Reading, Writing and Reckless Ruin in Russia
From the very earliest days of this blog’s operation, we have been tirelessly documenting the horrific fraud that is the Russian so-called “education” system. We thought we had seen it all.
But nothing prepared us for the column in last Thursday’s Moscow Times newspaper from high-ranking Kremlin educator Yevgeny Bazhanov, Vice Chancellor of the Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy. We republish it in full in today’s issue, and we still cannot keep from quoting it at length here.
We confess that, Russia cynics though we may be, we were left slack-jawed by the horrifying revelations Professor Bazhanov offered about the so-called “best and brightest” in Russia’s top universities. His plaintive cry “with these brains, how will Russia ever modernize?” left us feeling more hopeless than we ever have about Russia’s future.
As if that were not enough, we also carry in today’s issue a report from the Other Russia which documents a reporter having her children kidnapped by the state apparently in retaliation for critical reporting about the Kremlin-connected Avtovaz factory in her city.
No other description fits: This is naked barbarism. It is a country totally disconnected from the basic standards of the civilized world, descending into the bleakest pits of animalistic frenzy, destroying itself utterly in the process.
Professor Bazhanov relates that most of his students at one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in Moscow believe that George Bush staged the attacks on the Twin Towers in order to have an excuse to invade Iraq. He points out that this notion is utterly absurd, because he already had that excuse. He had the claim that Iraq had dangerous weapons of mass destruction, and if he were a dishonest man all he had to do, even if Iraq didn’t really have them, was to invade and plant the weapons there.
That’s to say nothing, of course, about the President of the USA choosing to destroy the Twin Towers by using commercial jetliners. Professor Bazhanov is brutally blunt:
It doesn’t take much thinking to realize that my students’ theory is crazy. Bush would have had to get hundreds of senior military commanders and intelligence officials involved. They then would have had to select reliable pilots and secret agents to carry out the mission and make sure that none of these conspirators at any point in their lives spilled the beans or left compromising evidence to friends or relatives.
The simple fact is that these elite students at one of Russia’s best universities aren’t doing any thinking. They are instead being brainwashed by their own government, which is desperate to distract their attention from the fact that it is the one bombing civilians, namely those in the apartment buildings in Moscow whose destruction was used as the basis for invading Chechnya.
Professor Bazhanov’s question is essential: How can Russia survive this type of barbarism? And the answer is simple and clear: It cannot. Because this kind of “thinking” is characteristic only of Russia’s young people. Professor Bazhanov continues:
It is not only Russia’s students and future diplomats who believe in this nonsense. There are plenty of analysts in their 50s and 60s — many of whom are highly influential public figures — who also propagandize these conspiracy theories on television and in the print media. One seasoned military analyst even tried to convince me that the United States was behind the recent Moscow metro bombings. “Where is the proof?” I asked.
No nation can survive barbarism this widespread and extreme. No nation. Period.
Despite years of so-called economic progress under Vladimir Putin, nothing fundmental has changed for Russia’s teachers and students. Teachers are paid slave wages, so no talented people what that job. Those who do it are corrupt, ignorant, and enslaved to the regime. They cannot teach their students critical thinking skills, cannot teach them to be creative, cannot teach them to be progressive or innovative, because they themselves lack these qualities. Meanwhile, a government dominated by the secret police looms over them, crushing any vestigial hint of inspiration or energy, because the regime can see that sort of thing only as a threat to its existence.
Which, of course, it is. Well-paid, free-thinking teachers and students would create a powerful anti-Putin polity that would have no reason to support a government based on the secret police. We have no doubt that Russia’s KGB government would much prefer a weak, ignorant land that is easy to control but economically backwards to a prosperous country that might unseat them at any moment. Russia’s current leaders are, in other words, as Russia’s leaders always have been, willing to sacrifice the nation’s future for their own personal benefit.
As such, they are far more dangerous to Russia than any foreign enemy could ever dream of being.