Chapter One Ends Today, Chapter Two Begins
Once again, the people of Russia have disgraced themselves and their country before the eyes of the civilized world, a world which must now see them as they are, the prime causal factor of their own suffering, not the victims of cruel arbitrary abuse from on high.
It's ironic, isn't it? Russians fancy themselves a highly advanced, cultured nation, and yet, like the famous Emperor with his New Clothes, they are utterly unable to see themselves as everyone else in the world does -- a barbaric nation to all appearances not even at the same stage of human evolution.
One week ago, the world awoke to read news of two elections on opposite sides of the world, elections which occurred in two countries -- Venezuela and Russia -- that were both in the process of finalizing the consolidation of authoritarian rule. In both countries, the voters were asked to put their final seal of approval on the changeover, to name "president for life" both Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin, and then to forever hold their peace.
Like a hoard of lemmings, the people of Russia blithely did so. In stark contrast, even though Venezuela lacks any recent memory of totalitarian horror such as Russians experienced during the catastrophic failure called the USSR, and even though Venezuela is viewed as a backward nation (it certainly can't build rockets and launch satellites the way Russia can, much less does it have a famous ballet troupe like the Bolshoi), the people of Venezuela did the opposite, and stopped the horrific process of centralization in its tracks.
Russians did not simply award a landslide victory to the dictator named Putin, they purged every single member of their legislature who wanted to talk about democracy, including Russia's most well-known and respected such figure, Grigori Yavlinsky. They did that, of course, unless they did something else even more reprehensible, namely to allow the Kremlin to poison the election with fraud and steal their votes without lifting a finger or raising a whisper of protest.
In doing so, Russians spit on the memories of their fallen heroes, all those who struggled to oppose the Soviet dictatorship, on all the innocent victims of its oppression who perished and suffered. Russians claim to revere their "glorious" history, yet most do not even know it and last week's election results conclusively showed that Russians feel no obligation to their past whatsoever -- not even to give it a decent burial.
In doing so, and we take no pride or pleasure in saying it, Russians did exactly what we have been predicting them would do since April of 2006. This blog was established largely to warn that world that these events were on the way, and they have now been fully realized. Russia is a neo-Soviet state (or perhaps, as one of our readers has suggested, the term "paleo-Soviet" would be more apropos, since there is little if any innovation in Russia's reconstitution).
And the people of Russia also spit on all those in the West who believed, as if in Santa Claus, that they did not support the crazed, barbaric polices of the USSR and would, if only given the chance, create a benign democracy that would show the world their true colors. They made them look exactly like the insipid fools they exactly are. They bit the hand that fed them.
Rather than rising as the standard bearer of civilization, Russia has become the Hun battering at its ramparts. Rather than earning the international respect Russians so desperately desire, Russians have impelled the world's contempt. They have taken a step from which there is no returning, except by the same long period of horrific suffering that brought down the USSR. It is only the latest and most significant in a long march towards the failed past, which has included rehabilitating mass-murderer Josef Stalin and recreating the old Komsomol and Pioneer institutions, as if the USSR had never collapsed at all. Russia emerged from that legacy as a tawdry shadow of the Soviet Union; what vaporous apparition will emerge from Russia's downfall is to ghastly a prospect to contemplate.
The people of Venezuela have shown the world that there is hope for their country, that engagement may yield reconciliation and progress. They have defied threats, fraud and lies to demand justice and respect. The people of Russia have shown the world that it has no choice but to once again don its battle armor and do battle with the Russian juggernaut. The world was too slow in responding to the threat Putin's "election" posed eight years ago, and just as in the case of the Bolshevik revolution lost its chance to deal with the Russian problem when it was at its most manageable. Long ago, Russia should have been ejected from the G-8 and should have faced significant trade sanctions for its behavior towards Iran, Venezuela and Hamas. Still, we see encouraging signs that the world is significantly less naive this time around, and is rapidly awakening to recognize the threat it now faces. We turn a page here at this blog, closing the chapter that was the story of the formation of the neo-Soviet regime. A new chapter begins today, and tells the story of the renewed struggle between that regime and the forces of liberty and freedom that light the world. We published 2,925 posts in Chapter One, it was quite an appalling saga.
And so, the battle begins.