... are condemning us all to repeat it.
Back in May we reported on the results of a recent poll of Swedish teenagers, whose high school education caused 40% of them to conclude that communism had somehow increased prosperity in the world. 90% of the teens didn't even know what the soviet concentration camps, the gulags, were.
You would think, that if anyone in the world would understand the evil of communism as it is actually practiced, compared to the fantasies promised in speeches, books and classrooms, it would be the people who had directly suffered, generation after generation, under its grinding yoke: the Russians.
You would think that, and yet according to a new poll released by the Yuri Levada Centre, you would be wrong.
When asked if Stalin was a wise leader, half of the 1,802 respondents, aged from 16 to 19, agreed he was. "Fifty-four percent agreed that Stalin did more good than bad," said Theodore Gerber, a sociologist from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Forty-six percent disagreed with the statement that Stalin was a cruel tyrant."
"What we find troubling is that there is a substantial proportion of young people in Russia today who hold positive or ambivalent views on Stalin and his legacy," Gerber said. "We think it would probably be more appropriate if there was more condemnation of the Stalin era."
The poll showed 17 percent of the young people disagreed that Stalin was responsible for the imprisonment, torture and execution of millions of innocent people, while 40 percent thought his role in the repression had been exaggerated.
It shames me to admit it, but I used to be a proto-communist myself, many years ago. Thank God, I escaped its seductive charm, through a blessed combination of personal life experiences involving working closely with other people, and a lifelong fascination for studying history. There is such a stark disconnect between the glories that are promised under communism, and the awful nightmares that history reveal to be the inevitable realities of actually living under a communist system. Surely only a dishonest, or lazy, mind would fail to see this colossal disconnect, and continue to place faith in its promised utopias.
It's not "cool" to be stupid... is it?
In the case of Russia, the evils of communism unleashed nightmares statistically close to that of the two large-scale wars that ravaged the nation twice in the first half of the 20th century.
World War I: the carnage of trench warfare, the sinful arrogance of officers wasting untold lives by relying on outdated battlefield tactics in ignorance of modern military technology.
3,311,000 russians, soldiers as well as civilians, were killed in World War I; yet approx 8-9 million russians were killed during Lenin's rule following the war.
World War II: the nazis viewed the slavs as sub-human opponents, and their approach to warfare on the eastern front reflected that philosophy, causing the "great patriotic war" to become "generally accepted as being the most costly conflict in human history".
23,600,000 russians, soldiers as well as civilians, were killed in World War II; yet approx 20,000,000 russians were killed under Stalin's rule, up to and then after the war. (that number is averaged from several sources; totals are all over the map for deaths under Stalin. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, author of The Gulag Archipelago, as one example, claims a total of 60,000,000 killed!)
Maybe one of these days this kind of information can be taught in schools...
I wish it had been taught to me in my school.