Masha Gessen: Are Totalitarianisms Like Snowflakes?Roundup: Media's Take
tags: NYT, Nazis, Hitler, Russia, Stalin, Masha Gessen, totalitarianism
Masha Gessen is a journalist in Moscow and the author of “The Man Without a Face,” a biography of Vladimir Putin.
MOSCOW — Just saying that a Jew should have been made into a lampshade does not make you an anti-Semite, or so a prominent columnist asserted recently. And just because both Nazism and Soviet Communism were totalitarian regimes does not mean they are comparable. Such arguments, counterarguments and variations of them have dominated Russian blogs, social networks and some of the traditional media for the last week.
The debate began when the liberal Leonid Gozman wrote a blog entry equating Smersh, the Stalin-era counterintelligence agencies — the name is an acronym for “death to spies” — with the Nazi S.S. The occasion was a television mini-series about Smersh, released on the anniversary of the end of World War II. Gozman asked readers to imagine a miniseries that portrayed S.S. officers as “honest soldiers who show themselves to be capable of outstanding bravery and self-sacrifice.” A show like that is unthinkable, he wrote, in Russia or in Germany, because “Germans born years after that nightmare are still ashamed of the S.S. uniform.” Yet the officers of Smersh, wrote Gozman, were as criminal as the S.S.: “They did not have handsome uniforms, but that is their only significant distinction from the S.S.”...
comments powered by Disqus
- Why Michigan’s Top Legislators Should Cancel that Meeting with Trump
- Tom Cotton Attacks "Revisionist History" of Thanksgiving on Senate Floor
- Whose History? AI Uncovers Who Gets Attention in High School Textbooks
- Native History Is Washington History, And Tribes Are Helping Schools Teach It
- When Schools Closed, Americans Turned to Their Usual Backup Plan: Mothers
- Female Pirate Lovers Whose Story was Ignored by Male Historians Immortalized with Statue
- The Devil Had Nothing to Do With It
- Hong Kong's New Rules have Created Confusion in the Classroom. Some Parents are Pulling their Children Out
- Whitewashing the Great Depression (Review)
- What Did Europe Smell Like Centuries Ago? Historians Set Out to Recreate Lost Scents