This is the Real Russia Story You Should Care About

While everyone is losing their marbles over unfounded Russian collusion claims here in the U.S., this story out of Russia actually is quite troubling.

Meet 61-year-old gulag grave researcher and Soviet crime truth teller Yury Dmitriyev. Dmitriyev is a member of Russia’s oldest human rights group, Memorial, that has tirelessly worked to expose Soviet repression of deaths behind the Iron Curtain last century. Here’s more on the group:

The Human Rights Center’s mission is to promote general respect and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms both in the Russian Federation and in other states.
The HRC “Memorial” sets the following aims and tasks: observing of human rights and fundamental freedoms execution; giving publicising and giving reliable information about considerable violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms; attracting the attention of public governmental and international institutions to these kind of violations; conducting and supporting of research aimed at the study of serious human rights violations; assisting with observance of humanitarian law and the peaceful resolution of conflicts under the conditions of military conflicts; assistance with the adoption by power holding structures of legal acts correspondent to international rules in the domain of human rights observance; theoretical and practical enlightenment of human rights and humanitarian law.

Dmitriyev was arrested in December 2016 on account of three alleged crimes: child pornography, child endangerment, and illegal possession of a firearm–unfounded charges being hurled at him for exposing Soviet crimes the Kremlin still denies today. If convicted, he faces 15 years in jail.

He and his wife adopted a young girl, then age 3, and documented her progress from malnourished to healthy. Per Guardian, experts have assessed the photos and found nothing contentious about them. Dmitriyev himself was adopted as a child. As for the firearm, Dmitriyev’s supporters are confident that his crime of “owning parts of a non-working hunting rifle” is a stretch too far. As of this writing, over 31,000 people signed a petition calling for the patently false charges against him to be dropped.

“For our government to become … accountable, we need to educate the people,” Dmitriyev said to The Guardian.

Prior to Dmitriyev’s arrest, members of his group Memorial were labeled “foreign agents” by the Kremlin. Here’s more about Dmitriyev’s work to uncover the truth about the victims of Stalin’s crimes:

Using detailed documents uncovered in KGB archives, Dmitriev was able to piece together the location where Stalin’s execution squads killed and buried more than 9,500 people from 1937 to 1938. The documents contained the dates and names of those killed, as well as the executioners’ names. During the next two decades, Dmitriev worked meticulously to document every victim’s story.

Today, Sandarmokh, as the site became known, is a memorial to the people of more than 60 nationalities buried here, including those from Norway, Finland, Poland, Ukraine and Russia.

Interestingly enough, Dmitriyev’s work has included uncovering more about the White Sea gulag, or Belomor Canal gulag, where my maternal grandpa was imprisoned for 18 months:

Located near the Solovetsky islands, the birthplace of the gulag, the Karelia region in north-west Russia is where tens of thousands of prisoners were shot or died digging the infamous White Sea canal for Stalin’s first five-year plan. As an aide to a regional official, Dmitriyev first began searching for their graves after being summoned to deal with remains uncovered by an excavator at a military base in 1988.

Soon he began trying to identify victims of the mass executions, which were carried out covertly. During the brief period when secret police archives were opened up in the 1990s, Dmitriyev managed to read thousands of execution orders into his tape recorder. He could then try to match each group of skeletons he found to a specific order.

If I had the opportunity to meet this gentleman, I would happily thank him for attempting to bring justice to the victims of Stalin’s crimes. This stuff — the silencing of dissidents, the imprisonment of those who challenge revisionist history, or persecution of those who wish to reform Russia — is what the American press should be up in arms about. Where were they when Putin assumed office in 2000? (Most likely excusing his actions.) They should start caring about combating revisionist history in that nation, not instigating war with a tyrant like Putin by delegitimizing Trump’s election. Like Trump or not, you’re stuck with him. Deal with it.

For those unaware about modern-day Russia, there is a resurgence of Neo-Sovietism in the country being propped up by the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin. (I wrote about this in great detail at Townhall several years ago.) In June, Stalin was rated the “most outstanding figure in world history” by the Levada Center with 38 percent–followed by current president Vladimir Putin at 34 percent. Approximately 1,600 people were polled. Also in June: Putin sat down in an interview with Oliver Stone and said that the “excessive demonization” of Stalin is a “means of attacking the Soviet Union and Russia.

If you’re only outraged about the Kremlin’s behavior since Election 2016, your concern is disingenuous at best–especially if you’ve excused Soviet crimes in the past. Challenging orthodoxy in that country–especially holding Russia’s government accountable for denying its past crimes against humanity under Soviet rule – is grounds for punishment, imprisonment, and yes, even death, in the modern day.

This is the real Russia story. Start covering it.

Russia Has Inserted Itself In American Politics Thanks to Both Parties

Russia is not only trying to reassert itself in Eastern Europe, it has found ways to reassert itself in American politics.

I hate to agree with 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, but he was correct in his assertion that Russia is the biggest geopolitical foe the U.S. has. Flashback to the third presidential debate between Obama and Russia from 2012:

Members of both parties have cozied up to the Kremlin over the decades. The majority of the Democrat Party has been reluctant to condemn Soviet crimes, but apparently voiced their disdain for Vladimir Putin at their convention in Philadelphia last week. (What took them so long? Smells like opportunism to me.) Some Republican lawmakers have sung the praises of Putin given his apparent “strength” and machismo-including the current *Republican nominee for president.

Let’s see where the top candidates for president stand on Russia, according to their past actions or affiliations:

Donald Trump

Donald Trump certainly desires to be a American oligarch in the image of Putin, but with far less brutality. He recently joked that Russia should reveal all 33,000 emails belonging to Hillary Clinton. Of the two candidates, Trump appears more pro-Kremlin than Clinton. (More on her Russian dealings later.) His key advisors are Putin stooges who’ve meddled in Ukraine’s elections to help elect pro-Kremlin politicians like Viktor F. Yanukovich to power. Trump also said that those in Crimea already feel Russian so no need to give control back to Ukraine–which he backtracked this week. Trump said if he’s president, Crimea won’t be invaded by Russia–although Russia invaded and usurped it from under Ukraine’s nose in 2014. Here are his full remarks on Crimea and Russia:

 “He’s not going into Ukraine, OK, just so you understand. He’s not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want.”

“I’m going to take a look at it,” he said. “But you know, the people of Crimea, from what I’ve heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were. And you have to look at that, also … just so you understand, that was done under Obama’s administration.”

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton is no saint with respect to Russia either. She helped orchestrate the failed Russian “reset” deal with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in 2009. She handed him a button assuming it read “reset” but it actually translated to “overcharge.” Watch the exchange below:

And more incriminating? Mrs. Clinton and her husband Bill Clinton raked in $145 million for their Clinton Foundation in the controversial Russian uranium deal. Below are the full details on the shady deal:

At the heart of the tale are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One.

Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.

During her stint as Secretary of State, Clinton also pledged billions of American dollars in the “creation of a Russian “Silicon Valley” whose technological innovations include Russian hypersonic cruise-missile engines, radar surveillance equipment, and vehicles capable of delivering airborne Russian troops,” writes Peter Schweizer. Scary.

Both candidates have made troubling statements or awful gestures that have emboldened Russia militarily, financially, or morally to some degree. Although American interests should come first, it’s imperative to be aware of Russia’s influence – however direct or indirect – on American electoral politics.

Davai, comrades!