Putin’s Socialist Spring

George Will reminds us what the Russians did in Ukraine in the 1930′s and 1940′s and where Russian President Vladimir Putin cut his political teeth.

“Boys from another school pulled out the severed head of a classmate while fishing in a pond. His whole family had died. Had they eaten him first? Or had he survived the deaths of his parents only to be killed by a cannibal? No one knew; but such questions were commonplace for the children of Ukraine in 1933. “. . .Yet cannibalism was, sometimes, a victimless crime. Some mothers and fathers killed their children and ate them. … But other parents asked their children to make use of their own bodies if they passed away. More than one Ukrainian child had to tell a brother or sister: ‘Mother says that we should eat her if she dies.”

Timothy Snyder,“Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin” (2010)

While Vladimir Putin, Stalin’s spawn, ponders what to do with what remains of Ukraine, remember: Nine years before the January 1942 Wannsee Conference, at which the Nazis embarked on industrialized genocide, Stalin deliberately inflicted genocidal starvation on Ukraine.

To fathom the tangled forces, including powerful ones of memory, at work in that singularly tormented place, begin with Snyder’s stunning book.

Read the whole thing.

Russia officially annexed Crimea today, but Putin swears he has no designs on the rest of Ukraine. Expect to “protect” Russians who are there, of course.