Natan Sharansky, the famous Soviet-era refusnik, notes with sadness that the USSR’s dissolution was not followed by legal proceedings against those who had for years inflicted terror on the masses. More people died and are still dying as the result of actions taken by Communist regimes than any other ideology, a fact of which most people are unaware. Just as the Nuremberg trials demonstrated the connection between Nazi ideology and Hitler’s murderous reign, a public trial of Soviet rulers would have shown the inextricable link between Soviet communist ideology and the death of many millions.
“Today, when Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and his regime’s countless other transgressions are inspired and justified by Soviet-era ideology, we see how tragic it is that such an accounting never took place,” he wrote in last week’s Washington Post.
This is important because in China, Mao, the most murderous of all the communist dictators, is still revered as a liberator. And it isn’t uncommon for students and professors at elite universities to be wearing Che Guevera tee shirts.
There is some good news: Florida is joining other states in trying to remind students of the evils of totalitarianism. Public schools will now be required to dedicate at least 45 minutes of instruction on “Victims of Communism Day” to teach about the evils and inhumanity of totalitarian government.
“It’s our responsibility to make sure people know about the atrocities committed by people like Fidel Castro and even more recently people like Nicolas Maduro,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis told a group at Miami’s Freedom Tower this month.
This makes good sense. Just as students should learn of the horrors of slavery and the Holocaust, it is perfectly appropriate that they also learn about the evils of communist systems that forced so many immigrants to leave countries ranging from Albania to Vietnam and come to America for a new life.