Why is it, I was wondering the other day, that the Soviet/communist symbols of the Stalinist repressive period are given some sort of cultish reverence, whilst any such symbols of Nazi propaganda are taboo? The records clearly show that of the two regimes the Soviet one can lay claim to the dubious distinction of having claimed the most lives (and by a significant margin), and yet when we look back in history we generally think of the holocaust as the darkest hour of mankind.
There are clubs in Melbourne, Republicka is one example, that are adorned with pictures of Stalin and Lenin and other such trappings of Soviet days gone by. I see people wearing t-shirts sporting the hammer and sickle and, apparently, all sorts of Stalinist era knickknacks can be purchased in states of the former Soviet Union. If a club suddenly opened tomorrow naming itself 'The third Reich' I'm fairly certain there would be outrage; additionally, we have seen the disgust and revulsion evoked when Prince Harry recently dressed in SS gear and went to a party. There seems to be a double standard here.
I don't think that it is due to a lack of awareness on the part of the general population. Most people have at least a vague inkling that some very funky shit went down in that land where people wear funny hats and drink lots of vodka.
My theory is that it comes down to WW2, a defeated Germany, and a victorious Russia. Once the tide of the war with Germany turned and the allies flooded into the country, freeing the occupants of the concentration camps as they went, all the messed up things that went on there were exposed, sometimes in excruciating detail, for the world to see. Germany would be forced to confront the horror that it had perpertrated upon so many, and as such, it is forced to forever bear the stain of those evil deeds.
In Germany there were trials, there were executions, war criminals were named and denounced. Even now SS officers and camp officials are being hunted down and brought to justice.
To this day not one member of the Soviet apparatus has heard the firm knock of justice at their door. Not a single question has been answered nor confession made.
No such unveiling of Russian evils occurred: nobody invaded her and forced the facts of her evil deeds into the light of day. For years the soviet propaganda machine was able to shield its citizens from the darker realities of what it was doing to its own people. Because there was no erosion of its power, as was the case with Germany through its loss of the war, an unfettered look at its camps through the objective view of an outsiders gaze was impossible. Whenever an international body descended upon Russian camps with the intention of sighting possible breaches of human rights, all signs of such breaches were erased: healthy looking prisoners were installed in the camps, levels of sanitation were improved and bodies were hidden.
Now I'm not saying that what happened during the holocaust was not the manifestation of the purest, blackest evil. I'm not trying to belittle what transpired when Hitler attempted to make the world his bitch at the expense of millions of lives. All I'm saying is that next time you're watching Schindler's List and weeping for the six million lives snuffed out at the caprice of that mad little man, spare a thought for the Russians that were dying in camps at the very same time. Yes, when you mourn for those six million, mourn also for the 30 million(+) that died without reckoning in Solzhenitsyn's metaphorical islands of the Gulag.