The Soviet Story

For those who suffered
The Free Minds Film Festival is proud to announce that The Soviet Story is now a permanent tradition so we can to honor and remember those who suffered and died under tyrannical governments.

Throughout human history, governments around the world have committed horrible atrocities. Slavery, colonization, war, empire building, religious persecution, and genocide have been a norm for most of human civilization. The 20th century saw some of the most devastating examples of the horrors that can come at the hands of the State. People are well aware of the evil of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi’s reign of terror. Hitler has become the go-to figure when talking about evil, the swastika is shunned from society, and the almost unfathomable number of six million Jewish men, women, and children that were slaughtered is burned into everyone’s minds. It is important to remember and understand the events of the Holocaust. Unfortunately the horrors of another form of socialism, Communism, are less well known and do not experience the same levels of abhorrence as the crimes of National Socialism.

It is difficult to find someone who doesn’t know about the Holocaust, but how many know about the 14 million Ukrainians that were starved to death from 1932-33 in Stalin’s USSR? How many know that Chairman Mao killed an estimated 65 million in China? The death toll under Communism reaches numbers that are too large to fully appreciate in the abstract, but even the abstract numbers are ignored in the arts, pop culture, and schools.

Alan Charles Kors wrote in his essay, “Can there be an ‘After Socialism?’”:
"No cause, ever, in the history of all mankind, has produced more coldblooded tyrants, more slaughtered innocents, and more orphans than socialism with power. It surpassed, exponentially, all other systems of production in turning out the dead. The bodies are all around us. And here is the problem: No one talks about them. No one honors them. No one does penance for them. No one has committed suicide for having been an apologist for those who did this to them. No one pays for them. No one is hunted down to account for them. It is exactly what Solzhenitsyn foresaw in The Gulag Archipelago: 'No, no one would have to answer. No one would be looked into.' Until that happens, there is no 'after socialism.'"
Not only have the evils of Communism been ignored, but many of the leaders have become pop culture icons. As Nick Gillespie from Reason.TV shows, while it would be rightfully abhorrent for someone to wear a t-shirt celebrating Hitler, mass murders like Mao and Che Guevara are pop culture icons. 

To ignore the crimes of tyrannical governments is bad enough, but to make those who carried out the crimes into pop culture icons is a tragedy.

The Free Minds Film Festival’s mission is to use the art of film to educate people about the principles of liberty. To understand liberty and the importance of liberty, it is important to understand what happens in the absence of liberty. “The Soviet Story” is a devastating documentary that does more than just tell the abstract numbers. It doesn’t merely give the stats about those who died. It shows the bodies and it listens to the surviving victims. It is easy for those of us who have been separated from these events by time and distance to put them out of our minds and pretend that they didn’t happen. However, seeing the footage and hearing the stories will, hopefully, make these events real to many more people. By bringing the crimes of the Soviet Union to light and by telling the stories of those who suffered and died, we hope to bring some amount of justice to the victims. We cannot punish those who were responsible, but we can make the world know and remember the horrors that they inflicted in the world. We can also remind ourselves about what is really at stake in the fight for liberty.