As regular readers of this Commentary know, thanks to the late Dr. Robert Krieble, I had the great opportunity to train thousands of people all over the Soviet Union in how to participate in the political process. I did this before the fall of the Berlin Wall but while there still was a Soviet Union although after the fall of the Soviet Empire. It was a remarkable opportunity. Everywhere I went I heard about the victims of Communism. In Sverdlovsk, which I visited in April of 1990, I decided that Boris Yeltsin was okay because he permitted young people in his home jurisdiction to build a memorial to the victims of Communism. Mind you, this was while the Soviet Union still was in existence. The youth of that country calculated that the Communists had killed 70 million people. Imagine that they said this while no one could believe at that point that the Soviet Union would disintegrate. That memorial had been constructed for some years before we saw it. That Yeltsin permitted the youth of that city (now Yekaterinburg) to build such a memorial demonstrated to me that he should be backed. When we visited Siberia we learned that there were millions more who had been killed by Stalin. And when we visited the Gulag, it was clear that all sorts of others were transferred there by Stalin and if they protested often they were killed.
That was why, when I returned to the United States, I was so pleased to learn that Lee Edwards and Professor Lev Dobrianski had begun to plan a memorial to the victims of Communism. The memorial will be dedicated on June 12th at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue, NW, New Jersey Avenue, NW and G Street, NW, in Washington. I first met Edwards in 1965, when I flew to Washington from Milwaukee to discuss an anti-Communist idea I had with the Member of Congress for whom Edwards worked at that time. When I came to Washington for good 40 years ago, I worked with Willard Edwards, Lee's father, who was employed by THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE, at that time a greatly admired conservative newspaper.