Back to the USSR
Last week we reported on a brutal condemnation of neo-Soviet Russia by U.S. Secretary of State Condi Rice, who accused Russia of taking a “dark turn” to a “one-way path to isolation and irrelevance.” A few days later, Russian “president” Dima Medvedev responded. He stated: “This is not our path. For us there is no sense going back to the past.” Let’s pass over Medvedev’s just-plain-crazy suggestion that Russia never does anything irrational, like taking off its shoe before the world at the United Nations. Let’s instead just question Dima regarding his statement’s bona fides on its own terms.
If we could interrogate him, we’d start like this: Oh really, Dima? Well, if it’s not your path then how come you have a proud KGB spy remaining in power after eight years in office, and making a total mockery of your presidency? Do you really think that sends the appropriate message of rejecting Russia’s evil past to the Western world? If you really believe that, then why do you stand mute as your own Duma votes to return the statue of dreaded KGB maniac Felix Derzhinsky to Lubianka Square, in front of KGB headquarters, after the Russian people removed it when the USSR collapsed? Why do you say nothing as that same Duma votes to outlaw Western influences like Halloween and Valentine’s Day? Isn’t it because you, in fact, want your nation to follow the dark path — mostly because you are the witless slave of your dark master Vlad Putin?
But more important that what others are doing, Dima, why are you yourself lying so brazenly to the West, just as the dark empire of the USSR always used to do. Even your written promise, it seems, means no more to you than it did to the members of the Politburo. How else can we explain your blatant violation of the cease fire agreement you signed regarding the Georgia conflict, suddenly declaring you will leave thousands of Russian soldiers in the region indefinitely. Why, Dima, are you continuing to carry on the absurd pretense of governing the country when in fact the whole world clearly sees that Vladimir Putin is still in charge? And why did your government decide to go forward with ballistic missile tests while embroiled in an international crisis over Georgia and an economic meltdown? Is that how Russians show the world how reasonable they are? As we’ve recently pointed out, that’s only the latest in a whole host of provocative actions your government has taken unilaterally in recent weeks.
Given his government’s actions, it was hardly surprising to see Dima contradict his own words in the same breath and bare his neo-Soviet fangs. He stated: “We are in effect being pushed down a path that is founded not on fully-fledged, civilised partnership with other countries, but on autonomous development, behind thick walls, behind an Iron Curtain.”
Was it really necessary, Dima, to mention an “iron curtain” as part of your effort to show how Russia is not neo-Soviet? Did you really have to insist that Russia was the totally innocent victim of Western aggression, and had done nothing on its own to create a neo-Soviet state? You were born in the USSR. Couldn’t you hear the echoes of its speech in your own?
One must wonder, of course, whether Dima even read his own remarks before reading them. Had he done so, surely he was intelligent enough to see that he was admitted Russian foreign policy is not independent or autonomous, but simply reactive to whatever the West does, making Russia its slave. That’s hardly the image Russia wants to project to the West, and in the next breath Dima’s own government repudiates it, just as if the speaker figured nobody was paying the least bit of attention to his remarks.
Thus, to show how innocent and reasonable he is, Dima unleashed his attack dogs at the Foreign Ministry. They began by stating: “Russia is determined not to succumb to rhetoric and be drawn into confrontation . . . We will continue to promote a positive, unifying agenda in our relations with the U.S. and other partners.”
Here’s how they proved their commitment to a “positive, unifying agenda.” They accused Rice of having “grossly distorted” the facts (i.e., lying) and said it was “not the first time” that had occurred. Then came a personal attack on Rice herself: “Responsible politicians do not shrink from admitting facts in their public speeches. Why others do not do this, and instead turn everything on its head, is another question, apparently linked to their own designs in the region, to geopolitics and indeed to morality itself.”
Is that how the government of Dima Medvedev shows it is ready for civilized partnership, by personally attacking the highest-ranking diplomat of the world’s only superpower?
It seems so, and it seems moreover that the West is finally catching on to Medvedev’s game. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Garry Kasparov quotes Rupert Murdoch as saying, even before the Georgia invasion took place: “The more I read about investments in Russia, the less I like the feel of it. The more successful we’d be, the more vulnerable we’d be to have it stolen from us, so there we sell now.”
Kasparov was writing to protest the Kremlin’s efforts to censor the activities of his National Assembly shadow parliament organization. He states:
The National Assembly, an opposition parliament with representatives from across Russia and across every ideological line, scheduled a public hearing on the Russia-Georgia conflict for Sept. 11. It was to take place at the new Hilton hotel in Moscow, and I personally signed the contract for the conference room. On Sept. 10, the Hilton cancelled the arrangement, claiming problems in the hall. Maybe all contracts in Russia should now include a third line for the signature of the local KGB official.
How is it possible that Dima Medvedev could allow this to occur, if he really believes his country must not walk back down the path to neo-Soviet dictatorship? The answer to that question is as plain as day.
It is not possible. Mr. Medvedev: You are a liar.