Recently, Russia became the second country in the world (after fascist Germany) to imprison someone for fighting against fascism
Take a moment to soak that one in. It’s the money quote from Yulia Latynina latest acid-soaked dart at the Putin regime, written for Radio Free Europe. Here’s the rest:
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree titled “On the Presidential Commission against Efforts to Falsify History to Harm Russian Interests.” Assigned to counteract the above-mentioned efforts are agencies that are professionally involved in the study of history, including the presidential administration, the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and the Federal Security Service (FSB).
In February, after Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu suggested making it a crime to deny Russia’s victory in World War II, I wrote that the economic crisis would bring us to the point where the favorite themes of our patriots would be those that kept up the necessary climate of hatred within Russia but wouldn’t provoke reactions from foreign diplomats. That is, threats to place missiles in Kaliningrad would be replaced by PR campaigns promoting Russians who did anything heroic against foreigners. And by calls to strike — and strike hard — against those who would deny the Mongol Yoke.
But, to be honest, I thought these calls would come from those spontaneous, semi-fascist organizations in defense of morality and purity that have lately been voluntarily taking on the role of beat cop and terrorizing any business using an “incorrect” or “unpatriotic” advertisement. It would have been hard for me to imagine that this initiative would gather such steam that our Great Liberal Hope, Mr. Medvedev, would sign a paper setting up a Ministry of Truth.
In his summation at the trial, the prosecutor said the fascists are voluntary associations of citizens trying to bring order to the country, while those who disagree with them are committing a crime. Strictly speaking, the prosecutor revised the Nuremberg trials, falsified history, and so on.
Nonetheless, it is hard to imagination that President Medvedev’s commission will take up the case of this prosecutor. You can tell in advance that the distinguished historians of the presidential administration and the FSB are not going to take up the nearly daily acts of terrorism being committed in Russian cities by fascists (it is hard to describe the ethnically motivated killings of Tajiks or Azeris as anything other than terrorism).
They will not take up the matter of the books being published that propagandize the ideas of Adolf Hitler. And why should they, since these same agencies have issued a semiofficial recommendation that their employees study textbooks where the history of Russia is portrayed as one long struggle against a Jewish-Masonic conspiracy?
But the late writer Viktor Astafyev, who fought through the war and wrote that Field Marshal Georgy Zhukov was “the poacher of the Russian people” and that he and Stalin “immolated the Russian people and Russia on the pyres of war” and who called the Red Army “the most talentless army in the history of humanity,” would undoubtedly have earned the attention of the Medvedev commission, if he were still alive.
In my view, a new form of fascism has appeared in the world. It is a completely international ideology, just like fundamentalist Islam or communism, and it has been adopted by dictatorial regimes whose leaders do not want their countries to open up to the world or who are afraid their countries might develop independent businesses and a middle class and escape from their control.
Take, for example, Hamas. Members of Hamas don’t call themselves fascists. On the contrary, Hamas and its allies have urged a United Nations conference to label Israel fascist and to call their struggle antifascist. They tell Western intellectuals they are fighting for freedom and aren’t afraid to tell CNN’s cameras that their understanding of freedom means the destruction of Israel and all the Jews living in their homeland.
Or take South Ossetia. The regime there also calls its struggle “antifascist” and explains that its wise President Eduard Kokoity is defending his people against destruction by Georgian fascists. Of course, there are more Ossetians in Tbilisi than in all of South Ossetia, and it isn’t quite clear why the fascist Mikheil Saakashvili isn’t destroying Ossetians who are currently living under his complete control on Georgian territory, but is only threatening those who are being saved by the wise leader Kokoity.
The “antifascism” of our leaders is similar to that of Hamas. Of course, there are no fascists in our Kremlin. There are no fascists gathering each summer at the Nashi youth camp at Lake Seliger. On the contrary, we, Russia, are conducting an antifascist campaign against the Fourth Reich, the United States. Against the corrupt West, which is dreaming of revising the results of World War II, of destroying and trampling down our Russian nation.
Of course, if you look closely at the much-hated West, it turns out that Sergei Brin, who emigrated to the United States, became a billionaire there by co-founding Google. And Aleksandr Rybak, who left Belarus for Norway, has become the darling of his adopted land. And you see that our passionate defenders against the foreign enemies are buying up mansions in London from our British enemies who blame us for the death of former FSB Colonel Aleksandr Litvinenko. And they are registering their companies in the malicious Switzerland, which refused to freeze the bank accounts of Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Fascism is the exclusive propaganda weapon of nations that want to remove other nations from the Earth. And how they label those other nations — “Jews,” “Untermensch,” or “fascists” — is just a matter of convenience. But the ideology our authorities are leading us toward — the ideology of hatred against open society, the ideology of struggling against “internal enemies,” the ideology of struggling against “those who would rewrite history” — (all of which so perfectly described by George Orwell in “1984”) is becoming more and more frightening.
Latynina – clear thinking and common sense. A beacon of hope, a shining light for Russia.
But wait – there’s more.
Medvedev has established a commission to deal with Russia’s history.
And to make sure that noone “falsifies” the lies that were made up about Stalin.
He even suggest (gasp) removing the green corpse from the Kremlin – which should have been done a long time ago.
Lenin, too, should be taken out of there.
As the author in this article (link below) notes – Russia’s past is “unpredictable.”
It is a massive shame that so many rooshans simply sit on their hands, and go along with it.
There’s a huge number of “clear thinking people with common sense, beacons of hope, shining lights for Russia” at Ford foundation and NED feeding troughs. Latynina is in that number.
For that reason the rest is of no interest to the population of Russia.
“Fascism – A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism.” — The American Heritage Dictionary, 1983
@”Recently, Russia became the second country in the world (after fascist Germany) to imprison someone for fighting against fascism”
This actually makes no sense – not the second and there was never “fascist Germany” (the IIIrd Reich was of course national socialist).
Oh, and the word “fascist” is not synonymous to “racist”.
Marching waffen SS soldiers in their uniform in year 2009 in Riga, Tallinn and Lviv is not a pretty sight and makes some sense for most Russians.
Marching Cheka (now the FSB) soldiers in their uniforms is not a pretty sight and makes some sense for most non-Russians.
I will just assume yhat you are misinformed?
World War II ended in Europe fifty years ago on V-E Day (Victory in Europe) May 8, 1945 after 2,076 days of war. The USSR celebrated the end of the war, which it called the “Great Patriotic War,” one day later on May 9th. Ukraine was the greatest victim of World War II, suffering the greatest material damage and the greatest human losses of any country in the war. How is it possible that Ukraine was even more devastated than Germany? One reason was that Ukraine suffered twice from a “scorched earth” policy conducted by the two greatest totalitarian powers of this century, first Stalin’s Soviet Russia and then by Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
An American foreign correpondent, Edgar Snow, who visited Ukraine in 1943 and at the end of the war in 1945, was so astonished at the enormous losses it had suffered that he wrote an article for Saturday Evening Post titled “Ukraine Pays the Bill.” It could be said that “The Allies won the war but Ukraine paid the bill.”
The story of Ukraine’s role and suffering in World War II is generally unknown to the world because it was in the interest of the Soviet Union and Moscow to emphasize the sacrifice and struggle of the “Russian people,” of whom inaccurate statistics said twenty million died. This statistic, first quoted by Khrushchev, included 16 million civilians, and actually applied to all citizens of the USSR. In fact, the majority of these victims were non-Russians, mostly Ukrainians. Ukraine was entirely occupied by the German Army for three years but only a small part of Russia was briefly under German occupation during the war.
Prof. Norman Davies, criticizing western historians, wrote:
“…the overwhelming brunt of the Nazi occupation between 1941 and 1944, as of the devastating Soviet reoccupation, was borne not by Russia but by the Baltic States, by Belarus, by Poland, and above all by Ukraine…. nowhere is it made clear that the largest number of civilian casualties in Europe were inflicted on the Ukrainians, millions of whom were killed both by the Nazis and by the Soviets. Thanks to persistent wartime prejudices, many British and Americans still harbor the illusion that most Ukrainians spent the war either as auxiliaries in the concentration camps or in the Waffen-SS Galizien….[but] the Waffen SS recruited three times as many Dutchmen as Ukrainians.” (New York Review of Books June 9, 1994, p. 23).
I think in terms of loss of life as % of the pre-war population, Yugoslavia (as then existed) had the greatest loss. Belarus and Poland also had gigantic losses. The Ukraine probably had the greatest loss of life in absolute numbers.
I saw a documentary recently and learned that the city of Kharkiv alone lost close to 500,000 civilians during German occupation, mostly from famine. It’s just astonishing that the siege of Leningrad was widely publicized (a great tragedy, undoubtedly), but a similar scale suffering in Kharkiv was not.
Ukraine’s Population Losses in World War II: 7.5 million or 13,614,000?
Ukraine lost more people in World War II than any other European country. At the beginning of the war Ukraine’s population was 41.9 million. Let us review some of the estimates of losses from largest to smallest. According to A Short History of Ukraine published by the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in Kiev in 1986, as a result of the Second World War: “The population [of Ukraine] contracted by 13,614,000.” (p. 239). This statistic is not explained.
In 1977 Stephan G. Prociuk estimated in a detailed analysis that Ukraine’s World War II loss of population was 11 million. (Annals of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the U.S., New York 1977, vol. 13 no. 35-36, p. 23-50.
The American journalist Edgar Snow, who visited Ukraine in 1943 during the war and at the end of the war in 1945, reported in his book The Pattern of Soviet Power (New York 1945) that according to a high Ukrainian official “No fewer than 10,000,000 people had been lost to … Ukraine since 1941.” This statistic excluded “men and women mobilized in the armed forces.” (p. 73).
Ukraine Lost 10,000,000 People
“Yet it was not till I went on a sobering journey into this twilight of war that I fully realized the price which 40,000,000 Ukrainians paid for Soviet–and Allied–victory. The whole titanic struggle, which some are apt to dismiss as “the Russian glory,” was first of all a Ukrainian war. No fewer than 10,000,000 people had been ‘lost’ to… Ukraine since 1941, I was told by a high Ukrainian official. That excluded men and women mobilized for the armed forces.
A relatively small part of the Russian Soviet Republic itself was actually invaded, but the whole Ukraine, whose people were economically the most advanced and numerically the second largest in the Soviet Union, was devastated from the Carpathian frontier to the Donets and Don rivers, where Russia proper begins. No single European country suffered deeper wounds to its cities, its industry, its farmland and its humanity.”
The Pattern of Soviet Power
New York: Random House, 1945. p. 73.
“At the end of the war, Ukraine lay in ruins: the population had declined by 25 per cent — that is by approximately 10.5 million people; 6.8 million had been killed or died of hunger or disease, and the remainder had been evacuated or deported to Soviet Asia as political prisoners or had ended up as slave laborers or emigres in Hitler’s Germany…” states Ann Lencyk Pawliczko in Ukraine and Ukrainians Throughout the World (University of Toronto Press, 1994, p. 62). Prof. Kubijovych, a geographer, says “the population of the Reichskommisariat Ukraine fell from 24,100,000 in 1939 to 16,900,000 — a drop of 30 percent. The population of the larger cities dropped by 53 percent. … We may assume that in 1943 the population of the Ukrainian SSR in the current boundaries was about 30 million, ythat is, 10.5 million less than in 1939.” (Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopedia, University of Toronto Press, 1963, vol. 1, p. 204.) V. Trembitsky gives a total of war losses to Ukraine in 1941-45 of 8,545,000. (Za Vilnu Ukrainu, 24 serpnia, 1994 p. 3). Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Shcherbitsky in 1974 gave a statistic of 6,750,000 as Ukraine’s World War II losses. (Radyanska Ukraina, 18 October, 1974
It largely depends on one’s priorities I do agree with you there. Tastes differ.
Somewhat, I don’t think a small bunch of 90-year-olds to be nearly as dangerous as hundreds of thousands of mostly much younger Chekists.
Be it goose-stepping on Red Square or hanging around on Lybyanka Square or whatever really.
Btw, the veterans of the Indian Waffen-SS Legion (and many more of those who had collaborated with the Japanese) are regarded as national heroes in India – and Subhash Chandra Bose (the organizer of both forces) is revered about as much as the non-violent Ghandi.
(A fun fact: if captured by the French the Indian SS-men would be shot or hanged – while the British simply amnestied them, including those who had previously defected from the British forces.)
So, should I assume the Nashi are to stage some riots in India or something?
oh dear, these people declare they hate all the russians but then declare their love to yulia who is a russian herself. confusing? make up your mind. latynina is a government critic and she is just doing her job. all countries have their own critic so there is no breaking news there. russia has a lot of problems due to its soviet past but to write her off as totally hopeless is not fair and unproductive at best. the decision to move away from fascism, fatalism, communism, etc was decided in the early 90’s by gorbi and yeltsin and there is no way the country is going back to that direction. while the situation in russia is far from rosy, things are getting normal albeit on a slow pace. at the end of the day, only russia can decide where she wants to go.
Latynina is a government critic only as long as she;s not shot in the head yet.
i know, journalist are dying in russia. its a problem the authorities should solve but with the russia’s other equally grave concerns, the authorities can only do so much coud they? good for you, you were not born in the former SU and does not have to go through these hard times. i know how hard it is to be poor in a poor country because i came from the philippines but i am now working in the UK. we say in the philippines that we are a democratic country and among the first democracy in southeast asia but the real scenario is far from democratic. rampant vote buying during elections, corrupt officials, journalist dying and student activists are being killed and not even reported, etc. if all the filipino working abroad stop sending money to the philippines, the country would collapse. my point is that if countries like mine who have been democratic for more that have a century has long way to go in perfecting the system then i dont expect others to do it in less than 20 years especially if that country is just coming from a very traumatic past. the best you could do is assist russia in her transition, the least you could do is not to make matters worse.
How about this solution to the problem with killing journalists. What if the government would stop ordering these hits. Would that help?
There is a lot of similarity between many third world countries. The Philippines is a good illustration you gave. I can put others in the same group, e.g., Indonesia, Mexico, Malaysia, etc., all on their surface and formally speaking democratic countries, but in fact not really democratic. Russia fits in that group well. But there is again a lot of important distinction.
I don’t remember the Philippines insist that they are a moral compass and beacon to the oppressed humankind, and that they are the third Rome. Russia quite earnestly says this, in spite of making itself a laughingstock.
I also don’t recall that the Philippines insist that they have special sphere of influence and have a right to dictate to other countries what international organizations they may or may not belong to. As you know, Russia seriously insists that neither the Ukraine nor Georgia may join NATO without Russia’s permission, and threatens war over this.
Finally, none of the third world, nominally democratic countries, such as the Philippines, pretends to be a developed country, and not just that, but to be a member of the G8. As you know, Russia does. And some Russians got so brainwashed and stupefied that they really believe it. One of the Russian posters on this board recently opined that the level of poverty in Russia is not higher than in Europe.
jordan, the issues and problems in the Philippines belong to you not the rest of us. And, the west doesn’t owe Russia or the Philippines one dime or one minute of comfort and assistance.
Where were you during the Marco’s years? That and all that has followed is YOUR responsibility not some American or Europeans.
Your whining is as ridiculous as the whining of every failed state citizen. Your political problems are your own and not mine. Americans aren’t asking Russians or Phillipinos to solve ours.
What a moron, “a problem the government should solve”.
It is a problem the Putin government is causing.
RV, very insightful. thanks. journalist killing in the philippines is really sad. most of the killings are government sanctioned because they see the leftist journos as allied to the communist insurgency which survived the SU collapse. I hope the next government does something about this senseless killing. but back to russia, i get some of it now. this anti russian movement is about pride. this slavic third world country has no right to stand side by side with the wealthier nations until it earns its due. right, fair enough. but if you read all of the post in this blog there is an underlying hatred. why the anger bordering to almost racism? you can’t claim the moral high ground if you stoop to such low level dont you? russia has all the problems, real and imagined but maybe there are reasons behind. if you dig up the past it has a very different history than other poor countries like the philippines and i dont want to start arguing on that basis or else this will go on and on. let russia sort out her own mess. if the russians want to pretend they are rich then let’s leave them to their own imaginations. there’s no way all the russians be banished to mars or the moon so just deal with it.
penny, if only we could get away from the americans, then gladly. the thing is that any thing the americans do affects us in some way or the other. its not fair that you have a say in our affairs but we are just dismissed as another failed whining state. dont forget that immigrants has huge contributions to the competetive edge of the US.
One thing more, I have friends working in AIG who now face uncertain future due to the crisis last year.the center of the storm was in new york and not manila or less glorious city but we have to share the shockwaves. so you see, we are more interconnected than you think. oh, i briefly forgot that some nation’s opinion seem to be more equal than others.
hey, jordan, whine on, assigning blame to everything outside of the inherent obvious that your homeland by your own hands is a disaster is stupid.
You are part of the problem, once again, where were you during the corrupt Marcos’ years besides with your head down and doing nothing?
Again, the US, Europe, Britain owe you nothing in terms of fixing the pathology of your homeland. Well, that’s unless you concede that you are too lazy or stupid to take care of your own problems.
It’s your country of birth, go home and fix it or shut up.
Poor Jordan, Perhaps (?) there are some Americans, who would wish a lot of you Philippinos, presently in America, to also, ‘get away’ from…. us-? And, AAH! I finally figured out what is in common between the Philippines and Russia, it must be those huge coconut and banana and mango plantations around Moscow and in Siberia, as also in the Philippines! Do I get the booby prize for finally discovering the right answer!?
Dear Jordan, if by chance you are envious/allured by of Russian-soviet-communism, then you need to take a very very close look at poor neo-soviet Russia. Whatever all is not right in your Phillippines, going red would not solve those problems, but turn your land into the hell that Russia was….and still is.
To ‘Jordan’, Are you serious?…comparing present Russia to the Philippines? I realize that you claim to come from the Philippines and thus I don’t question that you must know a lot about your native country. But present neo-soviet Russia is so vastly different, in history, culture-past and present, and it continues to threaten the rest of the world, etc., etc. You really are comparing, apples and oranges, there are virtually no genuine similarities…..except as you seem to say, both have very corrupt governments. Your illogical comparison does fit an old Russian saying, however: This comparison is like,
‘I have berries in my garden…..and an uncle in Kiev’. And, since neo-soviet-Russia will not leave the rest of the world ‘alone’,…i.e. it is continuing to take a war-like stance with constant threats and military interventions, etc., we….the entire rest of the world, are indeed forced to watch it closely and to confront it, and to attempt to promote those dissidents and other freedom lovers there, who do work to make it a peaceful and prosperous and non-threatening a country. Where have YOU been, that you seem to have a blank mind about what is going on there? Are you a communist?
And, again, present neo-soviet Russia is NOT similar to your Philippines, in good points or in negatives either.
Respectfully, just my thoughts…….
Of course Jordan isn’t serious. He’s a typical Third World whiner that assigns blame to everyone but himself. It’s always someone else’s fault that his homeland is a corrupt dump.
It’s as if in his infantile whiney narcissism we were meant to be born beside him to fix it.
In fairness, I think Jordan’s point was that Russian corruption is not unique in the developing world and he gave his native Philippines as an example. I think this point is well taken. My point was that in spite of this similarity Russia is much worse since it is in a very small company of third world countries actually threatening their neighbors and general peace. Other members of that group, to my mind, are North Korea, Iran, the Sudan, and perhaps Venezuela.
i was too young during the marco’s years so i can’t say much about it. i am not blaming america or europe for our problems, its ours to solve. i only stated that part of the AIG subsidiary in the Phils got sold off and the remaining is under uncertain future. good for me, i got a lucky escape but how about my friends back home? you owe us nothing, true but when decisions are made in america would those people responsible give atleast second thoughts about the lives being ruined in distant lands as a consequence. about russia, i don’t agree with a lot of what’s happening in that country but i don’t share your hatred towards it. i have nothing more to say so i’d better leave you to your own devices. happy hating!
Failing or failed states are actually something with which the US should be concerned. Aside from the “Domino Effect” on their immediate neighbors, in our interconnected global society, those failed states are the equivalent of a failure of a household in our housing community. When that happens (and there should be some evidence of that in the sub-prime lending areas of America) the failing homeowners stop tending their yard, they have disturbing public episodes (arguments in their yard, screaming and yelling, possibly crimes oozing out onto the street), when they move out they rip out the utilities and takes them who-knows where…
Therefore the people who have the means should be concerned and try to somehow keep the neighborhood from being infected by another entity’s mismanagement or misfortune. The US does this is some vestigial fashion through US AID, State Departments Civilian Reserve, the Peace Corps, various stabilization initiatives, while the Europeans are little seen or heard from, and the Chinese are seen when there are economic advantages to be gained (i.e. Sudan).
In some cases it may be hopeless, (i.e. Russia) but we should probably still try while we are the biggest kid on the block, because how the the Euro’s or Chinese manage it when its their turn? We’ve seen how the US has historically fared with its conquered protectorates: post-WWII Germany and Japan. It vastly supported Egypt’s new democracy in the late 50’s and 60’s even against the will of its prior UK occupiers.
Bottom-line, we can do it well when we really want to, and we should do it, even if we don’t like the failing states or they don’t do their fair share…
Fascism in Russia and Statism in America. Statists and Fascists believe sovereignty is vested not in the people but in the national state, and that all individuals and associations exist only to enhance the power, the prestige, and the well-being of the state.
Fascists are super patriotic and have a fanatical devotion to nationalism.
The Statists loathe Nationalism, almost a self hatred. They tend to be cosmopolitan.
Both are idealistic oppressive regime which serve the bureaucratic elite.
Russia has developed into a Fascist State.
Obama is trying to turn America into a Statist Nation.
Let’s hope they both fail.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but my specific concerns with Russia are mostly due to personal reasons. I have close family in Ukraine and unlike the Philippines, what happens in Russia has a great impact on what happens there.
And I do not like what is happening in Russia right now. In the 1990’s the Russian people had a bad experience with Yeltsin-style democracy. (Yeltsin had big personal and institutional problems with corruption and the US has to bear some blame for tolerating and even perhaps benefiting from it.) Putin was pretty much installed for the sole reason that he wouldn’t prosecute Yeltsin.
Putin, however, immediately started working on reducing whatever freedoms the Russian people had seized at great risk to themselves in 1992 and turning Russia back into an autocratic state under his personal control. Again, the US isn’t blameless for this – because of the War on Terror, we were inclined to ignore Putin’s darker side and assume he had a “good soul” because his aid was necessary. We certainly turned a blind eye to Chechnya, in which Russian forces created a desert, and called it peace.
The big problem comes, however, in that during this period, oil revenues started skyrocketing and suddenly, the Russian treasury was flush with money, and the economic well-being of the average Russian improved at exactly the same time as his rights were being taken away. (To be fair, Putin did a very good job of leveraging the windfall for maximum advantage.)
And this creates a problem. There is a perception now in Russia that Dictatorship = Rich, Democracy = Poor. Or more to the point, in order to gain and maintain power, the Russian Government is selling a package of Nationalism, Militarism, and Autocracy and the Russian people are all too willing to buy. The problem is that the name for this package is Fascism.
There is a recognizable pattern here. Russia is effectively comparable to Germany in 1936. “Weimar was awful, now things are better. It’s obvious that the Fuhrer knows best.” I don’t want to push the Hitler analogy too far – I do not believe that Putin is possessed of the kind of evil to perpetrate a Holocaust. In terms of cold blooded expansion within the former territory of the Soviet Union, that is eminently possible. If you don’t believe me, try and block your own anti-Western biases for a moment, and then read some of the stuff that the “Russophiles” have put out, especially regarding Georgia and Ukraine. Some of it, when taken objectively, is downright terrifying.
Well said, Scott.
Russia is absolutely a fascist country. In both the political and the economic spectrums (corporatism). Quite openly actually. It’s much more fascist than was the para-fascist Portugal, for example.
Btw (I already wrote about it), the Hitler’s Germany (and Austria) was not “fascist” – they even destroyed the Austrofascism (which was a crazy and failed dictatorship but not racist and certainly not genocidal – and the National Socialists were totally outlawed under the Austrofascist regime, unlike in modern Russia).
I see where you’re coming from, Robert, and know that some scholars do identify the two as essentially different in character, but I tend to believe the more standard definition in which Nazism is a version of Fascism with an integral racial component.
My favorite explanations come from an old comic I saw in High School:
“Socialism – You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.
“Communism – You have two cows. The government takes both and gives you the milk.
“Fascism – You have two cows. The government takes both and SELLS you the milk.
“Nazism – You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.
“New Dealism – You have two cows. The government pays you to shoot one, milk the other, and lets the milk spoil.
“Capitalism – You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.”
Also there was never a truly communist country (maybe in Pol Pot’s “Democratic Kampuchea” – in some really degenerate, insane way).
The Russian history:
Stolypinism – You are given two cows. (Sort of.)
Stalinism – You have two cows. The government takes both and you starve to death. (Quite literally.)
Yeltsinism-Putinism – You have two cows. The government kills one and the other is taken by soldiers. (Constitutional order.)
Mature Putinism – You are the richest Russian. The government sends you to prison and redistributes your wealth among themselves; Stalinism is called “effective managing”.
That’s called strawman argument. First, you make up that “these people declare they hate all the russians”, and then make all kind of conclusions. Since all conclusions are based misrepresentation of an opponent’s position, they are by definition irrelevant.
Hopefully, it helps you make more cogent arguments in the future. Good luck!
Well, jordan departs having thrown out the disingenuous “haters” accusation which is always a ploy to stop debates with opinions he doesn’t share.
Russia and whatever corruption/poverty/bad government mess existed in the Phillipines that Jordan didn’t hang around to help fix isn’t anyone else’s problems but the citizens there. It’s cheap and easy to assign blame to outsiders. The US wasn’t responsible for Imelda Marcos’ 2500 shoe collection nor Aquino’s assassination. The US openly condemned his election fraud and he was later indicted for embezzlement in the US.
Phillipinos deserved better and they are miles ahead of Russians in terms of a civil society.
Does anyone know if Viktor Astafyev’s Веселый солдат/The Happy Solider has been translated from Russian (into English, German, etc.) yet? If there’s anything that scares or irritates a Russian more, it’s someone — especially a fellow Russian — telling the truth.
Since it’s Memorial Day…
We may have reason to deplore Soviet Diplomacy between August 1939 and June 1941. We may object to the atrocities committed by the Red Army in its prosecution of the War. We may point out that Soviet success was largely dependent on Lend-Lease and the hard work and sacrifice of millions of Americans, Englishmen, Scots, Welshmen, Irishmen, Canadians, Australians, Frenchmen, Poles, Chinese, and countless citizens of other nations who participated in the Great Allied Cause. And we may recognize Stalin for the inhuman monster he most certainly was.
But despite all these objections, one undeniable fact remains. Millions of Russians and other peoples of the Soviet Union gave their lives to drive back the Nazi threat to civilization and I would like to take this moment to show my appreciation for their sacrifice.
Scott, that’s a nice touch, far nicer than all the military foo-foo that they trotted out for Victory Day on May 9.
The problem is that the sovok threat was just as bad for civilization.
And in Ukraine, as Les has pointed out, people suffered from the “scorched earth” policy twice – once from the Nazis, and once from the sovoks.
I am glad the Nazis are gone.
I am glad the sovok union is gone.
I am glad that WWII is long over.
I’m going to join you in taking a moment to remember the sacrifice of millions of Soviets, not just soldiers but civilians as well who suffered enormous deprivations in the fight against the Nazis, without whose determination and grit the Allied victory over Hitler would likely not have been possible.
That said, and I know far too many Russians will stop at that point, and the point of this discussion is to assess why modern Russians are so willing to believe the heavily white-washed and self-serving version of history that for decades the Soviet government fabricated.
Why, for instance is that period of 1939-1941 “diplomacy” ignored? Keep in mind that during that period of “diplomacy”, the Soviet Union allied with Hitler and invaded Poland, Finland, the Baltic countries and Bessarabia. In Poland, the top NKVD staff met on at least four known occasions with the head officers of the Gestapo to coordinate the liquidation of the Polish intelligentsia, and Stalin sent Soviet specialists to help the Germans build large concentration/labor camp systems, something the Germans of 1939-41 did not yet developed the logistics for. The Soviets also deported some 1.2 million of my fellow Poles from the eastern regions under their control (and another 2 million in 1944-45 after they reconquered the area), as well as almost 10% of the adult population of the Baltics and some 400,000 Romanians from Bessarabia. All this was before June, 1941. Stalin also supplied critical minerals and raw materials to Hitler in this period, so that for instance you might be enthused to know that some of the materials for making the high explosives used by the Nazis in their invasion of France and Western Europe in 1940 were supplied by the Soviets, along with intelligence gathered from Soviet NKVD and local communist party members throughout Western Europe. Indeed, literally in the last hour before the Nazis invaded the USSR in 1941, the amassed German soldiers along the German-Soviet occupation border in Poland were stunned to see yet another train full of bauxite arrive at the border, yet another gift from Uncle Joe in Moscow to Hitler. Indeed, the basic incompetence of Stalin in his handling of the war, which cost the Soviets needlessly millions of lives is something modern Russians prefer to deny and just look the other way. Those sacrifices on the part of Soviet soldiers you were observing derive from the fact that the average common Soviet soldier had two enemies to worry about: the Germans, and the Soviet government. American POWs who were liberated at war’s end were received at home like heroes, but British sailors who by treaty with Moscow had to return liberated Soviet POWs watched helplessly as the NKVD arrested, beat and often shot them on the docks at Murmansk. If the Soviet people rose to the challenges of World War II — and quite heroically — it was despite the incompetence and just plain criminal actions of their own government. General Zhukov, a true hero of the war, spent decades after the war in exile in Central Asia because Stalin and subsequent Soviet leaders wanted to take credit for accomplishments — remember the pathetic Brezhnev who bestowed dozens of military honors from the war onto himself despite only being a political commissar during the war? — and so Zhukov could never conveniently point out the Soviet government’s own disastrous errors during the war.
One of the things that astounded me about Western libraries is that you can find so many books about World War II, but they don’t all praise the American and British. Some are very critical of decisions and mistakes made during the war like the bombing of Dresden, the rivalry between American and British generals in Italy and France, the atomic bombs dropped on Japan, and all sorts of other issues. One just came out recently by Giles MacDonough listing alleged mistreatment of some Germans after the war by the Western Allies. Modern Russian libraries have no such thing, though some brave Russian historians have published materials over the past two decades exploring some of the myths and realities of the Soviet role in the war. All countries have mythologized the war somewhat but at least in the West, some historians try to explode those myths and Westerns read that stuff and openly debate those issues. Russians however want to live in a fairy bubble where only foreign, mostly Western countries have those problems; Russians never committed crimes and the Soviet government is blameless in all its conduct. No amount of evidence matters, even Soviet veterans like Astafyev who try to tell the truth are told to shut up, that they are wrong or lying. The modern Russians do not want truth, they want fairy tales.
I was going to respond to some of the posts above about why countries like Finland, Estonia or Hungary would fight against the Soviet Union, but if Russians today aren’t even willing to acknowledge the crimes of their own government against themselves — what the Polish political scientist Leszek Kołakowski once described as “…probably the most massive warlike operation ever conducted by a state against its own citizens” — how can Russians ever be expected to understand the motivations of other peoples? That the Soviet Union had territorial claims against nearly every Eastern European state that bordered it in the 1920s and 30s, that it organized and funded local communist parties to commit acts of espionage and sabotage — the post-war (and later 1950s and 60s) Polish communist leader, Władysław Gomułka, was ironically saved in 1938 when Stalin ordered the Polish communist party to Moscow and he had most of them arrested and executed, but Gomułka was sitting in a Polish prison at the time, arrested for communist party activities — and that generally the Soviet Union was feared more by both pro-German and pro-Western Eastern European states alike than Nazi Germany; none of this will make sense to a modern Russian who is dumb enough to still believe in the old Stalinist lies.
Why “whine” about all this now? Because we still have to live with a hyper-paranoid, nuclear-armed, economically backward and authoritarian Russia now, and because what people believe about history often matters more than what really happened. Russians, among the world’s most prolific imperial peoples who have committed an unprecedented litany of gross atrocities against countless neighboring peoples and countries, have convinced themselves that they are history’s greatest victims and the rest of us are going to be made to pay for it.
You brought up a very good point:
* American POWs who were liberated at war’s end were received at home like heroes, but British sailors who by treaty with Moscow had to return liberated Soviet POWs watched helplessly as the NKVD arrested, beat and often shot them on the docks at Murmansk. *
I will add something that is not seen in most history books. There where two and a half million (2,500,000) to three million (3,000,000) Ukrainians in German concentration (and slave labor) camps. After the silly Yalta agreement, Ukrainians were forced to be repatriated back home, by the allies. Hundreds of thousands (100,000’s) were packed into trains and sent east, back “home” towards their Motherland. Unfortunately, the trains continued past the eastern border of Ukraine, and straight to the gulags. After their point of departure, most of the Ukrainians died either before or after reaching their destinations.
PS The kremlin called it repatriation, rather than just another one of their many genocides?
To Tomek, THANK YOU! for your astute words here. They have the ring of truth and historical fact behind them. As far as ‘Scott’s’ sympathetic words about the many many Russians who died, fighting the Nazis, etc. Yes, of course! that is true, and so I partially agree with his memorializing of them, but, why? did so many have to die? Many were like sheep to the slaughter, and not truly ‘willing to die’ at all, but rather, forced to kill and be killed. As a fellow human being, to me, that is most most sad, and part of the so-called ‘human condition’ finally, as religion or philosophy would define it all. But, let us also see the WHOLE picture of all that murdering and pilaging and destruction, just as you here have so well gone into. Neither Hitler nor Stalin’s ‘communism’ were of benefit to Europe or Russia, but what the Red Army committed, was far worse, in sheer numbers, and in magnitude and also in the unfortunate longevity of the oppressive soviet, now progressed into the neo-soviet regime. Let’s not give overdue praise for Stalin’s forced-soldiers, nor cover up the many many atrocities committed by them on others….and upon fellow Russians also! For all who died in the two major World Wars in Europe, and afterwards in the long soviet-yoke period. I can only pray for ALL their souls, in the end, murderers and the murdered. Yet, to find the truth, about all that history, we do need to stick to the FACTS, which you have done, Tomek. Thanks!
Elmer, Tomek, psalomchik:
In essence I agree with you (such was the whole point behind the first paragraph), but Memorial Day is not about making remonstrances – it is about remembering the positive. We have the other 364 days of the year to criticize what was wrong about the Soviet Union and what is wrong with Russia today, and we do a pretty good job of it.
In other words, don’t see this as an attempt to excuse Moscow’s wrongdoing; see it as my favorable mention of Satan in the House of Commons.
This says exactly what is wrong with Medvedev and the Russian leadership today regards this issue.
May 24, 2009
By Viktor Sheinis
There was a Soviet-era institution that was completely antithetical to the public good: the Ideological Commission, which was later turned into the Ideological Department of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
It wasn’t simply pointless, it was actively harmful. These appointed ideologues decided what corresponded to the interests of the party and the nation, and what did not. They decided what truth was and what should not be published.
I hadn’t suspected that our retreat from the liberty we gained during perestroika would go so far, but now a presidential decree has established a state commission that is charged with rooting out historical falsifications that “harm the interests of Russia.”
There are many falsifications of history. They tumble in a muddy torrent from the screens of state television. The shelves of bookstores are groaning with the Stalinist, fascist, anti-Semitic literature published in the last few years. But I’m afraid the attention of our new commission will be attracted by works of a completely different type.
I’m worried the new commission will draw on our rich Soviet experience. In 1951, the Soviet government published a book called “Falsifiers of History: A Historical Handbook.” Its anonymous, highly placed authors were trying to prove that a publication issued in the West called “Nazi-Soviet Relations: 1939-41,” which was based on materials from German archives, was a falsification. (Years later, the same materials were found in Soviet archives.) The effort was guided by the logic of rooting out facts “harmful to the interests of…”
And now the time is ripe for a new commission. After all, we are approaching the 70th anniversary of the Molotov-Rippentrop pact (signed in August 1939) and the Soviet-German collusion (September 1939). Coincidence?
History (like science, like literature), for good or ill, cannot be separated from ideology. Ideology appears in the selection of topics and information, as well as in the interpretation of facts.
And there are various kinds of facts, as the satirist Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin quipped. There are convenient facts and inconvenient ones; and there are some that aren’t even facts.
There is nothing wrong with admitting that historians adhere to ideologies. But our Russian Constitution bans the establishment of a state ideology. If a group of people, acting in the name of the government, is going to determine what harms the interests of Russia, they are acting unconstitutionally.
But the very idea that a state organ can take on the task of determining which historical works pose a threat to Russia’s interests is profoundly false. Historical truth — like any other kind of truth or, for that matter, any type of falsification — is only revealed by a process of open discussion. It cannot be dictated from on high.
Russian authorities have a very fine sense of which version of the war is useful for them and which facts need to be erased from historical memory. As soon as Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu said that it should be illegal to deny the victory of the Soviet Union in World War II, a bill appeared in the State Duma establishing criminal penalties for denying our victory and for denying the crimes of Hitler’s cronies (but not for denying those of Stalin and his entourage).
These ideas fell on well-prepared soil. A public-opinion poll found that 60 percent of Russians support Shoigu’s initiative, including 57 percent of those who say they support the liberal Yabloko party or the right-leaning, pro-Kremlin Right Cause party.
But who in Russia has ever denied any of these things? And what danger to the public would such bizarre pronouncements present?
The real point of these initiatives isn’t clear to most citizens. They are saying: Leave aside everything except our victory in the war; forget about the cruel truths, the victims, and the losses; forget about how unprepared we were for the war despite the face that all the efforts of our country had been devoted to preparations for 20 years to such an extent that our people were condemned to a half-starved existence.
But too much was already said during the years of glasnost. Documents were released and honest memoirs of the war were published. It is sufficient to recall the words of war veteran Viktor Astafev, speaking to one of his critics: “You and your commanders and those you commanded were very bad warriors. And you couldn’t have been otherwise, since you were fighting in the most talentless army in human history. That army, like our army today, was a product of the most despicable society — and there is no need to prove that.”
Maybe those words were written in the heat of the moment with some exaggeration, but they are certainly far from the official historiography of the Great Patriotic War that the authorities have been promoting. Even official state television occasionally lets a film slip through that tells some truths about the war, that mentions the inhuman strategy of the Supreme Commander and his marshals and generals (the film “Rzhev” is one example).
Now a weapon is being placed in the hands of those who insist on mythology and outright lies, the blade of which will be directed against the intolerable truth of the war. It will continue the practice of Soviet agitprop, which always struggled against the “de-heroization of the people’s victory,” against “the truth of the trenches” which cast shadows on the “truth of the Generalisimo.”
A few years ago, former Moscow Mayor and economist Gavriil Popov said there was not one war, but three.
The first was the complete destruction in a matter of days and weeks of the army that Stalin had prepared for an incursion into Europe. The remarkable books of Mark Solonin, based on a careful analysis of archival materials and the recollections of participants, document the massive scale of that catastrophe. The army, overwhelmed by the Germans’ numerical and technological superiority, fell apart in a matter of hours. Weapons were abandoned. Millions of soldiers and officers were taken prisoner. The German blitzkrieg very nearly achieved its goals.
And then the second war began: the Patriotic War. During this war, the patriotism of the people became the main ideological force opposing the invasion. The destroyed old professional army was replaced by a genuine people’s army. This is the war in which the people achieved a great victory and completely altered the character of the war. In front of Moscow, Leningrad, and Stalingrad, the greatest threat that our country has faced at least since Mongol times was met and turned back.
But that is when the third war began, a war the authorities want to deny or distort. This war combined the objective need to complete the war on the territory of the enemy (a joint determination by our army, our people, and all our allies to completely destroy fascism at its roots) with an offensive war planned by Stalin and the Soviet bureaucracy and aimed against the peoples of Eastern Europe.
The goal of this third war was to establish communist regimes on the Soviet model across the region. A national, just war of liberation — such as history has probably never seen before — was transformed into a war of aggression. The glory of the Great Patriotic War was tarnished by expansion and by our leaders claiming the right to appoint the leaders of the captive nations, to force them to industrialize and collectivize, to tell them how to deal with “enemies of the party and the people,” to tell them who are their friends and who are their enemies.
No Escaping Stalinist Past
In order to fight against the myths, we need to assert firmly that the division of Europe worked out at Yalta and Potsdam and agreed to by our allies is our historical curse. For decades our leaders deluded the Soviet people with the idea that our troops had a right to be in Germany, Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia because hundreds of thousands of Soviet soldiers and officers had given their lives to liberate these countries.
We were told it was an imperialist lie that the peoples of these countries thought they had merely traded one occupation for another. That’s how we were raised and educated. That’s how the great-power, hegemonic consciousness of the majority of our people was formed, in the spirit of messianic communism.
The direct consequence of this third war, in fact its continuation, was the Cold War.
A Stalinist foreign policy, unfortunately, is our undeniable past. Occasional opinion polls continue to show that a majority of Russians do not approve of Mikhail Gorbachev’s “handing over” of the countries of the so-called socialist camp to their peoples and ending the senseless waste of resources that was the arms race. On the contrary, they approve of the saber rattling in which our present leaders engage from time to time. They are convinced Russia has a right to its “zone of primary influence” covering its neighbors and therefore has the right to tell Ukraine and Georgia what organizations they can join and what policies they can pursue.
In our subconscious, at the core of our being, lie great-power priorities. That’s why we respond with enthusiasm when we hear the slogan “Russia is getting up off its knees.”
This myth won’t disappear. It will only adjust itself to times and circumstances and, most importantly, the interests and views of our leaders. And now this myth can count on a new, specially created organ — Dmitry Medvedev’s new historical commission.
As always, I take my hat off to a person who speaks the truth, especially when in the course of doing so that person puts themselves in harm’s way.