BRAMA, August 10, 2011, 9:00 AM ET|
By Bishop Paul Peter Jesep
Pravda hasn't changed since the days of the Soviet Union. It purports to be, as its Russian name suggests, a news source of truth. In reality, it's still a mouth piece for government propaganda. Mae West once quipped: “I use to be snow white, but I drifted.” In Pravda's case it too has drifted a lot. Virgin snow it has never been. Its latest propaganda piece, "Nazi Issue in Baltics: EU Needs to Take a Stand," is a parody of truth.
In an August 8th commentary, the “news” outlet calls on the European Union to condemn former Nazi SS recruits from Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia who annually celebrate their military service. It also threw in Ukraine for good measure slamming the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and Roman Shukhevych in particular. According to Pravda, these once Soviet oppressed nations show “suspicious loyalty to Nazism.” Of course this is not about Nazi loyalty, but making a misguided short- or longterm pack with the devil to fight the Soviets.
It merits repeating that anyone's willing participation with the Nazis in furthering war, murder, genocide, and destruction must be condemned. There are moral and ethical lessons and principles that should never be overlooked to justify fighting the Soviets or Communism even though they committed equally reprehensible atrocities. Two wrongs don't make a right.
Nor can Pravda's historical amnesia go without comment. Its willingness to gloss over history underscores the inner spiritual and political rot that Russia is unwilling to cut from its soul. The Russian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate only adds to the problem with its secular and corporate approach. Russia lacks national courage and intellectual honesty. Its failure to confront and reconcile itself with an evil past will prevent it from realizing its full potential.
September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland from the west. September 17, 1939, as agreed to in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Soviet Russia invaded Poland from the east. The Pact also provided for the later Soviet takeover of the Baltic nations.
Hundreds of thousands of Polish soldiers, politicians, and intellectuals were deported to Siberia by the Soviet government. Four major deportations took place from 1939-1941. Most didn't return. Polish citizens were routinely evicted from their homes to enable the relocation of Russians and Soviet army personnel. In 1940, on direct orders from Joseph Stalin, approximately 22,000 thousand Polish officers were shot and buried in the Katyn forest.
The Soviet government persecuted the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Western Ukraine then part of Poland driving it underground. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church was forced to merge with the Russian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate. Patriots for an independent Ukraine were arrested and shot or sent to camps to die. This occurred while Ukraine was still recovering from Stalin's forced collectivization that killed up to 10 million Ukrainians. Whether it was genocide or incompetence of the greatest magnitude doesn't matter. Where the Soviets injected themselves they brought death and destruction.
Not long after the invasion of Poland the Soviets gave ultimatums to the governments of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuanian. Formal military occupation followed by the forcible incorporation of the countries into the Soviet Union. Similar to the approach in Poland Baltic soldiers, politicians, and intellectuals were shot or imprisoned.
Perhaps the oddest thing about Pravda's commentary is calling on the European Union's involvement. Really? Does Pravda actually want to remind the world of Russia's barbaric policies in Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltic countries? Does it want to remind or perhaps educate for the first time millions of people who have forgotten or never learned about the Soviet Union's devilish behavior? If it does then Pravda would live up to its name for the first time truth.
Bishop Paul Peter Jesep of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church is the designated United States spokesperson for His Beatitude Metropolitan Myfodii of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine. The views expressed here are personal and in no way reflect those of his Church. Bishop Jesep is also a New York attorney. He may be reached at VladykaPaulPeter@aol.com.
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