On 20 December, five days before the birthday of Christ, Russia celebrated another birthday, that of her security services.
Chekist Day (from ‘CheKa’, Chrezvychainaia Komissiya, the founding name of the organisation later known as the KGB) is commemorated in the Russian calendar as a national holiday, a cause for celebration.
It couldn’t be otherwise, for 87 per cent of Russia’s top government officials are proud veterans of the KGB/FSB/SVR. I’m sure they were all moved to tears when Col. Putin congratulated them publicly on the glorious occasion. I’m sure they are proud of their alma mater’s achievements.
There are indeed achievements to be proud of. This most awful terrorist setup in history, established by Lenin’s decree 98 years ago, is directly responsible for the death of 60 million Soviet citizens, those shot, tortured, starved to death, turned into ‘camp dust’, in Stalin’s phrase.
This is what Prof. Rummel, the author of Lethal Politics, calls ‘democide’, indiscriminate slaughter by category – as opposed to ‘genocide’, the slaughter of specific ethnic or religious groups.
Actually the KGB (as it’s still usually called generically) has form in both, as many citizens in the former Soviet Union could testify. Ukrainians, Chechens, Balkars, Daghestani, Letts, Lithuanians, Estonians, Crimean Tartars were all massacred not for what they did but for what they were.
I doubt their descendants raised a celebratory toast to the anniversary of their murderers, torturers and rapists. But Vlad and the KGB junta he fronts did – and no one in the West batted an eyelid.
It’s Russia’s business, isn’t it? Tastes differ, some people’s holidays are other people’s days to forget. Live and let live: for example, we celebrate Trafalgar Day and the French don’t. All par for the course.
Well, not quite. How would you feel if the Germans declared 20 April a national holiday because that was the day the Gestapo was founded in 1933? How would you feel if German tobacconists were selling cigarettes branded Auschwitz?
Surely you’d be tempted to reach some rather gloomy conclusions about the nature of the modern German state, which clearly saw an uninterrupted continuity from Hitler to Merkel. Can you imagine the reaction in our press? I can’t.
And yet no one deems it worth a comment that Moscow tobacconists sell cigarettes called Belomorkanal, the White Sea Canal, a giant NKVD construction project during which hundreds of thousands of political prisoners died of starvation, neglect, torture and bullets. The pack features an outline map of the area, without mentioning it’s one contiguous mass grave.
Similarly, Putin’s heartiest congratulations to the veterans of history’s most murderous organisation attracted no attention whatsoever. No comments were made, no inferences were drawn, no conclusions were reached.
When did we become such a sorry lot? When did we smash to smithereens our framework of moral reference? If that structure were still intact, this fact alone, that the Russian government officially celebrates Chekist Day, would tell us all we needed to know about Putin’s Russia – even if we knew nothing else.
As it is, assorted ‘useful idiots’, ably represented by Peter Hitchens, Christopher Booker and, when he’s in that sort of mood, Nigel Farage, praise Putin’s strong leadership qualities.
Their panegyrics are neatly harmonised in the background with the howling winds blowing thistle through the mass, nameless graves of millions, with the wailing and weeping of those who miraculously survived.
Happy Genocide Day, Vlad. It’s your day, and no one can take it away from you.