by the Soviet troops. The UkroNazis are nowhere as thorough as their German Nazi “colleagues” were, so today we see a lot of plot holes in the UkroReich narrative. Back in 1945, the Germans used converted, now collaborating, Russian POWs, dressed in Soviet uniforms to do the killing (promising those POWs freedom), but then executing them on the spot to make a picture of a battle, where the Soviets would have seemingly killed the civilians, only to be killed by the Germans. And then the “indignant civilised West” in the face of the Red Cross observers would be invited to witness and document the false flag, thinking it was for real.
Such episode is depicted in the Soviet semi-documentary film “Confrontation” from 1985. Here is the entire film:
At 2:50:00 is the documentary footage of the German atrocities on the Soviet soil, coupled with the footage of the tribunal conducted in Krasnodar over the Nazi collaborators.
At 2:55:16 the main antagonist, a Soviet PoW who completely switched to the German side, is instructed on plan for the false flag, and how to eliminate his Soviet-clad former co-prisoners once the deed is done.
At 3:00:00 the diversion group is formed – unbeknownst to them, none of them would be left alive after the mission.
At 3:01:21 is where the Germans accompany a Red Cross delegation to the scene of the would-be “Soviet brutality” against the civilian German population.
At 3:02:53 the Soviet-clad bodies of the soldiers are presented as evidence that it was they who killed the civilians.
At 3:03:16 is the documentary footage with the “indignation propaganda” feeding off the false flag with the words of “terror against terror” and promising to punish the guilty (guess who Goebbels meant); demanding to take all the German people to that town and let them see for themselves (EU delegation, anyone?)
I was leafing the other day through the children’s books from my childhood. Many of those books are actually from my mother’s childhood, so two generations grew up on them.
It is no secret that a person’s moral compass is calibrated and adjusted during one’s childhood, and depending on which books the parents read to their offspring (or don’t read at all), so will the person become in his grown-up life. I was lucky to have grown up on Russian fairy tales and the children’s rhymes and short stories of the Soviet authors. One such rhyme-book drew my attention yesterday, unconsciously, for no apparent reason.
Rereading the words, parts of the rhyme still sitting in my memory from when I learned it by heart in my childhood, I understood why. This is a poem by Korney Ivanovich Chukovsky – “Stolen Sun”. The Russian text can be read and listened to at the Chukovsky Family site, and I will present an un-rhymed translation of the verses at the bottom of this post. But why did it draw my attention?
It presents a clear concept of what to do in a dire situation – big or small, and it sets some premises for the child to learn to live by:
realise that there is trouble
get your act together
try to negotiate with the wrongdoer
and only if diplomacy fails, resort to force
And this is exactly what we see playing out on the grand geopolitical scale. Since 2007 Russia went though points 1 to 3 and is now resorting to the undesired, but unavoidable point 4.
Here are the photos of my mother’s book from 1958 with English translations below the corresponding pages. You can click on the images for the full-size versions.
The Sun wandered across the sky
And ran behind a cloud,
A hare peeked out of the window,
It was all dark to him.
Crimea being one of the bones of contentions for the USNATO, who lost the prospect of placing a military base there, the following article put the peninsula’s history into a much-needed perspective, reiterating many of the points that I wrote about earlier on these pages, to wit, that Crimea’s transfer to Ukraine by Khrushov was illegal, unconstitutional and undemocratic, violating with prejudice all those values that the West is supposedly standing for!
however, this article covers a much wider swath of history, including those aspect, entirely unfamiliar to the Western populace (and in some cases to modern-day Russians).
The question of the legality of the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine was raised even before the collapse of the USSR. The fact is that, according to the Soviet Constitution of 1937, neither the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR, nor even the Supreme Soviet had the right to alter the borders of a republic. This was only constitutionally possible after holding a referendum to determine the opinion of the population living in the territory to be transferred. Of course, no referendum was ever held on the peninsula.
In November of 1990, the Crimean Regional Council of People’s Deputies decided to hold a referendum on whether to restore the peninsula’s status as an Autonomous Republic. Of those who took part, 93.26% voted in favor. Thus, Crimea became a participant in negotiating the terms of a new Union Treaty, which Mikhail Gorbachev was preparing at the time. Next, Crimean lawmakers planned to appeal to Gorbachev to cancel the illegal transfer of the peninsula to Ukraine, but the USSR collapsed before they had time to do so. Subsequently, the parliament of the Russian Federation voted on May 21, 1992, to confirm that the decision of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR of February 5, 1954, entitled ‘On the Transfer of the Crimean Region from the RSFSR to the Ukrainian SSR’, had no legal force, since its adoption was “in violation of the Constitution (Basic Law) of the RSFSR and legislative procedure.
Since the Constitution of the Soviet Union was still in force and there was still no Ukrainian Constitution including Crimean autonomy, the Supreme Council of Crimea adopted its own declaration of independence for a Republic of Crimea. A referendum to decide its fate was planned for August 2, 1992, but the Ukrainian central authorities would not allow the plebiscite to take place.
In 1994, Crimea, which had status as an Autonomous Republic within Ukraine, elected a president who supported reunification with Russia, as did most of the members of the republic’s parliament. In response, Ukraine’s leadership unilaterally abolished the Crimean Constitution, the ‘Act on State Sovereignty of Crimea’, and the post of Crimean president, while banning all the parties that had made up the majority in the Crimean parliament. Against the will of the population, Crimea became Ukrainian.
On the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s landmark trip around Earth, RT publishes unique footage of his speech from the first anniversary of this flight – renewed and colored using modern neural-network technologies.
“I am grateful to those who invested their hearts, souls, skills, and hard work to fulfill this great mission,” Gagarin said in a speech that was first broadcast by Soviet television back in 1962, exactly one year after he became the first human ever to fly in space.
The first Soviet cosmonaut expressed his admiration for the Soviet scientists and engineers who made his flight possible by calling them “miracle workers.” Yet, he was equally welcoming to other nations’ efforts in space exploration. He symbolically greeted a US astronaut, John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, and welcomed him to the international “family of cosmonauts.”
“We know that our family of cosmonauts will grow bigger and bigger by the year and we will have more and more members joining,” Gagarin said in a speech that was originally recorded on 35-milimeter black-and-white film.
The first man in space also used the occasion to send a powerful message of peace as he said that cooperation in space between the US and the USSR “would open the way to stopping the onerous and pointless arms race as well as to channeling the joint efforts of both superpowers towards new scientific breakthroughs in space exploration.”
“Future generations will acknowledge their debt to the Red Army as unreservedly as do we who have lived to witness these proud achievements.”
— Winston Chirchill
At the end of last year the heads of CIS (sans Ukraine) held a summit in St.Petersburg, during which President Vladimir Putin raised a very important of keeping the record of the pre-WWII years straight, especially in light of the EU and the collective West trying to reverse polarities and paint the victim – the USSR – as an aggressor. Like in the caricature below:
Quite a few documents were taken out of the archives and made available to the public for the first time, presenting unrefutable evidence of how Germany was armed by the West for an attack on the USSR, and how the USSR tried every thinkable peaceful venue to stop the war at the bud.