My Russian friend, who recently became a bonafide US citizen, tells me that, as a child in the Soviet Union, he never heard anyone speak of the Soviet gulags. He had an uncle who worked as an escort for prisoners to the Gulags but he learned of this only much later, as a young adult. When my friend was growing up, the adults around him did not speak of such things; better to be safe and silent, then to encourage problems.
It is now 75 years since Stalin’s forced starvation of an estimated 6 – 10 million peasants. Today, there is no doubt that the starvation was man-made, a direct result of Stalin’s forced collectivization of the nation’s farms.
75 years ago, however, much of the Western world was in the dark regarding Stalin’s murderous policies. This collective ignorance was aided and abetted by a British-born journalist writing for The New York Times, Walter Duranty. Walter Duranty ran interference for Stalin, and in 1932 countered articles that were printed in both The Guardian and The Times, articles that accurately reported the Soviet mass starvation underway. Duranty wrote an article for The New York Times titled “Russians Hungry but not Starving, “ and he claimed in interviews that the news of mass starvation was a “scare story,” an “exaggeration” or “malignant propoganda.”
Duranty directly influenced the diplomatic relations between America and the Soviet Union in 1933, advocating for his support of communism rather than reporting the actual facts about the Soviet Union. We now now know the truth of Stalin’s intentional starvation of millions of peasants, and the truth of the communist state.
Sadly, we suffer still from misleading and blatantly dishonest journalism, especially from The New York Times*, and from reporters and editors who chose to advocate for their positions through their reporting rather than attempt some reflection of the facts.
*if any proof be needed, see recent editorial printed in the NYT by domestic terrorist William Ayers.