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Friday, June 13, 2008

EDITORIAL: Independence Day or . . . Whatever


Independence Day or . . . Whatever

Yesterday (Thursday June 12th) was a holiday in Russia. As Russian Boris Kagarlitsky explained in the Moscow Times: "First it was called Independence Day in 1991, then, in 1994, it was renamed the Day of the Declaration of the Sovereignty of the Russian Federation, and finally, in 2002, Putin again renamed it Russia Day. On this date in 1990, the Congress of People's Deputies of the Soviet Russian Republic adopted a declaration of independence from the Soviet Union."

Kagarlitsky asks an excellent question: "Can you imagine if Britain were to celebrate its independence from India, as if Britain had finally freed itself from India's 200-year yoke?" Because, of course, it wasn't Russia that was the slave of the USSR it was the USSR, and all small constituent states that comprised it, that were the slaves of Russia. "Independence Day" is basically just a massive PR gambit to hide this fact from the prying eyes of anyone who might be interested, to try to sweep Russian oppression during Soviet times of places like Ukraine, Georgia and Belarus under the table, to suggest that Russia was as much victimized by the USSR as anyone.

That's the same outrageous lie that Russians tell about the Ukrainian holocaust that occurred under the rule of Josef Stalin, as we reported earlier this week. Russians pretend that they too perished by the millions from starvation inflicted willfully by Stalin, but they didn't.

And what do we see today? We see a relentless effort by Russia to reacquire domination over its former Soviet slaves states. Time after time, Russia meddles in local elections, and it is menacing Georgia with military provocation that could explode into war at any moment.

Besides that, as Kagarlitsky points out, Russians suddenly realized the implication of their holiday: "After all, the basic idea of the country's newfound independence implied that Russia, as one of the great European nations, had become a state only 20 years ago; this was something too denigrating to imagine for many Russians." And it gets worse: "For some people, June 12 signifies a tragedy because it marks the end of a glorious Soviet era."

The result? Kagarlitsky concludes: "This kind of ambiguity reflects the overall condition in which Russia finds itself today. Despite the current economic boom, the ruling elite cannot find a common national idea or set of values that are able to unite society. Worse, economic growth has actually increased the country's internal divisions and social stratification -- even more so than during the economic stagnation of the 1990s."

In other words, situation normal in Russia: All fouled up. Russia is supposedly a new country, yet it is run by a proud KGB spy who won't give up power, it's national anthem remains the same, and it won't even celebrate the demise of the USSR. In fact, it may weep over it, and it is doing all it can to whip up a new cold war with the West.

NOTE: The Moscow Times continues its deplorable custom of honoring these sham holidays by ceasing publication. Tsk, tsk, tsk.


Vincent Jappi said...

Африканская душа России
Борис Туманов, 11 ИЮНЯ 2008

Россия называет себя Европой, недоброжелатели уверяют, что в ней больше азиатского. На самом деле наша страна по-прежнему почти что Африка...

Anonymous said...

Unlike the British Empire, the USSR was an "empire" where the "colonies" lived at the expense of the "metropolis". Some of them (like Georgia, Ukraine or the Baltic republics) had a standard of living which exceeded that of even Moscow and Leningrad (to say nothing of the Russian province) many times. Russia has every reason to selebrate its having got rid of those paraisites.