Latvian filmmaker Edvins Snore’s documentary urges a serious reconsideration the history of the Soviet Union during the 1930s and 1940s. For those who think they’ve seen everything they need to know about wartime Europe, this film will provide an extraordinary jolt to the senses.
Many of the issues and events presented here have either been stubbornly ignored by the Western media or have been glossed over as mere footnotes in a wider history of World War II-era Europe: the genocidal famine against the Ukrainian population, the Soviet Union’s initial alliance with Hitler and its participation in the invasion of Poland, the Soviet war against Finland, the Soviet conquest of the neutral Baltic republics, the return of Jewish refugees to Nazi control and the massacre of Polish soldier at Katyn. Even after Stalin became allied with Roosevelt and Churchill, his madness continued. After the liberation of Nazi-controlled Europe, Soviet troops used the German concentration camps to incarcerate their own political prisoners.
Very rare newsreel and photographic evidence is presented here – this is the first time I recall ever seeing any footage of the 1933 famine in Ukraine and the 1939 invasion of Finland – and interviews with aged survivors of the Soviet atrocities provide a chilling first-person account of this bloody history. Even more disturbing is vintage footage of supposedly intelligent Western intellectuals supporting the Stalinist concepts of eliminating entire populations – most strikingly, George Bernard Shaw’s vocal pre-war support of genocidal policies.
The film laments the West’s continued inability acknowledge the gross Soviet human rights violations during these years – Stalin’s belated alliance with the U.S. and U.K. in defeating Nazi Germany is still considered to be more significant than the atrocities committed under his command, thus resulting in a warped revisionist spin. For anyone who possesses interest in the history of wartime Europe, this disturbing and tragic documentary needs to be studied.