Never as in these days, bombarded by the reports of the many special envoys in Ukraine, did I remember the figure of Indro Montanelli who, in addition to being the best witness of the twentieth century, for twenty years – from 1936 to 1956 – was the largest war correspondent from the fronts of half the world: from Spain to Finland, from Albania to Hungary. After such a long time, the journalistic reports of the Tuscan from Fucecchio remain very current: they almost seem to have been written now in Kiev and its surroundings. There are many coincidences with today’s war events, but one in particular deserves attention: Indro also recounted the fate of populations attacked by Russian tanks as the Ukrainians do today. In particular, it happened in Finland and Hungary.
In Helsinki, Indro wrote many articles on the heroic resistance against the Soviets of the Finnish people led by Marshal Gustav Mannerheim whom Montanelli himself had known previously when he was forced to move to Estonia after the “lightning” of the Minculpop for his articles on Spanish Civil War. Mannerheim, who had been a Tsarist officer, had already fought for Helsinki’s independence after the Bolshevik revolution. He was then returned to the trenches as soon as the Soviet tanks had attacked his people until arriving at the armistice of March 13, 1940 which allowed Finland to remain independent, even if it had to cede Karelia to Moscow. If already then Montanelli had the opportunity to talk about the iron fist used by Stalin in all sorts of ways, in 1956 he made an encore with the Hungarian revolution when Nikolai Bulganin sat in the Kremlin. Having landed in Budapest among the first Western journalists by a lucky coincidence (in those days he was participating, dressed in Tyrolean style, in a grouse hunt along the nearby Austrian border), he was able to tell the insurrection of the Hungarian Communists ready to overthrow the large statue of the Georgian dictator who dominated Budapest, a city that Indro painted as a “buried necropolis”.
The great journalist – unlike what others claimed, including his “teacher” Leo Longanesi, who spoke of a revolt born within the bourgeoisie – had perfectly understood that the Hungarian one was a people’s revolution against the failure of the regime. of the people. Montanelli’s conclusions left no room for doubt: “Communism is dead in Budapest. I say this with profound conviction (…) Of it all that remains is an army bristling with cannons, which shoot at the workers, students and peasants ». The Hungarian adventure remained so etched in Indro’s mind that he later wrote the comedy «Dreams Die At Dawn» set in Budapest. Yes, even today, after Putin’s attack, the dreams of Ukraine (and beyond) risk dying at dawn.