An article published in Thursday’s New York Times by the newspaper’s Moscow correspondent, Andrew E. Kramer, is a compendium of half-truths, lies and historical falsifications designed to cover up the fascistic sympathies and political crimes of the US-backed regime in Kiev.
Headlined “Separatists Revise History of Famine in Ukraine,” Kramer’s propaganda piece masquerading as “news” is itself a crude falsification of history. It attempts to sanitize the role of Ukrainian nationalist and Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, who is promoted by the current regime as a national hero, while revising the history of the 20th century to place the onus for the death of five million Ukrainians and the extermination of Jews and other ethnic groups in World War II on the Soviet Union rather than Nazi Germany.
Similarly, Kramer implies that the devastation of pro-Russian separatist regions of eastern Ukraine, under military siege for over a year by Kiev, including the killing of thousands of residents and displacement of 1.5 million more, is the responsibility of the separatists themselves and their supporters in Moscow.
The article appears to have been prompted by two related developments. The first is the Kiev regime’s passage earlier this month of laws rehabilitating Bandera’s Nazi-collaborationist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUM) and Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) and banning communist symbols in the former Soviet republic. The laws make any public criticism of these and other specified nationalist groups a criminal offense.
The second development is the approach of the May 9 celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Red Army’s victory over Nazi Germany.
Presumably, the Times, in its role as a de facto arm of the state, felt the need for damage control following the pro-fascist measures adopted by the parliament in Kiev. These measures have further shredded the claims that the Maidan coup of February 2014 was a democratic revolution. They have underscored the origins of the regime in a coup orchestrated by Washington and Berlin and led by neo-fascist organizations such as the Right Sector and the Svoboda party.
Kramer’s article is part of a much broader ideological and political campaign of historical falsification, including books such as Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, portraying the 1917 Russian Revolution and the struggle for socialism as the root causes of the catastrophes of the last century.
The Times ’ Moscow correspondent presents as historical revisionism the scrapping by the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic of text books that portray the horrific famine of 1932-33 in Ukraine as genocide. He writes: “Traditionally, Ukrainian historians have characterized the famine as a genocide, the direct result of Stalin’s forced collectivization and the Soviet government’s requisitioning of grain for export abroad.”
Instead of this supposedly authoritative view, as of this year, students in southeastern Ukraine “are getting a sanitized Russian version, in which the famine was an unavoidable tragedy that befell the entire Soviet Union.”
While the Ukrainian famine, which killed millions, was a monstrous crime for which the Stalinist regime was politically responsible, there is by no means a consensus among historians that it constituted “genocide.” That term denotes a deliberate policy of extermination directed against specific ethnic, religious or national groups, such as the Nazi holocaust against the Jews.
Stalin’s criminal policy in Ukraine was the result of the Kremlin bureaucracy’s repudiation of the program of world socialist revolution and adoption of a policy of national autarky under the slogan “socialism in one country.” It was bound up with the bureaucracy’s transformation into a counterrevolutionary force not only in the Soviet Union, but internationally.
The labeling of the Ukrainian famine as genocide, in the first place by anticommunist Ukrainian nationalist historians and commentators, facilitates efforts to shift the blame for the crimes of German and world imperialism onto the Russian Revolution and the workers’ state it created.
That this is Kramer’s intention is made clear by the following passage in his article: “After the famine, the country took the brunt of Stalinist-era repression and the violence of the eastern front in World War II, when upwards of five million Ukrainian civilians died.”
The phrase “the violence of the eastern front in World War II” is intentionally constructed so as to obscure the identity of the perpetrators of the violence. It enables Kramer to conceal the fact that the mass killing of Russians and Ukrainians was the outcome of a war of annihilation waged by German imperialism against the Soviet Union. The author cynically counts on readers assuming that the same Soviet regime that oversaw the Ukrainian famine was responsible for the carnage on the eastern front in the war.
Kramer employs the same type of verbal trickery to cover up the responsibility of the present regime in Kiev for mass killing and destruction in the pro-Russian regions of eastern Ukraine. He writes: “Russia and the groups it has supported in eastern Ukraine have justified their uprising, which has led to the deaths of more than 6,000 people and the displacement of about 1.5 million…” (emphasis added).
In other words, the fault for the murderous repression carried out by Kiev with the full support of Washington and NATO lies with the separatist rebels, not the Ukrainian government and military.
The rest of the above-cited sentence reads: “… by calling the revolution that ousted the former President Viktor Yanukovych a neo-fascist coup.”
This brings us to the heart of Kramer’s article. He continues: “As evidence, they cite the Ukrainian nationalists’ reverence for Stepan Bandera, an independence leader whom Russia has labeled—unfairly, in the eyes of many historians and certainly to western Ukrainians—as a Nazi collaborator who shares blame for the murder of Russians, Poles and Jews during World War II.”
The claim that Bandera’s role as a Nazi collaborator is in doubt is simply a lie. When in 2010, the then-outgoing president of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, awarded Bandera the posthumous title of Hero of Ukraine, the award was condemned by, among others, the European Parliament. The following year, the Ukrainian parliament officially annulled the award.
On June 30, 1941, with the arrival of German troops in Ukraine, Bandera and his faction of the OUN declared an independent Ukrainian state. Their Act of Proclamation of Ukrainian Statehood declared that the new state would “work closely with the National-Socialist Greater Germany, under its leader Adolf Hitler, which is forming a new order in Europe and the world and is helping the Ukrainian People to free itself from Muscovite occupation.”
The OUN assisted in the Nazi massacre of 200,000 Jews in the Volhynia region in 1942. It carried out its own campaign of mass murder against Polish villages in Volhynia and Galicia in 1943, killing between 60,000 and 100,000 Poles.
The whitewashing of the Kiev regime and its fascist underpinnings by Kramer and the Times is not new. They have been at it since the CIA and its European counterparts launched their drive to topple the pro-Russian Yanukovych government in 2013, culminating in the fascist-led putsch of February 2014. This provocation was deliberately aimed at triggering a confrontation with Moscow in order to turn Eastern Europe and the Baltics into a US-NATO staging ground for war against nuclear-armed Russia.
Just about one year ago, on April 21, 2014, Kramer co-authored, along with Andrew Higgins and Michael R. Gordon, a front-page article replete with grainy photographs purportedly proving that Russian troops had been deployed to the rebel regions in eastern Ukraine and were overseeing the resistance forces there.
Within one day, the photos were exposed as doctored fakes, and one day later, on April 23, Kramer and Gordon published an article, buried on the inside pages of the Times, retracting the previous story.
Such are the credentials of the author of Thursday’s piece of US government propaganda. That such a man can even be retained by the Times and tolerated by the rest of the media testifies to the corrupt and degraded state of what passes for journalism in America.
There are no limits to the lies and falsifications churned out by the media establishment, first and foremost the so-called “newspaper of record,” in support of the warmongering aims of US imperialism.