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Friday, June 06, 2008

EDITORIAL: Annals of Russia's Neo-Soviet Hypocrisy


Annals of Russia's Neo-Soviet Hypocrisy

"What galls is how together with America we defeated Hitler, and how we sympathized when Bin Laden hit them. But they go ahead and scare kids with Communists. These people have no shame."

Those are the words of Russian Communist Party member Victor Petrov, quoted in a story we reported last week about the Russian reaction to the new Indiana Jones movie. It seems Mr. Petrov is miffed because the movie depicts Russians as being the evil enemies of freedom and democracy during the Cold War. Apparently, he thinks we should just forget about all that now, notwithstanding the fact that Russia is ruled by a proud KGB spy.

Interesting, isn't it? Suddenly now, when Russia wants to attack Indy, we've become the country who "together" with Russia "defeated Hitler." One would like to ask Mr. Petrov where he got that information, because it certainly wasn't from a Russian history book. Try as you may, you will not find one that gives us any credit at all for defeating Hitler, which according to such texts was 100% the work of valiant Russians. America and the West just came along for the ride.

This is neo-Soviet hypocrisy displayed at its most stomach-wrenching. We're Russia's ally when it's convenient, and its mortal enemy the rest of the time. Who do these Russians think they are fooling, anyway?

An encyclopedia-length treatise would be necessary to chronicle the subject of Russian hypocrisy.

Take foreign policy. How is it possible for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin to visit France and declare that America is a "frightening monster" and lecture the French president about his own people, saying "this is in the nature of French people, they don't want their country tied down, and any French leader will have to respect that." What would Putin say if George Bush went to Warsaw and called Russia a "frightening monster"? What would he say if Bush gave a lecture to Dimitry Medvedev in St. Petersburg about what the people of Russia really want from their leaders? How dare Putin demand that the U.S. stay out of Russian affairs and stop leading NATO expansion even as he provokes the U.S. at every conceivable opportunity in the most incendiary and unstatesmanlike manner he can think of?

Do you dare to imagine, dear reader -- do you dare -- how Vladimir Putin would have reacted in 2001 if, during the height of the second Chechnya war, NATO had announced it would send European troops into Chechnya to repair a railroad connection? Can you imagine how Putin would have shrieked and screamed about the violation of Russian sovereignty? Given that, how does Putin justify giving exactly such an order in regard to Georgia? Simply put, he can't: but that doesn't stop him from doing it anyway, just as his Soviet ancestors did.

Or take the issue of Russian "patriotism." If Russians love their country so much, why is it necessary to bribe Russian athletes to perform their best at the summer Olympics in Bejing? If Russians are full of desire to serve their nation, why is it necessary to bribe Russian parents to have babies? If Vladimir Putin is so popular and Russians so overflowing with affection and respect for their country and their countrymen, why can't Putin simply ask for these things to happen?

The reason, of course, is hypocrisy. Because there's no such thing in Russia as "patriotism" or selfless love of country these days. Instead, there's just virulent hatred of outsiders that some mistake for patriotism. There's no widespread support for Putin, just as there wasn't for communism, only jury-rigged elections and lies. When you're working in a factory for $1.86 an hour, a wage that isn't even being paid, forcing you on a hunger strike to collect it, and when (as we reported in an editorial earlier this week) you know that your young son will be involuntarily drafted into the army and subjected to brutal, barbaric hazing rituals that may well lead him to suicide, it's hard to love your country much.

And there's nothing wrong with that lack of patriotism, it's logical. What's not logical is to pretend otherwise, to act as if such love is present when it isn't, to live in a world of self-delusion and hypocrisy. That's the world of the USSR, the world that destroyed a superpower.

And Russians are doing it all over again. Guess they didn't get it wrong enough the first time to satisfy them.

Russians who truly love their country, like Oleg Kozlovsky and Yulia Latynina, are doing all they can to warn it away from the precipice towards which it is hurtling. They risk their lives (and, like Anna Politkovskaya, give their lives) for their cause. They do not utter empty rhetoric about patriotism, they let their actions speak for themselves. Meanwhile, cloaking themselves in rhetoric, Russia's true enemies toil away in the corridors of power, risking and suffering nothing, sleeping on golden beds. Russians claim to love their country, but they elevate their enemies from the KGB to positions of authority and respect and show nothing but contempt for their true heroes -- as they have always done, from the time of Pushkin through the time of Solzhenitsyn right up to the present day.

And meanwhile, Russians stand around looking at each other in confusing, wondering why the country keeps denigrating and dissolving before their eyes.

And so it goes with the tragedy that is Russia.


Tower Bolshevik said...

As a Lucasfilm freak, I must say the last Indiana Jones sucked ass. Not because it had the Russians as the villains, because there was just no imagination. I never pictured Indiana Jones representing evil on Earth: the USA. In fact if you read some of the books, Indy tells the government agents to go stick it. Truthfully, Petrov should've just focused on how bad the movie was in general rather than the Russians were the bad guys. He is certainly a deluded soul if he really believes America made any contribution to the defeat of the Nazis: a potential anti-Soviet ally only years before. Why tie this into Russian politics?

Now it what ways is Putin provoking his dear masters: the USA in? Also, the Soviet system had widespread support, not the bureaucracy. Example: take a look the miners strike of 1989, and pay attention if you see the interviews. You'll see their fight was with the bureaucracy ONLY, not a struggle for a capitalist system, which lots of Russians know damn well in fact why their country is falling. A malignant melanoma called capitalism brought to Russia with the help of the USA. You need not complain.

Anonymous said...

We defeated the NAZIs in AAfrica, the middle east and in western europe... russia merely fought the NAZis on their own turf, after their former allies (the NAZIs) turned on them. We supplied the useless ingrates with arms and other supplies, we prevented the NAZIs from resupplying their troops with fresh weapons, as we not the useless russians, destroyed their arms factories - they supplied one thing cannon fodder, for that is the only thing a soviet is good for. Don't worry russian when the chinese take over large parts of your territory, you will see the lack of quality of your people. We will watch it cable TV with popcorn ready, then again it could be a fantastic opportunity to reduce the European territory of Russia as well, worth planning for I would say.

Tower Bolshevik said...

Ha! The Americans in all the places you mentioned were up against maybe 10% of the Nazi war machine. They only participated in the war in Europe because they didn't want Red Army to liberate the whole of Europe. America's only contribution was their race war against the Japanese people, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as killing German civilians in Dresden.

90% of the Nazi was machine was used against the Red Army, plus the armies of 7 of their lackeys. The Soviets defeated your former potential allies against impossible odds: Stalin's betrayal and weakening of the Red Army, and underminement of the USSR's exisitence; and isolation. Americans are now losing two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan against their former cronies, which is taking a serious toll on their economy. The whole world will be watching the TVs with pop corn and candy celebrating the humiliation of an evil empire. That will be the real treat.