The New York Times Hasn’t Always Cared About Ukrainians
At his CPAC speech on Saturday, former President Donald Trump could not have been clearer in his denunciation of Vladimir Putin. "The Russian attack on Ukraine is appalling,” said Trump. “it's an outrage and an atrocity that should never have been allowed to occur.”
Yet the fact that Trump called Putin “smart” and “savvy” is, for the New York Times, prima facie evidence of his affection for Mother Russia. Indeed, the Times had the nerve to run a delusional op-ed on Sunday headlined, “How the American Right Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Russia.”
Earth to the New York Times: No one on the right is pulling for Putin. The Times is pushing this Russia-love narrative both to salvage some political gain from Biden’s catastrophic foreign policy and to cover for its own historic indifference to the Ukrainian people.
The truth is that British and American conservatives have long cared about Ukraine. Most still do. The international left, the New York Times, in particular, cared more about the success of Josef Stalin’s lethal policies than it did the millions of Ukrainians those policies killed.
The New York Times Moscow correspondent, Walter Duranty, admitted to being “pleased as punch” when Stalin announced his Five-Year Plan in the fall of 1928. Stalin, as Duranty observed in his well-titled book, I Write as I Please, was the world’s “greatest living statesman.” A pioneer in the art of fake news, Duranty saw signs of greatness in Stalin’s plan “to socialize, virtually overnight, a hundred million of the stubbornest and most ignorant peasants in the world.”
Most of these “ignorant peasants” were small Ukrainian farmers or “kulaks” as they soon came to be known. Duranty was impressed that Stalin could turn these independent souls into cogs in a vast collective despite a creaky transportation system, a dwindling food supply, and a psychotic drive to maintain existing production levels. “When all these factors are considered,” wrote Duranty, “it is a little short of a miracle that the plan was carried through.”
With the opening of the Soviet archives, scholars now know how Stalin did carry his plan through, During the years of the plan, 1928-1933, as many as five million Ukrainians and three million others died to show just how well communism worked. The story that Duranty missed -- or, more accurately, concealed -- is no longer a matter of speculation. It is a matter of fact. And the fact is that no single western journalist has so profoundly misreported a story as Walter Duranty of the New York Times, no mean feat given the Times Russia coverage of the last five years.
The Black Book of Communism notes, “Recent research in the newly accessible archives has confirmed that the forced collectivization of the countryside was in effect a war declared by the Soviet state on a nation of smallholders.” As even recent history suggests, Ukrainians don’t roll over easily. In March 1930 alone, there were more than 6500 mass demonstrations centering on Ukraine and expanding outwards. In all of 1930, some 2.5 million peasants participated in the 14,000 revolts or riots that engulfed the countryside.
During a six-week period including March 1930, the Ukrainian GPU, the justice arm of the Soviet state, sentenced more than 20,000 people to death through its courts for resisting collectivization. Many others were executed without judicial niceties. Somehow, this all seems to have escaped the attention of Duranty. Much worse would escape him in the years ahead.
In 1930, the GPU got serious about deporting the kulaks and other “socially dangerous elements” like priests, nuns, shopkeepers, and rural artisans. By the end of 1930, 700,000 people had been shipped to the nether regions of the Soviet Union. By the end of 1931, that number had swollen to 1.8 million. Many, perhaps most, died en route.
By stripping the countryside of its more productive citizens and reducing the rest to near starvation, Stalin had set the stage for the horror show that was to follow. He and his cohorts began by shaking down those left on the land for a bigger slice of the action.
In 1932, for instance, the government's take was to be 32 percent higher than the year before. By that year, the peasantry was faced with a grim choice: resist the collectivization or starve to death. They resisted. Stalin sent in his shock troops.
They had come to enforce the infamous 1932 “ear law,” so dubbed because an individual could and would be arrested for withholding any “socialist property” right down to an ear of corn. To defeat an enemy as numerous and determined as the kulak, Stalin had only one recourse. Notes the Black Book, “He would have to be starved out.”
Harassed and starving, with no hope for the future, millions fled these rich agricultural lands for the cities. At this point, Stalin got serious. In December 1932, in order to “liquidate social parasitism,” he mandated the equivalent of passports for all internal migration. One wonders whether Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took his cues from Comrade Stalin.
In January 1933, Molotov and Stalin instructed local authorities and the GPU to stop the peasants from leaving their farms “by all means necessary.” These “means” included mass execution. In February 1933 alone, the secret police reported that it had stopped more than 219,000 desperate peasants in their tracks.
The net result of what Duranty calls Stalin’s “curt vigor” in pursuing the plan and establishing order was the seemingly bountiful harvest of 1933. Duranty describes it as “the greatest Russia had ever known.” In fact, the Soviet Union did manage to ship eighteen million hundredweight of grain abroad in 1933, a fitting conclusion, as Duranty would have it, to “a heroic chapter in the life of Humanity.”
“The ‘famine’ is mostly bunk,” Duranty wrote to a friend in June 1933. He used his and the Times’ authority to feed the story to a progressive establishment that had already developed a taste for fake news. The Pulitzer Committee awarded him its top prize for news correspondence in 1932. In 1933, his disinformation persuaded newly elected President Franklin Roosevelt to recognize the Soviet Union.
The surprising 2019 film Mr. Jones does an excellent job showcasing both the Ukrainian horror and Jones’s social life. Not surprisingly, Duranty was a Satanist and a world-class pervert. From the perspective of the contemporary media, he was simply a man ahead of his time.
For more information, see Jack Cashill’s Hoodwinked: How Intellectual Hucksters Have Hijacked American Culture or see www.cashill.com
Image: Public Domain