11 May 2010

Congratulations to Russia for Victory Day

Russia celebrates Victory Day - the defeat of the Nazi menace - on 9 May.  This year marked the sixty-fifth anniversary for Russia.  Congratulations to Russia for its key role in ending one of the most terrifying chapters in human history.

While World War II looms large in the West, it has a specific and lasting mark on Russia (and the former Soviet Union).  Specific numbers are difficult to come by, but it is safe to say that the Soviet Union of 1939 - of which Russia was the principal member - lost more than 14 million non-Jewish civilians, 10 million military personnel, and 1 million Jews.  In 1939, that was nearly 15% of the Soviet population.

As a percentage of population, Poland suffered the most with more than 16% lost; however, no other nation comes close to Russia (and the former Soviet Union) in terms of the absolute number of deaths caused by World War II.

To put things in context for Americans, in sheer numbers, Russia's loss was the equivalent of losing the entire populations of Texas and Oklahoma today.  As a percentage of the population, it is like losing the entire populations of Texas and California, the two most populous states in the Union.

In the US, the Soviet Union (and often Russia) is seen through the prism of the Cold War.  With this context, it is easy to overlook Russia's contributions to ending the horrific Nazi reign.  On this sixty-fifth anniversary of Victory Day, lets us remember Russia's sacrifices, and be thankful for them.

Congratulations to Russia for Victory Day.

1 comment:

  1. All I can say is thank GOD Uncle Joe and Adolf didn't get together ahead of time and Stalin was on OUR side. Otherwise we'd be speaking German or Russian, or a blend like Germussian. :-) That is a HUGE slice of their population, wow.