Category Archives: history

Neo-Sovietizing Boris Nemtsov

Top Russia blogger Vladimir Kara-Murza reports:

For Yuri Andropov, who headed the KGB from the 1960s to the 1980s, suppressing political dissent was a top priority. “Every such act represents a danger,” he told his colleagues in 1979, “The struggle against them must be decisive, uncompromising, and merciless.” The regime tried different approaches. Dissidents were convicted to long sentences for “anti-Soviet agitation”—an offense under Article 70 of the penal code—and sent away to prisons and labor camps alongside real criminals. Often, they were labelled “insane,” committed to special psychiatric prisons and subjected to torturous “treatment.” Both of these practices—criminal convictions and “punitive psychiatry”—met with worldwide condemnation and ultimately proved too costly for the Kremlin’s international image.

Then Andropov had an idea.

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EDITORIAL: Russian Ignorance, Unbound

EDITORIAL

Russian Ignorance, Unbound

“One of our professors talked about him in a lecture.  But I don’t really remember now exactly what he said.”

Those were the words of 17-year old Russian law student Maria Danilyants.  The “him” she was referring to was Andrei Sakharov, and she was being asked about him by Michael Schwirtz of the New York Times because his wife Yelena Bonner had just passed away.

If you think Ms. Danilyants is an ignorant buffoon, think again. She’s by far the brightest person in her law school class, because not a single one of her classmates could place the name “Sakharov” at all.  This is very much the same as if a class of American law students in New York City turned out to have no idea who Martin Luther King was.  That is, if America had collapsed and been replaced by another country because it didn’t listen to King.

Cynics on Russia though we may be, we continue to be utterly stunned by the extent of Russian barbarism and ignorance.  It is truly not inaccurate to refer to Russia as “Zaire with permafrost” and it is truly breathtaking that Russians can look at any other country and think themselves even remotely erudite.

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EDITORIAL: Welcome to the Horror of Neo-Soviet Russia

EDITORIAL

Welcome to the Horror of Neo-Soviet Russia

When you click the jump, you will see an image of the leather trench coat that was worn by officers of the NKVD, the organization that became the KGB and is now the FSB (the organization has twice been required to change its name to try to ward off its disgraceful past).  The NKVD, like their successors, were responsible for  horrific crimes against the people of Russia and were a legion of goons that terrorized the country in order to support the Stalin dictatorship.  They were integral in carrying out one of the most infamous crimes against humanity in world history, the Katyn massacre in 1940 Poland.

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Putin Moves Russia From Authoritarianism to Totalitarianism

Pavel Felgenhauer, writing on the Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor:

A group of 14 acclaimed Russian intellectuals, including human rights activists, artists, film directors, writers and aides of the late President Boris Yeltsin have published an open statement condemning the present regime for “completely destroying the institution of democratic elections in Russia.” Election results are shamelessly falsified by the authorities, while opposition parties and activists are “unconstitutionally” denied registration to run in elections under cooked up pretexts.

As a result, subjects of the Russian state are disfranchised from the political system rendering it illegitimate. The statement describes as “vicious” the so called “vertical of power”—a system of personalized authoritarian rule the prime minister and leader of the ruling United Russia Vladimir Putin has been building since 1999. This “vertical of power” has created a rubberstamp misrepresentative parliament, a “paralyzed Dmitry Medvedev presidency” and dysfunctional regional and municipal authorities.

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Putin Carries on Hitler’s Work

The Other Russia reports:

As Russia celebrates the 66th anniversary of the Nazi’s capitulation in World War II, 83-year-old veteran Anton Karavanets describes his life like this: “I live the life of a pauper, I feel redundant in my own country, the country I once risked my life for. Yet another anniversary since the end of the Second World War is approaching, and there are fewer and fewer of us, war survivors, left.”

Despite repeated promises from the Russian government to ensure a good life for its veterans, Karavanets is not alone in his sentiments. Feeling abandoned, some have returned their medals as they literally struggle to survive in abysmal conditions.

As United Civil Front leader Garry Kasparov argues, Russia’s ruling regime has offended its veterans in the worst possible way: by essentially carrying out the work of the Third Reich.

Occupier Day
By Garry Kasparov
May 11, 2011
Kasparov.ru

In Brezhnev’s time, Victory Day began to be actively used to strengthen the ideological basis of the Soviet system. Victory in the Great Patriotic War became not just a symbol to bring society together, but a central element of Soviet propaganda, justifying growing socio-economic problems and all the crimes of the Stalin era. Naturally, the real history of the Great War was sacrificed for a semi-official myth that worked to their advantage.

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EDITORIAL: Get it Straight, Russia Lost World War II

Advertisement for a World War II party in Moscow. The message reads: Thank you Granddad for the victory we had!

EDITORIAL

Get it Straight, Russia Lost World War II

Three were killed.  No, four.  Wait a minute, it was seven.  No, no . . .  eight!!

You could be forgiven if you were somewhat perplexed reading the news out of the Caucasus on May 8th. Each different media outlet you turned to seemed to have a different figure for the number of “militants” and “rebels” Russia had killed in its latest confrontation, though in each case they insisted only one member of the Russian armed forces had perished in the exchange.

As you can well imagine, if you could’n’t even get the number of militants, it was pretty darned impossible to find out anything about who they were or why they had been killed.  Russians lack real information about such events, just as they lack real information about World War II, a conflict they lost but foolishly believe they won. 

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EDITORIAL: The Horror of Russian Cowardice and Lies

EDITORIAL

The Horror of Russian Cowardice and Lies

The nuclear reactor in Power Unit No. 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station exploded at 1:23 am on Friday, April 25, 1986 — twenty five years ago this month.

It immediately generated a cloud of radioactive vapor ten times more toxic than the Hiroshima nuclear bombing.

But the 50,000 residents of the neighboring town of Pripyat, USSR, were not told to take protective measures, such as staying indoors with the windows shut, for a full twelve hours following the blast, when it was announced that they faced “an unfavorable radioactive atmosphere.”  Unfavorable indeed! They were not told they would be evacuated until late in the evening the next day, Saturday April 26, and they were not actually evacuated until 2 pm on Sunday, April 27. By that time, many had incurred lethal or life-altering doses of radioactivity.

Residents were not permitted to take their personal property with them. Patriotic Soviet citizens soon swarmed in and looted them to the bare walls.  Today, Pripyat is a ghost town.

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