MRC Editorial Report: Whitewashing the Communist Record on Human Rights

Roundup: Talking About History

In her 2003 book Useful Idiots, conservative writer Mona Charen described the communist state as a “comprehensive tyranny. The Soviet Union was not so much a state as a vast criminal conspiracy. Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn, Vladimir Bukovsky, Natan Sharansky, and others are the great chroniclers of the grotesque inhumanity of the Gulag and Communist rule....[The record shows] mass murders, deportations, political persecutions, abuse of psychiatry, and other depredations committed by the Communists.”

Yet during the Cold War, the harsh repression that invariably accompanied communism was often given short shrift in favor of stories about the need for detente or peaceful coexistence. Some correspondents working in the Soviet Union were not eager to shine their spotlight on the plight of anti-communist dissidents. Nicholas Daniloff, the Moscow correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, told the Washington Journalism Review in June 1985: “I don’t consort with dissidents. The magazine considers them a passing phenomenon of little interest.” Ironically, Daniloff himself was imprisoned by Soviet authorities in September 1986 as a supposed “spy,” in retaliation after the U.S. arrested a Soviet spy working in Washington, D.C. The Reagan administration secured his release after three weeks of confinement.

In spite of communism’s appalling human rights record, journalists perversely suggested that the repressive totalitarian system was somehow superior — better for women’s “rights,” for example, or better than the “conservative” Catholic Church.

“Yes, somehow, Soviet citizens are freer these days — freer to kill one another, freer to hate Jews....Doing away with totalitarianism and adding a dash of democracy seems an unlikely cure for all that ails the Soviet system.”
— Co-host Harry Smith on CBS This Morning, February 9, 1990.

“One year after crowds swept through the streets of Eastern Europe toppling communist dictators with demands for more freedom, the region’s women have found democracy a less than liberating experience....Part of the reason many women feel let down by their revolutions is the emergence of conservative forces, including the Catholic Church, following the toppling of communist regimes.”
— Boston Globe reporter Jonathan Kaufman in a December 27, 1990 front-page news story....
Read entire article at Media Research Center (conservative media watchdog)

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Arnold Shcherban - 11/9/2009

No one in his right mind denies the horrific crimes of Stalin's regime.
However, the question is whether those crimes made the entire country, i.e. the Soviet Union, under and after
dictatorial rule, criminal.

<The Soviet Union was not so much a state as a vast criminal conspiracy.>

Sure, it was that vast criminal conspiracy created one the best educational and health care systems in the world (considering that the both systems were free - actually the best.)
That vast criminal conspiracy had more outstanding scientists, engineers, doctors, writers, composers, and artists than any other world nation.
That vast military conspiracy built
multinational and multiracial union of states based on the principal of not paper-like, but real racial, ethnic, and socio-economic equality in all spheres of life and thus never experienced racism and serious national strife, while in the so-called paradise of equality and democracy - the USA - the latter phenomena were abound and even institutionalized.
That vast criminal conspiracy made the decisive moves in slaying the Nazi beast - the only real vast criminal conspiracy (and initially supported by the Western "democracies"..., until Nazis stepped on the UK/US toes) existed in the world then.
Finally (but the list can be continued), it was with that vast criminal conspiracy the US and other Western democracies not only had diplomatic relations, but numerous mutually important economic, military, and cultural agreements, the relations and agreements that prevented the would-be most destructive war in the history of mankind.

Simplistic ahistorical and emotionally
colored narrative is always more attractive and comprehensible to a non-analytic reader. Whether such narrative constitutes serious and objective historic analysis, however, is quite a different issue.

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