WEDNESDAY AUGUST 3 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Russia, Swallowed by Darkness
(2) OP-ED: Putin and Stalin
(3) OP-ED: Putin and his Corruption
(4) EDITORIAL: The Greatest Russian Political Cartoon Ever
(5) Lenin was Evil
NOTE: We offer a wealth of original content in today’s issue. In addition to our two editorials, scholar Paul R. Gregory offers our readers a preview of his just-published work on the malignant dictator Josef Stalin, drawing horrifying comparisons between Stalin and Vladimir Putin (a piece we republish from a Russian scholar about Lenin provides a perfect bookend for this excellent piece of analysis, and we look forward to perusing Gregory’s new volume). Then Dave Essel translates from and comments on the latest piece from Novaya Gazeta exposing fraud and corruption at the very highest levels of the Putin regime. Finally, LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld’s latest installment on the powerful American Thinker blog reviews Boris Nemtsov’s latest white paper exposing Putin’s economic failure and the shameful silence of the Obama administration in regard to Nemtsov’s political persecution (he was arrested just last weekend, in case you missed it).
The Darkness swallows Russia
The news out of Russia was bleak and morbid last week, even by Russian standards. Even we, who are used to daily reporting the animalistic misconduct occurring in Putin’s Russia, are alarmed by the news now rolling out of this desperately-screwed up land.
Make no mistake: This news threatens us as much as it does Russians themselves. Russia is a beast with nuclear fangs which can lash out at any moment against any one of us.
What Putin Learned From Stalin
by Paul R. Gregory
Professor Paul R. Gregory
Show trials, mysterious deaths in prisons, thought crimes, intimidation of political opponents, and control of the media are reminiscent of Stalin’s Russia, but they are mainstays of Russia under Putin.
Unlike Stalin, Putin uses these instruments of power and intimidation behind a façade of democracy. Unlike Stalin, they are used selectively against a few citizens. Those who “mind their business” are left alone. While Stalin held power, even those who played by his rules were at risk. Modern dictators have learned that mass repressions are not necessary; selective intimidation works just as well.
Putin has created the very system that Stalin feared most: A KGB state unconstrained by any other source of power. Stalin was constantly on guard with respect to his secret police. If they and their leaders became too powerful, he had a simple solution: Kill them. Putin’s KGB state – which controls much of Russian industry, finance, and trade – has no Stalin or Politburo to rein them in.
Russia: Disgraceful, Disgusting and Dishonest
by Dave Essel
In Russia, deeds hardly ever match words. Below you will find a particularly revolting case in point – small time on the scale of Russia, just one instance of the ubiquitous inhumanity to be found there. But this is how Russia really is: disgraceful, disgusting, and dishonest from top to bottom and through and through.
The Russian authorities are greatly exercised at the moment by Senator Benjamin Cardin’s excellent proposal to the U.S. State Department to deny permanently U.S. visas to over 60 Russian officials and others involved in a $230 million corruption exposed by a Moscow-based lawyer for Hermitage Capital, Sergei Magnitsky, his retaliatory arrest on false charges by the same officials he had accused and his subsequent torture and death in custody. Senator Cardin pointed out that “these officials remain unpunished and in a position of power.”
The Greatest Russian Political Cartoon ever Drawn
We’re huge fans of Russian political cartoonist Sergei Yelkin, otherwise known as The Ellustrator. But even we did not dream he could surpass himself in regard to the rendition of the Russian flag as a cadre of blue-suited police officers surrounded by a sea of blood which appears at the top of our sidebar to the right. We thought that was the greatest Russian political cartoon that would ever be drawn.
But he’s done it. He’s set a new standard, and created the single greatest Russian cartoon yet created. It’s a very simple image, of stunning complexity and power. It shows a group of eight Russians standing under a scorching sun, holding picket signs demanding that the orb stop torturing them.
If only there were more Russians like Andrei Zubov, a professor of philosophy at the Moscow State Institute of International Affairs, writing in the Moscow Times (good luck trying to find this kind of thing in the Russia press):
In the small town where my dacha is located, the main street is called Soviet Army, and an iron statue of Lenin stands right in the middle of it. Although the children love to play around the statue, it is a terrible place for games. The children’s parents, however, have another opinion. “Let the kids play around Grandfather Lenin,” they say. “Who is he bothering? After all, he is a funny man.”
There is nothing funny about the hundreds — perhaps thousands — of Lenin statues and memorial plaques with his profile still adorning Russia’s cities, towns and villages. As soon as my eye catches a Lenin image, I turn away in disgust. I flinch every time I am on the metro and hear the words over the loud speaker: “Next stop: The Lenin Library.” As a historian, I know all too well what crimes Lenin committed, how much blood was shed as a result of his direct orders, how many millions were killed or suffered from hunger and disease when Lenin and his comrades unleashed the Civil War and Red Terror.