S. V. Welborn
May 9th is the day we remember the Soviet and Ally victory over the scourge of German Nazism and Italian Fascism. We can never forget the immense sacrifices made to gain this victory, several hundred thousand Americans, French and British, 20 million Chinese people and 27 million Soviet citizens all died to protect all freedom-loving people the world over.
It is a tragedy that this day is not remembered as it should be in the United States since it was our victory as much as well. However, the Russian diaspora community in the USA still holds this day as sacred, even those with anti-Soviet sentiment.
US Friends of Soviet People were privileged to be invited to celebrate Victory Day at the Seattle Russian Community Center. In attendance and invited by USFSP was the YouTuber and influencer Lady Izdihar, who makes content centering around Soviet history and culture.
What should have been a day a solemn commemoration of the heroes of the day was somewhat marred by viscous slander and harassment from a group of people protesting the event. They came clad in Ukrainian flags, though many were simply English speaking Americans not aware of the history they were spitting on. They harassed, verbally abused and blocked the entrance for as many Russian people as they could. These scoundrels held effigies covered in fake blood and sign denouncing Putin, of course they did not actually have any reason to believe this was some sort of pro-War or pro-Putin event.
It is difficult to imagine how these protesters had not took into account the optics of protesting an anti-Nazi event at a time like the present. The Ukrainian Community already has to worry about being associated with Fascism, considering the Fascist regime in Kiev. Make no mistake, it is Fascist. The current government residing over the Ukraine has all the classic hallmarks of Fascism. They ban trade unions, they ban opposition parties, they ban any mention or glorification of socialism, communism and the Soviet Union, they oppress religious groups and they foster ethnic hatred. These protesters who disrespected the memory of all the brave people who fought to destroy Fascism are not doing well to dispel this reputation. 8 million of those soldiers and civilians who died where Ukrainians themselves, they must be rolling in their graves.
It would be temping to think that these protesters were merely ignorant, naive of the gravity of the event they were protesting. This certainly can not be said for those leading the event. We saw some familiar faces in that crowd, people we spoke at an anti-War event in opposition to NATO expansion and US meddling in the region. Were these Ukrainian activists calling for an end to the NATO and US influence that started this war and caused so many of their people to perish? No! They were begging for more weapons and the war to continue until their impossible victory, no matter the human cost. Again, you might be temped to give this people the benefit of the doubt, but to our faces they defended the legacy of the Nazi collaborator and perpetrator of the Holocaust, Stefan Bandera. There is no two ways about it, the leadership of these protesters were Nazi apologists. Some of these people even tried to infiltrate and disrupt the event, but thanks to US Friends of Soviet People’s members recognizing them from these prior protests, their plans were swiftly foiled.
Despite the best attempts of these bad actors whose hearts were filled with hate, on that day the Russian Community’s hearts were filled with joy and celebration. There were many people in attendance enjoying live music, poetry and dance. Our very own Comrade Andy played Woody Guthrie’s Tear the Fascists Down and Billie Holiday’s I’ll Be Seeing You, and members of the Russian community joined in with lyrics and accordion for a rendition of Katyusha.
US Friends of Soviet People took the opportunity to present the Seattle Russian Community Center with a gift, an authentic Soviet veteran medal. It is unknown who’s medal it was and what brave act earned them it, but now it is in the hands of a community who understand the significance instead of some random antique shop.
Many individuals from the Russian community approached USFSP and thanked us for our support in these difficult times of rising anti-Russian sentiment, and in turn we thanked them for remaining steadfast in support and remembrance of the victory of The Great Patriotic War.