Sunday, July 17, 2016

Post Soviet Russia

I am always a bit perplexed at how quick some of the loudly anti-Communist are to embrace fascism. Perhaps they see it as some kind of opposite to Communism, but I don't see it - instead it's more like another face of the same disease. Or maybe they are just more like the American Capitalists who rushed into Stalin's Russia and Hitler's Germany, eager to make a buck selling them the rope to hang them with.

I don't know, but some of them are quick to swallow the propaganda put out by some of the same apparatchiks (or their cousins) that used to do the same for the old USSR, and to salute the old KGB guy who runs it now. They should probably read Arkady Ostrogovsky's new history of post Soviet Russia - but they probably won't. From the Prologue:

It was after midnight and I was making final changes to this book when I learned that Boris Nemtsov, a liberal politician once groomed to be president of Russia, had been shot six times in the back on a bridge just yards away from the Kremlin. It was the most resonant political assassination in Russia’s post-Soviet history, and it did not seem real. I knew Nemtsov well— he was more than a journalistic contact. Of all the Russian politicians I kept in touch with, he was the only one I considered a friend. He was charismatic, determined, honest, unpretentious and very full of life. Now his large body lay on the wet asphalt, covered by black rubbish bags, with the cupolas of St. Basil’s behind him: his was a postcard murder.

...

Nemtsov’s murder marked the first anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its “hybrid” war against Ukraine. Now the violence ignited over the border had returned to the homeland. The war in Ukraine, stoked and fanned by the Kremlin, has not just devastated a former Soviet republic that dared to break free from its grip. It has devastated Russia itself— its sense of decency and moral fiber. It has turned xenophobia and aggression into a norm and civility into an offense.

Nemtsov was a good man who tried to stop the war. In the state media this has earned him the title of “national traitor” and “American stooge.” In the weeks before his death he was demonized on television. Soon after that hate banners carrying his image were hung on building facades with the words “Fifth column— aliens among us.”

Ostrovsky, Arkady (2016-06-07). The Invention of Russia: From Gorbachev's Freedom to Putin's War (Kindle Locations 50-56). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.