PATRICK LAWRENCE: Tampering With History

History tells us where we are in the human story and what we, alive now, must do to advance this story. To tamper with history is among the gravest of sins against the human cause.

Hanging of perpetrators of Babyn Yar massacre in Kiev’s Maidan square, 1946. (Still from “The Kiev Trial,” courtesy of the Jerusalem Film Festival)

By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News

The first sign of trouble to come, I recall thinking, was in June 2014. June 6 fell on a Friday, and that weekend leaders of what used to be called the Allied powers gathered on the Normandy beaches to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the D–Day landings and the beginning of the Allies’ final triumph over the Nazi Reich.

No Russian official was invited to join the gathering.

How shamelessly undignified, I recall thinking. What a pack of embarrassing slobs, those second-rate “leaders” who assembled for photo ops on the sand.

Then I thought of a book Tom Engelhardt brought out a few years after the Soviet Union collapsed. The Commissar Vanishes (Metropolitan, 1997) is a collection of before-and-after photographs showing how, during the Stalinist years, the Soviets airbrushed those it judged political enemies out of official photographs. The book is mildly amusing but mostly frightening.

And then I thought of how diabolically powerful it is, how Mephistophelian, to tamper with history. And now I note bitterly how common this practice is among those who purport to speak for us but who, in reality, act against us.

A year after the D–Day events it came time to mark the Red Army’s liberation of Berlin in April 1945. And again: No American leader and no European of any rank so far as I recall, attended the ceremonies in Moscow. No speeches, no public messages honoring the Soviets’ extraordinary sacrifices and heroism, barely any mention of the anniversary in the Western press.

Another airbrush job. This time I felt a sting of indignation that made me ashamed of the nationality fate has assigned me. A worthy Western leader would have stood and said loudly, “We are all Russians today.”

Nine years ago, eight years ago: We all recall what had transpired at the time of these disgusting perversions of the past. In February 2014 the U.S. orchestrated an antidemocratic coup in Ukraine and installed a viciously Russophobic puppet regime in Kiev. Moscow responded, as a first-year poli sci student could have predicted, by reannexing Crimea and supporting the Russian-speaking majority in Ukraine’s eastern provinces.

By the spring of 2015 Kiev was daily shelling civilian populations in the east, a campaign that would last eight years and claim roughly 14,000 lives. Moscow had by then decided to support Luhansk and Donetsk as autonomous republics, while co-sponsoring accords — the two Minsk Protocols — that would have held Ukraine together as a federated republic.

These events marked out the battle lines with which we are now condemned to live. NATO approved of the merciless shelling of noncombatants to the extent it trained the Armed Forces of Ukraine to achieve maximum effect. The West never had any intention of backing the Minsk accords, which, in addition to saving Ukraine as a unified nation, would also have saved many thousands of lives.

The Russiagate years followed these events, erasing all possibility that, at least for the foreseeable future, any kind of balanced, mature understanding of Russia, its people, and its conduct in international affairs can be restored.

Our topics here are two. One is hatred, prevalent as the reigning Russophobia now is. The other is history and how this is abused to bring hatred to the desired pitch.

History is among our most precious treasures. It is our essential anchor. It is our village green, our corner tavern, and each generation writes it to reflect how those alive understand it. History tells us where we are in the human story and what we, alive now, must do to advance this story as others have delivered it to us.

Do we have to continue on in the direction of those who came before? Do we have to turn in a new direction? These are the kinds of questions history hands us.

Let me go out on a limb here. To tamper with history is among the gravest of sins against the human cause.

Those Soviet propagandists who were clever in the darkroom understood very well the power of perverting history. As we say now, if you control the past you control the present.

All those who stood on the Normandy beaches nine years ago, along with those who stayed silent a year later, were the political descendants of leaders who once condemned the Soviets for their ruthless trespasses on the past. Now these same people are the trespassers — not just on Russia’s past, or Europe’s, but on my past and your past, too.

I bring the anger readers will scarcely miss to two events that occurred last week. Let us consider each of these injuries briefly.

There is, first, the mess in which the Canadian government has landed itself by celebrating a Nazi officer.

Zelensky raises right arm to salute as a Nazi is introduced to Parliament. (Twitter/Thorston Banner/True North/CPAC/Cathy Vogan)

A week ago last Friday the Canadian Parliament responded with a standing ovation when the speaker, Anthony Rota, introduced a 98–year-old named Yaroslav Hunka as a hero for having fought on the side of Ukrainians during World War II. Hunka stood, the picture of modest valor, just after Volodymyr Zelensky had addressed the chamber. When Hunka’s service against the Soviets was noted, the Ukrainian president pointed towards Hunka in approval.

As it quickly emerged, Hunka served as a member of the Galicia Division of the Nazi Waffen SS. This unit was among the more brutal in its extermination of Jews during the war.

Rota resigned as parliamentary speaker last week. Zelensky, who knew good and well who a Ukrainian fighting the Soviets was fighting with and for, has had nothing to say. And amid a considerable political kerfuffle in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered this apology:

“For all of us who were present to have unknowingly recognized this individual was a terrible mistake and a violation of the memory of those who suffered grievously at the hands of the Nazi regime…. It is extremely troubling to think that this egregious error is being politicized by Russia and its supporters to provide false propaganda about what Ukraine is fighting for.”

The Western powers, with the collusion of the Kiev regime’s leadership — and I don’t want to hear another word about Zelensky’s Jewishness — have spent years blurring the Nazi past in Ukraine and erasing the considerable presence of neo–Nazis in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and at all levels of the bureaucracy and government.

This is what you get — a dog’s dinner, a present devoid of a past. And instantly the Canadian PM, an American puppet in his own right, violates memory once again — in defense of memory, of course — by telling us Russian propaganda is what we must first worry about.

I am sick of this murk, this hypocrisy — all of it the consequence of an insidious campaign to tamper with history so that the U.S. and NATO can harness the visceral hatred of xenophobic extremists to wage a proxy war against Russia.

Hardly was I finished thinking through the travesty in Canada when U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued forth with this rendering of the same contentious chapters in European history:

“Eighty-two years ago, Nazis murdered 34,000 Jews at Babyn Yar. Soviets buried this history, which today Putin’s government manipulates to provide cover for Russia’s abuses in Ukraine. The U.S. is committed to justice for Holocaust survivors and accountability for atrocities.”

There are only two ways to read this nonsense. Either the secretary of state should fire the underling who writes his social media posts, or Tony Blinken now goes so far as to assume he can mangle history beyond all recognition, and in our confused present the result will stand.

For the record, Babyn Yar (also spelled Babi Yar), a section of Kiev, was the site of multiple Nazi massacres during World War II. Blinken’s reference is to the events of Sept. 29–30, 1941, when 34,000 people were massacred. In total, 100,000 to 150,000 Jews, Soviet POWs, Romani and others were killed there.

While the Nazis attempted to cover up the Babyn Yar atrocities, the Soviets instantly publicized them when they liberated Kiev in 1943. After the war they tried those deemed responsible.

Where did Blinken get such an idea from? It appears he is not the only person to believe this version of events. A September 2021 article in The Times of Israel about the 80th anniversary of the Babyn Yar massacre said that virtually no one was prosecuted for the massacre and that the Soviets refused to commemorate the killings, thus “buried this history.” The newspaper said:

“At the Nuremberg Trials of the 1940s, one Nazi, Paul Blobel, was sentenced to death and executed for crimes at Babi Yar, among other places. Two others were given prison sentences. A 1968 trial ended with prison terms of 4-15 years for seven defendants; three men were acquitted in those trials, the last of any Babi Yar perpetrator. …

In Ukraine, Babi Yar is also relatively obscure, partly due to communist authorities’ decades-long refusal to commemorate it. It was part of a broader policy that downplayed the suffering of Jews in the Holocaust, coopting it into the Soviet narrative about patriotic sacrifice in a fight against Nazism.”

But the facts do not support the idea that the Soviets buried the story or that only a handful were tried at Nuremberg. The Soviets conducted trials in Kiev in 1946 and a dozen perpetrators were hanged in the city’s Maidan square, scene of the 2014 neo-Nazi-backed coup that has led to the current war. Wikipedia says:

“In January 1946, 15 former members of the German police … were tried in Kyiv over their roles in the massacre and other atrocities. Twelve of them were sentenced to death. … The other three received prison sentences. Those condemned to death were publicly hanged in the town square of Kyiv on 29 January 1946.[57]”

In memorials, the Soviets treated the Babyn Yar victims equally, without singling out Jews or Roma, leading to a popularly held notion that the history was buried. Wikipedia says:

“After the war, specifically Jewish and Roma commemoration efforts encountered difficulty because of the Soviet Union’s emphasis on secular remembrances honoring all nationalities of the Soviet Union, so memorials (including at Babi Yar) would generally refer to ‘peaceful victims of fascism.’ Memorials were not explicitly forbidden, but successive Soviet leaders preferred instead to emphasise the wide-ranging origins of those murdered at the site.

This meant that both Jewish and Roma peoples were not specifically memorialised at the Babi Yar site until the Soviet Union collapsed.[61] Indeed, Yevgeny Yevtushenko‘s 1961 poem on Babi Yar begins ‘Nad Babim Yarom pamyatnikov nyet’ (‘Over Babi Yar there are no monuments’); it is also the first line of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13.”

While The Times of Israel story also spoke of the upsurge of support in Ukraine for the Ukrainian fascist collaborators who took part in the massacre, Blinken makes absolutely no reference to it.

Those with little respect for history, and so none for us to whom history belongs, have many reasons to pervert it. For the past decade their cause has been to abuse history to induce a deep an enduring hatred of Russia and its people.

And as the events reviewed here indicate, the specific cause now is to recruit us to the side of a nation with a long history of Russia-hating so that we will excuse its disgraceful excesses, or pretend, even better, there are none.

—Joe Lauria contributed to this article.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, lecturer and author, most recently of Journalists and Their Shadows  Other books include Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. His Twitter account, @thefloutist, has been permanently censored. 

To my readers: Independent publications and those who write for them reach a moment that is difficult and full of promise all at once. On one hand, we assume ever greater responsibilities in the face of mainstream media’s mounting derelictions. On the other, we have found no sustaining revenue model and so must turn directly to our readers for support. I am committed to independent journalism for the duration: I see no other future for American media. But the path grows steeper, and as it does I need your help. This grows urgent now. If you are already a supporter, big thanks. If you aren’t, please, to sustain my continued contributions to Consortium News and in  recognition of the commitment to independent journalism I share with this bedrock publication, join in by subscribing to The Floutist, or via my Patreon account.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

Donate to CN’s
Fall Fund Drive




58 comments for “PATRICK LAWRENCE: Tampering With History

  1. WillD
    October 3, 2023 at 23:47

    Blinken shows us how low the US, and its western stooges, have sunk. It is not enough to twist events in order to blame the Russians. Now they are trying to re-write history for the same purpose.

    Blame is the principle weapon of the weak when unwilling to take responsibility for their own actions, and to deflect attention away from their own bad behaviour.

    Blinken wouldn’t need to use blame if he genuinely had a valid case.

  2. October 3, 2023 at 19:33

    Excellent work, as usual. Thank God for Joe Lauria and Patrick Lawrence and colleagues. Genuine, thoughtful, well-researched, honest journalism appears to be dead in the mainstream media, but it survives here.

  3. Steve
    October 3, 2023 at 13:29

    How many merchant and military seamen from the allies (USA, UK, Canada, Africa, etc.) Died in the artic convoys helping Russia ?
    Absolutely disgusting !!

  4. Randal Marlin
    October 3, 2023 at 13:19

    If you Google “University of Ottawa Jens Stoltenberg” you should be taken to a transcript of a Town Hall event held April 4, 2018.
    At the end of the question period, the Moderator makes reference to two final questions. You hear the Q and A of the second last question, but mysteriously not the last one.
    Well, the last one was mine, and I leave it to CN readers to speculate whether the organizers ran out of recording tape or whether there was deliberate stifling of the last answer. I had asked about the section of the North Atlantic Treaty that states “This treaty does not affect or change any obligations by parties that are member of the United Nations. It also does not affect the primary responsibility of the UN Security Council for maintaining international peace and security.” (Article 7)
    As I recall, in his answer, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg said that as Labour Party Leader he had not supported USA President Bush’s invasion of Iraq for that reason.
    I can imagine that any escalation by a NATO member, of a war provoked by that member, might nullify other NATO nations’ obligations under Article 5 (collective self-defence) and therefore might be something pro-war enthusiasts would want to downplay.

  5. Slobobba
    October 3, 2023 at 13:05

    Thanks to consortium news and Patrick Lawrence and this very thoughtful, well researched and comprehensive look at 20/21st century applications of an ancient human strategy.
    As I read it I flashed back on my upbringing in Charleston, South Carolina. Despite its ubiquity, something about the Civil War narrative never sat with me. The story, essential to our social and self-understanding in Charleston, never satisfied and left an itch unscratched until years later when I discovered “The Lost Cause” narrative. Amazing how history can be written when an effective group of propagandists are assembled, motivated and focused. In this case, the apparent losers wrote the history and thereby somehow seem to have won.

    I’m 64 years old and so grow up the first 30 years of my life during the Cold War. In 2017 I went to Kuznetsk, Piensa, Russia to teach English in an academic summer camp. I’d made it to that point in my life with no idea of the heroic perseverance and historically unprecedented losses made by Russia. Both the reality of that invasion as well as an acceptance of intergenerational trauma leave no doubt of the experience of an “existential threat” from Western powers. Just like in 1941, for energy resources.

  6. Francis Lee
    October 3, 2023 at 05:45

    That bought audience in the Canadian Parliament were like Seals flapping their flippers at feeding time at the Zoo! Is it possible to actually get any lower than that! This the level that the collective west has reached.

    • Steve
      October 3, 2023 at 12:47

      I would suggest that the analogy of seals flapping about is not a good one in relation to Canadians. They also have a bad history with reference to the cute mammals.

      • Susan Siens
        October 3, 2023 at 16:22

        Thanks, Steve. I always hate it when people compare human assholes to animals. There is nothing lower than our species, and I dislike making animals do tricks for entertainment.

  7. Robert Shillenn
    October 2, 2023 at 23:57

    Thank yoo for your defense of the importance of objectibve history. I love the formulation of the US judiciary oath to tell “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” I am not a man of cursing, but if I were, I would wish that if anyone deviates from the standard of the above oath, their tongue should wither.

    • Randal Marlin
      October 3, 2023 at 12:56

      At the time of the James Bay hearings a member of the indigenous Cree people, who did not speak the language of the Quebec court, was asked “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” The translator asked him the question in the native Cree language. There was a long pause and he spoke to the translator, who relayed: “He swears to tell the truth, and nothing but the truth, but he does not know the whole truth. He can only say what he knows.”

  8. October 2, 2023 at 23:15

    I wonder whether Blinken’s people were confusing the Babyn War incident with the earlier Katyn massacre in Poland, when Soviet NKVD detachments executed some 22,000 Polish military officers and intellectuals in a kind of ideological cleansing exercise in April and May of 1940. The Soviet regime subsequently re-branded Katyn as a Nazi atrocity, and it was only after the fall of the Soviet Union that the truth was fully aired. Needless to say, even if this were the case, it would do nothing to mitigate the malicious revisionism of Blinken’s and others’ serial gaffes which Patrick has pointed out

    • Joe Lauria
      October 3, 2023 at 08:43

      No. That’s what I thought at first. And then I did additional research for this article and discovered that Blinken’s version of events is widely believed, and is even part of a Shostakovich symphony. But it is wrong. There was a Soviet trial and there were secular Soviet memorials, just not specifically Jewish ones.

  9. October 2, 2023 at 22:12

    It is remarkable how the powers that be can spin or outright scrub sordid histories. Take for example Wernher von Braun, America’s celebrated rocket scientist who helped NASA put a man on the moon. Rummaging through the discount bin at a bookstore I chanced upon a tome of SS notables. Yes, NASA’s very own von Braun held the rank of major in the SS, though likely the Allgemeine or General SS, the administrative branch, as distinguished from the Waffen SS. Nevertheless, von Braun, as technical director of the Peenemünde Army Research Center, was key to the development of the V-2 (Vengeance rockets) produced in Germany during WWII. Operation Paperclip, run by the U.S. Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency, sanitized his ladder-climbing, Nazi past.

    • October 2, 2023 at 22:23

      I should add that the V-2 was produced with slave labor.

    • October 3, 2023 at 00:40

      I should add that the V-2 production used concentration-camp labor.

    • rosemerry
      October 4, 2023 at 02:15

      Tom Lehrer’s song is available on youtube even now!

      “Call him a Nazi, he won’t even frown . Nazi Shmartzi, says Werner von Braun”.

      Tom is someone who with humour, does not whitewash US hypocrisy.

  10. Em
    October 2, 2023 at 22:11

    History’s Hypocrisy originates, yet does not die in Unmarked Graves.
    It repetitively attempts to Bury Humankind’s Inhumane Deeds.
    History began when mankind shed the skin of instinct, recognizing a conscious ‘self’ supposedly capable of acting with critical forethought.

    “History is a set of lies agreed upon…”

    1.) Which is worse in today’s current ‘more forward looking’ progressive ‘error’; post-condemnation of a 98 year old erstwhile Nazi for his individual part in genocidal crimes, committed more than 75 years ago???

    2.) NOT condemning a present-day ultra Na(tional)Zi(onist) leader, actually the head of a contemporary genocidal government, actively engaging in committing atrocities of eradication – “ethnic cleansing” – scapegoating ethnic Arab human beings of ancient Palestinian heritage, by subjecting them, innocent Women, Men and children to barbaric processes of extermination!!!

  11. Solitarian
    October 2, 2023 at 22:09

    A tour de force from Patrick Lawrence. Stephen Cohen would have been profoundly appreciative.

  12. Selina Sweet
    October 2, 2023 at 21:07

    Psychotherapists know a life based on lies is a disturbed one. Denial, scapegoating, rationalization, compartmentalization etc all serve to protect ego, that structure Almaas writes that is based on deficiency and a kind of faux self. Healing comes from the courage and passion for truth. Making us response-able. And deepened. And more conscious. And likely, more creative and responsive as distinct from reactive. The USA and her so-called public servants like the triplets Nuland, Sullivan and Blinken have what it seems a congenital aversion to reality. All those made in the USA cluster bombs and depleted uranium shells. All that omission of 2014 events. All that fiction about “unprovokedness”.Such bravado with no skin of kin in the ongoing unmitigated and planned societal catastrophe borne by soon dead fertile Ukrainian men and women and their precious children. And the making of their soil a waiting disaster of death and maiming with those hidden bomblets from those cluster bombs our killer corporations are crowing with joy for the profitbearing killing. And the erasure of history as a malevolent tool of those totally devoid of honor and so full of the abject sinister instead. Do you ever wonder how our USA citizens would feel were our children, mothers and fathers, aunties and uncles over there fighting shoulder to shoulder with the Ukrainians knowing the Ukrainian President celebrated a Nazi? And dying, coming home in black zippered body bags?

    • October 3, 2023 at 11:39

      Ms. Sweet.
      I thank all those commentng, but I find your remarks here singularly acute, expressive of a mind that has spent considefable time reflecting on our psyches in thier healthy and unhealthy states.
      Tks your presence one week to the next.

    • Susan Siens
      October 3, 2023 at 16:26

      What I have learned, Selina, is that there is no redemption without TRUTH. Lying is normal in civilization and it damages our hearts, our brains, our bodies. See Richard Sorensen’s experience in Papua New Guinea when a group of well-meaning British tourists came into contact with indigenous people — people who did not know what lying was — and drove them insane within a week.

  13. October 2, 2023 at 20:57

    It is unfortunate that the perversion of history, replacing it with propaganda, is not novel. I taught an official version of history during the period from 1969 through 1977 but as I researched what I was teaching, starting with the virtually sacred United States narrative as to: the causes of the Revolutionary War (no mention of the Proclamation Line of 1763, and the sale of real estate beyond the line by founding fathers); the Civil War (no mention of Lincoln’s promise to preserve slavery if the seceding states repented); the first and second wars to end all wars (John Tolland’s “Rising Sun” being an epiphanius exception); Vietnam; the myriad coups d’état and puppet regimes installed by the United States; the labor movements stifled, etc., I realized that I was peddling counterproductive “bovine feces”, and for a while, quite a while, I withdrew from academia to focus on other things, noble as well as selfish. That deception and not history is what too many of us have taught has become so obvious is, from a historians’ perspective, a good thing, but only if it brings light to the trail of lies with which we have been deluded, and with which all too many of us continue to delude ourselves and others. Like the law and journalism and politics, the recording and teaching of history should be a noble profession, but all too often, it has not been, and it seems as though it is the worst among us, those to whom objectivity and verity are subservient to social engineering, are those whose product is prevalent. I hope that enough of us find the courage and decency to stem that trend, but I can’t say that current events inspire me to believe that will happen. Something for all of us who aspire to be referred to as historians to consider.

    • dejudge
      October 3, 2023 at 01:05

      Histories must leave out vastly more than they include in their depictions of events. It gets even worse when interpretations are included. But some sort of narrative of the past is essential in order to proceed with living in the present and imagining a future. This non-sense of being human is wonderful and terrible and may be unsustainable. Perhaps AGI if it achieves “Singularity” will find it has no choice but to dispose of this nonsense.

    • Susan Siens
      October 3, 2023 at 16:28

      Reading Dark Quadrant, it’s fascinating how many historians leave out unpleasant details of their subjects. One example is Caro’s biography of LBJ, but the Truman bios were similar in leaving out his organized crime connections.

  14. Lois Gagnon
    October 2, 2023 at 20:16

    Is it possible to sink any lower than to rehabilitate Nazis in order to promote your geopolitical ambitions? I think not. The people who are engaged in this despicable effort deserve nothing but scorn, ridicule and banishment from civil society.

    • Susan Siens
      October 3, 2023 at 16:30

      Yes, we need a place to put these people. An indigenous woman wrote of what her people would do, for example, to a teenage boy who attacked other people. A year on an island with nothing but a flint and a knife, and after a year a discussion on whether or not he should be permitted to return to society. Trudeau, Blinken, and their ilk are WINDIGOS, humans transformed into cannibals by greed and rapaciousness, and they need to be set outside decent society.

    • Susan Siens
      October 3, 2023 at 16:41

      I normally enjoy Patrick Lawrence’s writing and it is great to see his impassioned plea for HISTORY! So few people know any history whatsoever, at least in the U.S.A. A young man I spoke to was surprised that there were white people who stood for black people’s rights in the 1930s, before and after. A young woman I spoke to told me she had had no history in school that was post-WWII. A people who know no history are a doomed people.

  15. Robert Paul Brounsten
    October 2, 2023 at 19:07

    When I told my history buffed teen daughter about the Canadian parliament debacle, she was incredulous. “As soon as they said he fought against the Soviets, they should have realized he fought alongside the Nazi’s!”


    And what’s with all these standing ovations, like for Zelensky? A corrupt little dictator with a penchant for dressing like GI Joe. Come, stop the charade, nobody actually mistakes you for a soldier. Don’t you own at least one good suit?

    • Eric
      October 3, 2023 at 05:44

      Especially the Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland, must have known what “fighting the Russians” meant in WW2.
      Her grandfather was a Nazi propagandist, editor of a Ukrainian-language newspaper first in occupied Poland and later in occupied Austria. Freeland deflects attention from this, rather than distancing herself from Nazism, as she supports far-right Ukrainians.

      • nwwoods
        October 4, 2023 at 14:36

        I strongly suspect with good reason that the house speaker, Rota was required to fall on his sword to specifically protect her and her Nazi affiliations, not the PM

  16. Dawn Reel
    October 2, 2023 at 19:03

    I’m speaking up for my dad and his fellow soldiers at the Battle of the Bulge. The Soviet Army saved the butts of shivering Americans caught in the freezing hell of the Battle of the Buldge. The were very clear: (1) the Soviet Army saved them from the German Army, and (2) ALL war sucks, they weren’t heroes, no soldiers are heroes, ALL WAR SUCKS and needs to be ended.

    Wow. Thanks dad, you taught me so well.

    • W. Hathaway
      October 3, 2023 at 13:04

      Oh what a flashback. My grandfather rarely talked about his experiences at the Battle of Bulge but when he did it was with great economy of words but a flood of emotion. With tears in his eyes and a crack in his voice he would simply say, “they saved us, those f’ing Russians saved us all”. I can imagine few characteristics more abominable than willingly forgetting those who sacrificed for your survival. My grandfather never forgot. I bet there is but a handful of Americans today who have any idea what it means to have lost 20+ million in WWII as the Russians did. My grandfather along with a lot of WWII veterans must rolling in their graves over our support for Ukraine.

    • Susan Siens
      October 3, 2023 at 16:33

      Your most important sentence is “no soldiers are heroes.” We suffer constant militarism here in Maine, glorified by our low-grade TV stations, and all I can think of is M Scott Peck’s statement about soldiering: You are not a hero when there is a gun at your back and a gun at your front. We glorify the military and then we don’t even take proper care of them when they come home broken.

    • nwwoods
      October 4, 2023 at 14:47

      You are very fortunate that your dad was so forthcoming with his experiences and his fellings about war.
      Mine never directly spoke of the war like so many other veterans. But fortunately he did keep a journal of the first of his four years overseas with the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corp, 6th CDN Field Dressing Station which I have read so many times over the years.
      He did however exhibit what I retrospectively consider quite serious PTSD symptoms leading to hospitalization many years after his return.
      I gathered from his written words that he saw more than his share of horror as the field hospital which he travelled across western Europe wsubsequent to the D-Day invasion treated as many as 400 casualties daily including local civilians, Allied troops and even enemy soldiers.

  17. wildthange
    October 2, 2023 at 19:00

    Reviving the 20th century strategic practices of warfare is entirely out ot touch with our human civilization and our survival as a species addicted to profiting from warfare as a protection racket based on male dominance behavior.

  18. wildthange
    October 2, 2023 at 18:54

    The common domination of war in history is to fashion hatred to accomplish the needed war. Dredging up hatred in any way possible in order to fan the flames. It is like supporting Iraq against Iran and then once over making Saddam a Hitler.
    Or recruiting Afghan drug lords to provoke the USSR to come to Afghanistan and support them until no longer needed or drug lord freedom fighter in Central America.
    This particular version may be best summed us by Hillary calling Putin a Hitler.
    The real revision of history may be that Hitler was created as a weapon against communism and an enemy simultaneously.
    The interesting use of calling Chamberlain an appeaser like the Minsk Accords in order to prepare for the coming war.

    • Susan Siens
      October 3, 2023 at 16:35

      I’m a little confused by your comment. The government in Kabul invited the Soviets into their country — a government that was secular and under which women had rights — to help them oppose the Taliban, funded and armed by the U.S.

  19. Robyn
    October 2, 2023 at 18:43

    Thank you, Patrick, wonderful and much needed article. I urge all readers to share as widely as possible, the background to the NATO-Russia war is crucial to understanding the world today.

  20. Guy St Hilaire
    October 2, 2023 at 17:52

    Thank you CN for this article from Patrick Lawrence .A very important reminder on the pitfalls of not knowing our history .

  21. Jeff Harrison
    October 2, 2023 at 16:59

    WWTS? Russia is a bad country because they didn’t make a memorial? I am put in mind of my wife who is of Polish extraction; indeed her late father was a first generation American who could speak fluent Polish. She always told me that the Nazis didn’t just kill the Jews. They also killed the Poles, the Roma, and a number of other ethnicities they deemed subhuman. It always pissed her off that the only people that anyone talked about were the Jews. She would say “They murdered some of my relatives, too”!

    To then have two persons of very little brain – Blynken and Trudeau – try and shift blame for the fall out of what they did to Russia is disgusting.

    • mark stanley
      October 3, 2023 at 10:41

      And no one ever stands up for the Roma

      • nwwoods
        October 4, 2023 at 14:54

        I have seen photos and videos in the recent past of Roma and other “untermenschen” in modern Ukraine, bound to urban light poles with stretch film, their faces dyed green and their pants around their ankles while being mercilessly beaten by one or more passersby. Real horrors that the west hides from its media consumers.

  22. Rob
    October 2, 2023 at 16:58

    Western politicians and diplomats will reliably spin every story to reflect negatively on Russia. It’s a habit of thought that is deeply ingrained in them. It’s no wonder that so many Americans regard Vladimir Putin as the devil incarnate. They are bombarded by such thoughts non-stop both by political leaders and the media. As one of the early CIA directors said: We will know that we have done our job well, if everything that the public believes is untrue.

  23. Vincent Berg
    October 2, 2023 at 16:57

    “The Commisar Vanishes” is by David King.

  24. JonnyJames
    October 2, 2023 at 16:35

    Europeans and Euro-Americans have been conditioned to disparage and/or hate Russia and all things Russian for centuries. In the US, the original Red Scare 1.0 was in the 1920s, then Communist Witch Hunts of the McCarthyite Red Scare 2.o era, and now post USSR Russo-phobia hysteria.

    Russians portrayed in popular culture, movies, even cartoons (Boris and Natasha in the old Rocky and Bullwinkle) are stereotyped as unsophisticated, thuggish, violent, and all around no-goodniks. They are a large part of the external Other in which to negatively define so-called western civilization. We are “civilized, democratic, peaceful, and respect human rights and the rule of law” while “they” do not and are not.

    Couple this with the notoriously inadequate history education that the vast majority of ‘merkans receive, or don’t receive. What little they do get is usually half-truths and cherry-picked hagiography of the USA.

    As Mr. Lawrence points out, the current narratives about WWII, Nazi Germany and the USSR’s role in defeating the Nazis is becoming more twisted than even previous periods of Red Scares and Russophobia.

    A personal anecdote: I have read that in Ukraine they teach that Nazi Germany was not the aggressor in WWII, Operation Barbarossa was merely a DEFENSIVE operation to protect against “Russian Aggression”. I was told this to my face by a young Ukrainian lawyer a couple of years ago. Another Ukrainian professional told me something very similar.

    I was told by an older Ukrainian engineer that Russians were not Slavic people, and Russian was NOT a Slavic language. Although anecdotal, these falsehoods are creeping into the US and vassals’ discourse. Repeat the Big Lie often enough, and most will start to believe it.

  25. John Manning
    October 2, 2023 at 16:30

    History is a very complex subject. We are fortunate that for the most part actual events still get recorded even if some politicians airbrush details. The analysis of history is just opinions. An attempt to guess at the intentions of decision makers. To give an example, consider how historians will analyse the current Ukraine war.

    I am certain that it will be called “Biden’s war”. Not given its current attribution. There will of course then be an analysis. Did Biden have prior intentions, was he just an opportunist. Did he plan for the consequences or did he merely accept whatever resulted. The biggest point of contention, I believe, will be the significance of this war in the demise of European hegemony over the world. Will it be seen as the trigger for a shift back to a world where Asia again is the dominant and most prosperous region (as was the case before European colonisation of the world). Then of course we may get very diverse opinions as to the nature of Biden’s intentions. Were they an evil attempt to cling to power and wealth. Were they for the good of the world at large. Removing the yoke of financial colonialism from the majority of the world.

    Of one thing we can be certain. History will be changed and manipulated to meet the needs of the time, just as it is today. Very careful reading and analysis is required to find fact within histories. However histories are still better than news media.

  26. Carolyn L Zaremba
    October 2, 2023 at 16:26

    It should come as no surprise about history being rewritten and falsified to anyone who has read “1984” by George Orwell.

  27. Carolyn L Zaremba
    October 2, 2023 at 16:24

    The Commissar Vanishes is also a book by the late Trotskyist and artist/designer David King. I recommend it.

  28. C. Parker
    October 2, 2023 at 16:21

    I, too, “am sick of this murk, this hypocrisy-all of it the consequence of an insidious campaign to tamper with history so the US and NATO can harness the visceral hatred of xenophobic extremists to wage a proxy war against Russia.”My head pounds with frustration.

    Thank you for this brilliant article. Reading Russia’s historical events during the Second World War has opened my eyes over the past two years, thanks to you and other CN journalists. It is a considerable treasure learning more about Russia and its great sacrifices made during WWII. We all owe the Russian people a debt of gratitude.

    I often cringe anticipating the next sentence or two in an essay will encapsulates the US’ re-write of faux-history. If read, it is taken as fact by the poorly informed, of whom I know too many.

  29. Altruist
    October 2, 2023 at 16:19

    Very insightful, great article about the intentional rewriting and misuse of history, as exemplified by the historically illiterate stooges Trudeau and Blinken.

    And now the obligatory comparison with Orwell’s 1984, which as some have stated has these days become a how-to manual:

    “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” (Emmanuel Goldstein, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchic Collectivism).

    Our “Inner Party” is the deep state – who are these people exactly? And the “Outer Party” is the professional-managerial class, who believe all the propaganda generated by the Ministry of Truth…

  30. October 2, 2023 at 15:21

    “Readers added context” strikes again!

    It is not the first time that Antony Blinken and the US State Department is left with egg on their shamelessly mendacious faces, and I certainly hope it will not be the last.

  31. James White
    October 2, 2023 at 14:48

    We are just now coming to the realization that history has always been tampered with. We have long known that war history is always written by the victors. Take WW2 for example. English written history of the war was mainly written by English and American authors, with inherent bias and predictable results. WW2 from the perspective of Germans is largely unpublished and therefore largely unknown to even Germans who were born after 1945.
    It was high comedy how it never dawned on Justin Trudeau, nor the entire Canadian House of Commons, that a Ukrainian ‘war hero who bravely fought off Russian invaders in WW2’ could likely have only done so as a member of the German Wehrmacht, let alone the Waffen-SS.
    The SS, acronym for Schutzstaffel, for those who may not know, were founded by Adolf Hitler in 1925 as his personal bodyguards. They were identifiable by the Totenkopf, the ‘deaths head’ skull insignia worn on their caps and had the distinction of, among other atrocities, running the Third Reich’s concentration camps. The SS were the most ardent and loyal Nazis. Post-war, the SS were judged, prosecuted and often executed as those most guilty of war crimes. Poland is now seeking extradition of Justin Trudeau’s personal favorite ‘war hero’ to face trial in Poland for possible crimes against humanity. It would be practically impossible to find any former member of the SS who completed his service without having committed any war crimes. Since it was the day to day business of the SS to carry out mass executions such as the one that took place at Babi Yar, a ravine near Kiev in Ukraine.
    Zelensky after pumping his fist during a Canadian standing ovation for the old Nazi then returned to Ukraine where he solemnly laid a wreath at a ceremony in Ukraine that recalled the massacre at Babi Yar of over 30 thousand Jews, partisans, Communists, and other enemies of the Reich including Russian prisoners of war.

    • Valerie
      October 2, 2023 at 20:35

      And some history is almost forgotten/excluded:


      • James White
        October 2, 2023 at 23:18

        Poland and Ukraine certainly have some blood-feud history. The only reason that Poland was so pro-Ukraine at the start of the war was because Poland has an even bigger axe to grind with Russia. And don’t think either country would be above grabbing land from their neighbor and ally if things were to break just right.
        Most people have very little understanding of other people and other cultures. Rather than try to understand how things look from another country’s perspective, people tend to apply their own experiences on everyone else and expect them to think and act like us.
        Both Poland and Germany, for example had thousands of years of history of being invaded and tread upon by hostile hordes who entered through neighboring countries. That is a formula for becoming anti-foreigner. Eventually you tend to hate foreigners who come into your country while having forgotten why it is that you do.
        Russia is a vast country with enemies and competitors on all sides. Russia and several other European countries adopted the double-headed eagle on their national flag and seal. This seems a way to express the feeling of having enemies on all sides. No Tsar ever survived as the ruler of Russia without being something of a paranoid tyrant. The terminal Tsar, Nicholas was far too nice a guy to rule the vast territory of diverse peoples in a rapidly changing world. The Communists who forced him out and then murdered his entire family had no such limitations or weakness. Peter the Great barely survived as Tsar, also Catherine. Anyone who vilifies Putin has no understanding of what it takes to remain in power in a country that spans the globe. But of course, those who do vilify Putin often do so for cynical reasons. They manipulate ignorant people who want to see things only in black and white. A binary mask of reality covers what truly exists in more of an analog form. Nothing real is black and white, there are only only shades of grey. But uncertainty makes many people fearful so they cling to absolute beliefs that are only an illusion.
        Senator Lindsey Graham is a perpetrator of this kind of fraud. He must have some deep seated fear that he is able to bury by always making Putin or Xi out to be the villain. Joe Biden is a below average con-man who constantly needs a foil to hide his weaknesses and ill-gotten gains. Before Putin it was Trump who was the bad guy. Biden and Graham are two frauds who are a danger to us all because they would not hesitate to start WW3 just to cover their tracks. We need to get rid of both of them sooner rather than later.

        • Valerie
          October 3, 2023 at 04:05

          Thankyou James. Your reply helps me with my (not very good) history knowledge.

          • James White
            October 3, 2023 at 12:39

            Thank you Valerie. I welcome your feedback and enjoy reading your contributions and those of many other regular commenters here.
            There is more documented history available than any single person can process. I am particularly interested in military history, especially WW1 and WW2. Every historian has some inherent bias. All recorded history must be taken with a healthy grain of salt.
            The history of WW1 primarily taught us that a complex web of alliances caused a domino effect that rapidly turned a local or regional conflict into a worldwide conflagration. Nearly every history book on WW1 begins with this warning. Is has been said that those who fail to study and learn from history risk repeating the same errors. The creation of NATO has led to yet another complex web of alliances that duplicates the mistakes made leading up to WW1. The BRICS nations are now developing an oppositional alliance in response to the dominance of NATO, the G7 and the imposition of the oppressive Western ‘rules based international order.’ Not only is this an obvious reproduction of what failed us prior to WW1, the great powers today and a growing list of smaller nations are armed with nuclear weapons. As a planet, we have clearly learned nothing from our own sordid history. We now risk total annihilation of life on earth that could develop from an error or misunderstanding in the Ukraine conflict between the nuclear armed Russia and the nations of NATO/G7.
            We have thus moved beyond plain ignorance now to complete madness.
            The solution to volatile local and regional conflicts is straightforward. The requirement is to put yourself in the place of your opposition and to make an effort to understand their interests and objectives. One pitfall to be avoided is to assume that others perceive reality in the same way that you do. The fact is they don’t think the same way that you do. We all go through life expecting that others are sharing the same experience that we are having. The fact is that they aren’t. Once you get over that, and get over yourself, all and everything is possible. When stubborn fools are in charge, there is little chance of that happening. The U.S. owes the world leadership in ‘walking a mile in the other guys shoes.’ But as long as ignoramuses like Joe Biden, Anthony Blinken and Victoria Nuland are in those leadership roles, the entire world is in peril.

            • Valerie
              October 4, 2023 at 03:11

              Agree James with all you said. As you are fond of military history, can i recommend this wonderful book about soldiers during the first world war, based on the author’s family stories:


  32. Linda Edwards
    October 2, 2023 at 14:36

    The inversion is breathtaking.

Comments are closed.