Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 22, 2021

U.S., EU Profess Support For Belarus Then Launch A War Against Its People

In there attempt regime change the country the U.S. and the European Union have launched an economic war against the people of Belarus.

First they doubted the results of elections in Belarus which the longtime socialist President Alexander Lukashenko had won against an politically unexperienced English teacher who was backed by a 'western' aligned group with a strong neoliberal program.

Belarus is still a mostly socialist industrialized country with many production assets owned by the state and relatively good social services. The people of Belarus have seen their neighbor countries Russia and the Ukraine go through extreme economic problems and poverty after the Soviet Union broke down. Neoliberalism had ruined those countries. It is thus quite plausible that a majority does not want to experience that in their own country and that Lukashenko has indeed won the votes of that majority.

The U.S. and EU claimed election fraud and supported demonstrations and riots against the results. This was an obvious color revolution attempt directed from the outside by 'western' supported forces.

The demonstrations soon died down. The color revolution attempt had failed. A few sanctions against some Belorussian politicians and functionaries were issued by the U.S. and the EU with claims that they are supporting the people of Belarus. But the effort soon ran out of steam and went no further.

Then a mysterious bomb threat against a plane flying from Greece to Lithuania led to the pilot deciding to land the plane in Minsk. Two passengers on board had outstanding warrants against them and were arrested after passing through passport control. A U.S. paid agitator for the color revolution immediately claimed that plane had been 'hijacked' to arrest the two people.

However the evidence provided so far shows that this was a typical bomb threat as they happen every once a while all over the world and that the pilot's decision to land in Minsk was absolutely normal. The authorities in Belarus reacted to the incident exactly as they are supposed to do.

But the whole western media and its politicians promoted the 'hijacked' propaganda version.

Moon of Alabama has discussed the evidence and laid out the timeline, narrative control and consequences of the incident.

The fake story propagandized by the media reignited the regime change efforts and was used to rush out new sanctions against Belarus. These are no longer directed at only a few persons but aim at the core of the Belorussian economy and thereby at all its people.

As the New York Times headlines:

Belarus Faces Expanded E.U. and U.S. Sanctions, Targeting Economy

European Union foreign ministers, meeting in Luxembourg, also voted on Monday to hit important parts of the Belarus economy — banking, oil and tobacco and, notably, the potash industry — representing an effort to broaden the punishment by penalizing organizations rather than just individuals responsible for repression. Those sectoral sanctions are expected to be confirmed by European heads of state and government who meet later this week.
...
We didn’t use economic sanctions in the beginning because we know they affect everyone, because they affect the economy,” Mr. Borrell said. But he also said that Brussels was prepared for a fifth round of sanctions if necessary.
...
Asked Monday morning about what these sanctions are expected to accomplish, Mr. Borrell, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, said the new sanctions would increase the pressure for change.

“Sanctions are a way of putting pressure on the government of Belarus,” he said. “And these are going to hurt the economy of Belarus, heavily. What do you expect when you punish something? To change their behavior.”

Borrell admits that the new sanctions against the economy of Belarus will hurt all its people.

His 'theory of change' is that the 'sanctions increase the pressure for change'.  But there is no evidence that the theory works.

Economic sanctions that hurt all people of a country tend to strengthen the government. Pushed into poverty the people become more reliant on government help. I am not aware of any example where sanctions which pushed people into poverty have then let to the people overthrowing the government they depend on.

Neither will the sanctions change Lukashenko's behavior one bit. They will only confirm his opinion about the 'west'.

Even while the U.S. and EU profess support for the people of Belarus they are punishing them by plunging them into poverty.

As Stephen Gowans noted on Twitter:

With friends like these, enemies are redundant.

---
Previous Moon of Alabama post on the Ryanair incident in Belarus:

They will hurt all people in Belarus. Those people who the U.S. and EU claim to help.

Posted by b on June 22, 2021 at 17:29 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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"Read Orwell who, yes, was a socialist."

That's a nice joke. Good one, I give you that.

Posted by: Hangar | Jun 23 2021 6:06 utc | 101

Wow, vk
Your @76 was incredibly well written.
Thank you.
There is still some sparkling commentary here
(Though I don’t always see eye to eye, it’s worth the read)

Posted by: Cadence Calls | Jun 23 2021 6:36 utc | 102

Grieved
Several times in interviews Putin has said that from the start, when considering taking on the job of president of the Russian Federation, that he was unsure if he would physically survive. One time saying a drowned man cannot be hanged. He is very much a family man, he listens to and respects the opinions of other people even if he does not think those opinions are correct. He is a mediator, a man who believes in evolution rather than revolution. Very much behind the current push for good education, the upraising of teachers in the society along with their responsibility of teaching the future generations. He also has spoken, in early interviews, his fear for his family when considering the position. Putin and his wife divorced around the Time he led Russia into the first major push back against US encroachment. I think that was around the time of the US attempted takeover of Ukraine in which the US and Europe were left holding the dregs while Russia emerged from the dust holding the pearls.
It could have simply been because Putin wasn't working a nine to five job and come home each afternoon to watch footy and play with the kids but I tend to think that divorce occurred due to Putin's concern for the safety of his family. The entire Family of Russia's pre revolution ruler or leader were put to death...

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jun 23 2021 6:44 utc | 103

@John Cleary Italy is a prliamentary republic with a Prime minister, but since 2012 we had just a couple of elected ones. Currently we have one (Mario Draghi) which is not elected.

Posted by: mauro | Jun 23 2021 6:48 utc | 104

Don't forget that the IMF offered Belarus almost one BILLION euros if only Lukashenko would follow the panic script on Covid-19.

He told them to fuck off, and a month later, SURPRISE! The election was declared "rigged" despite zero evidence.

Posted by: Sam | Jun 23 2021 6:48 utc | 105

Peter, I didnt say I support democracy, just that such is the more important ideological divide between the two countries. Iron law of oligarchy: There is always an oligarchy; so, a good oligarchy (aristocracy) is wanted. Separately, “freedom arises from a balance power,” quote from James Burnham’s book “Machiavellians.” This means it’s unwanted to have any elite dominate excessively. Power needs to be balanced by other powers to hinder abuse. Or, like people say, “Who will guard Plato’s Guardians?”

A case can be made in defence of both China and the US, for what it’s worth. China’s rejection of “democracy” is probably required for any to resist the US empire. Iran, Syria, and Russia seem to be doing OK even with voting, but others can’t manage it. I like Aristotle’s notion that any “good” government is good, regardless its form. He gave 3 types, each with a good and a bad form.

China has done some wonderful things. No honest person can deny this. But I’m critical of both governments. I hope only that the US will become noninterventionist and focus domestically. What Israel, China, Belarus etc does, it doesnt concern me. How could I possibly know what is best for China? The US needs to come home.

Posted by: Weaver | Jun 23 2021 6:50 utc | 106

@25 Piotr Berman
I recomment this article. It´s from before anybody started talking about economic sanctions by the EU.

Posted by: m | Jun 23 2021 7:05 utc | 107

Weaver, China does not reject democracy. It has a system of governance that is much suited to the culture of the people. This word democracy. A sacred word amongst the faggot woke who have destroyed what can or could be good. Constantly spouting the word democracy in the way it is now used is no different to jihadis shouting religious slogans. The word democracy has become a religions belief along with the political concept that has made the word democracy a dirty word. a word that accompanies US colour revolutions that are anything but democratic. Many fools are taken in by the religious like concept of the word democracy and the way you use it here puts you amongst the fools. Democracy is about majority votes. Fools are taken in by the woke bullshit that democracy includes unicorns farting glitter and all sorts of other stuff. Many of the commenters here are from five-eyes nations. We do not have the mixed cultures and ethnic groups common throughout the middle east, Europe Russian federation ect were borders have changed over the centuries, various ethnic groups have migrated or moved to other countries ect. Like VK, many have the belief that one size, one type of governance fits all.
People that use the word democracy as you do have no idea what gag orders and the trump card of national interest mean. gag orders and national interest are the terms used in Australia. The other five eyes nations have similar even if different names are given to them and I think this will be the same in the so called democratic Europe.
Fools like you probably never look into subjects that result in raids made to look like burglaries but the all that is taken is the computers involved in the research.
Your concept of the word democracy is indeed a dirty word.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jun 23 2021 7:24 utc | 108

Re: Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 22 2021 18:40 utc | 8


Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of US Global Supremacy, an open preview is available at the link that covers the Intro and most of the first chapter.

An interesting topic and I shall have a look at this book.

My initial question is though - where does the book begin and what does it categorise as it's "Birth"?

I would suggest it's Birth is correctly pinpointed in the result 1920s in the aftermath of World War I with the Dawes Plan.

The Dawes Plan was signed in August 1924 (not long after the death of Lenin) and essentially resulted in the main belligerents in World War I alll agreeing to be in debt to WALL STREET (ie - the USA).

Once the US had the likes of Germany, France, the UK & Italy hooked on Wall Street debt the last 97 years make perfect sense do they not.

The Dawes Plan.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawes_Plan


I'm not sure what the book pinpoints as the "Birth" of the US Global Supremacy - but I would put it squarely in August 1924.

Posted by: Julian | Jun 23 2021 7:35 utc | 109

Posted by: m | Jun 23 2021 7:05 utc | 106

Trickle down fan or what, Ukraine got subsidized by Russian energy as much or more that Belarus, and pretends to be a NATO base but still subsidized by Russian energy, they claim their army will suffer without financing from gas transit fees, the army that is killing its own citizens, where is the Ukrainian economic miracle?

Your arguments are so stale that generally the best thing to do is to ignore you, but it gets tiring to insist on the same old dogmas, state is bad and inefficient, private is manna from heaven, ask Bush father, the one that unlike his son had some brain cells , that is called voodoo economics.

Posted by: Paco | Jun 23 2021 7:58 utc | 110

So the Biden/Putin meeting was a nothing burger after all?

Just as expected I guess.

Posted by: Smith | Jun 23 2021 9:11 utc | 111

Rutherford82 | Jun 22 2021 21:44 utc | 43

There are a lot of real parallels there between how the US relates to countries that don't do what it wants to how gangs relate to people in their neighborhood that don't do what the gangs want.

I have come to the conclusion that the easiest way to understand and predict ZUKUSA policy is to regard the USG as a "protection" gang. One of Trump's great merits was that he made this much more abundantly clear to the world in general, than had his predecessors. Ron Unz's series Titled "American Pravda", particularly the essay called "The Power of Organized Crime", really clarified the picture for me.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Jun 23 2021 9:43 utc | 112

I expect an influx of Bella Russians into the EU. More immigrants, asylum seekers. Anyhow those that can see what's coming and have means and mobility. This will likely be a slow grind. Russia will try to relieve some of the pain, but it will also turn those who have no means against the EU for turning the screws.

Posted by: Spirasol | Jun 23 2021 10:29 utc | 113

"I am not aware of any example where sanctions which pushed people into poverty have then let to the people overthrowing the government they depend on."

This sort of happened in Bangladesh in 1972. After the revolution there, the U.S. halted food shipments. This created a famine there, prompting the military to stage a coup. Not a popular uprising, but still regime change.

Posted by: Edward | Jun 23 2021 11:11 utc | 114

Interesting discussion here on why Yeltsin resigned allowing Putin to take over. I think many of the comments are too kind with respect to Yeltsin's motives.

A story I heard is that Yeltsin was forced out and in exchange for resigning quietly (as opposed to being forcibly removed) he was promised that he and his daughter would be spared prosecution for corruption. I think this is something the late Stephen Cohen believed (I heard him mention this in one of his appearances on the John Batchelor show but have never seen anything in writing. Cohen was also extremely vague about any details).

Another story I heard (which came from Bill Clinton) is shortly before Yeltsin's death Boris confided to Bill that he made a terrible error in turning over power to Putin. Do not have links on this story either.

In any case, I have more or less accepted that Yeltsin was deposed in a soft coup. I can see why Stephen Cohen would never come out and provided proof (if he had it) since such a story would be used to delegitimize putin's legacy.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jun 23 2021 3:33 utc | 86

Agreed that too many commenters are being too kind to Yeltsin. He was an extreme drunkard stupified from morning until night. Also a depressive, and emotionally unstable. Even years before he came to power it was obvious he was a corrupt traitor with a completely empty head.

The story about Yeltsin being forced to resign quietly in exchange for immunity is so plausible, it intuitively "must" be true.

The Clinton story on the other hand is in my opinion certainly a fabrication. Cui bono? Clinton wanted to vilify Putin, and the story props up US propaganda, but from the Yeltsin perspective I would see it otherwise. I think there can be little doubt that the reason for Yeltsin's uncontrollable drunkenness was linked to his guilt over his massive treason. Appointing Putin - even if forced on him - would certainly help mitigate that guilt to some degree, therefore I cannot accept that he would have regretted Putin's appointment. Again, Putin respected the non-prosecution for corruption, so what is there to regret? That Yeltsin somehow fervently desired the continued rape and destruction of Russia for its own sake - without partaking in the subsequent loot (i.e. after his resignation) is wildly implausible.

Posted by: BM | Jun 23 2021 12:31 utc | 115

[m: under Lukashenka, the economy stagnated, I argued with a plot from Trading Economics that not really]

Piotr Berman
I recomment this article. It´s from before anybody started talking about economic sanctions by the EU.

Posted by: m | Jun 23 2021 7:05 utc | 106

Your arguments are so stale
Posted by: Paco | Jun 23 2021 7:58 utc | 109

There is a serious question if the membership in EU and NATO is a boon on the eastern edge of EU. I offered to look at the plot one can make on Trading Economics web site, "GDP PPP" for Belarus and Latvia, two neighbors in a similar position, "on the edge", no border with Germany or Austria, choosing "MAX" for the number of years -- effectively, from 1990 (or a bit later). Latvia had deeper periods of crisis, Belarus has some difficulties after 2014. No obvious win for either side.

Then m made an opinion that migration trend are a good picture of the economy -- are people moving in or out? From that point of view, Latvia looks worse.

EU offers subsidies to new member, access to the market and various restrictions and arm twisting. Is the net result good?

EU model seems frayed in the recent years, in particular, to fondness for subsidizing new members is lacking, especially if they have a larger population than, say, Northern Macedonia. What is being imposed on members (and yes, unanimity masks arm twisting, otherwise it would be unworkable in the first place) is sometimes for their good, sometimes not. What is the net effect?

Because of the variety of good and bad effect, I can write article justifying any conclusion, would someone offer to pay for it. But that makes me weary of articles. One should read and check.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 23 2021 12:35 utc | 116

I have come to the conclusion that the easiest way to understand and predict ZUKUSA policy is to regard the USG as a "protection" gang. One of Trump's great merits was that he made this much more abundantly clear to the world in general...

Posted by: foolisholdman | Jun 23 2021 9:43 utc | 111

Of course, the power to bestow boons (unreliable) and poxes (very reliable) works best if a patsy can be beaten up or even killed every so often. My impression is that after the fall of Soviet Union, USA learned that to what extend it can squeeze its dearest allies (not tried on THE DEAREST one). That may explain why the father of the current PM of Canada had many independent positions, and his son has none. Canada is but one example, exceptional by allowing a father/son comparison.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 23 2021 12:44 utc | 117

Perhaps worth mentioning that Lukashenko was running against "inexperienced English teacher" because he has thrown several more viable candidates in jail on made up excuses just before the election?
The big problem in Belarus is that for people justifiably unhappy with Lukashenko antics, color revolutionaries are the only other game in the town. Russia always only works with elites of foreign countries, it never creates, supports or works with pro-Russian popular movements. It already ended in disaster in Ukraine, and Belarus is sort of in the same risk group.

Posted by: Andrey Subbotin | Jun 23 2021 12:48 utc | 118

aquadraht-- a source for quote

None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. They feed them on falsehoods till wrong looks like right in their eyes.

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Bk. II, Ch. 5; source: Die Wahlverwandtschaften, Hamburger Ausgabe, Bd. 6 (Romane und Novellen I), dtv Verlag, München, 1982, p. 397 (II.5).

Posted by: Michael Weddington | Jun 23 2021 12:59 utc | 119

Suggesting that China and Russia are "trying to take America down" is a bit of a mischaracterization. The empire based in the US is going down, irrespective of the wishes of the Russian and Chinese people, due to internal economic contradictions that are purely normal and to be expected in capitalism. In fact these contradictions are unavoidable in capitalism. If anything the Chinese and Russians are trying to ease the empire's fall and minimize the damage the US empire does to the rest of the world in its death spasms. This flurry of sanctions being sprayed in all directions by the empire are examples of those death spasms. Another possible expressions of the empire's death spasms would be a nuclear attack. I suspect the Russians wanted to determine at the summit if the imperial leadership still possessed sufficient awareness to know that would be a very bad idea. Apparently they were somewhat satisfied for the time being.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 23 2021 13:03 utc | 120

@115 Piotr Berman
A quess you can keep up with this Latvia-whataboutism for the rest of rhe week.

Anyway, Belarus had been in need of Russia loans already before the EU's economic sanctions. This despite a constant flow of subsidised Russian oil and gas (amounting to 5-15% of the annul Belrusian GDP) and despite the massive devalution of the Belarusian ruble in the last ten years. That are the facts.

Lukashenko has screwed it. He will be a constant drain of ressources for Moscow.

Posted by: m | Jun 23 2021 13:43 utc | 121

William Gruff
I think I was the one that used the term "trying to take America down".It is the wrong term for what I am thinking. More along the lines of managing US self imposed collapse, containing collateral damage ect. Though I believe the Alaska Chinese American meeting and the subsequent meeting of China and Russian foreign ministers was some sort of marker, a turning or decision point. Publicly, pushback against the US was announced, with the foreign ministers jointly say their countries would take action against US color revolutions in other countries. China's instant response to the EU sanctions.
It will be interesting to see China's moves in the not too distant future. The US has decided on the dragon as its enemy of choice and the dragon has taken notice. Modi's brave Jawan in the Galwin valley learnt some hard lessons about attacking the dragon.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jun 23 2021 13:50 utc | 122

The EU and USA are engaged in what's known as Total War. It's a deliberate strategy, attacking a civilian population in order to win a war. By definition, it's a serious war crime. European colonial powers and the US killed off the indigenous peoples as Total War before there were treaties to define war crimes. In 1863 during the US Civil War, Total War was employed for the first time by a great power against -gasp- white people! The Union army used Total War to capture the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi which is perched on a cliff overlooking the Mississippi River where its artillery prevented the Union from sending war material north from captured New Orleans. The Union army under U.S. Grant (US President 1869-1877) burned all the farms east of Vicksburg. This crime was successful and General Sherman's March To The Sea was a replay on a larger scale. Hitler used Total War against the USSR. In the last several decades, the US and NATO have used total warfare against Iraq, Iran and Syria.

But it's a "new low" for high EU officials to publicly engage in Total War. Too bad there's not an ICC with the independence and the balls to prosecute them.

Posted by: Cosimo | Jun 23 2021 14:14 utc | 123

Thinking a bit more about China responses and how they compare between say EU, Australia and US. The pissants like Australia and EU simply get a back hander, whereas China is holding the US close. China has hold of the US by its economy. Our dear leaders here in oz start giving cheek so China stops buying our coal and replaces it with US coal. US have got themselves in a really bad spot over Taiwan. Taiwan supplies the US auto industry with chips. That supply stops and auto manufacturing in the US stops.
US is pushing Taiwan to secede knowing it is a red line for China, but now the Americans are beginning to realize they will require Russia's permission for them to use nukes against China in the limited war they are trying to drum up.

As for Australia, much chirping from the peanut gallery about Xi kicking an own goal ect with the soaring price of iron ore and China's reliance on it. China has now begun diversification of supply, the results of which will start to be felt here in a few years time.
Our dear leaders have fucked my children and grand children's future.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jun 23 2021 14:19 utc | 124

Peter,

you don't seem to be reading my comments. You're so angry; you're not actually replying to me.

You condemn me and then repeat almost verbatim identical points I made in earlier comments. If I declare "argument A," and then you condemn me and insist "Argument A it is," that's silly. We're both making argument A.

Posted by: Weaver | Jun 23 2021 14:31 utc | 125

Cosimo,

I would love to see a return to Just War Ethics or whatever you wish to call it. It's such a beautiful set of ideals.

If we continue with total war, we'll end up nuking one another. I'm really interested in figuring just where one could survive a nuclear winter; you'd need geothermal or wave power to supply electricity. But assuming one survives some horrible war, wouldn't history just repeat?

The US seems to believe US dominance could prevent a nuclear war, but it was the US that enabled both Israel and Pakistan to attain nukes.

Posted by: Weaver | Jun 23 2021 14:40 utc | 126

Now m, I think you would have a greater chanse of beeing taken seriously if checked your facts.

Here's the GDP per capita for Belarus. It's a bumpy ride, but far from a catasrope:

Belarus GDP Per Capita 1990-2021. www.macrotrends.net. Retrieved 2021-06-23.

Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | Jun 23 2021 14:58 utc | 128

Sanctions aren't aimed at the regular people per se.
They're aimed at the ruling oligarchies and the upper middle classes.
The theory is if these groups are discomfited enough by sanctions, they will exercise their power to change the government.
As with many things, these theories exist because their proponents believe it would work against their own societies.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 23 2021 14:59 utc | 129

Weaver, I am not angry. I see the foundation of your argument as being very shaky to put int in the best possible terms.
karlof1 one explained the concept of democracy in earlier comments.
Democracy as per the oxford dictionary is very close to what karlof1 put up.
Your blind belief that all leaders of great powers must be corrupt or in cahoots with oligarchs....

As for Putin and democracy it is well worth reading the piece I linked to for vk at Patrick Armstrong's site.
The link again https://patrickarmstrong.ca/2018/06/20/yes-putin-once-dreamed-the-american-dream/

It is about the democracy karlof1 wrote about early. With the collapse of the soviet union, Russians were suddenly thrown into an era they had never experienced. Directly electing the various level of repetitiveness in government. From very early in his presidency, Putin was the driving force in teaching democracy to the Russian people as per karlof1's quote of Lincoln.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jun 23 2021 15:05 utc | 130

@ Posted by: Robert Macaire | Jun 23 2021 5:28 utc | 98

There are rumors that a Swiss solution (i.e. a confederation) was ventilated, but Yeltsin immediately rejected it because it was allegedly "impracticable". This may be a fabrication, though, as it comes from a source close to Yeltsin who's still alive, therefore biased.

--//--

@ Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jun 23 2021 5:14 utc | 96

It is mostly believed nowadays that Krushchev denounced Stalin for his sheer survival, not because he really believed Stalin committed all of those crimes.

There was a ferocious internal struggle for the succession of Stalin, and Krushchev was far from being one of the favorites to succeed him.

Also, there was the issue of the times Krushchev rose to power: a time where the USSR still hadn't achieved military parity with the USA (this would only be achieved at the end of the 1960s). The USA could find a casus belli to annihilate the USSR if it wanted to, so a peaceful competition narrative had to be fabricated. The fact that the USSR was growing at a 15% per year rate also encouraged Krushchev to go peaceful, as, at that rate, the USSR would overcome the USA in a matter of a few decades (the USSR growth would plunge suddenly at the end of the 1950s and even more after 1975, but, at the time, there was optimism it could overcome the USA through the economy alone).

On the personal side, Krushchev pertained to a new generation of middle officers that rose to power during WWII. Those middle officers, alongside a whole class of middle State workers, were really very frustrated with Stalin's style of short leash and harshness. Stalin had a technique where he alleviated to the people and threw all the pressure on the "middle management". That is, he was very popular with the people but not so much with the "middle class" (i.e. the higher ranked State workers). It could be the case that Krushchev (this is not accepted by the scholars, I'm just speculating here) represented some kind of "middle class"/middle management/tenentist reaction to Stalin's suffocating management. Those people wanted more freedom of action, but it's good to remember it didn't mean they wanted capitalism (liberalism): they wanted more autonomy within the socialist system.

Most communists retrospectively consider Krushchev's hasty decision to throw Stalin under the bus a strategic mistake. First of all, it demoralized the effort of the Soviet people during the difficult times of 1917-1945. Second, it cut off the legacy of the USSR in two parts, alienating the newer generations from the older ones. Thirdly, it demoralized some basic concepts of socialism such as centrally planned economy etc. etc., which opened the way for any opposition within the CPSU to automatically be liberal (i.e. the traditional communists were forever relegated to conservatism). Last but not least, it opened the path to demoralize the CPSU itself (which was a central part in the end of the USSR some decades later).

The Chinese Communists learned with Krushchev's mistake. When Deng Xiaoping rose to power, he gave an interview with an Italian journalist (the famous one who made Kissinger later admit the Vietnam War was a "useless war"), and he said: "we won't do to Mao what Krushchev did to Stalin". The moral of the story was clear: Mao made mistakes, but he also made much more good things; let's not throw the bathtub water with the baby inside it.

Posted by: vk | Jun 23 2021 15:13 utc | 131

Thanks vk. I have not researched that period of the soviet union between the end of, for Russia, the great patriotic war and the collapse of the soviet union.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jun 23 2021 15:36 utc | 132

@ peter au.. it is nice to have you back! also - weaver seems like an honourable poster...

Posted by: james | Jun 23 2021 15:39 utc | 133

i have been enjoying the conversation of others and thought vk made an especially good post earlier as well.. thanks vk..

Posted by: james | Jun 23 2021 15:45 utc | 134

c1ue@129 says that sanctions are meant to punish the people until they overthrow their rulers, then reads the collective minds/mass mind of the rulers here to tell us that they believe that punishing the people here will make them overthrow themselves. Given how many policies of the domestic ruling class collective punish the masses for the benefit of the rulers, it is nuts, as in crazed reactionary, to think the rulers hear live in fear of the masses outraged at living badly. Sanction punish the people...period. This demented comment also assumes there are no benefits to the rulers from the intimidation of others when a nation is targeted.

Weaver's too confused to talk to, as near as I can tell.

Belarus is deemed by many to be a disaster because the local bourgeoisie isn't getting rich. Nonetheless, it is true there has been a steady decline. How this is worse than the horror show Yeltsin inflicted on Russia, complete with a decline in population, is a mystery to me. Lastly on Belarus, most certainly the real opposition candidates were prevented from running. That's why Tsihnouskaya, one of sever feeble stand-ins, *did not win* the vote...which is the charge made. Like Biden being the triumphant not-Trump candidate, any rigging was done long before the counting of the votes, which is why falsifying the count wasn't even necessary.

Deng went cap in hand to beg for money from the imperialists, fancying a Great Leap Forward on IOUs. He wasn't particularly successful, it took many years for the neocolonial concessions to pay off in unbalanced growth. A system that produces billionaires is intrinsically flawed and weakens the nation, as we should all know.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jun 23 2021 15:46 utc | 135

@ lysias #63

Anyway, my recollection from having read it so many years ago is that, while it makes very clear how monstrous the behavior of Nazi Germany was during the invasion of Russia, the novel basically says that morally Stalinist Russia was no better.

Well, this is the central theme of western ideology since the cold war started---to equate Stalin with Hitler. But if you spend some time in Russia, you will find that a great many people, especially older folks, have nothing but reverence for the man.

Why was Stalin so loved by the people, even if some intellectuals found much to complain about?

The Russian philosopher, writer, and eventual dissident and exile, Alexander Zinoviev explains:

Why did my mother keep the portrait of Stalin? She was a peasant woman. Before collectivization, our family lived well. But at what cost did they get it? Hard work from dawn to dusk. And what were the prospects for her children (she gave birth to eleven children!)? To become peasants---at best, artisans.

Collectivization began. Destruction of the village. Flight of people to cities. And the result of this? In our family, one person became a professor, another became a plant director, a third became a colonel, and three became engineers. And something similar happened in millions of other families.

I do not want to use evaluative expressions “bad” and “good” here.

I just want to say that in this era in the country there was an unprecedented in the history of mankind the rise of many millions of people from the very bottom of society into masters, engineers, teachers, doctors, artists, officers, scientists, writers, directors.

'Unprecedented in the history of mankind.'

Yes, that is correct. Russia before the revolution was one of the wealthiest countries, and also one of the most backward, where vast numbers of its people were landless and illiterate peasants with no access to education whatsoever, and hence, no prospects for upward mobility.

People forget that Stalin 'the monster' built a world-class education system that was universally available to ALL, free of charge, from primary school to PhD. He industrialized and urbanized the country at a pace that has not been equaled before or since, even in today's China. People went from illiterate, landless peasants to urban professionals, simply because Stalin's Russia made that possible. [Even today's shrunken Russia has more cities of one million people than the US!]

Of course all of that rapid, tumultuous change did not come without friction, or even what could fairly be called heavy-handed reprisals against squeaky wheels who tried to stand in the way of the plan in motion. This is what the western narrative has concentrated upon, while completely obscuring the massive social progress for tens of millions of ordinary folks. Just as today we are inundated with fakery about the Uighur 'genocide,' while the CPC has lifted eight hundred million folks out of poverty. About which we hear, naturally, nothing. Crickets.

I will also say that I have read the masterful Grossman novel Stalingrad [Chandler translation]. This is basically the first half of Life and Fate, which I have not much interest in reading, since it is basically another Soviet intellectual gripe, disconnected from the real-world problems of working folks, grousing about the system, from his ivory tower perspective.

But I would doubt very much that Grossman morally equates Stalin and Hitler, as our 'reviewer' here flatly states. In fact I find that a quite incredible statement, knowing his other work.

Life and Fate was published eventually in the USSR 1988. [Of course there was a lot of domestic demonization of the Stalin era, beginning with Khruschev, just like we saw in China beginning with Deng.] But these gripes have little credibility, much less people like Sozhenitsyn, who basically invented their fantastic stories out of whole cloth. [I remember having to read 'A day in the life...' in a freshman lit course and found it completely unbelievable, even at that impressionable age, lol!]

As for the Germans and their 'moral' standard in Russia, we can turn to another Krasnaya Zvezda war correspondent, Ilya Ehrenburg:

Ehrenburg relied heavily on captured German letters and diaries, as well as on interviews he conducted with German prisoners of war.

Ehrenburg’s outrage at the deeds he read about in German diaries…grew to a feverish pitch in a column written in October, 1942.

Titled ‘A German’ it is devoted to a diary of a Friedrich Schmidt, secretary of the secret field police, 626’th group, 1’st Tank Army, stationed in the village of Budennovka, near Mariupol in Ukraine.

As presented by Ehrenburg, Schmidt oscillates between contempt and admiration for the people he was torturing.

Quoting from Schmidt’s diary:

I woke up at three in the morning. I had a terrible dream. That is because I have to bump off 30 captured youth today.

If my family only knew what a difficult day I had today! The ditch was almost completely filled with corpses. And how heroically this Bolshevik youth meets its death.

What is this—is it love for the fatherland or is it communism that has entered their skin and blood?

Some among them, especially the girls, did not shed a single tear. I am transcribing these horrible lines only with great difficulty.

Ehrenburg comments:

It seems that in all of world literature there is no such despicable villain. A pedantic German, he records how many eggs he ate, how many girls he shot, and how he alternates between constipation and diarrhea...he writes with enthusiasm only about sausage, this executioner and sausage-maker.

Fascination and Enmity: Russia and Germany as Entangled Histories, 1914–1945

—Edited by Michael David-Fox, Peter Holquist, Alexander M. Martin; University of Pittsburgh Press, page 140

How can there be moral equivalence?


Posted by: Gordog | Jun 23 2021 16:03 utc | 136

@ Gordog | Jun 23 2021 16:03 utc | 136:

You really do need to post more frequently.

BTW Zinoviev's Yawning Heights has been sitting on my shelves for years. Is it worth reading?

Posted by: corvo | Jun 23 2021 16:49 utc | 137

@steven t johnson #135
Glad to see you still cannot seem to read or understand what is posted, vs. what you feel you must emit.
It is interesting how your reading comprehension is at par with your grasp of history and many other subjects.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 23 2021 16:50 utc | 138

@Piotr Berman #116:

I offered to look at the plot one can make on Trading Economics web site…

Another, even more powerful instrument to analyze economic development of countries is CEPII Country Profiles, e.g., Belarus, Latvia. Aside from the main “Broad patterns” tab, take a look at “Balance & Forex” and “Products & Partners” tabs.

(CEPII Country Profiles doesn’t work in Safari browser on macOS; use Firefox instead.)

Posted by: S | Jun 23 2021 17:33 utc | 139

Julian @109--

Thanks for your reply! The Dawes Plan didn't work and was replaced in 1929 by the Young Plan, which ended up creating the Bank of International Settlements--BIS. The Outlaw US Empire gained control of the world's monetary system shortly after WW1 through the machinations of the Versailles Treaty, whose failure generated the Dawes the Young plans, and it would gain an even tighter grip after WW2 at Bretton Woods. To discover how the Empire gained control, I highly suggest reading this transcript of Dr. Hudson's lecture/interview to the Oxford Economics Society where he reviews that history that didn't have to occur as you'll learn. But that isn't the only way the Empire sought control. In the preview you'll learn of the false narrative that was employed to turn a pacifist populous that pushed through three Neutrality Acts during the 1930s into one that provided almost zero resistance to the 1947 National Security Act that created the CIA and contravened the UN Charter and thus the US Constitution. Also important to know is the evolution of how the Outlaw US Empire views national sovereignty, which is explored in the linked article.

But what I hope to discover in that book is the path of transition from Hull's surrender as described in point 14 in the above link to the further extraterritoriality well described in point 13 that permeates Post-WW2 policy and particularly Kenan's philosophy that the Empire should have all the resources it requires while sharing none. It should also be noted that the Empire exercised effective political control over most Latin American nations at WW2's end along with what's called a multilateral agency--the Organization of American States--that is merely a geopolitical pawn the Empire completely controls.

In other words, how to explain the vast contradiction between FDR and Hull's UN Charter and actual policy that continuously violates the Charter from its inception in October 1945 to today.

There's another important book that IMO should be read by all, The Economic Consequences of the Peace written by Keynes in 1919 shortly after he abandoned the happenings at Versailles and published in 1920. It can be freely downloaded at the link. He predicts the treaty's failure and that it would soon spawn the next war. It provides vital context omitted by most texts.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 23 2021 17:58 utc | 140

@136 Gordog

Thanks for that perspective on Stalin's great achievement.

If it was unprecedented in history, it was also followed by an equally spectacular Cultural Revolution in China. This of course is much maligned, although the data as examined by Ramin Mazaheri shows how the peasants in the countryside became empowered and educated, to form the vast body of human capital essential to China's rising ever since.

Mazaheri makes his own point that history and culture are written in the cities, and it was the cities that felt the greatest turmoil from the Cultural Revolution, while the peasants felt only gain. I can see a similar mischaracterization happening with Stalin's achievement, drawing from your account.

Interestingly, Mao wrote a sharp disagreement with the Khrushchev condemnation of Stalin. He praised Stalin, and lamented the turncoat rhetoric in the USSR. I wonder to what extent Mao saw Stalin's achievement as a pillar of what he attempted (and succeeded with, in my view) in the Cultural Revolution?

I regard both Stalin and Mao as great men who were on the side of the unprivileged, and who built great societies from that very allegiance.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 23 2021 18:44 utc | 141

@ Gordog | Jun 23 2021 16:03 utc | 136.. i second @ 137 corvos comment to you.. thank you for all that. post more often..

Posted by: james | Jun 23 2021 18:45 utc | 142

Thanks, Corvo, Grieved and James. Appreciate the kind words.

I haven't read Yawning Heights so can't say much. But Zinoviev was a fascinating character. What I think of as a 'big man.'

He graduated from the aviation academy as a junior lieutenant and was a pilot in WW2, flying the famed Ilyushin 'Shturmovik,' which is how I stumbled upon him in my readings about Soviet aviators. He only flew relatively few combat missions toward the end of the war, but did receive The Order of the Red Star, a notable decoration.

I liked to feel like the owner of a combat vehicle, drop bombs, shoot cannons and machine guns; the fear of perishing was relieved by the realization that 'this is only once.'

Michael Kirkwood and Philip Hanson edited Alexander Zinoviev as Writer and Thinker. Definitely a good read.

Here is a short pdf essay by Hanson: Alexander Zinoviev and the Russian Tragedy: The Reality of Post-Communism

Here is a key thought:

Zinoviev in those writings developed the observation that the USSR was an example of popular power(narodovlastie), not a regime imposed on the innocent many by the evil few.

It may not have had open elections and competitive politics, but it rested on the complicity of the governed. He also argued that the communist social order was robust, and that it was the long-run destination of all of us. Capitalism was, or so Slanderer asserts in Yawning Heights, an aberration.

The Hanson essay concentrates on Zinoviev" rel="nofollow">

One other motivation for Zinoviev deserves a mention. To what extent he was conscious of it, I do not know. That motivation is his lifelong conviction that the received wisdom around him is always wrong.

When the conventional wisdom changed, he changed against it.

Not a bad rule of thumb, methinks!

Zinoviev:

The fact is that already in my years at school [in 1938] I became a convinced anti-stalinist. In 1939 I was arrested for speaking against the cult of personality. [...]

After the death of Stalin [in 1953] I finished with my anti-stalinism. [...][It] ceased to make sense, and yielded to an objective, scientific under-standing of the Stalin epoch as [that epoch] receded into the past.

My own opinion on socialism in the Soviet Union is that it started to go downhill with Khruschov. I feel the same about Mao and Deng.

On this topic a good honest source is Prof Dongping Han, who now teaches at a US university, but lived through the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution---and he busts the myths in his book: The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village.

An excellent, much shorter read is his essay online: The Socialist Legacy Underlies the Rise of Today’s China in the World

The world is not like our masters would like us to believe. Not even Stalin, nor The Great Leap Forward, nor the Cultural Revolution. In fact it turns out quite the opposite. No surprise for me at this point.

Posted by: Gordog | Jun 23 2021 18:53 utc | 143

Apologies for format booboo in the middle of previous post.

Should Read: Hanson's short essay concentrates on Zinoviev's post-Soviet writings [four books], which is of course a vital topic today, and in this discussion.

Posted by: Gordog | Jun 23 2021 18:56 utc | 144

How long can thy keep up this sanctioning act before all those sanctioned go fuck you. Seems that there is no end to the amount they can levy with virtually no repercussions. Almost everyday a new set is announced and nothing, zilch.

Posted by: arby | Jun 23 2021 19:01 utc | 145

Peter,

oligarchy means rule by the few. A leader of a country would, by definition, be one of those people. All I said in my comment is that since a few inevitably rule in every society (as opposed to rule by the people), it's best to attain the best possible elite. This is very similar to what some world leader said recently when he mocked Zuckerberg for having attained power by judging whether one girl or another was pretty. Zuckerberg is an elite in the US, and he's undeserving.

Also, I said that a balance of power, such as for example gun rights, can serve as a check on power.

In the US, we were told to trust the government to protect us from terrorists, and so the Patriot Act passed. We were told to ignore Amazon as a monopoly, and so the potential for abuse arose there. We were told that any who question the press or who doubt the safety of vaccines are to be censored. These concentrations of power lead to abuse.

There's more to a society than that. Russia seems to enjoy aspects of a healthy culture; it preserves its Orthodox culture, and Russia lacks the concentration of power seen with the Catholics: no Pope. That's a strength. China, similarly, has embraced masculine virtues, from what I see from the US. So, culture matters. But again, those are elites managing such things. Each individual doesn't have some equal share of influence.

Posted by: Weaver | Jun 23 2021 19:07 utc | 146

c1ue@138 tries to defend @129 by claiming sanctions really do "discomfit.." the rulers of the enemy countries, and that the domestic rulers really do think discomfort is sufficient to make oligarchs give up. A nation under economic warfare is a nation in a siege but the owners always have the money to ride it out. They only suffer if they lose, which is to say, if they let the sufferings of the masses sway them into giving up their property and power. And, rulers of empires do not feel they would change their policies for discomfort. Again, the costs of economic warfare are borne by the masses. Both these claims are lies.

c1ue wants to keep economic warfare as a moral good to be used by those meeting approval. Trump probably, but really who should care what this vicious idiot wants?

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jun 23 2021 19:09 utc | 147

Thanks Corvo, Grieved and James. Appreciate the kind words.

Agree with you Grieved on Ramin Mazaheri's eight part series on the Culturual Revolution that ran on the Saker blog. I've tried to post a reply to Corvo with some more interesting stuff about Zinoviev, especially his post-Soviet writings, but it is not coming up.

Posted by: Gordog | Jun 23 2021 19:15 utc | 148

I haven't read Zinoviev's Yawning Heights so can't say much. But Zinoviev was a fascinating character. What I think of as a 'big man.'

He graduated from the aviation academy as a junior lieutenant and was a pilot in WW2, flying the famed Ilyushin 'Shturmovik,' which is how I stumbled upon him in my readings about Soviet aviators. He only flew relatively few combat missions toward the end of the war, but did receive The Order of the Red Star, a notable decoration.

I liked to feel like the owner of a combat vehicle, drop bombs, shoot cannons and machine guns; the fear of perishing was relieved by the realization that 'this is only once.'

Michael Kirkwood and Philip Hanson edited Alexander Zinoviev as Writer and Thinker. Definitely a good read.

There is a short pdf essay by Hanson online: Alexander Zinoviev and the Russian Tragedy: The Reality of Post-Communism

Here is a key thought:

Zinoviev in those writings developed the observation that the USSR was an example of popular power(narodovlastie), not a regime imposed on the innocent many by the evil few.

It may not have had open elections and competitive politics, but it rested on the complicity of the governed. He also argued that the communist social order was robust, and that it was the long-run destination of all of us. Capitalism was, or so Slanderer asserts in Yawning Heights, an aberration.

Hanson, in this essay concentrates on the post-Soviet work of Zinoviev. This is of course very relevant to this dicussion.

One other motivation for Zinoviev deserves a mention. To what extent he was conscious of it, I do not know. That motivation is his lifelong conviction that the received wisdom around him is always wrong.

When the conventional wisdom changed, he changed against it.

Not a bad rule of thumb, methinks!

Zinoviev:

The fact is that already in my years at school [in 1938] I became a convinced anti-stalinist. In 1939 I was arrested for speaking against the cult of personality. [...]

After the death of Stalin [in 1953] I finished with my anti-stalinism. [...][It] ceased to make sense, and yielded to an objective, scientific under-standing of the Stalin epoch as [that epoch] receded into the past.

My own opinion on socialism in the Soviet Union is that it started to go downhill with Khruschov. I feel the same about Mao and Deng.

On this topic a good honest source is Prof Dongping Han, who now teaches at a US university, but lived through the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution---and he busts the myths in his book: The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village.

An excellent, much shorter read is his essay online: The Socialist Legacy Underlies the Rise of Today’s China in the World

The world is not like our masters would like us to believe. Not even Stalin, nor The Great Leap Forward, nor the Cultural Revolution. In fact it turns out quite the opposite. No surprise for me at this point.

Posted by: Gordog | Jun 23 2021 19:25 utc | 149

Couldn't embed the link to that excellent Hanson essay on Zinoviev's post-Soviet writings. Maybe it'll go through in plain form:

http://balticworlds.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/zinovjev.pdf

Posted by: Gordog | Jun 23 2021 19:27 utc | 150

Here is the link to the short Hanson essay on Zinoviev's post-Soviet writings:

http://zinoviev.info/wps/archives/199

Posted by: Gordog | Jun 23 2021 19:37 utc | 151

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jun 23 2021 15:46 utc | 135

Sanction punish the people...period.

Sanctions are instruments of warfare. They bring destruction much like a volley of mortar shells. I don't think there is an intent of punishment behind this type of destruction insofar as this would imply a form of judgment and sentence over a perceived, yet unexplained, offence.

The US has a very large inventory of these economic weapons and I'm pretty certain it will be deploying as many as it can in the near future.

One reason is accountability. As Donbass Lives suggests @ 56, the Empire's citizenry, as a whole, generally supports the concept. Sanctions are much more compatible with the fragile ego of the masses than would be an aerial assault on urban centres, even when the results are similar.

Another reason is the highly perishable nature of sanctions. For a winter power like America, dollar based ordnance is destined to lose its bite sometime in the future. On a similar vein, decline in soft power will make it difficult to coerce third parties to play along the sanction game. And this is where the real hurt lies for the target nation.


As the cold war adage goes, use them or lose them.

Posted by: robin | Jun 23 2021 19:38 utc | 152

Oops. Now my post is repeated. Apologies to all for cluttering up.

Posted by: Gordog | Jun 23 2021 19:40 utc | 153

In Lavrov's brief welcome to the participants of the Asia and Pacific High-level Conference on Belt and Road Cooperation, I saw the first official notice that ASEAN is now wedded to the EAEU and BRI projects, making the Eurasian Bloc a reality. It would be good to know what transpired at that meeting.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 23 2021 19:59 utc | 154

On the subject of Stalin's achievements, the dark side of those is not to be forgotten. As has been documented by the Duran in 2017, Russia erected a monument to Stalin's victims; this is not fiction, as described by Stephen Cohen. He was present to the unveiling, as was Putin, who gave a speech (can be linked at kremlin.ru.):

...After allowing that most events in Russian history were the subject of legitimate debate, Stalin’s long mass terror, Putin suggested, was not. Other controversial episodes may have their historical pluses and minuses, but Stalin’s terror and its consequences were too criminal and ramifying for any pluses. That, he emphasized, was the essential lesson for Russia’s present and future.

Here is the podcast. And I do not think that Solzhenitsyn's own accounts, although I am not a complete fan, ought to be thrown in disrepute.

https://theduran.com/
russia-expert-stephen-cohen-explains-vladimir-putin-not-new-stalin-podcast/

Posted by: juliania | Jun 23 2021 20:49 utc | 155

Here is Putin's speech mentioned above:

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/55948

Posted by: juliania | Jun 23 2021 21:11 utc | 156

Further evidence of the nature of the enemy. The Outlaw US Empire committed multiple Capital Crimes in its assassination of Iranian General Soleimani, Iraqi General Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and their entourage. Although the perpetrators and their locations are well known, the only legal action taken so far is the persecution and now imprisonment of the linguist who provided the names of several agents of the Empire connected to that crime to authorities likely to pursue prosecution of the case. As Assange's saga proves, the pursuit of truth and justice is deemed criminal by the Outlaw US Empire while ongoing murders and all sorts of illegalities are fine, dandy and normal. The level of immorality is stupendous.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 23 2021 21:43 utc | 157

@ Juliania #154:

I don't think Putin ever said this:

...but Stalin’s terror and its consequences were too criminal and ramifying for any pluses.

Maybe that is from one of the other, second-hand sources you mention in regard to that monument to Stalin's victims. Maybe you can clarify.

The Hanson essay I linked to speaks of the 'official, reputational resurrection of Stalin in Russia' under Putin. He adds this:

It is therefore not really surprising that new teachers’ manuals take a positive view of Stalin despite acknowledging his “cruelty and acts of repression”. Nor is it surprising that Putin — having already, presumably, approved such teaching materials — publicly endorsed them.

That certainly doesn't 'exclude any pluses' as your snippet states. Btw, Hanson gives the reference for this info about school texts as a 2007 Bloomberg piece, titled: Stalin Back in Vogue as Putin Endorses History-Book Nostalgia.

Another thing that kind of passed in the news cycle without much fanfare is the plethora of western opinion polling in Eastern Europe, two decades after the Berlin Wall fell. This came as a shock to many who have been raised on steady diet of indoctrination.

For instance: Homesick for a Dictatorship: Majority of Eastern Germans Feel Life Better under communism

Surely a whole generation would be enough to bring people around? Reading this piece as Der Spiegel tries desperately to spin and hem and haw is quite hilarious.

Reuters carried a similar report on those polls in other Eastern European countries: SPECIAL REPORT: In Eastern Europe People Pine for Socialism

A round-up of various polls, some more recent, can be found on Reddit: Polls Show: Eastern Europeans Miss Communism

I supplement this with my own experience. I'm a retired airline captain and one of the benefits of that job is choosing your trips, and also getting to fly free as a passenger. I have spent a lot of time in Russia and eastern Europe, and can speak German and Russian passably. There is no substitute for actually talking to ordinary folks on the ground.

Everything we are told by our masters is fiction. Especially about communism. It is over-the-top fiction. When have they ever told us the truth? About anything? Please go ahead, anyone, and put your thinking caps on and come up with some examples. There should be some, no?


Posted by: Gordog | Jun 24 2021 0:11 utc | 158

VK @131

Another important consequence of Khrushchev's De-Stalinization was the Sino-Soviet split of 1956-1966, which eventually led to Nixon visiting China. Apparently the tension got so high that the Soviets considered nuking China. China was only saved by Nixon telling the Soviets that the US would not remain neutral in case of a nuclear attack on China. How ungrateful of China to forget that! Nixon should have his statue on Tienanmen square.

The rise of the middle managers = the rise of the nomenklatura?

Posted by: Robert Macaire | Jun 24 2021 0:48 utc | 159

Posted by: HillWalker  @71 & Posted by: Piotr Berman @86

It looks like both your sources are correct on the etymology of 'Jingoism', according to a long entry in Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 

Additional useless information:   "... but there is a possibility that the word is Basque jinko or jainko, God, and was introduced by sailors.

Hey, Jingo! What the de'il's the matter? Do mermaids swimming Dartford water?                               Swift : The Original Horn Fair


The Russiaphobes became  became known as the Jingoes, and a noisy, war mongering policy has become known as Jingoism ever since." 

Posted by: Paul | Jun 24 2021 1:50 utc | 160

Grrr # ! Spell check.
should be: 'swim in Dartford water?'

Posted by: Paul | Jun 24 2021 1:56 utc | 161

Weaver
When I look at and research Russia and China, I don't see rule by a few. Chinese democracy begins at the grass roots level where they vote for community level leaders to represent them at higher levels of government. This form of democracy I think is at less risk of being controlled by whoever controls the media. In Russia it is the Duma or parliament that make the laws. The President works within those laws and the Russian Federation constitution. The constitution was I think put together in Yeltsin's times with US 'help'. I believe the reps in the duma and the president are all elected directly by the people rather than by reps as in the US.
The best way to tell how popular a President is is to look at the US. Assad, Maduro, Lukashenko - US believes they should stand aside and not be allowed to run in their countries election. As soon as you see this, you can bet your balls they would win any free and fair election because they are popular majority of voters believe they do a better job than the US candidates as their countries president. Putin at the top levels of power in Russia for over 20 years has consitly had a good majority approval rating. No lying western shitbag even approachs the level of trust Russians have in Putin as their elected President.

The mark of a good leader or ruler throughout history has been if he/she brings peace and prosperity to the people, or brings destruction and poverty. I dont like hereditary monarchies. There are many forms of democracy, Direct elections or grass roots electing reps, presidential parliamentary ect. I may have been wrong but the way you originally used the term democracy in relation to Russia and China you came across as being fully aboud this woke fagot bullshit that has turned democracy into a dirty word. A word that should mean something good.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jun 24 2021 3:17 utc | 162

Gordog 157

Patrick Armstrong, Canadian ambassador to Russia in the past puts it simply. Everything we have been told is a lie.
From my experience the same with China.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jun 24 2021 3:37 utc | 163

Gordog @ 157, you are correct that Putin did not say that - that was a quote from the podcast by the Duran - I hadn't yet been to the link therein giving Putin's words, but they do say he did not mention any specific names in that podcast. That was their interpretation, indeed. Sorry if that sounded like Putin's words - had they been I would have used quotation marks.

I'm sorry I gave a poor link to the original podcast, but if you go to the Duran website and search with the terms "Putin", "not Stalin" you will see the second line under my link. The podcast is aimed at the Western audience, whose perception of Stalin was a negative one in 2017. The text, however gives a final statement of the difficulty in casting Stalin purely positively or only negatively, and that was the point of my post -- one of the final statements it gives is that

"... the Stalin era was marked both by a mountain of crimes and a mountain of national achievements, which even the best-informed and best-intended historians still struggle to reconcile or balance...

To me, it is as much a disservice to history to say the Gulag was not part of it, as not to acknowledge Stalin's importance in Russia's WW2 achievements. Suffering and sacrifice from the Russian people occurred in both instances.

Posted by: juliania | Jun 24 2021 4:11 utc | 164

Here is what Putin actually said in his speech, from the link I posted above:

"...It is very important that we all and future generations – this is of great significance – know about, and remember this tragic period in our history when entire social groups and entire peoples were cruelly persecuted, including workers, peasants, engineers, military commanders, clergy, government employees, scientists and cultural figures.

Neither talent, nor services to the Motherland, nor sincere devotion to it could help avoid repression, because unwarranted and absolutely absurd charges could be brought against anyone. Millions of people were declared ‘enemies of the people’, shot or mutilated, or suffered in prisons, labour camps or exile.

This terrifying past cannot be deleted from national memory or, all the more so, be justified by any references to the so-called best interests of the people..."

Posted by: juliania | Jun 24 2021 4:23 utc | 165

gordog @ 157, thanks for your post, and I would say it was premature of me to post the western assessment before I had read Putin's words. As a westerner myself, though I am Orthodox,my affinity with the balance that historians must grapple with, outweighed that Orthodox approach. In Orthodoxy we know that our saints were not perfect, only "One is holy" -- a clear example of an imperfect saint being Saint Constantine. What we do present in our icons is the better side of such historical figures. I can see that would be the approach of Putin in approving texts for his country's students. His emphasis would be on the positive personal aspects, while, I suspect, referring to the historical tragedies in a nonpersonal way. As in the memorial speech. There is consistency there, though not perhaps a consistency the non-Orthodox would understand.

Posted by: juliania | Jun 24 2021 4:40 utc | 166

“By their deeds you shall know them”,

As every year the UN assembly voted on the “Necessity of ending the economic, comercial and financial embargo imposed by the USA against Cuba”

And as usual, the whole world voted in favor except USA and Israel.

But gess what, Colombia, UAE and UKRAINE abstained.

Ukraine, 20 thousand radiation sick children from the Chernobyl accident have been treated free of charge by Cuba.

https://wearemitu.com/wearemitu/things-that-matter/chernobyl-cuba-children-victims/

So we have the hegemon, the apartheid state, an absolute middle east monarchy, and a country with a nazi regime and very short memory wanting to teach democracy to Cuba.

So why should we be surprised that a lot of people miss the old communist regimes in eastern Europe?

Posted by: Paco | Jun 24 2021 5:25 utc | 167

@james, @uncle tungsten 68, for a good discussion of what happened with the Ryanair flight I recommend MoonofA. It's good. I can't improve on it. The subject I have been trying to address is not that one. Instead I address the overlap between prejudiced groupthink and orchestrated propaganda in our mainstream media. The thoughts about that are a lot less developed on here and tend to get stuck at 'bad faith' assumptions about 'lying media'. A lie means 'I can't imagine competent informed people to have a different point of view than us so they must really be having the same point of view and be lying about it'. The Belarus incident is an elegant example which can be analyzed as a mathematical model standing on itself. The elements are
- partisan bias on the 'reputation map': the good guys are trustworthy, require little verification and and are worth listening to. the bad guys are untrustworthy and not worth paying attention to, and if you pay attention to them, hard proof is required before any of their arguments is treated as credible.
- 8 'smoking gun' hypothesises which are treated with high credibility: considered true until disproved. It's a bit like 8 coronatests in parallel with a high rate of false positive result.
- a knob to control the level of journalistic competence.
The higher the level of competence the lower the false positive rate per test but it will not cancel the highly partisan bias and the outcome of the 8 tests is virtually certain to be positive.

Hard science also has a rule that extraordinary(disreputable) claims need extraordinary proof. Preposterous claims we don't even have time for. Such a bias is normal and good. What you don't trust you investigate more thoroughly if you even get around to investigating it. The 'outward' decay of trust should remain progressive however and you need to maintain minimal levels of critical attitude everywhere. It goes bad when there is a separation of 'inner' full trust and 'outer' complete distrust. Which is what you get with strong groupthink.
My complaints against the mainstream are more about their groupthink than about their competence, though there is a linkage. Of course their groupthink means they leave the door wide open for bad faith players to insert themselves and make things worse. The FBI and the CIA are now officially part of the US networks.

The first rule for the journalists in the Belarus case should be 'don't trust your side'. The second would be 'dread being wrong'. With a change of 'trust map' what is out of bounds with one map becomes trivially easy to see with the other map.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jun 24 2021 8:17 utc | 168

I can simplify the case study even more so it fits on the side of a pencil: 'MSM treat the 8 smoking guns as true until proven false while it should be the other way round'.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jun 24 2021 8:32 utc | 169

Thanks for your comments, Juliania.

I read the Putin speech and he doesn't mention any names. The monument is not for Stalin, specifically, but for political repression, which of course did happen and to many people.

BUT, this is not the same as repression of ORDINARY people, who in fact saw great social progress, as Zinoviev [who lived through it] accurately notes.

My main beef is that our leaders LIE to us on such a huge scale, and for so long now, yet they continue throwing stones from their glass houses at Russia and China.

The demonization of Stalin and Mao over the many decades is so complete now that it is difficult, even for thoughtful and smart alternative media voices to reappraise that.

But consider the glass houses. What happened in the dirty thirties in the US? Why was there a population shortfall of nearly ten million in that decade? Here are the census numbers via wikipedia.

From 1920 to 1930, the population increased by 17 million. Then, suddenly, in the 1930s it increased by only 9 million. In the 1940s it jumped back up, increasing by 19 million. This was unprecedented.

Obviously there was a demographic catastrophe. We don't hear much about that now, but John Steinbeck brilliantly documented the plight of landless tenant farmers from the midwest, 'Okies', who were forced off the land and into chaotic and desperate westward migration, many of them working on huge citrus and fruit plantations on the west coast under slave-labor conditions.

If you haven't at least seen the movie, with Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford, then you will be surprised at this sad story of human suffering that millions lived through. Here is a clip of the tenant farmer Muley being told he has to leave.

Was there a famine in the US in the 1930s? Of course there was. A famine doesn't mean everyone starves to death [although some do]. It means people are undernourished and have less babies [fertility rate drops], or babies are stillborn [as in the case of Rose's baby in the novel]. Older people are weakened and die prematurely, etc.

How can you frighten a man whose hunger is not only in his own cramped stomach but in the wretched bellies of his children? You can't scare him – he has known a fear beyond every other.

---Grapes of Wrath, Chapter 19

There was a massive internal migration of people who had to pick up and try to find a life elsewhere. They were internal refugees. Here is a map from a peer-reviewed study showing emigration by county. And the statistics for the total fertility rate by decade.

Some people did outright starve. In New York 110 deaths by hunger were reported in 1934, prompting the West African nation of Cameroon to send $3.77 in relief aid to the US.

I personally know a fellow whose grandfather was a doctor at that time, and he would often prescribe 'food' for malnourished children that were brought in. The pharmacy would fill that 'prescription' as a helping hand.

Was this a US Holodomor? Where has this disappeared to? Steinbeck won a Nobel Prize for his novel, and nobody is making up these plain as day statistics.

Yes, there was political repression under Stalin---but it wasn't the ordinary folks, it was political activists, most of them from privileged families. The revolution was barely a decade old when Stalin took over. There was a large class of people that didn't like the new system. Imperial Russia had by far the largest number of wealthy people in the world; they were also the most decadent and uncaring about the ordinary folks who lived hard lives to just get by on the land [which they didn't even own, just like the US tenant farmers].

Some people won't like this, but I think some eggs had to be broken. The number of people convicted and executed during Stalin's nearly three decades is 700,000. Out of a population of 200 million. The gulag population was 2.8 million at its height, about the same as the current US prison population. And not all of these folks were political prisoners. Many were common criminals.

But for the vast majority of ordinary folks, as Zinoviev describes, life was getting better and better. Never-before opportunities to become something, to become someone. Here is the majestic Moscow University Main Building, built by Stalin [one of the so-called 'seven sisters' of landmark buildings built by Stalin]. It was Europe's tallest building until 1990. But more importantly, the peasant child that came to that campus penniless, sometimes barefoot, emerged as a doctor or a scientist or even a cosmonaut, as the peasant-son Yuri Gagarin did.

When objectively compared, the experience of the common folk in the US was much harsher. And affected many millions, not just some bourgeois dissidents.

FDR, who is now hated by a reactionary American public, and denounced as a 'communist', moved heaven and earth to bring the 1930s catastrophe to a close. For those in the most dire need, working under slave-like conditions with not even enough daily nutrition, nor sanitation, he set up camps with running water and sanitation that housed tens of thousands---but it was only 10 percent of what was needed. He set up the Farm Security Administration [FSA] to help these devastated people that were really the American version of Russian peasants under imperial Russia. [Again, watch the film to see how these laborers were treated by the rich plantation owners].

He built massive public works in water and energy that employed millions, and electrified the US, bringing it into the modern age. People forget these very basic things. They forget them because there is nonstop shilling and agitation from professional propagandists that want to make sure that this billionaire-run oligarchic system is acceptable to the people. That people continue to live in abject ignorance about the REAL HISTORICAL FACTS. A disneyland created in our minds by relentless indoctrination.

By the way, I suggest you look up Dorothea Lange who took over 170,000 memorable photographs of these stricken folks for the FSA. Woodie Guthrie, the popular singer also left a musical legacy of that difficult era.

When we look at that era objectively and compare and contrast, where would you rather be if you were a landless tenant farmer or peasant? [Watch Grapes of Wrath first before answering].

Posted by: Gordog | Jun 24 2021 15:10 utc | 170

@ Tuyzentfloot | Jun 24 2021 8:17 utc | 168... that is true what you say... until people challenge their own set of beliefs, it will be hard for them to see beyond being fed lies or subtleties that require greater attention to detail... i don't know the answer for it... some are fooled most of the time and some, some of the time, but not all are fooled all of the time... cheers james

Posted by: james | Jun 24 2021 16:04 utc | 171

Posted by: Gordog | Jun 24 2021 15:10 utc | 170

A great post deserves a great soundtrack:

https://youtu.be/eDm_ssmuxDE

Posted by: Paco | Jun 24 2021 16:16 utc | 172

Thanks, Paco!

Hats off to Mellencamp for that tribute to Woody. Glad some still remember!

Posted by: Gordog | Jun 24 2021 16:38 utc | 173

Gordog@170 is correct in so many ways. My belief is, the more they abuse a dead communist, the more the hate living workers. I would add, on the positive side, is that there's nothing more left than winning. Stalin will never be forgiven for beating Hitler. (And that means beating Bukharin too, because Bukharin was about as certain to lose to Hitler as a counterfactual can be.)

I will point out however that one man who can't forgive Stalin is Vladimir Putin, who condemned Stalin for supporting world revolution. Given that ultra-leftists are convinced that the devastated USSR could have easily revolutionized Greece, Italy and France without being nuked, Stalin's very real, very potent support for world socialism is easily overlooked. China's more moderate policies depended heavily on the USSR's existence, despite the frictions of the Sino-Soviet split. Putin was even so vile as to blame support for socialism worldwide for the fall of the USSR. He sank so low as to equate this with imperialism!

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jun 24 2021 16:55 utc | 174

Gordog 'Some people won't like this, but I think some eggs had to be broken.'

I always think about that when I look at Russia and China now. Stalin's purges and the cultural revolution in China. I think that is what makes these two countries different from the west. On the one side, I think they cleared a lot of crap out of those two countries that didn't breed on, but on the other side I think a lot of babies were thrown out with the bath water.

Grapes of Wrath. I read that book when I was young. Certainly something that should be put out there in the public along with the stats you mention. Sort of fills a spot in US history somewhere between slavery and its wanton destruction of a number of countries as sole superpower. Slavery, continuous racism, million or so dead in civil war, 30s depression, McCarthyism / cold war, A period of unchallenged wanton destruct of smaller countries, and now its attempts to divide the world / willing to risk nuclear war to prevent its self inflicted downfall.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jun 24 2021 17:00 utc | 175

Steven T: As Zinoviev said, 'even a donkey can kick a dead lion.'

And Mr Z is not exactly a fan of Putin either, although he does acknowledge that he has at least brought the country back from the brink. Zinoviev died in 2006---I wonder what he would say today?

I agree with him. Putin has accomplished a lot, especially in revitalizing the crucial scientific-technical capability of the country, which we see in stunning advances in the vital aerospace and nuclear fields---which two are the source of real military power.

But he has also let the robber barons keep their loot, and let down a lot of ordinary folks who deserve a better deal. Compared to Xi's energetic rooting out of the Deng-era corruption, and his strengthening of the state-owned enterprises [champions as they are called], Putin's efforts obviously fall short. Disturbingly, he still seems to believe in the neoliberal political economy.

I'm not sure about Stalin's purported desire for spreading world socialism. My understanding is that was the goal of the early Bolsheviks, Lenin and Trotsky and others of the 'international' stripe in particular. Stalin broke with that decisively and implemented Socialism in One Country as official state policy.

I think Putin has no disagreement with that, and his recent denouncements were against Lenin and the 'internationalists.'

Posted by: Gordog | Jun 24 2021 17:18 utc | 176

Gordog @158--

While I share your cynicism, world leaders haven't always lied to the masses, particularly when crises are very overt. Almost 100 years ago on 22 April 1922, PM David Lloyd George addressed Parliament about the upcoming Conference convened in Genoa that would attempt to find solutions:

"The Conference has been called to consider the problem of the reconstruction of economic Europe, devastated and broken into fragments by the desolating agency of war. Europe, the richest of all continents, the continent which possesses the largest amount of accumulated wealth and certainly the greatest machinery for the production of wealth, the largest aggregate of human beings with highly civilized needs and with highly civilized means of supplying those needs, and therefore Europe, the best customer in the world and of the world, has been impoverished by the greatest destruction of capital that the world has ever witnessed. If European countries had gathered together their mobile wealth accumulated by centuries of industry and thrift on to one pyramid and then set fire to it, the result could hardly have been more complete. International trade has been disorganized through and through. The recognized medium of commerce, exchange based upon currency, has become almost worthless and unworkable; vast areas, upon which Europe has hitherto depended for a large proportion of its food supplies and its raw material, completely destroyed for all purposes of commerce; nations, instead of co-operating to restore, broken up by suspicions and creating difficulties and new artificial restrictions; great armies ready to march, and nations already overburdened with taxation having to bear the additional taxation which the maintenance of these huge armaments to avoid suspected dangers renders necessary."

There are many others. FDR's One Third of the Nation Speech in 1937 told the sorry truth about the actual state of the Union, yet a crisis of similar proportions has existed within the Outlaw US Empire for most of this century without one word being spoken of its immensity. Of course, the problems faced by the world in 1922 were all self-induced by an amazingly arrogant elite thanks to their racism and classism, character traits Genoa further exposed for the world to see. And here we are 100 years later having to deal with the same sort of Arrogance by a similar set of national actors whose behavior shows the degree of interest they have in learning from the past--that is ZERO interest.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 24 2021 17:38 utc | 177

Nice summary of the US historical arc, Peter.

I agree with you about babies and bathwater. A lot of that stuff simply cannot be excused nor whitewashed. But I also note that Mao considered the Cultural Revolution among his two great achievements. I posted upthread a really good essay by prof Dongping Han, which I think sheds an interesting new light on how things played out in China.

Posted by: Gordog | Jun 24 2021 17:40 utc | 178

Gordog @176--

Why do you believe Putin's a neoliberal and that Russia's economy follows the Neoliberal pathway?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 24 2021 17:42 utc | 179

@ 170 gordog.... another great post! thanks for this overview... it is interesting the fertility rates in the 1980's were quite low as well.. odd that..

Posted by: james | Jun 24 2021 17:56 utc | 180

Thanks James.

Hi Karlof, I figured someone would dispute my characterization of Putin as 'neoliberal.'

I'm not sure of that myself. I would much rather be out to lunch on that. Political economy isn't really my wheelhouse, but I think China's state-owned central bank and the lack of any political power by billionaires [eunuch oligarchs?] is a much better model.

Posted by: Gordog | Jun 24 2021 18:02 utc | 181

Thanks for your #178, Karlof!

I agree about FDR---I think he was the last honest American. But even he had to resort to at least omitting information, for instance about the runup to Pearl Harbor. He was a committed anti-imperialist and detested the British Empire. I'm pretty confident that his vision for the postwar order was not an American empire to replace it---but that was what the powerful plutocracy wanted, and they got it.

So yes, you have to go back quite a ways to find examples of truth-telling from the leadership. A hundred years back is quite a ways to go, lol!

Posted by: Gordog | Jun 24 2021 18:12 utc | 182

Socialism in One Country wasn't Stalin's invention. It was a necessity imposed from the capitalist world to the USSR and already was in vogue since Lenin's death (January, 1924).

From day 1, the Bolsheviks knew the peasant class in Russia was a huge problem (or, the fact that Russia was a peasant country). Evert Bolshevik, whatever the "faction", agreed collective, large-scale and mechanized agriculture was the definite solution for the USSR and a condition sine qua non for the very establishment of socialism, whatever its form or shape.

The problem was: Russia was a peasant country (more than 80% of the population was peasant), and the peasants wanted land for themselves. Without the support of the peasant class, there wouldn't be the October Revolution, there wouldn't be a victory in the Civil War, the country would become ungovernable and the Bolsheviks would fall. To collectivize and modernize agriculture would mean the displacement of 22 million peasants (yes, they had the number, well before Stalin rose to power), which would mean a humanitarian trauma of a too big of a scale for even the most radical Bolshevik to contemplate at the time (1924-1926).

Hence, the initial hope was for the communist revolution to spread to the west (i.e. at least Germany) so the advanced capitalist economies could save the Russian proletarian republic with their machinery and technology. These hopes ended with the German fiasco of October 1923.

The Bolsheviks then went with the second least traumatic policy: the NEP (enrich the peasants; induce them to produce surpluses for the market and modernize by the profit incentive). The NEP implied in many concessions to the peasant and a return to many capitalist aspects of the economy, and Lenin called it "a retreat". The NEP literally had to collapse the economy (Scissors Crisis, mass unemployment among the peasants due to large concentration of productive land in the hands of the kulaks) in order for the Bolsheviks to give it up. Even then, they vacillated with going all-in with collectivization (which would have to be forced, because the raison d'etre of the peasant is the small agricultural unity).

It was only with the imminent threat of a capitalist invasion of the USSR - first with the "Spirit of Locarno" (1925-1926) - that the Bolsheviks finally conceded that the situation of appeasement of the peasants was unsustainable. The USSR, if it wanted to merely survive, could not content itself with being an agricultural country. This led to the rise of Stalin to power and the initiation of forced collectivization with the First Five-Year Plan (1928-1932). Even then, forced collectivization only started at the end of the Plan (1931-32), and even then at a relatively slow pace.

Forced collectivization was only really implemented at a national scale with the imminent threat of a capitalist war of annihilation against the USSR (Nazi Germany). Molotov led the process of acceleration of forced collectivization during the second half of the 1930s; it was finished in 1938-1939, and Molotov almost immediately substituted Litvinov, traveled to Berlin in order to sign the Non-Aggression Pact (which was broken in 1941; Molotov was the first to receive the message and had to hastily burn classified documents in the portable incinerator at the Soviet Embassy in Berlin).

So, it's evident that:

1) the Bolsheviks knew from the very beginning the peasant would have to cease to exist as a class if they wanted to build socialism in Russia/USSR;

2) every Bolshevik and their mothers knew forced collectivization was the ultimate solution for the problem of modernization of Russian/Soviet agriculture, but it was one of that open secrets that nobody had the courage to speak of in public because of the obvious humanitarian consequences it would result;

3) it was only after all the other alternatives were removed from the hands of the Bolsheviks by capitalist pressure (economic sanctions, political exclusion, threat of invasion), that it resorted to forced collectivization;

4) nothing of the above came out from Stalin's head. Stalin knew and publicly admitted the best solution for the economy and survival of the USSR was world revolution (preferably, first in the West/Germany) until 1924 and even 1925. He remained silent in the question of the NEP. And he wasn't even the most fervent proponent of the doctrine of Socialism in One Country after the collapse of world revolution, in 1925-1926. Stalin was the typical example in History where "the circumstances make the man": with the end of World Revolution, the era of the heroes (i.e. the era of the intellectuals) came to an end in the USSR. After 1926, the USSR needed a pragmatic and "hard-working" leader/talented administrator, a leader who "shut up and get to work". When Lenin was alive, this wasn't a dilemma, because he was both an intellectual and a man of action: he was the incontestable leader, he basically governed by acclamation. But, after Lenin's death and the retreat of world revolution, the chasm that separated the hard-working bureaucrat/able administrator and the heroic and improvising intellectual became apparent: Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinoviev couldn't mobilize one thousand workers if their lives depended on it. Many Western ideologues (including leftist ones) associate the lack of documentation and open CPSU debate during Stalin's era as some kind of "dark age" of Stalinist brutal repression and censorship, but that wasn't the case: the USSR simply entered a phase where it had to stop with unceasing and oftentimes petty debate and start to put a long-term plan to practice. It entered a phase of "less talk, more work".

Posted by: vk | Jun 24 2021 18:21 utc | 183

Gordog 176

My thoughts on Putin for whatever they are worth.
First up, he is a person or leader than believes in evolution not revolution. He thinks long term and if he wants changes he sets up conditions that tend to evolve to his desired goal.
On coming to power, the entire country had sunk into crime and corruption but for many this was purely survival. To prosecute everyone who had some involvement in something illegal before his time would have meant prosecuting a large proportion of the country. At the time Yeltsin appointed him prime minister, a small number of oligarchs owned all state assets plus the media. Initially he made no moves against them as their control of the media would have meant not winning his first presidential election. He allowed them to feel safe and the promoted him with their media. During this period, I think he mostly focused on Chechnya, separating the the Chechens who wanted to keep there culture from those who had converted to Wahhabi and the CIA Mujahideen - very similar to what happened in Syria.
His moves against the oligarchs began after winning the first election. Due to the wide spread corruption across Russia at that time, he began with a clean sheet and only those committing crimes after this point would be prosecuted. The oligarchs in the way they had taken control of state assets was somewhat legal as with the tearing down of communism under Yeltsin, all citizens were given a certificate that gave them part ownership of the state. These couldn't be used as currency and during those hard times, the soon to be oligarchs snapped them up for peanuts.
Putin gave them an ultimatum. From this point on, Obey Russian laws, pay taxes, pay the workers properly, run those industries that were strategic well and efficiently ect. Those that didn't he took down and nationalized their assets. Those that obeyed have been allowed to continue as efficient managers of large enterprises, though in strategic areas, loyalty to the state is a big one.
In watching Russia under Putin re-nationalist in various areas, though often only by using a 51% controlling stake, China opening up allowing much more private enterprise, with some becoming very rich, I have started to realize that like a good diet, human society needs a little of everything.
The extremes come into play when an American capitalist shouts 'we ca't do that because that's communism', or vise versa a dedicated communist shouts 'no we can't do that because that is capitalism'.
I think a balanced society or social system will have aspects of both communism and capitalism, amounts of each depending on culture and so forth. I have started calling a balanced social system 'socialism'.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jun 24 2021 18:51 utc | 184

Thanks Peter, that's a good overall summary!

I think a balanced society or social system will have aspects of both communism and capitalism, amounts of each depending on culture and so forth. I have started calling a balanced social system 'socialism'.

I absolutely agree with this. Now think about how this might happen in our societies in the west, which are de facto oligarchies, where a tiny handful owns the majority of wealth. I think the latest figures for the US, is something like 40 percent of all wealth owned by the top few individuals and families===and this concentration of wealth is only rising.

And they of course exercise absolute political power, although that is forbidden to even think. We are supposed to think that these plutocrats are just doing their own little thing---and the rules that are passed about money being printed and how it is given out, have nothing to do with these 'brilliant entrepreneurs.'

Yeah right! This is a road to nowhere.

Lately, the names Blackrock [Larry Fink] and Vanguard [and a couple of others] are looming large on my radar. These giant funds literally own EVERYTHING.

Supposedly the little 'investor' can get in on this with his pension savings, but do you really think you are getting the same deal as the big guys?

Or are you there for another purpose altogether---something having to do with fleece?

Posted by: Gordog | Jun 24 2021 19:14 utc | 185

Thanks for that detailed history @VK #183!

Many Western ideologues (including leftist ones) associate the lack of documentation and open CPSU debate during Stalin's era as some kind of "dark age" of Stalinist brutal repression and censorship, but that wasn't the case: the USSR simply entered a phase where it had to stop with unceasing and oftentimes petty debate and start to put a long-term plan to practice. It entered a phase of "less talk, more work".

That sounds pretty reasonable to me.

Posted by: Gordog | Jun 24 2021 19:20 utc | 186

Putin has charged the USSR with imperialist overreach, which somehow compared the imperialist wars in Algeria, Malaya, Kenya, Korea, Vietnam, with, what? Soviet assistance to Cuba against US conquest? The intervention in Hungary? Pressuring Israel to step back from Egypt in 1956? Aid to Vietnam, Ethiopia? Putin was not even rational here. He was merely expressing his personal hatred of socialism. If anything he was regretting that Russia *did not* treat central Europe like a colony the whole time and make a bunch of money from it for petty bourgeois administrators in Moscow. (Like upper class Brits making a cushy living from Indian Civil Service...think John Stuart Mill.)

And insofar as Putin slipped and expressed resentment over the Soviet nuclear umbrella protecting China, he was omadvertemt;u making clear how little today's China should rely on his Russia for anything.

Putin is a neoliberal in domestic economy, because what was new about neoliberals was that they were willing to make temporary concessions on welfare spending as long as it kept the masses pacified and saved private property in the means of production. That's why neoliberals, including their demigods like Friedrich von Hayek, were willing to toy with ideas like Universal Basic Income/Guaranteed Annual Income/Negative Income Tax! In foreign policy, Putin is a geopolitician who imagines Sebastopol and Tartus will make Russia a world power and therefore endless wwars are worthwhile. Putin's reputation for competence is vastly exaggerated in my view.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jun 24 2021 19:40 utc | 187

gordog @ 170, thank you for your post but you assume too much ignorance on the part of the American people. We know all of our history even better than you do. I watched "The Grapes of Wrath" in my college years back in the '60's, and have read Steinbeck's works - as many privileged college students did back in the day. Then college was affordable even for the non-rich classes.

All that changed after the Kennedy assassination, but that doesn't mean people have become less aware. To the contrary, the forces arrayed against us were then as formidable as those arrayed against Putin and Chi today -- and we did not forget; we did not mindlessly sink into a false euphoria. The press was taken over by the powers that be; voting became an exercise in futility, education became a debtor's prison. Yes, today's youth are hugely disinfranchised and have been since the turn of the century, but even they know something is wrong -- and since Vietnam war they have known it.

Look, all of the media was pushing for Hillary's election! Trump was the only alternative! They had seen to that - no other viable candidate was available. And Trump was chosen by the powers that be as such an odious alternative that they expected we would realize it was 'her turn'. But no, we held our noses and we voted where they did not want us to go.

The oligarchy is in control. They killed or imprisoned those who spoke out against them. Do NOT badmouth the American public. You do not know what is happening.

Putin does. He never blames the American people.

I am sure what you say about Stalin is true in some respects, but man does not live by bread alone, and something very similar to what is happening in the US today, happened back then to the USSR. It wasn't just Yeltsin and the Chicago Boys; the USSR was moribund before that, just as we are today. And Putin has seen this parallel also. He may not have named Stalin, but in the quote I gave @ 165 he definitel pinpoints the Stalinist era, and answers you that:

"...This terrifying past cannot be deleted from national memory or, all the more so, be justified by any references to the so-called best interests of the people..."

Those ARE> Putin's words, not mine or the western observers at the memorial. He is talking about what you call 'breaking eggs' and he says this terrifying past cannot be justified by any references to 'the so-called best interests of the people.' That's the mindset of the Grand Inquisitor, to reference another great work of fiction; it is not enough!

Posted by: juliania | Jun 24 2021 20:00 utc | 188

Peter AU1 @ 184, welcome back, and before I leave this thread, thanks for your assessment of Putin here; I agree with it. In essence he is a pragmatist, and the 'clean sheet' you describe is precisely what Michael Hudson suggests in the US for the woeful state of the economy, only this time for students, not oligarchs! It is so like FDR, who 'threw everything against the wall to see what would stick'. These are great politicians, spirited governors that the people are so lucky when gifted with them.

I will say this too about Woody Guthrie: I'm very proud that as a student I went to the Library of Congress and in the basement listened to old folk singers on vinyl recordings back in the day - you could do that as a student then, no minders, no national guard, no barricades. Now the only time you hear them is when PBS wants to raise money - they trot out whomever is left or play old concerts. Because it is all about money now.

We all had guitars back then...

Posted by: juliania | Jun 24 2021 20:48 utc | 189

juliania@188 defends Putin by asserting "all of the media was pushing for Hilary's election!" An exclamation point doesn't make this true. The billions of free publicity was pushing Trump. That's why Sanders' insurgency *did not* get free publicity, but got buried. Further, "we" did not vote "where they did not want us to go." That was have been Sanders, not Trump. Even worse, Clinton won the vote, so "we" voted for Clinton, not Trump. By the way, despite the retroactive love for Kennedy, it has long been the claim that Kennedy stole the election, especially using Daley in Chicago. But Kennedy would have won the Electoral College even if he had lost Illinois, which would "only" have affected the popular vote. The reverence for the Electoral College is strictly tactical. Bush the younger was preparing a mass campaign to call for the overturn of an Electoral College victory for Gore, until that shoe was found on Shrub's foot.

But, Putin, Yeltsin's successor, protector and legacy, is no doubt anti-Stalin, as he is against all socialism. As a long time opponent of the best interest of the people, he certainly has no interest in living up to that standard.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jun 24 2021 21:13 utc | 190

Thanks juliania. So many good people in the US and elsewhere that are drowned out by propaganda and group think.
Goering quote always comes to mind and I quote it often.
"Naturally, the common people don't want war ... but after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country."

Here in Australia, the anti china propaganda has reached a point that it is now self sustaining and the Chinese are attacking us.

Something I will take the opportunity to mention because I've thought about it in the past. I have probably said a few things about religion in the past that may have offended you and am likely to do so again.
When I was young I read the bible a few times and went along to a bit of a church. It was one of those evangelical types. But I would read through the things Jesus had said and the new testament and was told it all had to be interpreted. I found I couldn't believe in a supernatural being, and also had a bit of disgust for those that professed to be Christians but didn't match up to Jesus teachings. Since then though I have always had a great deal of respect for those that do live by what he he taught and I have run onto a few. I take you to be one of them.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jun 24 2021 22:50 utc | 191

James, I think fertility rates by the '80s were more affected by widespread use of contraceptives. Also people choosing to have smaller families, as women were increasingly in the workforce, which left less family resources for child-rearing and homemaking.

I think these trends of lower rates of childbirth in the latter decades have been accompanied by increased immigration also. Our Ponzi economy is set up so that it has to grow---even two consecutive quarters of no growth is a 'recession.'

Michael Hudson has plenty of insight on this Ponzi economic system. It really is such because both are based on the math of exponential growth, which is impossible to sustain, so you get to where debts need to be wiped clean, but this never happens any more---even though it regularly did in antiquity, for instance the Hebrew Jubillee.

All this is a bit tangential of course to the topic at hand, but it's funny that people like Buffet try to entrance the people with bleatings about the 'magic' of compound interest. But if you go and look up exponential growth, you will find that Ponzi Scheme and compound interest are both based on that exact same math.

I suppose Bernie Madoff might have also waxed lyrically about compound interest [before he ticked over earlier this year]. Of course the privately-owned banks and their wholly owned joint enterprise, the so-called 'Fed' can do all of this legally, lol. In fact, the system is built around it!

Yep, it's a grand old system alright!

Posted by: Gordog | Jun 24 2021 23:25 utc | 192

The people of Belarus have seen their neighbor countries Russia and the Ukraine go through extreme economic problems and poverty after the Soviet Union broke down. Neoliberalism had ruined those countries. It is thus quite plausible that a majority does not want to experience that in their own country and that Lukashenko has indeed won the votes of that majority.

That may well be the case, but I cannot imagine Lukashenko is as popular as the voting results make him out to be, especially given the way he treats his opponents.

Posted by: Malchik Ralf | Jun 25 2021 11:11 utc | 193

Posted by: Malchik Ralf | Jun 25 2021 11:11 utc | 193

In Belarus it is the usual urban-rural split, the urbanites like the excitement and bright lights of consumerism, the rural areas prefer stability and consistency. Lukashenko has plenty of support, that is one of the mistakes the plotters made, assuming that they represent everybody. And they underestimated Luka, he went to war when they started it. I did too, for that matter, he has some issues like anybody, but he is no fossil.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jun 25 2021 13:30 utc | 194

That may well be the case, but I cannot imagine Lukashenko is as popular as the voting results make him out to be, especially given the way he treats his opponents.

Posted by: Malchik Ralf | Jun 25 2021 11:11 utc | 193

Compared with the treatment of "leakers" by USA and allies? It is not just Manning and Assange, and the treatment ranges from grotesque to barbaric.. While the West amps the self-righteousness and hypocrisy, East is getting more sophisticated, as the fate of Protasiewicz couple shows (cruelly allowed to amble around Minsk).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 26 2021 11:50 utc | 195

Malchik Ralf@193 I think misreads the issue. The point is not that "Lukashenko" is so popular as the vote results show, the point is that Tsihanouskaya, the nobody candidate promising Yeltsinization of Belarus, really doesn't have that much support. Those people who want to rant about Lukashenko rigging the election should focus on how Lukashenko made sure a known candidate wasn't running against him. There simply is no case that the vote count was falsified on the scale hypothesized. Also, the number of abstentions is an issue. If turnout was pressurized that would inflate Lukashenko's margin in the vote above real popularity. The fixation on elections as the sole metric of democracy is misleading. Like the Iranian elections, it's who's not allowed to run that rigs the election.

It is like the recent Syrian elections. At this time, a vote for anyone other than Assad was basically a vote for continued civil war when most players have been defeated. It simply does not make sense to assume 5% open votes for continued defeat by the national (secular) government must therefore be a fraud. The turnout of 78%, though high by US standards, where elections have the problem of not determining actual policies and therefore don't even count in the way they're supposed to, is fairly low. The 22% can be fairly assessed as anti-Assad/government. After all, the fundamental vote was on war versus peace. Thus the election says there is a substantial minority even now opposed to Assad/government.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jun 26 2021 14:20 utc | 196

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