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A few years ago a visit by a delegation from the local American Legion post should have served warning on Dr. William McIntosh that a proposed bust of Joseph Stalin at the National D-Day Memorial would not be well received. He and the D-Day Memorial Foundation chose to proceed with the plan anyway. Jim Morrison’s well written column in last week’s Bedford Bulletin indicated why so many veterans are upset about that decision.
When you put up a bust of someone on a pedestal, it creates the impression that you are honoring that person. It’s not just local Legionnaires, and some other local folks that get that impression. People in other countries come to the same conclusion.
Some weeks ago, I mentioned the Stalin bust to my favorite Russian, Oksana Krokhalyova. Oksana, who lives in Moscow, was amazed that we would do such a thing. She said that you won’t find any busts of Stalin in Moscow.
“Terrible things happened here under him,” she told me.
During a visit I made to Moscow four years ago, Dr. Alexander Tsutserov, who now heads the Moscow Evangelical Christian Seminary, a Protestant seminary, told me that Communists killed 500,000 priests, pastors, monks and nuns and destroyed 100,000 churches and church-owned buildings.
Many of these were during Stalin’s 30-year regime. I got to speak with the son of one of Stalin’s victims. Dr. Vitaliy Kulikov, who founded the seminary. He told me that the NKVD, under Stalin, shot his father for being a pastor.
The magnificent Church of Christ the Savior stands near the Kremlin. The original was built in the 1880s. Stalin had it dynamited. The plans for the church remained available and, after the Soviet Union collapsed, the Russians rebuilt it, true to the original building. If you ever go to Moscow, be sure to visit this church. The interior is a wonderful display of light and color with high, vaulted ceilings and frescos.
Stalin brutally dealt with Ukrainian resistance to collectivization of agriculture. Under his orders, Communists confiscated all the food in villages throughout Ukraine. Millions of people starved to death in this artificial famine, more than died in Hitler’s concentration camps. It was one of the worst genocidal atrocities of the 20th century.
If there were a mass murderer of the 20th century olympics, Hitler would only win the bronze medal. The silver would go to Stalin. Mao Zedong would get the gold.
Jim already mentioned the Katyn Forest massacre, named for the forest near Smolensk where most of the mass graves were found. These men were killed under Stalin’s orders in a deliberate effort to decapitate Polish society.
Jim also mentioned the fact that Stalin’s pact with Hitler made Hitler’s invasion of Poland possible. Prior to that, Britain, France and the United States had been trying to get Stalin to join them in an effort to contain Hitler. Stalin, instead, joined the Nazi dictator. Before Hitler ultimately turned on him, Stalin swallowed the Baltic States — Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia — and bullied Romania into giving up Bessarabia and the northern part of Bukovina. He also annexed part of Finland after winning a war against that country. Following Hitler’s conquest of Norway, Stalin began pressuring Finland and probably intended to absorb the entire country into the Soviet Union.
Stalin acted as Hitler’s enabler when the Germans overran France in 1940. Hitler’s pact with Stalin allowed Hitler to safely pull most of his forces out of the east and concentrate them in the west. During that phase of the war, Stalin’s Soviet Union supplied Germany with food and raw materials for its industry.
Jim Morrison is absolutely correct. The National D-Day Memorial is no place for a bust of this monster.