Why doesn’t anyone care about the Soviet document archive?

Ed Morrissey

That’s the question Claire Berlinski asks in the latest issue of City Journal, but the answer is rather easy to surmise. Michael Moynihan wrote about the problem from a different angle in an excellent article for Reason last year, and various pundits have noted the dearth of admissions over the true nature of the Soviet regime in the period since the end of the Cold War. The archives gathered by Pavel Stroilov and Vladimir Bukovsky, among others, provide evidence in stark terms of the end result of collectivist impulses — and challenge the academic conclusions about the nature of Soviet leaders, especially Mikhail Gorbachev…

…The problem isn’t apathy as much as it is fear. The narrative among popular academics and media is that the Soviet Union collapsed out of a too-generous sense of glasnost and perestroika, with Mikhail Gorbachev as the benevolent national leader whose love of freedom inadvertently ended the Soviet empire. The documentation of the Kremlin’s activities and transcripts of Gorbachev’s own conversations put an end to that mythology. For instance, Berlinski quotes this passage from Politburo minutes of a discussion of the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989:

Lukyanov reports that the real number of casualties on Tiananmen Square was 3,000.

Gorbachev: We must be realists. They, like us, have to defend themselves. Three thousands . . . So what?

So what, indeed! What’s the death of 3,000 unarmed men and women when it comes to preserving the power of the dictatorial state? One must crack a few (thousand) bourgeois eggs to make the Communist omelette, after all. That comes to light again in a transcript of a Gorbachev conversation with a West German politician in which he defends a similar massacre of protesters in Tbilisi by Soviet troops.

These documents have the power to destroy the carefully constructed facade of Gorbachev by his Western apologists as somehow different from his Soviet predecessors. He was not; he could hardly have risen to the Politburo had he not been an advocate of totalitarian control…

Read the entire article at HotAir.com

Comments are closed.