“Why do you hate your own country so much?” This was the angry reaction of one Russian who had just listened to a devastating critique of everything that Communism had done to his country between 1917 and 1990. The event was a seminar at the Moscow School of Political Studies and the speaker who had provoked this outburst was Andrei Zubov, one of Russia’s most brilliant — and most controversial — historians.
Zubov, who is the editor and co-author of a two-volume history of Russia in the 20th century, has a burning desire to make Russians face up to the realities of the Soviet era. He used his talk (which I attended as a participant in a later seminar) to describe in relentless detail the way in which all that was good in Russia’s past — not least the flowering of culture that took place in the second half of the 19th century — was destroyed by Lenin, Stalin and their associates. But his remarks about today’s Russia were no less striking.
Spotlight on Russia reports:
One of the surest signs of repression in Russia is a flourishing culture of political jokes. The 1930s and the 1970s, in particular, bear testimony to this. In 2008, when Vladimir Putin tricked term limits by becoming prime minister under hand-picked President Dmitri Medvedev, a new joke was born in the Moscow intelligentsia’s kitchens. The year is 2020. Putin and Medvedev are in a bar, drinking beer. Putin looks up and asks: “Dima, do you remember which one of us is president, and which one is prime minister?” Medvedev thinks for a short while, then replies: “I think you are president, Vladimir Vladimirovich, and I am prime minister.” “Then it’s your turn to pay for the beer,” responds Putin.
SPECIAL EXTRA EDITORIAL
Putin, President for Life
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 23 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Prokhorov in the Woodshed
(2) EDITORIAL: Drunken Russian Killers
(3) EDITORIAL: Does Britain Remember Chamberlain?
(4) EDITORIAL: An Open Letter to Donna Welles
(5) Cameron as Chamberlain
(6) Russia and its Slaves
NOTE: On September 22, 2011, the Russian stock market lost over 8% of its value on news of declining international demand for crude oil, and it is down over 30% since early April.
NOTE: Stalin on school notebooks for children! What will those Russians think of next?? (Hat tip: Reader “Garnet”)
NOTE: An American is dancing at the Bolshoi! Another sign of the apocalypse for Russia!
NOTE: The Russian website GolosRuNeta is holding an online straw poll for president. Way out in the lead is Russian Orthodox priest, actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, journalist, writer and all-around weirdo Ivan Okhlobstin. Who says Russians don’t take the future of their children seriously?? Vote now, and often.
Prokhorov in the Woodshed
Last week saw the Right Cause party of oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov go down in flames. It used to be the case that the Kremlin liquidated politicians (like former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov and former first deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov) because they were too anti-Kremlin. But those days are over. Now, it’s going after all political figures who are not pro-Kremlin enough! It is the natural progression as Russia returns to a neo-Soviet state.
Drunken Russian Killers
When a TU-134 jet went down in Petrozavodsk, Russia on June 20th this year, some people (the Russian government included) wanted to blame the aging plane itself. Now, they own the poor plane an apology.
The 47 Russians who lost their lives on that flight were not killed by the plane, nor were they killed by any “evil” Chechen terrorist. They were killed by a fellow Russian, the navigator of the plane Aman Atayev. He was drunk at the wheel.
So even if the passengers had been flying in a brand new Boeing aircraft made in America with the latest technology, they still would not have been safe. Atayev’s mother says he turned to drinking as a result of his recent divorce, yet another omnipresent Russian social ill. She says so as if he were somehow the innocent victim of that divorce, but in fact one Russian man murders his wife every forty minutes, so it’s quite likely he brutalized his wife emotionally or physically or both, and that’s why she left him.