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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Communism, not its Reform, Caused Russia's Pain

Blogger Thomas P. M. Barnett on the Russophile blame game:

Blaming Russia's bottoming-out (with the rebound already begun) on "reforms" is simplistic in the extreme.

The Soviet Union was long shielded from markets and liability. When Russia was suddenly thrust into that world, the country found that much of what it owned was useless, much of what it made was useless, and much of what it knew was useless. Decades of pushing pregnancies yielded to a demographic decline by volition. Comparing that to the tens of millions killed by Hitler or Stalin is nonsense.

What caused Russia's collapse was 70 years of socialism, not reforms, which merely pulled the curtain back on that vast human tragedy. Watching Russia emerge from that disastrous period is like watching America recover after the Civil War or China after the Cultural Revolution: it's a good 25 year shadow.

Socialism was a huge menace to life, liberty, happiness, and wealth in the USSR, just like it was everywhere else.

Russia's population now heads toward a number it can sustain rather than one artificially manufactured by the state. That is not a tragedy. It is a reality Russia imposed on itself.

Saying the reforms caused the collapse is like accusing the chemo of creating the cancer. It plays into silly stabbed-in-the-back fantasies that some in Russia entertain, preferring to blame the USSR's collapse on outsiders. Indulging such fantasies should be avoided at all costs.


Anonymous said...

The airheaded author of the publication is just trying to look smart when blaming communism for what was done by Yeltsyn clique.

Post-communist reforms could be democratic and fair like they were in the Czech republic. The population there gots their fair shares. Both the state and the people are better of.
Reforms could be done smart, under the government's full control, like in China (same like Russia background but even lower pre-reform start level) and to succeed. China as a nation got stronger and her population got better off too.
Or they were done in stupid, with no control at all, way, in predatory manner, so that the population gots robbed and the nation's assets grabbed by a relatively small group of thugs. In the result the nation got weaker and the people impoverished.
That was what happened in Yeltsyn's Russia. And only the advent of "Putin the Savior" has made it possible to turn the reforms to serve the national interests.

La Russophobe said...


If Yeltsin was so bad, why did Russians agree to elect his hand-picked successor, who they had never heard about before Yeltsin found him, as their second president?

Is Russia a nation of morons? If so, then you're hardly in any position to lecture anyone about being an "airhead" now are you?

Anonymous said...

What is often forgotten is the fact that Yeltsin had to cope with oil prices that had collapsed. Let us not forget that the oil was selling at less than $10 a barrel throughout most of Yetsin's reign. Nobody could predict when oil prices would recover.

Putin has had the good fortune of seeing oil prices rise to over $60 a barrel and this windfall allowed "Putin the Savior" much more flexibility. For example, he can pay the pensions, no matter how meager, because of the oil and gas windfall. However, most economists acknowledge that relying on oil and gas revenues can be as much a curse as a blessing: in the case of Russia, oil and gas production will stagnate unless massive investments are made into producing new oil and gas.

Anonymous said...

This is Hector,

Russian is right. This whole "blame Communism for Russia's misery" is sinply another pathetic way of trying to give capitalism an image of a heavenly paradise on earth. Russia's current misery is because of capitalism. It is because of the Yeltsin-Putin regime which sold 70 plus years of Soviet achievements to the imperialists. This moron Barnett obviously doesn't know Communism from his sister's tits. Socialism was a menace? hmm, Compare the living situation of Russians during the USSR and the living situation of Russians under capitalism, then tell me which is the real menace. It is capitalism.


Anonymous said...

What exactly were the Soviet accomplishments? There is a reason why Gorbachev started to reform the system: it could not compete or even keep up with the advances made in the West. He hoped to save the system by reforming it.