There is a scene in Sergei Eisenstein’s great art film Ivan the Terrible, where the Russian troops are preparing for the battle of Kazan. As the soldiers march onto the battlefield, each takes a small coin from a bowl. The narrator explains that when the battle is over, the surviving soldiers will each return his coin to the bowl. Since they knew how many coins were in the bowl to start with, it will be a simple matter to calculate how many died in the battle.
So, I have this piece from yesterday. This is the web site of the Novgorod regional Investigative Committee. (Sort of like the American FBI.) On April 29 word reached the IC of a mass grave discovered in the Novgorod Oblast, more precisely near a village called Zhestyana Gorka, in the Batetsky Region of Novgorod. The pit was found by a volunteer organization called “Dolina” which searches for as-yet undiscovered mass graves dating back to the Great Patriotic War (=WWII).
After being informed of this discovery, the Investigative Committee sent a team of criminalists to examine the site. A very high priority was given to this cold case.
In the first examination of the site, five skeletonized corpses were extracted from the pit. Of which three showed clear signs of having been shot in the head. Some personal items and scraps of clothing have also been found. Also found near the grave site were spent cartridges of firearms. The cartridges are of foreign manufacture.
The technicians are working to establish the age, gender, and cause of death, of the remains. The working hypothesis is that this is a grave of civilians shot by the Nazis during WWII.
It is believed there are at least 6 pits in the village of Zhestyana Gorka. It is believed that the pits contain somewhere in the vicinity of 3,000 Soviet citizens of various nationalities, among them women and children, and that they were shot by the Nazis during the years 1941-43.
Discussion And Analysis
In a previous post about the Salaspils concentration camp in Latvia, we discussed the fact that the Soviet security forces could sometimes be quite slipshod about actually counting the dead. The Soviet government sometimes just preferred to build monumental sculptures to honor the dead, than to actually count and name them — playing on emotions rather than logic. There were reasons for this, however:
- Scare resources had to go into rebuilding the country rather than digging about for graves. Counter-argument: A lot of this effort could have been out-sourced to volunteer organizations such as “Dolina”, or their Soviet equivalents.
- The science was not as strong in those days, DNA analysis had not been invented yet, and sometimes all people had to work with was tiny bone fragments. Again: too much effort and too few resources.
- Mostly importantly (in my opinion): The Soviet government was aware that the Nazis were not alone in their crimes and employed local assistants and collaborators everywhere they went. Better to just sweep this under the rug and not air the family’s dirty laundry, or whatever other cliches…
Whatever the reasons back then for not embarking on this vast project to count the dead; none of those reasons exist any more. Which is why the work of organizations like “Dolina” are so important. It is so crucially important to continue to show the world the bestial crimes committed by the veritable Horde of European nations (led by Germany) against the Russian civilian population.
Having said that, I see some disturbing signs even in the current story. For example, from just five skeletons (so far), the reporters are rushing to the conclusion that there are thousands of corpses in these pits. Which there probably are, but please don’t say it until you’ve proved it!
They are also rushing to say that these corpses are from WWII. Again, most probably they are, but wait until the DNA analysis, or whatever other scientific methods proves it.
It goes without saying that Russia’s enemies, those who joined the Horde to destroy Russia, will just sneer and say, “Oh, those people are probably victims of Stalin’s terror.” Which is why it is very important to prove, with scientific and forensic accuracy, to the degree possible, exactly who these people were, and who murdered them. Again, we all know the answer; but, still, it must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
Deniers will deny… Recall this piece about how Russia’s enemies plan to “manage” Russia’s destruction and dissolution. One of the action bullets is to discredit everything linked with the dominating state culture, language and history. For example, bashing everything “Russian”, the creation and promotion of offensive language and terms (Russian – Vatnik), a wide spread of derogatory language and the mutilation of words, terms and names.
In the troubled modern Russian entity, one of the few remaining ideological anchors uniting the Russian citizenry is the memory of the Great Patriotic War, and the astounding victory of the Soviet people. Therefore, this one anchor is the target of many attacks by Russia’s enemies. If they can get the Russian people to believe that they did not, in fact, win; or that they did not deserve to win; or that they were fighting on the wrong side — then they will have achieved an ideological victory over the Russian entity.
Part of this ideological attack is to question the numbers of the dead; or, like any murderer does, to point the finger at someone else: It was Stalin who killed his own people, not Hitler. One of the lamest arguments these people employ, which is just lame enough to engage the stupid, goes something like: Stalin was a greater evil than Hitler. Hitler only killed 6 million people, but Stalin killed something like 20 million. Or more. Maybe even 100 million! Which is particularly dumb since, as the pro-Stalinists point out, the Soviet population actually increased during the Stalin era. Until the war, that is.
Just like the bowl holding the tiny coins, the numbers tell the story: After the Germans were driven out of Belorussia and the population came to be counted, 2/3 of them were simply gone. After the Germans were driven out of the town of Novgorod and the population came to be counted, the former 48,000 souls were down to just a few dozen people.
Similar calculations are done on, say, Europe’s Jews, and gee, where did they all go? which doesn’t stop the Holocaust Deniers from calling the extermination camps a fiction. Well, stupid people can never be convinced. However, running the numbers is still an effective debating tool for the rational part of the human population. Which believes in numbers and facts. Which is why I think it is important for the Russian government to get this right when digging up new graves: Just the facts. Ma’am. Just the numbers. No speculation until you know. And after that: Only the truth about what you found in those pits.