The Soviet Story — a documentary about Soviet crimes and Soviets' cooperation with the Nazis

June 15, 2008

I just watched The Soviet Story. Wikipedia page of the film. Here’s the trailer.

It’s a documentary about some of the Soviet crimes against its own people (Holodomor, forced deportations – how fitting to post this on June 14, my national remembrance day). More importantly, it underlines the similarity of Soviet and Nazi regimes and important ways of how they helped each other. It wasn’t of course new to me that they were both criminal regimes, but I did not really know the extent of their cooperation before 1941. We see footage of their generals celebrating victories together, joint army parades and such. This film illustrates all this with powerful archival materials. Did you know that after liberating concentration camps like Auschwitz, Soviets didn’t tear them down? Rather, they continued to use them for their own purposes, getting rid of enemies of their own using pretty much the same methods that Nazis did.

It ends with a conclusion of how Europe lacks political will to fully condemn Communist crimes against humanity because “this is not how the world works”. With Germany and Russia building gas pipelines together, it is difficult to imagine one being vocal against the other, and requiring e.g extradition of former Soviet KGB interrogators who tortured many people to death. They continue to live in Moscow as decorated veterans.

This is not a pure documentary and not a pure scholarly work. It injects drama and cinematography that goes beyond what we usually see in documentaries. I agree with Edward Lucas from the Economist (the same as a post in his blog), though, who says…

Mr Snore and his sponsors in the European Parliament have produced a sharply provocative work. Its tone, technique and composition may be open to criticism. But those who want to ban it should try refuting it first.

I don’t think you can buy this movie anywhere yet, I hope it reaches wider distribution soon, so that I could get it as DVD or such.

UPDATE: I’ve recently seen a pattern in some recent political discussions on the Internet about the events in Europe during World War II where those supporting Russian imperialist view try to discredit those sympathizing the Baltic view, in the form of “you do not support Soviet communists, therefore you support Nazis”. I don’t think this is an either-or choice. You do not have to support either. It’s OK to say that both were criminal regimes whose days are over, whose sympathizers live dangerous false dreams, and whose living perpetrators must be brought to justice.