“Immortal regiment” march in Toronto – shameful display of Russian propaganda

Snapshot of the video of the march. Source: ren.tv 

Op-ed

Article by: Antonina Kumka

The Soviet Union has left a terrible legacy, which to this day continues poisoning the minds of so many around the world.
The Soviet Union has destroyed millions of lives. Lenin and Stalin, the “great” Soviet leaders have brought torture, destruction and death to tens of millions of homes of occupied countries, such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus, Moldova and to the homes of Crimean Tatars, who wanted to preserve their identity. Some countries and nations suffered more because they resisted harder. Ukraine’s Holodomor (an artificial famine genocide) in the 1930s was one of the world’s most treacherous massacres, orchestrated by Stalin.

When the Soviet Union leaders first supported Nazi Germany and then, realizing that they were next, joined the anti-Nazi Germany Alliance during World War 2, the Soviet Army was made up of the representatives of all countries of the Union. It is estimated that every 5th soldier of the Soviet Army was Ukrainian.

There were also those Ukrainians who opposed being drafted and fight in the Soviet Army. They were insurgents and their goal was to free Ukraine from either Soviet or German occupation. These Ukrainians were heavily persecuted by the Stalin regime and ruthlessly punished.

Today, the leadership of the Russian Federation is trying to revive the image of Stalin and to glorify his deeds. They call May the 9th “Victory Day,” claiming that Russia won the “Great War” with Nazi Germany.

Indeed, 9 May 1945 was the day when Hitler’s Germany could not advance anymore and capitulated. But it was not Russia, but the countries of the Soviet Union together with their Western allies that made it happen. Around 25 million of Soviet people were killed fighting Hitler. For many, it was not a victory, it was a day of mourning. Yes, they were happy it was over, but they always felt there was nothing to celebrate.

Read also: The Soviet foundations of Russia’s Great Patriotic War myth

For Ukrainians, it also meant living under Soviet occupation for another 40 years, until gaining independence in 1991.
During Soviet times many Ukrainiaтs, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Belorussians escaped to Canada. They had only two choices: be sentenced to death or flee.

Many of them continued living in fear in the new country, never saying a word even to their children about where they came from, who they were back home and why they escaped.

To them, the Georgian ribbon, the hammer and sickle, the red star were and still remain the worst reminders of the atrocities they had to either live through or witness back in the Soviet Union and which they have escaped, hoping their children would never ever see anything like that again.

They were wrong.

Putin propaganda, planned and executed in the best traditions of the Soviet times, spreads around the world like cancer. It helped Putin occupy parts of Ukraine, including Crimea, in 2014 and not get much resistance from the Western World. Because of it, Ukrainians are being killed every day protecting their country and Europe from the Russian invasion.

Unfortunately, there are still many of those willing to help spread the poison of the Soviet propaganda, either for money or because they believe in it.

These people march with Stalin portraits in their hands, wear Georgian ribbons, shout out Soviet-style slogans about the greatness of Russia, of Putin, of Stalin.

And this is happening in Canada!

In the past two weeks, a group of Stalin and Putin “worshipers” has organized a rally from Toronto to Hamilton and a march in Downtown Toronto. Proudly wearing the symbols of death, genocide, massacre and persecutions of millions of innocent people.

 

It is a shame that in Canada today those who escaped the Soviet Union and those who have been affected by Russian aggression recently and at present (Georgia, Ukraine), have to witness this offensive mockery.

It is time for Canada to denounce the Georgian ribbon, the hammer and sickle and other Soviet, communist symbols and forbid their public display.

This would be one of the strongest moves Canada could take in countering Russian propaganda and supporting the democratic processes in Eastern Europe and around the World.

Antonina Kumka is the director of the Ukraine Prosthetic Assistance Project, President of Canada-Ukraine International Assistance Fund, and math teacher. Originally from Chernivtsi, Ukraine, she now lives in Toronto, Canada.
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