Victims of Communism
“I sat there surrounded by rightwingers and liberals and various bland fans of fascism, it was weird to think that saving Jews and saving Nazis could be part of the same American imperial project.”
This is the first installment of The Soviet Jew: A Weaponized Immigrant’s Tale. Subscribe to get the next installment in your inbox.
It was the morning of November 9, 2017. I was at a conference in Washington, DC. The event was taking place in a small opulent hall on the first floor of the Library of Congress — a room decked out with massive fireplaces, marble columns, carved redwood paneling and ceilings with gold trim, and two giant mosaics showing scenes out of ancient Greece. I think they were supposed to represent something noble, like Justice or Truth or Philosophy. These were the hallowed halls of American Power, after all.
I was drinking a coffee and observing the people sitting around me. There was a lot of gray hair, saggy old skin, stooped shoulders, and shapeless bureaucratic suits and outfits. Most people seemed bored out of their minds. They were sitting there, scrolling through their phones or snacking on catered sandwiches and fruit salads. There were also a of eager young interns — with fresh faces and pressed blue shirts and khakis and closely cropped hair. They were waiting in the wings, looking ready to run errands for the organizers of the conference or the various VIP guests.
Up on stage, several Russian emigres and a few Russia experts were discussing Vladimir Putin and whether or not the Russian people — sullied as they’ve been by a century of debased communist ideology — can ever be truly free. I guy named Vladimir Kara-Murza, whose broad balding dome looked a bit like Vladimir Lenin’s from far away, said they can be free. The reason they’re not is mostly because of another Vladimir — Vladimir Putin. Supposedly Putin tried to poison this particular Vladimir like two or three or maybe four times but has consistently failed to get his man.
For the past two days I’ve been sitting through various similar panels exploring similar themes. There was one talking about the need for countries to truly and honestly account for their communist crimes. There was another where various experts talked about the dire need to educate today’s American youth about the horrors of communism. The panel’s moderator — who, according his bio, was the chairman of the Russian Ball, where a bunch of Americans cosplay aristocratic White Russian emigres — was horrified at recent polls showing that young people in America hate capitalism more than communism. On that same panel, a Russian human rights activist, speaking through an interpreter, talked about how much worse the Soviets were than the Nazis. “At least the Nazis didn’t kill their own,” she said. They didn’t? I scratched my head at that one. Guess she agreed with the Nazis that German Jews weren’t really German. I mean, come on? Who thinks Jews are anything but Jews? And I guess all the other Germans that the Nazis murdered wholesale — the queer, the handicapped — weren’t German, either?
But what was I complaining about? A Russian woman whitewashing Nazi genocide to a bunch of Americans — that’s exactly the kind of premium content I expected to see at an event put on by the Victims of Communism Foundation. It’s why I made the long trip to DC from the capitalist kommunalka my wife and I were sharing with two other people in Brooklyn at the time.
What is the Victims of Communism Foundation? A fascism appreciation society — that’s about as well as I could describe it. It was conjured out of the void by a unanimous, bipartisan act of Congress and signed into existence by President Bill Clinton. It’s backed and funded by a bunch of American oligarchs and their various foundations — Charles Koch is the biggest name, but there are others. There’s a big reactionary and fascist Eastern European and Balkan emigre presence, not to mention some straight up Nazi symps. And it’s all tied very closely into America’s spooky imperial influence apparatus.
Since being set up in 1993, it’s main function has been to praise capitalism, promote reactionary immigrants from around the world, gloat about the vanquishing of the Soviet state, and spread propaganda about communism being the most evil ideology known to man — much more more evil than even the most evil, the Nazis. Communism racked up the biggest body count in human history. It’s killed approximately 100 trillion people. That’s what the all the capitalist-funded fellows at Victims of Communism say!
Victims of Communism was always putting on various conferences in partnership with outfits like the Atlantic Council and giving awards to privatized spook fronts like the National Endowment for Democracy. They’re primarily focused on demonizing American’s official enemies, which mostly means bashing China and Russia. But this was a bit different.
That year — 2017 — marked the 100-year anniversary of the October Revolution, which toppled Russia’s weak Provisional Government and put Vladimir Lenin’s Boshevik-led revolutionary coalition in control of Petrograd and the ultimately the rest of the former Russian Empire. Victims of Communism was holding a special event to mark this International Date of Evil, and to remind DC’s political warriors that the fight against the communist virus is not over, not by a long shot. China, Venezuela, North Korea, Vietnam — all of these were still in the grips of an evil ideology. Even in Russia, a place where almost everything is owned by a private oligarchy, the communist virus had somehow managed to make a comeback. The shock therapy was’t shocking enough. The inoculation didn’t take, if guests at the conference were to be believed.
It was a big deal event and the organizers packed in a bunch of post-communist emigres and crypto-fascist speak about the horrors of communism. Vaclav Klaus, the first prime minister of the Czech Republic, was a featured speaker. Paula Dobriansky, whose father Lev ran an umbrella group after World War II for every exiled fascist and Nazi collabo community in existence, was scheduled to appear as well. Natan Sharanksy, the VIP Soviet Jewish nationalist-dissident, was booked for event. Ted Cruz even put in an appearance, brightening everyone’s day.
The audience had some interesting people, too. At lunch break I got to talking to a kindly old man named Jaroslaw, who turned out to be a spook and, from what I gathered, likely hailed from a family of Ukrainian Nazi collaborators. He proudly talked to me about working for outfits that I knew to be CIA propaganda projects...