[Marxism] Ukraine: Hate in Progress by Tim Judah | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Apr 29 08:23:02 MDT 2014

Yekaterina Mihaylova runs the press office of the self-proclaimed 
People’s Republic of Donetsk. She used to be a journalist. I asked her 
why the rebels used so many Soviet-era flags and posters. Echoing Putin, 
she said that the collapse of the USSR was a geopolitical catastrophe 
and that it had resulted in an artificial border between Ukraine and 
Russia. When our conversation turned to Soviet history, she said that 
Ukrainians should be grateful for Stalin because he had created the 
Ukrainian Soviet republic out of diverse bits of territory and this had 
subsequently become the first Ukrainian state in history. I asked her 
about the Ukrainian famine of 1932–1933, in which some 3.3 million 
people are estimated to have died. “The legend of the Holodomor,” she 
said, using the name given to it here, was created in Canada by fascist 
Ukrainian exiles. On Stalin’s Gulags she said, “that story is like Snow 
White, or…”—and at this point Ludmila, who was translating for me, 
stumbled, looking something up on her iPhone translator—“‘Thumbelina?’ 
Do you know what that is?”

I got the impression that some in Mihaylova’s office thought that maybe 
she had gone a bit far. Viktor Priss, a twenty-eight-year old IT systems 
administrator, was not a famine-denier. He said that the issue was 
whether one believed it was created on purpose to target Ukrainians as a 
nation, or whether Ukrainians were simply its biggest victims which is a 
respectable argument to have. But Stalin, he went on to say, came to 
power because it had been “the will of the people to create a dictator.”


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