Thursday, 01 July 2010

Memorializing Stalin — in Virginia

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StalinBorn in 1878 to a drunken father and strict religious mother, Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (born Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili) went on to succeed Vladimir Lenin as the Soviet Union’s second General-Secretary. For nearly a quarter of a century, Stalin ruled over the Soviet Union and its satellite states as an absolute dictator. In that time, 20 million people died at the hand of his purges, gulags, and death quota lists, which he personally read over and signed in red ink.

For over two quarters of a century a towering six-meter high bronze statue of Stalin stood atop a pedestal in Gori, the Georgian town where he was born and raised.

President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia, instead, plans to replace the statue with a monument honoring the victims of the 2008 Russo-Georgian War.

Zaza Gachechiladze, editor-in-chief of the Georgian Messenger newspaper said, “I think it's a sign of Georgia's western orientation, and of cutting links with the communist past.”

If removing a statue of Stalin is a sign of “Western orientation” and cutting off links with communism, then what of erecting a new statue of Stalin in Virginia? That’s correct — in Virginia, the United States of America!

Authorized by President George W. Bush, in 2001, the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia, includes statues and other monuments honoring the heroes of the D-Day landings, in which U.S., British, and Canadian troops landed on the beaches of Normandy in order to liberate Europe from Nazism.

The Soviet Red Army did not participate in the D-Day landings. At the time the Red Army was centered in the Eastern front pushing back German Nazi forces from the outskirts of Moscow toward Berlin.

The museums director claims that the bust of Stalin is there to complement the other busts of President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

The Stalin monument has caused controversy and uproar. Opponents of the statue have not backed down from their opposition. The D-Day Memorial Foundation has received over 616 signatures of people that want Stalin removed.

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and the Joint Baltic American National Committee hope to acquire a total of 10,000 signatures, which they say would be “terrific.”

Both groups have confirmed a total of 864 signatures from over 20 countries, mostly from the United States.

Half a century ago, upon meeting US Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev told him, “We cannot expect Americans to jump from capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving Americans small doses of socialism until they suddenly awake to find they have Communism.”

Considering the expansion of the federal government over the last 90 years, starting with President Woodrow Wilson, Colonial Edward Mandel House, the creation of the Federal Reserve System all the way to the present day with President Barack Obama and his massive stimulus bailouts, government healthcare, and now this bust of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin it would seem that what Khrushchev said is coming to fruition!

Photo: Stalin

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