Calla Jones Corner
I am old enough to remember that in November 1956, Nikita Khruschev, attended a party at the Polish Embassy in Moscow where the Soviet leader boasted “My vas pokhoronim.”
For years there was a debate over what the idiomatic expression, which traditionally was used as a humor-tinged taunt, meant. One translator said it meant, “We shall bury you.” Another: “We will outlast you.” Others took it to mean, “It’s your funeral.” In an era when nuclear war between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. was a constant concern, Americans didn’t see it as funny.
At the embassy party, Khrushchev blamed Western-backed “Fascists gangs” for fomenting the brief rebellion in Hungary. The unprecedented popular revolt in October 1956 briefly upended the postwar order in Europe and deeply disturbed Soviet leaders who felt their Stalinesque control over the so-called people’s democracies was in jeopardy.
Though the Kremlin suppressed the revolution mercilessly after dithering for several days, the crisis in Hungary dealt a serious blow to any credibility the Soviet Union might have had. Some 200,000 refugees fled to countries in Western Europe and the U.S. Sound familiar?
I also remember well the American press in 1960 calling Nikita Khrushchev, during a speech at the United Nations, a “bumbling, bombastic clown,” when he brandished his shoe at a Filipino delegate who was accusing the Soviet Union of imperialism in Eastern Europe.
The picture seems comical now of the Soviet leader shaking a worn old shoe at the world while predicting: “Your children’s children will live under communism. You won’t accept communism outright, but we will keep feeding you small doses of socialist poison until you will finally wake up. We will not have to fight you; we will weaken you until you fall like overripe fruit into our hands.”
That speech doesn’t seem so comical now.
Today, the pictures I’ll never forget is of dead tortured bodies of Ukranian men, women and children in the streets of Bucha, the leveling and intentional starving of residents of Mariupol, the intended slaughter of Ukranians at the train station in Kramatorsk trying to flee and the ravaging of Borodyanka, where a farmer was shot for speaking Ukranian.
The verbage I’ll never forget is of NATO dithering over whether we can outlast a mad man, a student of Stalin, and the garbled messages from the spineless Biden administration when asked if we want Ukraine to win this insane war.
The U.S. must supply Ukraine with jets, now that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin finally says we want Ukraine to win. Even if the administration can’t get NATO on board.
Will Vladimir Putin be the Russian leader who finally does bury us? Is the West marching toward its own funeral?
In any language the possible outcome translates into “terrifying.”