How Hollywood Can Fight Putin
What can America do to resist the rise of Russian imperialism in Ukraine? The military options, other than selling Ukraine armaments, constructing a missile defense system in Poland, and conducting NATO exercises in Eastern Europe, are limited: we won’t and doubtless shouldn’t go to war with Russia over Ukraine.
The sophomoric name-calling that clowns like Carney toss out for media consumption and the dull, establishment-diplomatic warnings of aging leftists like Kerry will not bother Putin at all. Our “allies” lack the stomach for anything serious, and our calculated destruction of marketable energy sources for Europe give the leaders of those nations perfect reasons not to stand up to Russia. Obama, our dumbest president, is in way over his head in sparring with Russia’s Putin, a former officer in the KGB.
There is, however, a sharp attack that the American media establishment could take, and whose ripples could sting and harass Russian oligarchs in ways no government action could reach. One of the greatest crimes against humanity, comparable in the savage and coldblooded murder of women and children to the Holocaust, is the Holodomor.
The Holodomor was the systematic murder by Russian Communist leaders of many millions of Ukrainians in the early 1930s. The death toll, as Robert Conquest engages in that grim arithmetic in his magisterial, Harvest of Sorrow, is a mind-numbing 14.5 million human souls. To understand the depths of this particular Russian crime against the Ukrainian people, an estimated 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust – and perhaps another 6 million Christians.
Moreover, as Conquest notes in his book, the Holodomor was not an ideological struggle against “kulaks” or modestly successful peasants, but instead a calculated act of genocide by Russian overlords against Ukrainians who the Russians feared would try again to become independent, as Ukraine briefly was after the First World War. The term “kulak” was used in ways eerily similar to the Nazi abuse of “Jews.” The Russians cursed the “kulaks” as subhuman and immutably evil, which was how the Germans defined the Jews.
Yet the world hardly knows of the Holodomor. Most computer spell-checks reject the word as nonexistent. Public libraries have few if any books about this unimaginably terrible crime against humanity. Public schools and college courses, even those dealing with European history, tell little or nothing about the Holodomor.
How much have we neglected this “other Holocaust”? Robert Conquest, an estimable scholar and educator, had to travel to the wheat-growing provinces of Canada to raise money to even make a modest documentary about the Holodomor. Hollywood has never shown the slightest interest in bringing the heartrending story of the Ukrainian holocaust to film (just as there has never been a single film about the Gulag).
The reasons American elites have ignored the Holodomor reflect to some extent the unwillingness to suggest that any crime was equal to the Holocaust, but a much stronger reluctance is because so much of the American media establishment has held a lifelong crush on Marxism and a reflective defense of the Soviet Union. Obama, for example, was marinated in American Marxism and has been indistinguishable from the sort of “fellow traveler” who in the 1930s hotly denied any maltreatment of Ukrainians.
Why doesn't the establishment media now, while the Ukrainian people strive again to resist destruction of their national liberty, use its creative talents to tell the world just what happened to Ukrainian men, women, and children the last time Russia took over their nation? Why not serialize any of the searing books describing in all its hellishness this extermination of 14 million? They could start with Dmytro’s The Golgotha of the Ukraine or Pidhainy’s The Black Deeds of the Kremlin.
If Hollywood made powerful films about the Holodomor, as it has with the Holocaust, then millions of decent Americans could show their solidarity with Ukraine by turning these films into blockbusters. If television networks made series about the Holodomor, then hundreds of millions around the world could see, often for the first time, the dangers of Russian imperialism. The media establishment, without violence or even government action, could horrify a world which has never heard “Holodomor.”
Putin, whose own career was in the Soviet Gestapo and who therefore looks especially awful if the world suddenly sees in searing drama the ugliness of the regime he served, could find himself facing not only an angry world, but also, perhaps, shamed Russians who have been taught very little of their nation’s crime against Ukraine.
Hollywood seldom does good, but today the bosses and nabobs of the establishment media can serve mankind by using moral purpose by telling the world an untold, but vitally important, story. If it does not, then it is even more venal, more supercilious, and more vapid than its fiercest critics thought.