Fake News or Fake Friends?

March 16, 2017

By Sharon M. Kennedy
    I don’t understand the current hysteria surrounding the White House and the Russians. Every day another bit of fuel is added to a spark that has become a raging fire. We have no idea what’s true or half-true or a total lie. When did things get so complicated?  We know Hillary lost the Electoral College vote. She’s out of it. She’s done. What we don’t know and probably never will is not so obvious.


    Did the Russians have a hand in her demise or did she hang herself with emails and Benghazi? Or was it just time for a change? It’s my opinion that whichever party occupies the Oval Office for eight years is going to lose the next election. In 2007, the donkeys could have nominated Donald Duck and he would have won. In 2016, the elephants could have nominated a billionaire loudmouth who was a cross between Daffy Duck and Santa Claus. Oops. I guess they did and he won.
    In light of the mess in Washington, I thought it appropriate to remind folks of Nikita Khrushchev. Remember him? He was the fellow who said, “We will bury you.”

That doesn’t sound very friendly, but perhaps it’s not as deplorable as the words of Vladimir Lenin. A quick Google search came up with these gems: “First we will take Eastern Europe and then the masses of Asia. We will encircle the last bastion of capitalism, the USA. We will not need to fight. It will fall as ripe fruit into our hands. The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”


    It should be noted that at the time these statements were made, the USSR was under communist rule. Since the breakup of the Union, something called the Russian Federation was created. A “federation” is defined as a group of autonomous states unified by a central government and composed of executive, legislative, and judicial branches. In other words, President Putin controls what we’re headed for, a “managed authoritarian, capitalist democracy.” Khrushchev and Lenin must be laughing in their graves.


    In 1981, I interviewed Victor Herman, a survivor of Soviet prison camps. He was born in the United States and living in Detroit when he moved to Russia with his family in 1931. His Russian born father saw an opportunity to help industrialize his homeland through a plan called “Fordization” initiated by the Ford Motor Company.  


     Approximately 300 American families were sent to Gorky to build an auto plant. Most returned, but not Victor. Unwilling to sign a document stating he was a Soviet citizen, he was arrested, imprisoned and forced to live and work in subhuman conditions.


    Looking through my notes from all those years ago, I was intrigued by Herman’s words. “Every place I go, I warn people about Communism. I’ve lived under it. I know what the Russians are capable of. I know how they think. For 10 years, I struggled to stay alive in their prison camps. I survived by eating rats that ate the flesh of dead prisoners surrounding me in Siberian gulags.”


    Herman passed away in 1985, prior to the passing of communism. He probably would not recognize the Russia of today. Since capitalism replaced communism, it occurred to me that perhaps The Donald just wanted to ask Putin if Gorky was a great place to build a Trump Vodka Distillery. After all, the past is forgotten and the Russians no longer arrest people on bogus charges and send them to Siberia. We’re good friends, right? Just ask the shareholders of Ford, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and dozens of other so called “American” companies doing business in Russia. They’ll tell you things couldn’t be better so what’s all the fuss about a few off-the-record conversations?


    NOTE: Herman’s story is told in his book, Coming out of the Ice: An Unexpected Life. The book was made into a movie and can be seen on YouTube or ordered from Amazon.
    Kennedy is a freelance writer who resides in Brimley.