I can't believe the depth of ignorance of many modern people in the West. Mass murderer Joseph Stalin, ruthless dictator of the Soviet Union from 1924 to 1953, appears to be making a comeback, at least among some. During a time of willful ignorance toward what Stalin had been doing to his own people, he was often called "Uncle Joe" — with affection, in the West.
Walter Duranty, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with the New York Times, was infamously known as "Stalin's Apologist."
Roger Baldwin, the founder of the ACLU, even visited the Soviet Union in the 1920s and wrote a book praising it — Liberty Under the Soviets (1928).
But we should know better today because the crimes of "the Man of Steel" (the meaning of Stalin's adopted name in Russia) have become widely exposed.
However, on May 2, 2018, the Drudge Report had a headline declaring: "London marchers hold STALIN banners..." The story by Tim Stickings in the Daily Mail (UK) (5/1/18) states, "Protesters marked International Workers' Day with a rally in London's Trafalgar Square...with some marchers holding up pictures of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin." This was a part of the annual May Day protests. He adds, "One banner, pictured by Twitter users, featured a large portrait of Stalin, along with a quote from his work speaking of the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' and the transition from capitalism to communism."
Thankfully, Stickings helped put the infamous Soviet leader in perspective (unlike some of the protesters): "Millions of people died in Stalin's Russia, many of them transported to labour camps to work in extreme temperatures or executed in mass killings of political prisoners, while others died in disastrous famines."
I once interviewed former socialist Joshua Muravchik, who wrote Heaven on Earth, which chronicles the rise and fall of socialism in various manifestations. He told me how Stalin "starved to death [millions] in a deliberately created famine that was intended to impose collectivization of farms in the Soviet Union."
These peasant farmers did not want Communism forced on them. Muravchik describes what happened next: "When they resisted being collectivized, Stalin deliberately starved them into submission by simply sending the army and the secret police to the rural districts and taking away their produce, so they had nothing left to eat."
During the 1930s, in his forced famine against the Ukraine, Stalin even had the census workers shot, so the world would never know just how many people he killed after all. The estimates of the number of human beings killed by their own government in Stalin's Russia ranges from 20 to 40 million people. Muravchik adds, "The Communist countries did prove to be the greatest killers of all time. We don't have even to this day exact numbers."
Stalin had once observed that one person being killed was a "tragedy," but 10,000 killed was merely a "statistic."
But Stalin didn't just have it in for peasants who resisted collectivization, he also targeted Christians. In 1925, the Soviets under Stalin had founded the League of Militant Godless (LMG) to eradicate all religion. Dr. David Barrett, editor of the massive World Christian Encyclopedia, says that in 1934, Stalin, "widely regarded as the Antichrist, attempt[ed] liquidation of [the] entire Christian church."
And yet by 1941, the LMG disbanded in failure. Despite all the crushing, brutal attacks; despite the fact that Stalin boasted of having killed some 10 million Ukrainian Christians, he still could not eradicate Christianity. Nor could his predecessor, nor his successors in the Soviet Union. Jesus said He would build His church, and the gates of hell could not prevail against it.
From time to time, I reread 1984. Stalin is front and center in that novel written by a former socialist, George Orwell, in 1948. Big Brother with his big, bushy mustache is Joe Stalin. Big Brother is watching.
Then you have Emmanuel Goldstein, the subject of the "two-minute hates," where people vent their spleen against the vanquished former comrade. He is undoubtedly patterned after Leon Trotsky, who was there in the beginning of the Russian Revolution, working alongside Comrade Joseph, until the latter managed to get complete control. Then Trotsky became "an enemy of the people."
There's a little obscure island that I have seen on numerous occasions off the southern coast of Norway, unofficially dubbed to this day "Trotsky Island," for the man sought refuge there for two months while hiding from Stalin's grasp. When Stalin found out where he was, Trotsky fled to Mexico, where a Stalinite later murdered him.
I realize there is a great deal of ignorance among Americans and Westerners in general these days. But please, let's not bring back any appreciation of "Uncle Joe" Stalin. The blood of 20-40 million cries out in opposition.