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Monday, July 21, 2008

EDITORIAL: The Long Arm of the The Party


The Long Arm of the The Party

If you visit the website of the Moscow branch of the United Russia party, on the main page in the right sidebar you will see the above graphic banner. Click on it, and you'll be taken to the organization's sign-up page, where you can learn (if you speak Russian) how to become a member of Vladimir Putin's party of power.

Writing on Global Voices, Russia blogger Lyndon Allin of Scraps of Moscow translates a blog post about UR's increasingly frenzied efforts to become the neo-Soviet version of the Communist Party (it has no hesitation, as you can from the image, in dredging up Soviet images -- just imagine a modern German political party, much less the party of power, using images created by Hitler's propagandists). Here's the translation in full:

Journalist Ilya Barabanov, who writes for the New Times and blogs engagingly as LJ user barabanch, wrote a laconic post a couple weeks ago that drew some interesting comments (RUS):

A young lady came to interview for a job with a friend of mine. She's a [Young Russia] activist. Under “Professional Accomplishments” [on her resume] the first and only line read “Participated in the inauguration of [the Russian president] Dmitry Anatol'evich Medvedev.”

A couple of comments on the post:

avdeev [punctuation and capitalization as in original]:

it's funny, but things like that have been happening for awhile. for example at RGGU [Russian State University for the Humanities] they accept [United Russia] party members into the graduate programs, and it's harder for people who haven't been vetted by the office to get in […] a couple of my friends were advised by the academic department that before turning in their grad school applications they should pay a visit to the local United Russia office, that it would be more correct and predictable to do so.

at the office it was suggested that they write an essay about how much I love the motherland, i.e. [United Russia], and how much I want to join the party, well they told [United Russia] to go you-know-where and they submitted their applications anyway, we'll see what happens in September



You don't understand.

[quoting from Viktor Shenderovich's website (here), who also seems to have been quoting from a transcript of some kind]:

Speaking at [a panel discussion on “the new Russian elite” at the “Strategy-2020 Forum”],[Vladislav Surkov] called on the participants in the discussion to “determine what the Russian elite is.” In response to this, producer Andrei Fomin suggested compiling a “list of the elite,” and Andrei [Korkunov], general director of the Odintsovo candy factory, noted that such a list already exists, and pointed out the list of participants in the presidential inauguration in the Kremlin.

There are no words that can be used to adequately describe the horror of this situation. It was bad enough when the Nashi youth cult was employing these tactics to sucker Russia's mindless impoverished youth, but it now appears that Nashi has faded into the woodwork to be replaced by a full-blown revival of the the Communist Party aimed at the entire population. Just as in Soviet times, you can't get ahead unless you are a member. "Lists" of those who are sufficiently patriotic to deserve promotion are drawn up and enforced with rigorous discipline. Just think what Josef Stalin could have accomplished using the Internet and the power of modern computers!

Russia seems psychopathically intent on repeating its entire past, apparently in the crazed hallucination that it was just bad luck that brought down the USSR and this time they're going to do it the right way and inevitably take over the world. And the sad thing is that, if we were to judge by the pathetic response of many Western leaders, we'd have to believe there's no reason they couldn't succeed. Certainly, the people of Russia aren't going to a lift a finger to stop it, and will soon be turning in their neighbors for disloyalty in the hope of personal advantage just like the the good old days of Stalin.

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