It was a distress signal disguised as a military display: a Mayday for May Day, where the peoples of the Soviet Union were forced to appear in public—and maintain appearances—so there was uniformity of purpose and unanimity about policy. But their eyes belied their euphoria because no regime can endure at the cost of enslavement.
No ideology can last when its survival depends on the suppression of different ideas. No system of government can outlive its disregard for the lives of its own citizens. No amount of compulsion can suffice for consent. Not when so many—including the Russians, the Germans, the Poles, the Czechs, the Georgians, the Armenians, and the Baltic states—had no choice but to submit, or starve and die.
And yet, famine came in equal servings to the pliant and petulant alike. It was the meal of “progress” in a land whose farms were confiscated, whose farmers were shot or conscripted, whose foodstuffs were collectivized and left to rot.
It was the legacy of central planning without a plan, save one: genocide. It was a solution whose finality was so total its remembrance is more of an afterthought than a thoughtful—and necessary—moment of silence for the millions murdered throughout Ukraine.
It was the evilness of this empire that required us to contain Soviet communism, until we could transcend it; that had us come to Berlin and quarantine Cuba, until half the city was saved and all the missiles were removed; that had us sacrifice our own blood and treasure in South Vietnam, until we could have even the briefest peace with honor; that had us wage proxy wars throughout Central and South America, and in Africa and Afghanistan, too, until victory was won.
That victory belongs to the living and the dead, to all who suffered mightily—and struggled silently—to defeat this wicked enemy.
In the end, we buried Communism.
Let us ensure it stays that way.