Written by Toby Westerman
International News Analysis Today
Despite its condemnation of North Korean nuclear and missile testing, and its overt support of sanctions against North Korea, Moscow continues to aid the Stalinist regime in Pyongyang, maintaining a policy that began with the establishment by Soviet authorities of a communist government in northern part of the Korean peninsula in 1948.
In late April 2009, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, for a two-day visit. Lavrov's activities were in line with Moscow's stated position on North Korea, which is that Russia will assist North Korea to develop in a peaceful manner, but will discourage nuclear and ballistic missile experimentation.
The two nations signed a series of agreements which covered "the entire spectrum of humanitarian interaction," according to one Russian language report.
But the entire Lavrov visit, as well as Moscow's true relationship with North Korea, can be framed within written remarks Lavov left at the mausoleum dedicated to the first dictator of North Korea, Kim Il Sung, who died 1994 but is still referred to as the "perpetual president" of North Korea.
In the commemorative book for honored guests at the mausoleum, or Memorial Palace, Lavrov wrote that Kim Il Sung "will be forever in the memory of the Russians" and that Kim "was a consistent supporter of the friendship and cooperation between our nations and peoples."
Lavrov's comments were charming reminiscences for a monster.
Kim Il Sung launched the Korean War when he invaded non-communist South Korea on June 25, 1950. More than 30,000 American lives were lost in what was characterized as a United Nations "police action." Soviet dictator Josef Stalin had equipped the North Koreans with modern tanks, jets, and small arms, but the U.S. left South Korea unprepared.
Stalin allowed Kim to invade the south because the Soviets had obtained the atomic bomb through the efforts of communist spies and sympathizers in the West. With the U.S monopoly on nuclear weapons broken, Stalin felt free to act. The Soviet dictator was also convinced that U.S. President Harry Truman would not intervene in the event of a North Korean attack.
The Korean War has never officially ended. An armistice in 1953 stopped large scale hostilities, but Kim continued periodic, small scale attacks. Fire fights have erupted along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), sometimes resulting in deaths of U.S., South and North Korean military personnel. Invasion tunnels from the north into the south have been discovered under the DMZ, which could be used for small or large scale attacks. In 1968, sensing U.S. weakness as public dissent raged during the war in Vietnam, North Korean staged an overt act of war against the U.S. by capturing the USS Pueblo.
Kim Il Sung also initiated one of the most bizarre occurrences of the Cold War: North Korean raiders landing in Japan to abduct ordinary Japanese citizens. Held for decades, few of the abductees ever returned to Japan. The apparent goal of the abductions was to obtain information on contemporary Japanese culture and society.
The government established by Kim Il Sung was one of the most despotic and savage governments ever inflicted on humanity. After Stalin died in 1953, the Soviet Union under Nikita Khrushchev began the process known as de-Stalinization, a lessening, to some degree, of Soviet despotism. North Korea under Kim Il Sung, however, stayed true to the concept of Stalinism in all its grinding brutality.
Kim's son, Kim Jong Il (the Beloved Leader), has continued the tyranny and militant hostility to the West began by his father. Kim Jong Il has driven his people to starvation to feed his military and nuclear ambitions, and maintains his nation as a virtual prison camp, as two American journalists have recently discovered.
Depending upon various sources, as many as one in seven North Koreans are interred in the most severe prison camps on earth, another continuation of the elder Kim's policies. Many thousands of North Koreans die every year from hunger or governmental oppression.
Moscow has a serious stake in what happens in North Korea. Although China shares most of North Korea's border, Russia does have a short frontier to east, and the important Russian Pacific seaport of Vladivostok lies not far from North Korean territory.
A deep growl from the giant Russian bear would bring North Korea to its senses.
But the bear does not growl, it publicly appears only mildly dissatisfied, and recalls warmly a past dictator, while supporting the brutal oppression of the present tyrant.
The world can only ask, "Why?"
What kind of ally is Moscow in the fight against terrorism? Find out what the centralized media is not reporting -- read Lies, Terror, and the Rise of the Neo-Communist Empire: Origins and Direction. Or, go to your favorite online book seller.
Mr. Westerman is the author of LIES, TERROR, AND THE RISE OF THE NEO-COMMUNIST EMPIRE: ORIGINS AND DIRECTION, available at this site, as well as Amazon.com and other online booksellers. Westerman is the editor and publisher of International News Analysis Today (www.inatoday.com).
International News Analysis