I received an e-mail from a reader (Ovais S., in Los Angeles) regarding my March 4, 2010 column, “Stalin, Mao Gave History Horrible Footnotes.”
Ovais disagrees with my description of both men as heinous criminals. He says: “These two leaders who ruled their nations with an iron fist, made their countries great super powers.”
Well, before its October 1917 Revolution, Russia was noticed by the Western countries owing to its “classical literature” and “classical music,” including its performance. But what followed under Stalin’s tyranny was the disappearance of great literature and music in Russia, including the emigration or flight or silence of world-known writers and musicians.
The process of barbarization under Stalin continued, so that every decade was more sterile than the one before, and the decay reached its highest peak at the time of Stalin’s death in 1953.
As for China, culturally developed countries, including pre-1917 Russia, were interested in the Chinese pre-20th-century culture (standing on our tables in our apartment — no, our room, in which I grew up in Moscow, were beautiful samples of classical China).
Says Ovais: “These two leaders [Stalin and Mao], who ruled their nations with an iron fist, made their countries great super powers.”
Now, what does that mean, “great super powers”? When Stalin died, even his subordinates publicly denounced him as a megacriminal who treated the population of the country as disgusting insects and who inter alia had annihilated the Russian culture, having replaced it with art-like propaganda, dumped after his death in 1953.
When Mao died there was a similar time of his eclipse. But then the worship of him was restored.
The fact that Marx and his self-appointed followers have been saying scornfully “bourgeois” to mean “democratic” does not deprive democracy of its crucial sociopolitical value. Once upon a time the power was transferred by royal birth. Then came democracy: Those in power are elected by vote.
How did Stalin and Mao get their absolute possession of Russia and China, respectively?
A criminal who wants to seize a property may find it difficult or impossible to do so alone. So he collects a gang, big enough to do so, and becomes the owner of the property such as a country, with members of his gang as his subordinates.
After Stalin’ death, a letter exposing him as a sinister criminal on the scale of Russia was written — by his subordinate! And the letter was read at enterprises and other institutions of the country.
As I have said, there was a cooling-off period toward Mao after his death, but then the owners of China decided to continue to glorify him as before — evidently because he was dead and hence no longer dangerous. In my column, I mentioned that Mao killed 70 million Chinese. When dead, he could not kill even a fly.
Ovais continued, “Stalin made a weak Russia strong through its military, while Mao changed a drug addicted, morally corrupt and a weak nation to what it is today.”
Originally, Russia was a small principality, but by the end of the 20th century it had conquered a larger territory than any one country had ever done, and its many nations still speak their national languages, not Russian. Surely Russia then was stronger than in 1953, when Stalin died.
In 1949, when Mao came to power, China had been “drug addicted, morally corrupt and weak.”
Yes, having killed 70 million Chinese, Mao possibly decreased the drug addiction by killing many drug addicts, real and suspected, and all those “morally corrupt.” As for the military power of China, it began to grow after the 1989 massacre of the Tiananmen pleaders for democracy in China, instead of the absolutism, established by Mao in 1949.
Thus, 1989 became the year in which the owners of China started intense military growth. Mao died in 1976, 13 years before this trend began.
For centuries before Stalin, Russia was sufficiently powerful to wage wars, despite its many non-Russian areas. It was after Stalin that the non-Russian areas began to fight for their independence, and ironically, Georgia, Stalin’s motherland, is now independent from Russia.
As for China, one element should be mentioned in its future wars. Those wars will be fought with weapons, but there possibly will be Tiananmen-like rebellions, whose number and scale cannot be predicted.
“These leaders [Ovais goes on] have proved that nations can achieve great heights without any democratic values.”
When Russia was a comparatively free country before the October 1917 Revolution, its high culture was world-known. Now, Stalin’s culture was a pathetic caricature. Like the culture of Hitler’s Germany, with Hitler as a live cartoon.
“Both of these leaders [Ovais declares] knew that it was better for their nations to die on their feet than to live on their knees.”
Under Stalin, the Russian population lived and died on their knees up to Stalin’s death, when the population stood up to say and hear that Stalin was one of the worst criminals on this earth.
“Stalin and Mao [we read Ovais penultimate sentence] made their countries so strong that no nation on the planet can ever dream to invade them.” Well, Georgia, for example (incidentally, Stalin’s motherland), has separated itself from Russia, and such struggle for national freedom weakens a multinational Russia.
What about Russia and China at war? In his e-mail, another reader of mine asks: “In case of war between China and the U.S.A., which of the two Russia will support?” The U.S.A., I am sure. In his hymn to China’s strength due to Mao and to Russia’s strength
due to Stalin, Ovais forgets about the possibility of a war between them.
Ovais’ last sentence is also worth quoting: “These two men have disappeared [Mao has not disappeared in China], while their achievements [invented by Ovais] have been recorded in the annals of world history” [that is, in Ovais’ e-mail].
Stalin and Mao are not alone. Gangsters and their gangs who capture countries are engaged in global criminal activity, more dangerous than common-scale gangsters.
Nations should be on the alert infinitely more than should any banks, for the expropriation of a country constitutes millions of times more crimes than a bank robbery and entails infinite suffering.
You can reach me at email@example.com.
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