Skip to comments.Ukrainians want pro-Stalin writer stripped of Pulitzer
Posted on 05/03/2003 7:04:07 PM PDT by MadIvan
Drug addict, sexual predator on both sexes and apologist for Stalin, British reporter Walter Duranty still managed to win America's most coveted award for journalism, the Pulitzer prize, for his coverage of Soviet life in the Thirties.
Now a campaign has been launched to strip him posthumously of the award by Ukrainians, who insist that Duranty, who was born in Britain and worked for the New York Times, helped Stalin to cover up an extermination campaign that claimed millions of lives, mostly in Ukraine.
Ukrainian politicians and academics and Ukrainian communities in Britain, Canada, the US and Australia have started to bombard the Pulitzer offices with postcards demanding that the award be revoked. The campaign was timed to begin this month because it is the seventieth anniversary of the high point of an artificial famine engineered by Stalin's regime which, by some accounts, cost more than 10 million lives.
The famine was part of a war against peasant farmers, loathed by Stalin because they were hostile to communism. Stalin also regarded the Ukrainian peasantry as the cradle for nationalist tendencies aimed at breaking Ukraine away from the Soviet Union.
In 1932 and 1933 Stalin imposed crippling demands on peasants for grain and other foodstuffs, which were extracted by brute force and executions. By the spring of 1933, people in Ukraine were reduced to eating grass, tree bark, earthworms and anything else they could find. There were hundreds of cases of cannibalism in a country with some of the world's most fertile farmland, and at its climax an estimated 25,000 people were starving to death each day.
Duranty was a correspondent in Moscow while the famine raged and he knew it was happening. He not only turned a blind eye, but vilified the few Western journalists who did report on it, branding their dispatches as anti-Soviet lies.
Born in Britain in 1884 into a well-to-do family, he studied languages at Cambridge. In the Twenties he lived in Paris, where he developed an opium habit and took part in drunken orgies with both men and women.
During his time in Paris he married and began writing reports for the New York Times. His clever and well-crafted articles won him a job as the newspaper's Moscow correspondent. There is no evidence that Duranty particularly sympathised with communism, but he wrote glowing reports about the Soviet Union because he wanted to gain access to top officials.
He succeeded in doing that spectacularly by securing the first interview for an American newspaper with Stalin himself, who Duranty described as 'the greatest living statesman'. He became the Soviet regime's favourite correspondent, always presenting the Soviet Union in a positive light, and in 1932 he won the Pulitzer prize for a series of articles about the Soviet economy.
When stories about the famine began to surface in Moscow, Duranty dismissed them as 'exaggerated or malignant propaganda', and in one report employed the phrase 'you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs'. However, British Foreign Office documents show that Duranty confided to a diplomat at the British Embassy in Moscow that he believed around 10 million people had perished.
Malcolm Muggeridge, then the Manchester Guardian 's Moscow correspondent, travelled secretly and at great risk to Ukraine. He was appalled at the scenes of mass starvation and heaps of dead bodies that he witnessed and described them in his reports. Duranty attacked Muggeridge and debunked his reports. Duranty was 'the greatest liar of any journalist I have ever met', retorted Muggeridge.
Historian Robert Conquest told The Observer that Duranty played an important role in covering up the famine and 'he should be exposed again and again and again'. Conquest believes the Soviet secret police may have been blackmailing Duranty over his sexual behaviour.
Sig Gissler of the Pulitzer Board said that the prize was given for a story unconnected with the famine. The Pulitzer board has only once before revoked a prize, when in 1981 Washington Post reporter Janet Cooke's story about an eight-year-old ghetto boy she claimed was already a heroin addict turned out to be a fabrication.
[Castro] has strong ideas of liberty, democracy, social justice, the need to restore the Constitution, to hold elections." Herbert L. Matthews New York Times, Feb. 24, 1957
"Señor Castros men, the student leaders who are on the run from the police, the people who are bombing and sabotaging every day, are fighting blindly, rashly, perhaps foolishly. But they are giving their lives for an ideal and for their hopes of a clean, democratic Cuba.... "Communism has little to do with the opposition to the [Batista] regime.... [T]here is no communism to speak of in Fidel Castros 26th of July Movement...." Herbert L. Matthews New York Times, Feb. 25, 1957
The full text of Duranty's notorious March 31st 1933 dispatch is here:
Duranty's piece was not only a cover up, it was a hatch job on the first reporter to tell the truth--Gareth Jones. A former aide to Lloyd George, Jones "The Welsh Investigative Journalist" was only 28 when he reported from Moscow. He was killed two years later by bandits while reporting from China. His account of the genocide in the Ukraine:
Manchester Guardian March 31st 1933
FAMINE IN RUSSIA
Notice how quickly Duranty was able to respond. Jones filed his report on March 29th from Berlin. The New York Times was able to print a rebuttal from Duranty on the same day the Guardian printed the expose of the famine.
Malcolm Muggeridge was also reporting from Moscow at the time. Full text:
The Morning Post. 7th June 1933
III. Terror of the G.P.U.
Pushing on the Duranty issue might be a good way to keep the Blair story alive. Now that the New York Times is on the ropes, it is time to kick them in the groin.
Harold Denny was another Times reporter who covered for Stalin. The only quote from him I can find comes from this left wing site which claims Duranty was a credible source and cites Denny to deny genocide in the Ukraine. Denny wrote:
`Your correspondent was in Kiev for several days last July about the time people were supposed to be dying there, and neither in the city, nor in the surrounding countryside was there hunger . . .Nowhere was famine found. Nowhere even the fear of it. There is food, including bread, in the local open markets. The peasants were smiling too, and generous with their foodstuffs'.
Not really as the WSWS has already used this line. Here's a link: http://wsws.org/articles/2003/may2003/nyt-m12.shtml.
Notice they now scramble away from Stalin and NYT as "right wing".
Sounds just like the group they have there now. What a foul bunch they are.
Thanks for the flag to this.