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22 June, 1941: The Day Nazi Germany Invaded The Soviet Union

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On 22 June, 1941, the Nazis attacked the U.S.S.R. What the Red Army did after that made history. But the despicable fascist Hitler must have reflected on his decision before he committed suicide on 30 April, 1945.

One wonders, was this decision to attack the U.S.S.R. only that of Hitler or his entire political and military advisors and strategists? This decision was one of the blunders by the Nazis, especially when they already had one front live, and they had the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact to safeguard their Eastern Front.

Red Army Soldiers
Representative Image. Source: picryl

Eighty years ago, Nazis and the allies treacherously, without declaring war, attacked the U.S.S.R. at 4 a.m. and bombed Minsk, Kiev, Odessa, Riga, Vilnius, Brest, Sevastopol and other cities. Targets included Railways, Airfields, Naval bases. They had laid mines in the territorial waters of the U.S.S.R. and many “sleeping” sabotage groups, who were pro-German and anti-Soviet, were activated to support the advancing German troops, which they started few hours after the undeclared war.

The Great Patriotic War of the Soviet people started after absorbing the initial shock. The CPSU and the Red Army, however, were not sleeping but had anticipated the forthcoming fascist attack and had prepared for the same. Their military might, the Red Army, clubbed with the morale of the Soviet workers and peasants, youths (Komsomol) and guided by the CPSU under the leadership of Joseph Stalin proved very mighty and superior to the enemy.

The war continued for 1,418 days and nights and ended when the Soviet Army entered Berlin. The allies entered from the other side on 07/08 May, 1945.

The idea of this article is not to go into the details of the military warfare of the Second WW, or the political economy of that time, which has been written by thousands of able militarists, politicians, political economists, historians and experts on fascism, single-handed or collectively. This article is to remind ourselves of the past, which started 80 years back and ended almost 4 years later (Japan surrendered on 2 September, 1945, after it was nuked twice, on Hiroshima and Nagasaki).

The idea is to warn ourselves from recurrence of similar human devastation.

We have a similar situation now globally, with many local characteristics in different countries, clubbed with the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis/recession. However, we need to draw a few lessons and appreciate a few outstanding feasts/achievements of that era, especially that of the U.S.S.R., which is disintegrated and looked down upon as a monumental failure of Communist “experiment”.

The Red Army had a million-strong women soldiers in various wings, starting from Air Force, as fighter pilots (German troops were mortally scared of them, as these pilots were very accurate on the target and were highly committed to their task accomplishments), to snipers and part of the Saboteur Teams, which worked behind the enemy line and was meant to destroy the enemy’s logistic supply and communication.

Soviet Union
Representative Image. Source: flickr

The U.S.S.R., after the war, suffered a lot, more than what it suffered during the war. Approximately 20–30 million soldiers and civilians died and it lost social wealth and means of production, agriculture. In this war, the CPSU lost millions of worthy members, ideologues, veterans of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, the survivors of the purge, where their own cadres perished due to internal enemy class, and now the Second WW.

This resulted in a big vacuum in the party and the new entrants looked for facilities rather than sacrifice for the party and the socialist construction. The survivors of the war, especially the gallantry award winners, thought themselves worthy of a better lifestyle. The anti-communists, opportunists, the enemy of the working class also penetrated the party and even reached the top positions.

This was one of the reasons why the CPSU started anti-communist propaganda and programs, initially in hidden form, later openly, under the leadership of Khrushchev and cliques.

This led to the restoration of capitalism when Khrushchev took over power. His erroneous policies and programs (most probably planned) derailed the socialist construction. One example will suffice. The U.S.S.R., which had become an exporter of grains, became importers within 5–6 years under Khrushchev. The abundance of products turned into shortage and the people had to be in a queue to buy them.

And eventually, the treason by Gorbachev led to the disintegration of the great entity, the first workers-controlled state, where all the means of production were controlled by the producer, through their party, the CPSU, and distributed. Khrushchev and later other General Secretaries of the CPSU helped the Western media demonise JV Stalin and equate him with Hitler.

The following link is a brief narration of the book referred to on this issue. A must-read for the investigators of the history related to the U.S.S.R., the revolution and its “murder”. This will also help to understand the future tactics and strategies of the revolutionaries.

The Earth has close to 8 billion human beings. The control over the Earth, its resources, the public property created by the working people over centuries is in the hands of very few, limited into thousand. The state and its machinery, the so-called pillars of democracy, are in their hands, as a rule, barring few intermittent exceptions.

It’s time to think if this is permanent or can be changed. If the latter is true, what must we do?

Long live the victory of the soldiers and the people over fascism.

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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