25 Mar '15     home | previous

Leonid Brezhnev and Slippery Political BS

Here is an example of minor but slippery bs by a political leader. It's from the Soviet Union more than four decades ago. In 1968, Leonid Brezhnev spoke to thousands of Soviet citizens at ceremony commemorating the Battle of Stalingrad. He said: "Twenty-five years ago our people, our system, won a great victory here on the Volga bank."

The Battle of Stalingrad was big. The killed or missing Soviet military people numbered 478,741, and 650,878 more were wounded. The Soviet Union lost 4,341 tanks destroyed or damaged, 15,728 artillery pieces, and 2,769 combat aircraft. Civilians in Stalingrad and its suburbs died by the thousands. It was right that there be a ceremony and words be spoken about the Soviet people who fought and died there. The bs was Brezhnev slipping in "our system" as part of the triumph. It was the kind of inappropriate promotion that mars serious commemoration.

Brezhnev was the Secretary General of the Communist Party. The Communist Party was in power and organized the war effort, but a historian with half a brain can't declare the Soviet "system" as having been a necessary ingredient in the victory won by the Soviet people. They won despite the Communist Party and its leader during the war, Joseph Stalin.

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