I'm not sure if you noticed this or not, but a tiny news item in the April 24th issue of the Moscow Times reported the most astonishing and horrifying event of the last ten years. I didn't catch it myself, it was so small; it was Dr. Dolan who kept reminding me to read it, he was so astonished.
Here is what made the small print. Between 1989, the last time a census was taken in Russia, and 2002, the most recent census, "Russia lost 7.4 million people." That's how the Moscow Times reported it, in exactly those words: "Russia lost 7.4 million people."
Where did they go? How were they "lost"?
The disappearance of 7.4 million people, according to the tiny 155-word article, was "due to a minuscule birth rate and an overall decline in health following the breakup of the Soviet Union." This was a nice way of saying that millions died. That's it. Millions - I repeat, MILLIONS - went to their graves long before they normally would have been expected to - before the so-called market reforms.
Normally we at the eXile would turn this awful tragedy into a cheap joke. We rarely shy away from converting the most horrible tragedy into a bad one-liner just because no one else would ever dare. But this joke - the awful disappearance of 7.4 million Russians - has already has been converted into a sick ten-liner that we could never top, and wouldn't want to. I mean, when the disappearance of 7.4 million people makes the last item of a "news in brief" section of the local expatriate newspaper...how the hell can we top that? That's five percent of the population wiped out! Disappeared! Extinct! Even in print they were "lost"!
What makes the recent Russian genocide so sick is not only the tragedy of millions going to an untimely death, but even worse, a self-congratulatory West praising it all and covering it up as if it was some kind of triumph for humanity. They don't even pretend to care, and never have. In fact, the best way you can tell that this is a truly awful tragedy is precisely because it was and is ignored. That's what Westerners do when confronted with realities too awful to accept: they ignore them.
The West responded in exactly this fashion to the extermination of some 10 million Congolese by the Belgians around the turn-of-the-century. The story was ignored, the Belgians were praised as humanitarians, and the holocaust simply didn't exist until it was uncovered a few years ago, or nearly 100 years later, by an American journalist.
Why won't the West face up to the Russian genocide of the 1990s? Because the West was complicit: the genocide took place right under the nose of, and with the guidance of, Western experts. In fact, the whole thing was the result of Russia's Westernization. Anders Aslund, Michael McFaul, Michael Spector, Fred Hiatt - you name 'em, they all praised the holocaust as the greatest thing that ever happened to Russia.
So how could a genocide possibly happen when a country Westernizes? If such a thing did take place - and the statistics are as clear as day - then that means that the West must take its place alongside Stalin and Hitler as one of history's greatest exterminators of Russians. No Westerner can accept that - hence, the story winds up as the very last item in the News In Brief in the local English-language press.
"But," I hear our readers in the West squeal, "we had Western journalists all over Russia! Surely they'd report it!"
To answer that question, let me quote for you a review by Mark Herring of S.J. Taylor's book, Stalin's Apologist: Walter Duranty, the New York Times Man in Moscow:
"Almost single-handedly did Duranty aid and abet one of the world's most prolific mass murderers, knowing all the while what was going on but refraining from saying precisely what he knew to be true. He had swallowed the ends-justifies-the-means-argument hook, line and sinker. When Stalin's atrocities were brought to light, Duranty loved to repeat 'you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.' Those 'eggs' were the heads of men, women and children, and those 'few' were merely tens of millions."