Millions tuned to NBC last Friday night to watch the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Despite subpar construction, dingy hotel conditions, and athletes trapped in bathrooms, the Sochi spectacle was masterfully executed—except for the Olympic ring that didn’t budge and the glorification of Soviet symbols.
To anyone with family members that escaped the Soviet Union—including yours truly—the opening ceremony brought back terrible memories of the Old Country.
The opening montage began with, "Russia overwhelms. Russia mystifies. Russia transcends. Through every stage of its story, it's resisted any notion of limitation. Through every re-invention, only redoubling its desire to cast a towering presence.”
The narrator—Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage—continued by saying, “The empire that ascended to affirm a colossal footprint; the revolution that birthed one of modern history's pivotal experiments. But if politics has long shaped our sense of who they are, it's passion that endures...”
What’s so “pivotal” about centrally-planned government, food rationing, prison labor camps, a secret police, and millions of deaths? Much to the chagrin of NBC, the Bolshevik coup d’état and Joseph Stalin’s reign of terror comprised the so-called “pivotal experiment” in Russia.
Unsurprisingly, NBC has praised Soviet communism in the past.
A November 2009 Media Research Center report “Better off Red?” details this confounding finding:
Lauer suggested that, for many Russians, the decades spent under communism were the good old days: “We’re gonna be talking about the New Russia, how a few people are doing very well and the fear that others are being left very far behind,” he teased on the February 12, 2004 morning news program. He later declared: “Russia’s rush to capitalism left the vast majority scrambling to survive. For many, life is worse than it was in Soviet times.”
R.J. Rummell— a University of Hawaii professor emeritus of political science who famously coined the term “democide”— wrote in his book Lethal Politics: Soviet Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1917 that an estimated 62 million people died under the Soviet regime. Over 100 million people died as a result of global communism in the 20th century.
Although some view criticism of the Sochi Olympics as “Russophobia,” it’s pertinent to note Russia hasn’t been prosecuted for Soviet war crimes. As a result, criticism of Russia should be welcomed—not discouraged.
In a recent interview with The Blaze, Romanian Lt. Gen. Ion Pacepa—author of the forthcoming book Disinformation and highest ranking Soviet intelligence officer to ever defect—said the following about the current state of Russia:
“The very idea that the Soviet Union was defeated is disinformation in itself. The Soviet Union changed its name and dropped its façade of Marxism, but it remained the samesamoderzhaviye, the historical Russian form of autocracy in which a tsar is running the country with the help of his political police…Russia today is the first intelligence dictatorship in history. It is a brand new form of totalitarianism, which we are not yet familiar with. Now the KGB, rechristened FSB, is openly running Russia.”
What best explains Russia’s backwardness? According to NBC, it’s free enterprise’s fault.
Interestingly enough, Russia didn’t successfully transition into a free-market country after 1991. As Heritage Foundation’s 2014 Index of Economic Freedom notes, Russia holds the 140th spot. The country has witnessed “declines in investment freedom, financial freedom, business freedom, and property rights.” Cronyism, not free enterprise, plagues Russia today.
As NBC sang praises of Mother Russia, one should have found the propaganda disquieting.
Does the Pravda wannabe understand the message it sent by praising Soviet communism as a “pivotal experiment”? My late grandfather who survived one of Stalin’s gulags and millions of other victims didn’t think it was a “pivotal experiment.” Soviet communism was an unmitigated disaster that led to the equitable sharing of misery for all and death.
NBC should apologize to the victims of communism and their families for exuding sheer disrespect. Like National Socialism, Soviet communism and its variants deserve equal condemnation for their human rights violations and mass bloodshed.
Our fellow Americans must be educated about the horrors of communism. Revisionist history seriously poses a threat to intellectual discourse and the American way of life. That’s why it’s encouraging to see Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Joint Baltic American National Committee, Heritage Foundation, and countless organizations counter disinformation.
It’s time to tell the truth about communism. I’ll do my part as a daughter of anti-communists from Lithuania—and I hope you do yours as a fellow freedom-loving American—to honor its victims.