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Victims Of Communism
June 13, 2007 13:55 GMT
the history and current work
of Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe.
An undated photo of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin playing with his daughter, Svetlana (AFP) - Shortly after the death of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin in 1924, Joseph Stalin rose to total power in the Soviet Union. Before his death in 1953, Stalin caused the deaths of millions through purges, manmade famines, and deportations.
A service for victims of Ukraine's Great Famine in Lviv in November 2006 (AFP) - Up to 10 million people starved to death in the Great Famine of 1932-33 in Ukraine. Historians attribute the famine, which also affected other parts of the Soviet Union, to the policies of Stalin's government. Ukrainian authorities today consider it an act of genocide, designed to destroy the Ukrainian nation as a political and cultural entity.
Jan Wallenberg unveils a monument to his cousin, Raoul Wallenberg, in Moscow in January 2001 (AFP) - Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg saved thousands of Jews during World War II by handing out Swedish passports from the embassy in Budapest, often as they were already on their way to Nazi death camps. Wallenberg was later arrested by the Soviet secret police. According to Russian authorities, he died in the gulag in July 1947, but there have been reports that he was seen alive considerably later.
A Soviet Red Army tank in downtown Budapest on November 12, 1956 (AFP) - In October and November 1956, Hungarians rose up against the Soviet domination of their country. Several thousand Hungarians and an estimated 750 Soviet troops were killed in the fighting. Some 200,000 Hungarians fled the country, while some 13,000 were imprisoned for their role in the unsuccessful uprising.
A poster in Beijing showing the Red Guard fighting "antirevolutionary forces" in January 1966 (AFP) - China's Cultural Revolution began in May 1966 and was officially described as an effort to intensify the class struggle and weed out bourgeois elements. Although officially ended in 1969, many aspects continued until 1976. During this period, millions were persecuted and as many as half a million people perished.
People aiding victims of the fighting in Prague on August 21, 1968 (AFP) - In 1968, the Czechoslovak government attempted to initiate liberal reforms, beginning a process that culminated in the August military intervention by Warsaw Pact forces. Some 70 Czechoslovaks were killed and hundreds injured in the fighting. Ultimately, some 300,000 fled the country.
Nobel Prize laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn arrives in Frankfurt after being expelled from the Soviet Union in February 1974 - Alexander Solzhenitsyn is best known for his monumental "The Gulag Archipelago," a massive account of the Soviet labor-camp system. He spent three years in a labor camp, followed by years in internal exile in Kazakhstan. Solzhenitsyn criticized both communist aggression and perceived Western decadence. He returned to Russia in 1992 and has since promoted Russian nationalism and Orthodoxy.
Marxist MPLA fighters in Angola in 1974 (AFP) - Angola gained its independence from Portugal in 1974 and was immediately plunged into civil war. The fighting was formally ended in 2002, making the 27-war Africa's longest-running conflict. An estimated 500,000 people were killed in the war, which was widely viewed as a Cold War surrogate conflict. Both the Soviet bloc and the United States provided military and other assistance to the factions involved.
An undated photo of a forced labor camp in Cambodia during the rule of the Khmer Rouge (AFP) - The communist Khmer Rouge controlled Cambodia from 1975-79. An estimated 1.5 million people died of perseuction or starvation under their brutal rule -- of a total population of 7.5 million. The Khmer Rouge were ousted by an invasion from Vietnam in 1979.
A striking shipyard worker in Gdansk is visited by relatives in August 1980 (AFP) - Poland's Solidarity movement was founded in September 1980 at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk and was headed by Lech Walesa. The movement grew into a broad anticommunist initiative that led to the collapse of the Polish communist system in 1989. In December 1989, Walesa became president of Poland.
U.S. President Ronald Reagan preparing to give his Berlin Wall speech in June 1987 - Speaking near Berlin's Brandenburg Gate on June 12, 1987, U.S. President Ronald Reagan appealled directly to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev: "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! "
The Goddess of Freedom statue during Tiananmen Square protests in June 1989 - In April 1989, Chinese students began a pro-democracy demonstration in Beijing's central Tiananmen Square. On May 4, some 100,000 people joined the demonstration and week later hundreds of demonstrating students launched a hunger strike. Protests in other cities prompted the government to send in troops on June 4. At least several hundred protesters were killed in the crackdown.
The Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington, D.C., on June 12, 2007 (AFP) - The Victims of Communism Memorial is designed to replicate the Goddess of Freedom statue that was erected on Beijing's Tiananmen Square during pro-democracy demonstrations in 1989. "We'll never know the names of all who perished, but at this sacred place, communism's unknown victims will be consecrated to history and remembered forever," U.S. President George W. Bush said at the unveiling.
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