In Putin’s Russia, Welcome back to the USSR
We can’t help but wonder how the world in general and Russia in particular would have reacted if, during his presidency, George Bush had circulated a list of 25,000 young people who the White House identified as America’s “most talented youth,” young people who would receive overt favoritism in education and employment from the very highest levels of the U.S. government — and every one of the names was drawn from extreme right-wing political organizations like the John Birch Society and the KKK.
Well, that’s exactly the kind of list that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin officially received last week from his NASHI political cult as they held their annual retreat of indoctrination and scheming, funded by millions of dollars desperately needed federal funds. Just as in Soviet times, the Putin regime is creating an elite society like the Communist Party and making membership a prerequisite to advancement in the halls of business, politics and industry, the better to control the actions of the mass population. With every day that passes, Russia is more and more fully neo-Soviet.
Heroic Russian human rights activist Marina Litvinenko expressed the horror of the civilized world towards these proceedings:
“A national reserve of talented young people is a fine thing, but burdening it with ideological baggage is another,” she said. She said the problem with Nashi and Seliger was that young people could only participate if they shared similar political views. ”Having only one right political viewpoint already violates the concept of a national list for talented people,” she said. Litvinovich also suggested that Nashi and other pro-Kremlin organizations like Young Russia and Young Guard suffered from a lack of ideology and relied heavily on government funds. ”They only exist because they can offer free trips, like to Lake Seliger. Without this they would be nothing,” she said.
One would think that having seen a system just like this drive the USSR to ruin only a few short years ago would make Russians at least a little hesitant about adopting the same tactic all over again. But Russians seem willing to behave in a stubbornly childish manner, marching with smirks and fingers plunged deep into ears down exactly the same pathetic path of failure.
Today we document in our set of editorials how Russia has become a fully realized neo-Soviet state. It is arresting artists, menacing newspapers, and fomenting the same cults of personality and propaganda that dominated the USSR, and it is led by proud KGB spy who wields totalitarian power over the lemming-like population. We are horrified by this picture of Russia, and we warn the people of Russia that if they do not step back from this abyss immediately, they risk another national collapse, one which may well prove fatal to their children’s future.