A Stalin memorial? In Virginia? No joke. 

At the National D-Day Memorial ceremony this past Sunday in Bedford, Va., memorial officials unveiled a bust of USSR dictator and mass murderer Joseph Stalin. No joke.

FDR, Harry Truman, and Winston Churchill are already featured at the memorial, alongside Allied commanders and memorials to soldiers who stormed the beaches on D-Day.

Stalin was not included in the original memorial — probably because Russia committed no troops to the D-Day invasion. Maybe Stalin’s, uh, ideology had played a role in his exclusion.

John Fund reports:

Lee Edwards, chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, minced no words about what he regards as an inexplicable addition: “Since the fall of the Soviet Union, statues of Joseph Stalin have been torn down all over Europe. The world is closer than ever before to a consensus on the evils of communism and Stalin’s primary role in the worst crimes of the last century.”

Added Karl Altau, head of the Baltic American National Committee: “No matter what they do to explain [Stalin's presence], it’s still going to put him on the same kind of level as the other leaders and their troops who were there at D-Day.”

Stalin murdered 40 million Soviet Citizens. He imprisoned tens of millions more for such political offenses as “defeatist comments” during World War II, and for criticism of his own incompetent and cowardly conduct of the war’s early stages. Soviet soldiers were frequently surrounded by Germans early in the war, because Stalin had arrested and murdered all of his army’s competent generals before World War II began. And when the surrendered Soviet POWs were repatriated after the war, they were sent directly to Stalin’s prison camps.

A ten-year sentence in the Gulag was the typical punishment for “anti-Soviet agitation,” also known as criticism of the Soviet government. Neighbors were forced to snitch on neighbors, under pain of blackmail, extortion, and threat of arrest by their own government. Political prisoners were forced into slave labor on such massive, useless public works projects as the White Sea Canal (in whose construction some 100,000 died, by conservative estimates).

Stalin’s secret police conducted interrogations with routine, brutal torture on his orders, using tactics that make waterboarding seem like a day at the spa. They engaged in secret executions and kidnappings (both international and domestic). Stalin ordered massive campaigns of genocide (in the Ukraine) and ethnic cleansing (in Chechnya) whose effects are still felt today.

Stalin was also an original ally of Nazi Germany (until Hitler invaded the USSR in 1941). You might say he voted for Hitler before voting against him. Nor did Stalin “waste the crisis” of World War II, taking advantage of the chaos afterward to establish repressive puppet Communist governments in Eastern Europe and establish the “Iron Curtain.”

If memorial officials really wanted another bust for their collection, maybe they should have contacted President Obama before the White House returned the bust of Churchill to the British government.

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