Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 24, 2021

NY Times Acknowledges U.S. Failure In Russia - Adds More To What Caused It

The U.S. finally acknowledges the utter defeat of its major manipulation strategy in Russia.

The news comes in form of a New York Times analysis of Russia's recent Duma election.

The core sentence:

Dismal results for the opposition in an election last weekend that was not free or fair only drove home a mood of defeat. The election underscored the grim reality that Russia’s pro-Western and pro-democratic opposition, a focus of American and other Western countries’ policy toward Russia for years now, has no visible strategy to regain relevance.

All the millions of dollars invested and thousands of CIA framed 'news' reports about Russia's opposition launched in 'western' outlets like the NY Times have been in vain.

One would think that the above insight would lead to some reflection about how or why the strategy has failed.

  • Was it probably wrong to support 'liberal' clowns like Navalny who are actually too fascist to be acceptable to more than 2% of the Russian electorate?
  • Was there a way to achieve a different outcome by looking at the real problems Russians have with Putin's neo-liberal economic policies?
  • Was is false to pay no attention to the real opposition in Russia, the one that gets real votes?

Unfortunately the rest of the piece shows that the NY Times author is unable to discuss or to even ask such questions. He instead continues with false claims about Russia's democratic system:

The Central Election Commission reported — as usual after Russian elections — a landslide for parties and politicians loyal to President Vladimir V. Putin. The vote in parliamentary elections cleared a seemingly easy path for Mr. Putin to seek a fifth term as president in 2024.

There was no such landslide for parties and politicians loyal to Putin.

In fact Putin's party, United Russia, only got 49% of the votes, a loss of 5 percentage points from the 2016 election. It also lost 19 of its seats in the parliament. The Communist Party was the winner in this election. It gained 6 percentage points from 13% in 2016 to 19% in 2021 and 15 new parliament seats. That significant move is not mentioned at all in the NYT writeup:

The pro-government party, United Russia, won just short of 50 percent of the national vote, and 198 out of 225 seats allocated in district-level elections. The Communist Party of Russia, which runs in elections as an opposition party but votes with United Russia once in Parliament, came in second place, with 19 percent. Three other parties, all seen as loyal to Mr. Putin, also won seats. No candidates in open opposition to Mr. Putin entered Parliament.

The claim that the Communist Party is voting with United Russia is outright false. It may have done so on some issues of national importance, like the return of Crimea to Russia, but surly votes against most other laws and the budget resolutions United Russia supports.

The other three parties are likewise opposed to Putin and most of his policies. They, like the Communists, would vote him out if they had the majority needed to do that.

It didn’t help that Google and Apple, under pressure from the Kremlin, removed an app promoting candidates Mr. Navalny had endorsed just before the vote.

A depper analysis of the fate of the candidates Navalny's 'smart voting' promoted would be of interest. But to go there the NY Times would have to tell you this:

I discuss Alexei Navalny’s ’smart voting’ scheme in the light of the list of preferred candidates for this week’s Russian parliamentary elections just issued by Navalny’s team. There are 225 single member constituencies up for grab. Team Navalny recommends one candidate per constituency and suggests voters cast their ballot for thar person, as the candidate most likely to beat the ruling United Russia party.

So who does Navalny recommend?

Communists mostly (61% of the total), plus some from the left nationalist Just Russia, and the occasional person from other parties. But only a handful of liberals.

In short, voting smart means voting Communist.

Now tell me, please, what’s so smart about that? As I argue in my article, precious little.

The NY Times author can not acknowledge those facts because he hates the communists even more than he hates United Russia:

With Russia’s pro-democracy groups now crushed, the center of gravity of the Russian political opposition may shift in other, unappealing directions, wrote Tatyana Stanovaya, a nonresident scholar at the Moscow Carnegie Center. The Communist Party, for example, has shifted toward open confrontation with the Kremlin with an ideology of Soviet revival more extreme even than Mr. Putin’s.

Weren't we just told above that the Communist Party 'votes with United Russia once in Parliament'? Now it suddenly is in 'open confrontation with the Kremlin'? How can both claims, just a few paragraphs apart, be true? Hint, the aren't.

And the claim that the Communists have 'an ideology of Soviet revival more extreme even than Mr. Putin’s' is just blatant nonsense.

Putin hates the Soviet ideology and openly rejects it. What he works on is a national revival of Russia by means of a neo-liberal economic policies. The Communist are opposed to that. They reject the neo-liberal economic system. They want to re-nationalize big companies and re-introduce an income distribution system that favors the working class over capital owners. Acknowledging those difference would actually help the NY Times reader to make sense of this paragraph:

But the disillusionment is economic. Most street protests in Russia in recent years have been provincial labor actions that gained little national notice, said Yekaterina Schulmann, an associate fellow at Chatham House, a trend the Communist Party is well positioned to exploit.

Those labor actions also gained no international notice. The NYT's Moscow bureau might by a reason why that is the case.

If the NY Times had reported on those labor actions, instead of the clownery around Navalny, it probably could have made a difference. If U.S. support over the last two decades would had gone to some nationalist minded social-democratic party in Russia, instead of the fake 'liberals', the election outcome this year would probably have been different.

But that would have required factual reporting from Russia and a non-ideological analysis of Russia's political and economical system. Neither of which is available at the upper levels of the U.S. of A.

Posted by b on September 24, 2021 at 18:04 UTC | Permalink

Comments
next page »

supporting nazis and quazi nazis like navalny and azov batallion in east slavic countries is ok, because for the west, those people are subhuman, liberal enlightened tolerance isn't a universal value but a badge of western liberal supremacy.

also the degree to which the 'systemic opposition' parties are really independent is an open question, I'd say the truth on that particular point is somewhere between the two views presented above

Posted by: ingrian | Sep 24 2021 18:38 utc | 1

Nice balanced post B. John Helmer article on the topic is also worth a read.
Though dont forget: To critize Putins neoliberalism is verboten in Alt-Media circles. Western based Putin fanboys are as biased as the neocon of the NYT.
Good thing the Russians themselves are not as biased as their supposed friends and enemys in the west.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Sep 24 2021 18:45 utc | 2

Thank you b for lime-lighting a topic that illustrates fully the problem with American journalism today-prejudiced correspondents with scant knowledge of the subject matters they cover, and mental capacities shallow as tea saucers. The fact that American public accepts such an institutional defect speaks volume of average Americans' mental capacity themselves. America's decline is no surprise. It's an inevitability.

The printed media, more so than schools or published literature, is the most influential resource of education and knowledge transmission in a modern society. The US printed media is beyond repair at this point.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Sep 24 2021 18:45 utc | 3

My wife reports (from a larger, southern Russian city, not Moscow) that United Russia was far and away the most organized in getting out the vote, and no doubt accounts for them doing as well as they did. But there was a pretty significant portion of people, particularly from the 45-year-old-plus crowd, voting for the communist party or the LDPR, in spite of the former having extremely unexciting leadership, and the latter a leader who has only slightly calmed down from his brash and confrontational spirit of 20 years ago. She said that what tended to attract the late middle age and older voters was "Who wants some kid from one of the up-start parties? They don't know anything. It's important to have someone old enough to remember what happened to Russia in the late '90s and early 2000s, and strong-willed enough to make sure it doesn't happen again." So you could say maybe internal issues were more important this election, but many Russians don't forget the role played by foreign manipulation in their internal affairs.

Posted by: J Swift | Sep 24 2021 18:49 utc | 4

There are different kinds of opposition, but in general it is expected that the opposition be "loyal opposition". A loyal opposition may disagree with the party in power but will still operate within the rules of the system and for the good of the nation.

What the US empire always supports is more accurately termed a "disloyal opposition". The disloyal opposition that America always backs is happy to work outside the rules of their nation, and they serve the interest of the American empire first before the interests of their own people. Think Random Guaido or the head choppers in Syria.

No country has an obligation to tolerate "disloyal opposition", with the caveat that revolution is a permissible remedy if a government is too dismissive of the interests of its own people.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 24 2021 18:58 utc | 5

Sorry b, but Putin's socio-economic policies are the exact opposite of Neoliberalism. In fact, you're mistaken on more than just that regarding Putin. I'd describe him as a Collective-Conservative which means he doesn't "openly reject" Soviet ideology, which is a blanket statement, and thus incorrect. You're sounding like the NY Times!!! Why the hell do you think the KPRF votes with United Russia? They share policy goals!!! Policy is based on ideology. The entire reason for the ongoing conflict between the West and Russia/China is because of fundamental ideological differences--Western Neoliberalism aims to entrench oligarch control and channel all wealth to the top 10% and doesn't give a damn about the welfare of citizens, while Russia/China put their focus on uplifting and increasing the wellbeing of their #1 asset--their Human Capital, their citizenry--and offer real democracy and freedom from being enslaved by debt. And then there's the issue regarding the Rule of Law--the West ignores it unless it suits its needs whereas it forms the core of the world Russia/China are building.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 24 2021 19:20 utc | 6

Karlof1@6
Totally agree K, B has got it wrong here.

Posted by: Palinurus | Sep 24 2021 19:37 utc | 7

W Gruff #5 - “No country has an obligation to tolerate ‘disloyal opposition’”.

Salient point, particularly as the concept of the “loyal opposition” is central to bourgeois democracy (as opposed to the “pro-democracy” NED-funded trust fund kids found in adversary jurisdictions).

The perfect illustration of the callous hypocrisy at play was Venezuela several years ago when opposition refused to assist the government in addressing serious economic problems, placed political roadblocks on attempts to aid the people, and otherwise obstructed and demanded the government resign: To overcome this, the government took the extra step of a constituent Assembly. This reform was then denounced by the opposition’s foreign backers and the complaint formed the basis of the Lima Group and the subsequent full spectrum attack on Venezuela’s democratic institutions and social structures.

Posted by: jayc | Sep 24 2021 19:38 utc | 8

If U.S. support over the last two decades would had gone to some nationalist minded social-democratic party in Russia, instead of the fake 'liberals', the election outcome this year would probably have been different.

National social-democracy (social-fascism) can only exist in extremely special circumstances, none of which exist in Russia.

They are:

1) extremely strong unions who emerged from the development of capitalism during its late colonial phase (trade-unionism);

2) the nation must be imperialist, so that a material base where both workers and capitalist can win at the same time, even if at a lower rate/pace for the former (super-profitability);

3) a socialist superpower must exist just outside said country's borders, so that pressure can be exerted from the "left side" (fear of proletarian revolution, USSR funding "permanent revolution");

4) a very anti-fascist, anti-nazi popular sentiment must exist, ideally after an extremely traumatic event like WWII (trauma from Nazi Germany, embarrassment of the far-right);

5) capitalism must be in the ascendant, preferably in "miracle mode" (super-profit from reconstruction);

6) to sustain #5, neocolonialism in the rest of the non-socialist world (Thirdworldism).

As you can see, none of these factors exist today. They only existed once, during the post-war period of the High Cold War (1945-1975), and they only existed in a bunch of countries, most of which are micro-nations that barely accounted to much more than 5% of the world's population (Scandinavian countries, First World countries, Asian Tigers as a late event).

It's important to highlight that pre-WWII social-democracy was very different from post-WWII social-democracy. Pre-WWII, social-democracy was an essentially German phenomenon. The Labour Party of the UK was not born as a socialist party, but as a trade-unionist party, and remained so up to WWII and predominantly after WWII. The original social-democracy still wanted socialism, but through gradual and peaceful reforms. Post-WWII social-democracy is essentially British trade-unionism that usurped the prestigious name of social-democracy (and socialism).

The anomalous conjecture of the post-WWII world resulted in the equally anomalous hegemony of the "center-left" (CIA designation: Non-Communist Left, or NCL), because hatred for Nazi Germany excluded any possibility of a drift to the right and fear of proletarian revolution incited by an USSR at the apex of its prestige and soft power enforced capitalism's instinct of self-preservation. The result was the consolidation of the center-left or Keynesian consensus of 1945-1975, in the key countries (i.e. the ones that bordered the USSR, plus the USA proper).

Decades of gruesome propaganda warfare against the USSR resulted in a new conjecture in the West: complete repulse for the left, and a rehabilitation of nazism and fascism, even if the revised form of the "alt-right"/"far-right", as well as of religious fundamentalism (mainly fundamentalist Abrahamism, but also others such as fundamentalist Hinduism and Buddhism). China is not a socialist superpower, so the possibility of pressure from the "left" in Russia is non-existent - there's simply no need for the Russian elite to play cute with the Russian proletariat by trying to create some welfare state because there's no risk of proletarian revolution. With communism destroyed in the West, the only prospect of radical change that is feasible is from the "right": nazism and fascism. Putin is trying to create some bizarre form of fascism based on the Orthodox Church instead of the Catholic Church (by Mussolini).

It's also very important to highlight the fact that the KPRF is not the direct successor of the VKP(B): they were the Nationalist Party during the Gorbachev era, and retconned themselves to the communist brand during the early Yeltsin era. They're really the Slavophile Party, not the Communist Party. The attempt of revival of communism in Russia did not surpass 2% of the vote (Communists of Russia).

The prospect is that China will have to fight alone in the far future. The CPC must create an immense nuclear arsenal, capable of obliterating not only the Western Civilization, but also the entire Slavic culture/civilization. The communists must assure every Russian there will not be one orthodox christian standing if they dare to wage a war against China.

Posted by: vk | Sep 24 2021 19:38 utc | 9

I believe both Putin and Xi have stated a need to address wealth inequality within their countries. Large private corporations in both countries can can pose a risk to accomplish that goal. I see that China has cracked down on corporations attempting to move into private banking and financial Chicanery. They put limits on data collection and data sharing. Putin as well brought many Oligarchs to heel in his efforts to reign in corruption and build trust in the government. I suppose more could be done. Thanks for your insight and observations on the elections to the Russian Duma.

Posted by: Michael Crockett | Sep 24 2021 19:47 utc | 10

Thanks to b.

Posted by: Michael Crockett | Sep 24 2021 19:48 utc | 11

Good update, B.

I have to expand a little on the comment you made about Puin supposedly 'hating' communism.

I think his thoughts on the matter are much more deeply nuanced. He thinks very poorly of the Bolshevik regime that seized power in that chaotic revolution, following Russia's disastrous showing in the first world war, and the Russo-Jap war before that.

Everyone knew the system was broken and beyond repair, much like today' west. But the Bolsheviks were too fanatical, and couldn't actually get things done.

The ascendance of Stalin changed everything. He had a vision for Russia to become a great and powerful nation. And he saw it through.

First he industrialized very quickly and built great cities, like China has been doing. Even today Russia has more cities of a million people than the US. And that's not including the former republics.

Education became a priority...it's the only way to harness the power of the people. The vast illiterate Russian peasant masses went overnight from living on a dirt farm that they didn't even own, to urban folks with jobs, professions, hydro, indoor plumbing etc.

And you just had to do your part. Whatever your ability and potential. There was no slave labor 'market' where you had to take or leave some crumbs from a petty bourgeois, seeking not only your shirt, but the skin off your back.

The Stalin decades saw unmatched in history progress and growth in national strength and social justice.

About 700,000 troublemakers were dispatched summarily, over those Stalin decades. Obviously those Augean Stables needed cleaning.

All Uncle Joe asked was discipline and loyalty to the Rodina. The ordinary folks were happy, in fact overjoyed with that social contract.

Squeaky wheels who were too smart by half learned the reward of hard labor in the Gulags, which were in fact smaller and less oppressive than today's American archipelago.

By the time Hitler had assembled an army the likes of which the world had never seen, he turned east for his lebensraum, boasting that once he kicks in the front door, the whole house will collapse.

Obviously he believed his own delusions. Today various hotheads from disneyland, who couldn't muster a tiny fraction of Hitler's fighting power, try to convince themselves they are a factor for Russia. They aren't. Russia knows it and is humoring them, having relegated them to irrelevance.

Putin has done a solid job with the hand he was dealt. But the people long for an Uncle Joe. Not a Brezhnev, or a potatohead Kruschov, but the real deal.

I doubt Zyuganov is that. That's why he can't break through. Will someone come along who is the real deal?

Communism works just fine. Just because the psychopath Ayn Rand shoots impressive diarrhea, doesn't mean American sheeple need to leave their common sense at the door.

Francis Marion Parker was just 12 years old when she was abducted by William Hickman. He brazenly came to her school and told the teacher that he worked for Marion's dad. The teacher allowed the child to leave class with this psychopath.

He then demanded ransom from Mr Parker. The exchange was arranged, but he had already brutally murdered the child...and disemboweled her, filling her torso with rags.

When he drove to meet the girls dad to pick up the money, he sat her body in the passenger seat, and used toothpicks to hold her eyelids open, so her father, from a distance, would think she's alive.

After he took the bag of cash, he pushed her lifeless body out the passenger door.

The subhuman Rand was endlessly fascinated by the psyche of this monster. She started writing a book, The Little Street based on Hickman as the protagonist.

She describes him as "a brilliant, unusual, exceptional boy"...
I remember the former House Speaker Paul Ryan, often quoting the psychopath Rand, as if he was quoting Jesus of Nazareth.

Not to mention the millions of mindless dumbshits who have bought into this demonic 'individualism' ideology, which underpins the criminal capitalist system.

So yes, the Russian people would prefer an Uncle Joe. Let's face it, Putin for all his strength, is still milquetoast standing next to a Stalin.


Posted by: Gordog | Sep 24 2021 19:52 utc | 12

Posted by: vk | Sep 24 2021 19:38 utc | 9

Wow... you speak of wiping entire civilizations... not just one, but two at once... sounds totally insane!

Posted by: Alberto | Sep 24 2021 19:53 utc | 13

... The CPC must create an immense nuclear arsenal, capable of obliterating not only the Western Civilization, but also the entire Slavic culture/civilization. The communists must assure every Russian there will not be one orthodox christian standing if they dare to wage a war against China.

Posted by: vk | Sep 24 2021 19:38 utc | 9

The "scientific marxist" at her best..

Posted by: tucenz | Sep 24 2021 19:58 utc | 14

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 24 2021 19:20 utc | 6

I defer to the judgment of Michael Hudson and Paul Craig Roberts "Russians continue to enable their own exploitation by foreigners, as neoliberal economists have told them that there is no alternative." Putin himself may very well not be a neoliberal, but much of his administration plus the 100+ US$ Russian billionaires certainly are, and unlike Western propaganda Putin is not a dictator who can do whatever he wants - he has made some advances, but very limited when compared to China and the CCP.

"Consequently, Russia is enfeebled by an economic policy that encourages privatization and foreign ownership, and by financialization of economic rents, that is, of income streams that do not result from productive investment but from such factors as location and rise in value due to public infrastructure development, such as a road built across a property. In a financialized economy credit is used to transfer property ownership instead of to finance new plant and equipment and construction of infrastructure."

https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2019/03/08/is-neoliberlism-killing-russia/

China is the true ideological threat to the US, Russia just objected to being turned into a US vassal and its best assets sold off on the cheap to foreigners.

"The problem was not Russia, whose Communist nomenklaturalet their country be ruled by a Western-oriented kleptocracy, but China. The U.S.-China confrontation is not simply a national rivalry, but a conflict of economic and social systems. The reason why today’s world is being plunged into an economic and near-military Cold War 2.0 is to be found in the prospect of socialist control of what Western economies since classical antiquity have treated as privately owned rent-yielding assets: money and banking (along with the rules governing debt and foreclosure), land and natural resources, and infrastructure monopolies."

https://mronline.org/2021/04/18/michael-hudson-americas-neoliberal-financialization-policy-vs-chinas-industrial-socialism/

Posted by: Roger | Sep 24 2021 20:01 utc | 15

Karlof, have to disagree. Bernhard is essentially correct about Putin. Other than the one nuance I mentioned.

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 24 2021 20:02 utc | 16

@ Posted by: Gordog | Sep 24 2021 19:52 utc | 12

Everyone knew the system was broken and beyond repair, much like today' west. But the Bolsheviks were too fanatical, and couldn't actually get things done.

The ascendance of Stalin changed everything. He had a vision for Russia to become a great and powerful nation. And he saw it through.

This is revisionism.

First, the Bolsheviks didn't take power from Tsarism. Tsarism simply disintegrated all by itself, after a desperate attempt of some kind of liberal experiment from February-October 1917. The choice wasn't between a revival of Tsarism or the Bolsheviks: it was between the Bolsheviks or the extinction of Russia altogether.

Second, Stalin didn't innovate in anything. He's the linear conclusion of Bolshevism. He was a pure-blood Bolshevik. All of his policies after he assumed absolute power were decided and developed by the VKP(B). He didn't change one letter. The problem was that the Bolsheviks lost five years to Civil War (1917-1923) and five years to peasant counter-revolution ("NEP period", 1923-1928). The doctrine of "Socialism in One Country" already was developed and discussed by the Bolsheviks by the time Stalin consolidated power.

Stalin was a pure Old Bolshevik until the very last day of his life. I don't know from where the Russians invented this myth he was not a Bolshevik, there's simply no documental evidence that was the case.

--//--

@ Posted by: Alberto | Sep 24 2021 19:53 utc | 13

Only because the liberals speak the same about the communists.

Posted by: vk | Sep 24 2021 20:06 utc | 17

Roger, you nailed it! ✊

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 24 2021 20:08 utc | 18

It is only democratic if the party selected and approved by the US wins. As when Hamas won the Palestinian elections in 2006. Suddenly the elections did not matter.

Posted by: Michael Weddington | Sep 24 2021 20:17 utc | 19

@Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 24 2021 19:20 utc | 6

Shifting taxation to regressive consumption taxes (VAT went from 18% to 20% in 2018) and extending the retirement age, while having a flat tax on income of 13% (15% for over 5 million a year?), a corporate tax rate of 15%, and a social security tax with an income ceiling, are all very, very much neoliberal.

Chinese income tax rate is 45%, corporate tax rate is 25%, sales tax is 13%.

Roger

Posted by: Roger | Sep 24 2021 20:19 utc | 20

VK your comment about Stalin has finally convinced me of your idiot-savant abilities. This is a good thing, like Rain Man.

Sometimes you are brilliant at tough problems, yet you seem incapable of navigating the simplest things, like tying your shoelaces. 😺

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 24 2021 20:20 utc | 21

Gordog 16

Different men for different times. Both men for their times I think.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 24 2021 20:24 utc | 22

Rozhin at Cassad posted an interesting article titled “Time for Big Decisions”, by an aide to Shoigu, expanding on the idea of creating a few cities million sized in Siberia and basically challenging the nation with the search for an ideology and for big projects like the TransSib was at the end of the XIX century, that might balance the different opinions here, I would not say that Putin hates communism, the worst that I recall hearing from him is the time bomb planted by Lenin about the republics right to leave the union, on the other hand everybody recalls how he referred to the fall of the Soviet Union as the biggest geopolitical catastrophe of the XX century.

Machine translation is getting better all the time so whoever feels like it give it a try.

https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/7086701.html

Posted by: Paco | Sep 24 2021 20:27 utc | 23

Karlof1@6

I believe you read Putin incorrectly. He is both a patriot and a neoliberal; the only problem is that it does not work that way. Neoliberalism requires economic policies against the sovereignty of nations as it requires national resources to be monopolized by oligarchs. Putin in his initial years tried to work with west and even accepted the supremacy of the US with the condition that Russia would be removed from the menu and given a seat on the table; even a secondary role was ok for him. US foolishly rejected that offer.

Now, his nationalisation of some of state assets or some betterment of life for ordinary citizens were done purely out of necessity as a sovereign nation requires national control on its own resources and national strength as people. Remarkably, his central bank's policies has never left the neoliberal orthodoxy and he never changed the regressive tax code of flat income tax rate.

The tax policy is actually litmus test of any president: whether they are progressive or not can be discerned from just that. And, he is just not a progressive president, obviously Russians see this but unable to trust the alternatives yet.

I consider him like CDG of France: patriot but certainly on the right and with the rich.


Posted by: kemerd | Sep 24 2021 20:29 utc | 24

@Posted by: vk | Sep 24 2021 20:06 utc | 17

Trying to get an accurate take on Stalin is so difficult with all the Western and interested-party (e.g. Krushchev and the Polish and Ukrainians etc.) propaganda. I found Kotkin's two volumes on Stalin ("Paradoxes of Power 1878-1928" and "Waiting for Hitler 1929-1941") relatively balanced, and as the author is still a young 62 hopefully he gets to finish the final volume. I have also ordered Ludo Marten's book, "Another View of Stalin". Would welcome any suggestions.

Posted by: Roger | Sep 24 2021 20:30 utc | 25

On the improbability of the Bolshevik revolution:

"Only the world shattering Great War, the shocking abdication of the tsar and tsarevich in February 1917, the return of Vladimir Lenin to Russia that April thanks to German cynicism, the suicidal Russia-initiated military offensive in June, and a fatal pas de deus between Prime Minister Alexander Kerensky and Supreme Commander Lavr Kornilov in August had altered Stalin's life prospects. All of a sudden, he had become one of the four leading figures in an improbable Bolshevik regime."
(Kotkin "Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941, p. xi)

I could not agree more.

Posted by: Roger | Sep 24 2021 20:40 utc | 26

haha, what a total waste of time, trying to extract real information out of a US based NY Times article about Russia. The whole thing is futile endeavor, same as trying to find water in the middle of the Sahara desert.
The question is: Why even bother? B should know better and instead write an article on the upcoming German elections. Thats what I want to know about. NS2 can STILL be stopped by the Greens. It is far from done deal. It has to go through certification process and so on.

NOTE: Putin IS slowly killing Russia with his neo-liberal policies. Putin talks the talk about helping little people but he certainly isn't walking thew walk. Putin is NOTHING like Xi. Putin is stumbling badly and getting worse. It's high time for him to get kicked out. He is selling Russia via his non acting and allowing the West to kick Russia in the face: Erdougan had the nerve to say he expect some action from Russia about Syria while openly declaring support for Ukraine. He is making a fool out of Putin once again and by golly, Putin is allowing him to do it. It's time for Putin to go. Unfortunately, he won't be going nowhere for while.

Posted by: Hoyeru | Sep 24 2021 20:45 utc | 27

kemerd 24 "even a secondary role was ok for him."

US had to respect Russia's interests. That is something you will hear constantly from Putin. Russia had no interest in ruling the world - if that is what you term a secondary role.

When he unveiled the new weapons systems, begun in 2002 when US pulled out the ABM treaty, he said "No one listened to us then. So listen to us now". Hardly the words of of someone content to play a 'secondary role'. The multi-polar world - very much Putin's vision is about no country playing secondary roles.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 24 2021 20:54 utc | 28

@ Posted by: Roger | Sep 24 2021 20:30 utc | 25

I don't think it's controversial. The first decade of the USSR is one of the most well-documented periods of human history. An accurate picture of Stalin is not only possible, but fairly easy to take. In fact, it is harder to falsify him than to tell the truth about him.

--//--

@ Posted by: Gordog | Sep 24 2021 20:20 utc | 21

Which part is idiotic?

That Socialism in One Country not only already existed in the Bolshevik Party, but already was the most popular doctrine within the rank-and-file of the party since at least 1924 is beyond doubt.

The decision of breakneck speed industrialization (in opposition to the "right deviation" doctrine of the "industrialization at a snail's pace", led by Bukharin) was amply discussed to exhaustion in the Bolshevik Party before and while Stalin already was the most powerful man of the USSR. Indeed, one of the talents of Stalin was to take a moderate stance in these polemical moments, only to take the reins when one side had already clearly won the majority. His power emanated from his organization capacity, not the fact he was smarter or dumber than the others, or that he defended the right doctrine.

Western historians like to tell bizarre stories about how Stalin hated the Westernized intellectuals, how he represented the ignorant Russian peasant in opposition to the Jewish intellectual etc. etc., but the resolutions of the Bolshevik Party leave no doubt everybody debated all the possibilities on the table, to the exhaustion, using scientific arguments. Socialism in One Country was not the dumb Russian's theory, that's for sure.

Stalin rose to power because he represented the will of the masses, not vice-versa. The purges of the 1930s had nothing to do with Stalin's necessity of political survival. He was the quintessential man of the moment.

Posted by: vk | Sep 24 2021 20:58 utc | 29

"The prospect is that China will have to fight alone in the far future. The CPC must create an immense nuclear arsenal, capable of obliterating not only the Western Civilization, but also the entire Slavic culture/civilization. "
vk | Sep 24 2021 19:38 utc | 9

Nah. You're just getting pissed off with it all.

One third of that arsenal is more than sufficient. It's called MAD for a reason. We are looking at carpet bombing the planet with nukes as it is.

You never win an exchange. Oops we forgot about India won't even be a thing.
Climate change? Oh yeah.

Posted by: David G Horsman | Sep 24 2021 21:09 utc | 30

This NY Times "analysis" is by the infamous 2014 Ukraine coup denier Andrew Kramer.

Like Judith Miller and Michael Gordon on Iraq, and much else, he's not a credible person. He's down there with Sean Hannity of Fox.

"labor", the NY Times doesn't care about average workers.

Posted by: Jay | Sep 24 2021 21:28 utc | 31

What country takes the USA seriously? The people would have to be insane to partake in offers from this crowd. Who looks at Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and thinks... wow. Look at how great all that US intervention did for the people! This is why Assad is still in power. I might dare say even a majority of the Sunni population was with him. Of course a lot of them immigrated in from Iraq!!! They knew firsthand!!!

Posted by: goldhoarder | Sep 24 2021 21:30 utc | 32

And just to add to this thought... they lived through Yeltsin and the wall street vampires. The majority of the Russian people know first hand too. Putin often speaks to this. It is an easy propaganda point for him.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Sep 24 2021 21:32 utc | 33

I will read the books noted on the thread but I cannot get over glossing over the brutality of that era any more than the brutality of this era. As a US citizen, I understand our perspectives and can easily warped and manipulated.

Pure democracy in action. The will of the masses want the elimination of their enemies by any means possible. We are doomed on this planet. I might follow Bezos to Mars


Posted by: circumspect | Sep 24 2021 21:35 utc | 34

VK, Stalin was successful because he made it work.

My disagreement with you is that he was some kind of 'Bolshevik.' That' just not accurate. That's why Stalinism is called Stalinism, not Bolshevism.

Putin happens to be an admirer of the Great Man. He has done much to ensure that history books taught to children are accurate, in terms of Stalin's central role in history.

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 24 2021 21:39 utc | 35

Strategic-Culture finally published the reality I've been pounding the keyboard about for the last 20+ years:

"In seven decades since the UN was formed in 1945, no other nation has been so often at war than the United States under the guise of various pretexts, allegedly from fighting communism to fighting terrorism, to defending democracy to defending human rights. Regardless of these hollow self-appointed claims, the fact is no other nation has violated the UN Charter as habitually or as brazenly as the US with wars and aggressions in every decade since 1945. Tragically, the very purpose of the UN to prevent a repeat of Second World War Nazi aggression has been thwarted systematically by the U.S." [My Emphasis]

As for Putin, he's experienced a very short and steep learning curve as to realities as they stood when he took over. Neoliberals cannot invoke and pursue the sort of policy priorities Putin has deployed as neoliberal presidents serve the interests of global Rentiers, not those of their citizenry--those are fundamental facts that are clear as the sky is here today. All those in top government positions are there because they carry out his policy--indeed, they help Putin shape and craft that policy!!!!!! Look at the deeds, then read the words, then review the deeds again--from the original sources, not secondary analyses. I've done my homework and stand by my thesis, and I've provided a great many examples bolstering it in this space over the years.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 24 2021 21:51 utc | 36

Note that this article by Andrew Kramer does not have comments enabled. This is typical for many of these NYT anti-Russian articles, and especially for David Sanger.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Sep 24 2021 22:01 utc | 37

@Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 24 2021 21:51 utc | 35

We are talking about Russia's DOMESTIC policies, which are generally neoliberal - this is the real test. The elite can still not want to be comprador to a hegemonic power elite, no contradiction - thats just nationalism (neoliberalism is not inherently globalist). "Neoliberalism in one country!"

You say "neoliberal presidents serve the interests of global Rentiers, not those of their citizenry", No - they can serve their domestic Rentiers, instead of their citizenry, especially when those Rentiers are nationalistic and unwilling to bend the knee to the US elites and accept comprador status. Also, thinking that there is a single global rentier class is a great oversimplification.

Posted by: Roger | Sep 24 2021 22:13 utc | 38

Excellent analysis, b. No matter what country we're talking about, the Times will not allow the existence of an anti-neoliberal politics to come into focus. As I think you noted in another article, this means that Xi's emerging redistributive policies also get a muddling over by the Times.

Posted by: dadooronron | Sep 24 2021 22:29 utc | 39

Roger @37--

Did you read what you wrote? My entire comment about Putin @35 relates to his domestic policies.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 24 2021 22:33 utc | 40

This trying to put all people into political boxes...some people do have political ideologies with hard and fast boundaries - brick wall/blinkers whatever.
The most successful countries appear to be those that pull bits and pieces from all the political boxes in varying ratios depending on the people and culture.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 24 2021 22:42 utc | 41

@ Posted by: Gordog | Sep 24 2021 21:39 utc | 34

Are you insane?

Stalin "made it work" because he had the vast majority of the Bolshevik Party on his side. He was literally a member of the VKP(B).

The left opposition (led by Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev etc.) were a tiny minority of the Party. They were never dominant. By 1926, they already were politically defeated.

"Stalinism" was a pejorative term that stuck way after, perpetuated by Western sources, mainly members of the defeated Left opposition who emigrated to Germany, as well as by the Western members of Comintern. It was never a thing within the Bolshevik Party itself.

Posted by: vk | Sep 24 2021 22:47 utc | 42

Russia: Security —> Stability —> Sovereignty

Vladimir Putin has been focused on maintaining stability in Russia and working towards gaining sovereignty. His team first secured Russia from big looting by (inter)national oligarchs and external attacks. Russia is gaining economic sovereignty. It has successfully De-Dollarized, selling energy in Non-$ currencies,...!

Please name a nation that has changed its financial system without a revolution or crisis.

Putin won’t risk internal stability to change the socioeconomic system. Russia is focused on changing the EXTERNAL realm to multilateralism, trading in national currencies and establishing the multipolar order.

Vladimir Putin to the Federal Security Service board:
“We are up against the so-called policy of containing Russia. This is not about competition, which is a natural thing for international relations. This is about a consistent and quite aggressive policy aimed at disrupting our development, slowing it down, creating problems along the outer perimeter, triggering domestic instability, undermining the values that unite Russian society, and ultimately to weaken Russia and put it under external control, just the way we are witnessing it transpire in some countries in the post-Soviet space.”

Financial Empire’s Plan
“The goals we have towards Russia are very big: we want nothing less than a regime-change in Russia […]. If you really want to bring Russia to its knees economically, you will need a grand coalition of countries, because Europe alone cannot get everything it needs.”

What are big risks for Russia?

Posted by: Max | Sep 24 2021 22:50 utc | 43

To posts by Gordog and VK:

While the Bolsheviks had their ideological attachments to unproven theoretical suggestions (the three basic policies once socialists come into power comes to mind), they were able to maneuver mostly due to Lenin's ability to learn from his mistakes and combine realism with theory. I disagree with the notion that they were two fanatical to get things done: at worst they would be as incompetent as their predecessors.

I must further point that they were not eager to enter a violent revolutionary stage (as their repeated early pardons to hardcore anti-communists prove; Krasnov, Puriskevich, Vinberg etc.). This is one of the most egregious mistakes Putin has made in regard to the historical approach to the October Revolution.

As for the later developments, "Socialism in one country" originally meant the expansion of the NEP. Indeed, Stalin's alliance with Bukharin, the most prominent Marxist theoretician of the early Bolsheviks after Lenin, was made precisely to promote and expand this policy in the mid-20s, when the conflict with Trotsky's "Permanent revolution" started. It must also be stated that many of the economic policies that were adopted post-1928 had been suggested by the Trotskists after Lenin's death.

One may understand the need that speedy industrialization was required, but there was room for many policies of the early version of "Socialism in one country". Further, the harshness that followed the implementation of the new direction was not necessary in many occasions.

As for the purges, what can one say? The number of dedicated Soviet citizens that was liquidated makes any defense of this grim development on the basis of national advancement ludicrous. Officials, specialists, artists, military leaders (some of them active in the Spanish Civil War and the Far East), intelligence agents, Heroes of the Soviet Union included in previous categories, were lost to the country and the cause. And that went on even after WWII, again including verified loyal patriots who had been honored with the highest decorations. This isn't anti-Soviet propaganda, but undisputed facts.

There are numerous reasons for these events, but "intensificaation of the class struggle" is more or less bollocks.

That is not to meant to erase the monumental achievements of the era, but unconditional and unqualifed glorification should not be encouraged.

The problem with Putin's attitude on the Revolution is that it completely negates his professed goals. What's the point of never bringing up the positives and always bemoaning about blunders or crimes, including imaginary ones, propagated by arch-enemies of Russia and him as well? How can one treat the Russians with respect about their WWII achievements when all too often the creators of the USSR are presented as borderline traitors and cretins? The vast majority of the heroic Red Army commanders joined the latter during the Civil War that established the Bolsheviks as the true power in Russia; how can others treat these personages and their troopers with respect when the Russian government effectively describes them as champions of internal strife and anti-Russian sentiment.

And all that for a civil war entirely instigated by western powers post-May 1918, without the sponsorship of whom hardly any conflict would have taken place.

Lenin's treatment is also worth mentioning. There are numerous issues that he could and should be criticized, but one must also recognize that he was the father of the anti-colonial struggle and political rule without ethnic/racial discrimination (among other achievements). Is that not a point to be made, when the western neo-colonialists proclaim their superior values and historical contributions non-stop?

And while Lenin is vilified, Yeltsin is praised and there is actually an institute bearing his name in the Russia. This is beyond the surreal and it is only the liberals and Putin that show respect to the legacy of this treasonous subhuman. Which is very baffling, since Putin's historical contribution is the salvaging of Russia from the utter degradation and destruction this neoliberal excrement and his ilk caused to the country.

I can only guess that Putin has been unable to come to terms with the disturbing fact that his rise was directly connected with the most disgusting traitor and degenerate puke to ever rule Russia, even though Vova himself has worked overtime to reverse much of the damage caused by said scumbag and has been endlessly vilified by the collective west and their liberal compradores for it.

Posted by: Constantine | Sep 24 2021 22:54 utc | 44

Constantine "most disgusting traitor and degenerate puke to ever rule Russia"

Gorbachov who lives in California perhaps the term traitor would apply. The soviet union collapsed because although its leadership knew the system and policy had to change, they did not know how to go about it or what they should. It has became very clear that many Russians thought the only thing standing between Russia and US having friendly relations was ideology.
Yeltsin perhaps a fool for trusting US - like the the leadership of the last several decades not having much of an idea about how to guide Russia into the future - the younger generations of Russia at that time infatuated with America...Russia is what it is, the Putins and Rasputins.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 24 2021 23:15 utc | 45

@ Bart Hansen | 36

Even when the NYT enables comments on an article, every comment has to be approved by a moderator who's curating a pre-approved narrative. The only reason the NYT (and most every mainstream western newspaper) has chosen to get rid of user commenting altogether is because they don't have the resources to manipulate the prevailing public opinion on every article. They were losing the narrative battle in most comments sections, so they got rid of the comment sections altogether.

Posted by: Francesca | Sep 24 2021 23:21 utc | 46

Max 42 "Please name a nation that has changed its financial system without a revolution or crisis."

That I think is what sets Putin's leadership apart. He is a mediator and evolutionary rather revolutionary. But he has the ability to make that evolution occur.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 24 2021 23:25 utc | 47

@ Posted by: Constantine | Sep 24 2021 22:54 utc | 43

The Bolsheviks exploited and extrapolated every aspect of Marxist theory. Whatever variation of the theory you could imagine they did it and experimented it.

The key here is to understand that the USSR developed extremely fast. The transformations it went through during its first 15 years of existence most countries never experienced, and those who did took centuries. This unprecedented speed makes some later people think the Bolsheviks were some kind of fanatics, but the polar opposite of that was true: every decision they took was thought and calculated, and all were crucial to the culmination of the 1930s-1940s. There wouldn't be Stalin if the Bolsheviks hadn't won the Civil War, and there wouldn't be Socialism in One Country without the exhaustion of NEP.

In the stratosphere of the Politburo, the impression is Permanent Revolution was a serious alternative to Socialism in One Country. However, if you take the rank-and-file of the Party into consideration, there was never any serious possibility Permanent Revolution would ever become the official Party doctrine. It was already dead by the fiasco of Germany 1923. There was simply never a chance the Soviet people, by 1924, would ever accept Permanent Revolution, no matter who was the leader of the VKP(B); the USSR simply didn't have the means even if it wanted.

I'm not debating the merits of the purges of the 1930s. What I'm saying is that they were certainly not because Stalin had to survive politically, as Westerners say. By 1926, he already was the indisputable leader of the Soviet Union (this one can be double checked by the British archives, as the British were the first foreigners to recognize that fact).

Now, for the terminology:

The term "Leninism" was immediately popularized right after Lenin died. The reason for that was that Lenin was the incontestable leader that could not be matched by any other single cadre of the VKP(B). He was the brain of the Revolution. The fact was so obvious and so publicly notable that, officially, no one was to succeed him, but instead the Party would be governed by what they called "collective leadership". Indeed, by his death, Stalin was not considered to be considered the obvious choice. The term was, however, used and abused more by Zinoviev, who was the closest to what we can call the natural successor of Lenin.

The term "Trotskyism" is a clear pejorative term used to designate the left opposition, or left deviation, which initially had Trotsky as the main intellectual exponent. After Trotsky surrendered in 1926, it became a general term to any leftist deviation position, the same way "Marxist" is used pejoratively in the USA nowadays to designate any Leftist.

The term that Stalin created and officially used for the official doctrine of the USSR was "Marxism-Leninism". This term was lately used as the system of the VKP(B) itself, and is used nowadays by the CPC at least.

Another term that became pejorative in the West over time was "scientific socialism", which essentially became synonymous with "Stalinism".

Posted by: vk | Sep 24 2021 23:26 utc | 48

To the people here thinking I'm being to cruel with the liberals because I want nukes:

Sir Macfarlane Burnet had a plan to exterminate the SE-Asian peoples with biological weapons

Posted by: vk | Sep 24 2021 23:35 utc | 49

@Gordog

Is this the state of russian nationalist revisionism post-USSR overthrow? To just simply "rehabilitate" Stalin (because he was the winner of WWII and industrialized the backwater) but trash Lenin and the Bolsheviks because they overthrew muh aristocracy? Stalin was a pretty basic old school bolshevik and communist and the fact you are trying to present him as some kind of russian nationalist or whatnot is laughable to say the least. VK is completely correct on this and like, the guy (Stalin) did write books and articles. It is clear as day he was as red as it gets. What are you smoking because it is certainly good.

Also, 1917 is quite possibly the most important event in human history *for human history*. I can elaborate on this if people want to, but it is sad that russian chauvinism nowadays is trying harder than the west to bury this legacy and at the same time reanimate "stalin" as some sort of all-russian hero.

Posted by: galerkin | Sep 24 2021 23:45 utc | 50

Constantine, you make some very good points.

I find it hard to reconcile Lenin's regime, including Trotsky, with any real forward progress.

I think Putin's ire is due to the fact that they overturned everything in the Russian state structures. Nothing was salvaged. It was too radical a departure.

Yeltsin of course did much worse. Stalin brought back the idea of nationalism. I think he kept the progress of the common people first and foremost.

Was everyone who was purged deserving of it? Probably not. Stalin delegated a lot of that to others. It was a reign of terror. But maybe that was needed.

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 24 2021 23:48 utc | 51

@Gordog, 34

Putin happens to be an admirer of the Great Man

That's not what comes across from what he said on his visit to Butovo in 2007.

"We have gathered to honour the memory of the victims of political repression between the 1930s and 1950s. But we are all well aware that 1937 is considered to be the year in which this repression peaked, though the brutality of the previous years had laid the ground for the events of 1937. It is sufficient to recall the shooting of hostages during the Civil War, the destruction of entire social classes, clergy, the dekulakization of peasants, and the execution of Cossacks. Such tragedies have occurred more than once in the history of mankind. And they happened when ideals, ideals that were attractive at first glance but proved empty in the end, were placed higher than fundamental values – the values of human life, human rights and freedoms. This is a particular tragedy for Russia because it took place on such a large scale. Those who were executed, sent to camps, shot and tortured number in the thousands and millions of people. Along with this, as a rule these were people with their own opinions. These were people who were not afraid to speak their mind. They were the most capable people. They are the pride of the nation. And of course over many years and today as well we still remember this tragedy. We need to do a great deal to ensure that this is never forgotten. To ensure that we always remember this tragedy."

Posted by: cirsium | Sep 24 2021 23:50 utc | 52

@ Peter AU1 (#46), agree. Vladimir Putin is slowly evolving Russia’s internal situation. The bigger and immediate threat is external.

Russia has already undergone revolution/crisis thrice (1917, WWII, 1991-98) in the last century. It will be in a better position to align its socioeconomic system after gaining complete sovereignty and having addressed external challenges.

Posted by: Max | Sep 24 2021 23:50 utc | 53

@Gordog

Stalin brought back the idea of nationalism

The nationalist rhetoric was necessary due to the war effort. Stalin literally wrote a book on the national question. Also, here is what Stalin wrote on Lenin's death:
https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1924/01/30.htm

Posted by: galerkin | Sep 25 2021 0:01 utc | 54

If Amerikastani support had gone to the Communists or other social democratic parties they would be just as discredited as the Navalny and Yabloko gangs, which incidentally ditched each other.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Sep 25 2021 0:16 utc | 55

Gordog "Was everyone who was purged deserving of it? Probably not. Stalin delegated a lot of that to others. It was a reign of terror. But maybe that was needed."

In virtually all revolutions, many babies are thrown out with the bath water but in many instances as we look through history, it is only those with strong ideological or religious beliefs and are ruthless succeed. A bad thing when it gets to the point that that is what is required.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 25 2021 0:17 utc | 56

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 24 2021 23:48 utc | 50

"Lenin's regime" initiated the reorganization of Russia as a modern state. By that I mean universal education and end of ethnic discrimination within the state. Objectives about the development and revitalization of the vast multi-national country into a modern, cohesive political formation that would further the socialist cause. He also inspired innumerable people in the colonized regions to struggle against colonialism and establish their own independent countries under systems that would benefit the popular majorities. Feel free to read how the great Vietnamese revolutionary Ho Chi Minh became a communist, as he described it in 1967.

Lenin was also to be commended for his grounded views on issues he had clearly only faulted theoretical background previously. His backing of the ex-Tsarist officers that joined the cause of the Reds and especially the specialists of the previous regime that were willing to work for the Soviet Republic can only be described as progress. Indeed, this is how the country was salvaged and revived from the limbo it had been cast.

As for his extremely anti-regious stance that at times included political amoralism, that is a point of worthy of severe criticism. It didn't obviously help that the core of most religious institutions had lost its purpose and sunk into reactionary servitude of the defunct monarchy (that NONE of the White leaders was willing to support BTW), but the severity of Lenin's stance was in the long run harmful to his cause both in Russia and beyond.

Ditto for his bizarre view on the issue of Belarus and Ukraine. While he didn't promote anti-Russian hate, he opted for an essentially anti-Russian and anti-socialist policy, for which he was credibly criticized by numerous prominent comrades and co-ideologues (Dzerzhinsky, Pyatakov, Stalin, Bukharin and especially Rosa Luxemburg). He ooften retorted to them with stonewalling rhetoric and tactics (them being champions of Great Russian chauvinism and other horsecrap), except Luxemburg, of course, where the best stance was to quietly ignore her (the forementioned rhetoric against a solid Jewish socialist revolutionary would make him look ike a clown.

Trotsky's finest moment ever was his stint as People's Comissar of War (the equivalent of the War Minister elsewhere), when he was able to bypass his preconceived notions and bias and cooperate with individuals whom he despised before the revolution to establish a functioning Red Army. His views on the "Permanent revolution" were nonsensical obviously, but that was later. By any metric, Trotsky contributed significantly to the Bolshevik victory and the foundation of this most important institution (he pushed for the establishment of the GRU as well) to the cause of the Reds and his almost solitary but brave defense of those ex-Tsarists who served the government was commendable.

Incidentally, much of the economic program that was adopted eventually from 1929 onwards was part of his own platform when he opposed Stalin's and Bukharin's defense of the early version of "Socialism in one country".

Concerning the purges, feel free to check a good number of the most important of those liquidated. These were tragic losses and since Stalin was at the peak of his power, he bore the greatest responsibility. Just as he must be given much credit for the rise of the country as an industrial power, the further expansion of education or the nearly total elimination of corruption.

Putin's view on the overturning of the previous institutions after the October Revolution, in any case, is wrong. Not only a change of course was necessary, but radical solutions were taken precisely because of the pressure created by the west powers that backed people that couldn't grasp what had gone so wrong in the country. Considering the absolute clusterfuck that Russia had been in WWI, it is laughable to make this assertion.

I would strongly urge you to further think Putin's response in a Q&A, when he was asked about his preferred historical era: the current one as he, a descendant of workers and peasants (he used exactly these words), could become president of Russia. Guess who made such a development possible.

As for Yeltsin, he is beyond the pale. It's actually charitable to describe him as a traitor. It speaks volumes about his "qualities" that fanatical western Russia-haters and anti-socialists, people who suffered allergy at the mention of Stalin, considered him worse than the latter and yet backed him to the hilt for his fraudulent re-election in 1996. The most degenerate Latiin American compradores that gave rise to said term were glorious patriots when compared with Yeltsin.

Posted by: Constantine | Sep 25 2021 1:08 utc | 57

A revolution can mean one turn - so you are back to where you started

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3glcY2LQIk

Posted by: tucenz | Sep 25 2021 1:14 utc | 58

Yeltsin did at least choose Putin as his successor.

Posted by: Lysias | Sep 25 2021 1:39 utc | 59

Posted by: Lysias | Sep 25 2021 1:39 utc | 58

Yeltsin didn't do so out of patriotism, but to ensure the interests of his kin in the post-apocalyptic environment he had created in Russia. As it was revealed recently,he actually informed Bill Clinton of his choice in a way that showed his need of western approval.

All in all, it is downright retarded to whitewash the vast list of heinous crimes committed by this degenerate, neoliberal humanoid because he chose Putin as his successor. After all, Putin's success and prestige lies precisely in the reversal to some extent of the horrifying effects of the 90s misrule.

Posted by: Constantine | Sep 25 2021 1:56 utc | 60

@ vk 9

I stopped reading after your second point.

The Nazis in Germany did not emerge due to poking about in an imperialist economy.

Once again, you want everything to so desperately fit into your organization of the world via your Marxist "science" that you end up having to make things up so that what follows adequately comports.

Lucky for me, you screwed up at the very beginning of your screed so I wouldn't need to suffer through the rest.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Sep 25 2021 1:56 utc | 61

@Constantine 59:

And the absolutely very first thing Putin did in office was give Yeltsin immunity for all his treasonous crimes, which included attacking the Russian parliament for having the temerity to impeach him.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Sep 25 2021 2:05 utc | 62

@Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 24 2021 22:33 utc | 39

You have made no comment on his domestic policies - what are they? Do his taxation policies favour the masses, does he have an economic development policy independent of the oligarchs? Does the central bank fund development expenditures? He made peace with the nationalist oligarchs after expelling the ones in bed with the West.

Posted by: Roger | Sep 25 2021 2:26 utc | 63

@Posted by: Constantine | Sep 25 2021 1:08 utc | 56

Gorbachev was the biggest traitor, loved as much in the West as he is hated in Russia. Yeltsin is traitor number 2.

Posted by: Roger | Sep 25 2021 2:29 utc | 64

From Lysias "Yeltsin did at least choose Putin as his successor."

Does anyone wonder why Yeltsin went through so many prime ministers before Putin? How many have watched and listened to Yeltsin's speech when he handed over power to Putin. Sometimes I wonder if the various pissants and their ideologies have the ability to watch listen and think.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 25 2021 2:31 utc | 65

and to add to that , how many have their heads stuck so far up their own arseholes that they have no understanding of the differences of peoples and cultures - that there is no one size fits all?

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 25 2021 2:34 utc | 66

Great news in China also:
https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Huawei-crackdown/Huawei-CFO-Meng-Wanzhou-free-to-return-to-China

Meng Wanzhou is free to return to China, and China also let the two Canadian Michael go.

Posted by: Smith | Sep 25 2021 2:36 utc | 67

re: All the millions of dollars invested and thousands of CIA framed 'news' reports about Russia's opposition launched in 'western' outlets like the NY Times have been in vain.

No, they've been a success. It's simple. . . .It is absolutely essential to Washington, a national security state, to be able to retain "autocratic" Putin (AKA Russia) as a terrible adversary in order to justify a half-million person ground force (which is of no use against China). This includes Russia's various successes against pipsqueek Navalny, also his 'poisoning,' all promoted by the US-controlled MSM. The Russians are coming! has long been a US construct, never to be changed. There's a lot of money involved, and a lot of pompous generals to be satisfied. . . .It's simple.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 25 2021 2:36 utc | 68

Smith

It's the only way this empire I live in can be dealt with. Iran have proved that on many occasions.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 25 2021 2:42 utc | 69

Posted by: Roger | Sep 25 2021 2:29 utc | 63

I disagree, although I have a very negative view of Gorbachev.

Posted by: Constantine | Sep 25 2021 3:09 utc | 70

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 25 2021 2:31 utc | 64

Are you trying to make an actual point or what? Is there any argument here or are you taking the high-and-mighty grandstand without addressing other people's arguments?

Posted by: Constantine | Sep 25 2021 3:12 utc | 71

Constantine 'high-and-mighty grandstand'

You have appointed yourself judge, I guess on your own rules based order. Don't like it? Place your head back were it was.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 25 2021 3:15 utc | 72

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Sep 25 2021 2:05 utc | 61

Correct, but here is the point: Putin had to maintain a certain stance early on, before he had established his power base. My problem and what is actually self-defeating for Putin is his continued expression of respect for Yeltsin, when Vova had become the statesman that reversed to a considerable extent the very horrors that Yeltsin had conjured.

What is downright surreal is that almost anyone who has something positive to say about Putin has by default a very negative view on Yeltsin and rightly so. It is only the liberal fifth column and the western arch-enemies of Russia that praise this utter freak that ruined his homeland more than any foreign or domestic enemy has inflicted. And Putin.

As I said, VVP is aware of Yeltsin's actual role as he has given a correct (and if anything, more reserved) assessment of the disaster of the 90s. He seems incapable to deal with the embarassment that this treasonous, drunken, drooling neoliberal subhuman was his patron. So he has come to a point of engaging in a form of self-abnegation, praising the very puke whose destruction and betrayal of Russia Putin reversed and catapulted his own prestige.

Posted by: Constantine | Sep 25 2021 3:28 utc | 73

(the very purpose of the UN to prevent)....... The notion that anything good from a human even an idea will NOT be kept for its original purposes.


Some say to have little wars prevents the big ones from happening.......but they also say this for earthquakes.....it is all a theory. Nobody has a better clue than a rock. Any nation that goes not to one but two three four nations is clearly an attacker from the outset......clearly usa is a drunken whore who thinks going to small wars will prevent a bigger one.

This article describes a drunk when asked if drunk who goes on to say no.......love it.

Posted by: jason | Sep 25 2021 3:32 utc | 74

Lysias @ 58, Constantine @ 59:

I recall reading somewhere that Boris Berezovsky recommended Putin to Yeltsin. At the time Putin was deputy to St Petersburg mayor Anatoly Sobchak. Sobchak's daughter Ksenia is (I think) Putin's goddaughter and is notorious for having neoliberal connections, flirting briefly with the Maidanuts in Kiev and even running for the Presidency herself.

-------

It seems to me that throughout his Presidency, Putin is deliberately being opaque as to his ideological preferences. He probably believes in keeping opponents close, all the more to keep an eye on them, as he does with the neoliberal Kudrin by making him head of the govt auditing agency, where Kudrin can pick apart govt corruption to his heart's content and make noises about "reform" but not be in any actual policy-making. Kudrin is but one example; another was Roman Abramovich when he was compelled to be governor of Chukotka some 15 years ago and had to pay for that remote Arctic region's infrastructure and economic development out of his own money. There will be other examples who have tried to best Putin at 4D chess only to discover he had another trick up his sleeve.

As President, Putin is not in much position to set rates of taxation or pension policy: those are the tasks of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet of Ministers and Deputy Ministers. We cannot judge Putin by the same standard we judge someone like Biden if we do not understand the nature of the Russian presidency and what the position allows Putin to do or not do. Why expect Putin to behave like a monarch micro-managing every part of the Russian economy? That is not his role: he can provide guidance and set parameters in his annual address to the Federal Assembly but his Ministers are the ones in charge of domestic affairs.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 25 2021 3:43 utc | 75

I find it interesting to find so many admirers of Stalin on this board. His summarily dispatching 700,000 troublemakers and consigning squeaky wheels to the gulag is regarded as a simple matter of the ends justifying the means. Doesn’t sound like a very pleasant society and certainly not one where the average Soviet citizen would feel safe and secure. I don’t believe those who say it was. Today’s younger generation, who did not personally experience the reign of terror, may have a romanticized vision of the “great man” and the “good old days.” Lucky for them that they arrived in the world after fact.

Posted by: Rob | Sep 25 2021 4:17 utc | 76

Gordog | Sep 24 2021 23:48 utc | 50
... hard to reconcile Lenin's regime, including Trotsky, with any real forward progress. ..

In their situation, they accomplished the basic requirement to enable any lasting progress. Namely, they terminatedly handled the monster force of a 300 year old DYNASTY form of government...and there was/is only 1 way to do that...and there was another, concurrent DYNASTY that probably assisted, or else hugely benefited by pure coinkydink [an earlier version of the Invisible Hand].

It remains a lesson for our present time...that we ignore at our peril and go on hoping a nice answer will turn up.

Posted by: chu teh | Sep 25 2021 4:22 utc | 77

Rob
In Russia, Stalin was a man for his time. Putin many decades later was a man for his time.

I often wonder, here in oz, who will be a man for our time - same for all the anglosphere..
So many small minded clowns.. our future does not look good.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 25 2021 4:29 utc | 78

@Hoyeru | Sep 24 2021 20:45 utc | 27

B should know better and instead write an article on the upcoming German elections. Thats what I want to know about. NS2 can STILL be stopped by the Greens. It is far from done deal. It has to go through certification process and so on.

With so many extremely important events happening around us, with elections in Germany, police in Australia harassing and arresting a lone mother and terrified child having done nothing wrong, and many other things, we end up with a thread about Stalin.

Posted by: Norwegian | Sep 25 2021 5:02 utc | 79

Posted by: Constantine | Sep 25 2021 3:28 utc | 72:

What is downright surreal is that almost anyone who has something positive to say about Putin has by default a very negative view on Yeltsin and rightly so.

Those 'almost anyone' doesn't include me. I think highly of Putin, and sorry for Yeltsin for his naivete. He took the western meme hook, line and sinker like most Russians of the day, perhaps even including Putin. But in time he woke to what suckered him, and to what damages he had done to his nation. I dare say many Russian at the time were of the same frame of mind as poor ole Yeltsin. At the moment he resigned, he was a broken man, spiritually. But don't overlook the fact that Yeltsin was the one who initiated SCO with Jiang Zemin of China. He pushed for SCO precisely because he woke up. SCO today is the banner causing chills down the western backs.

You seem to have a venomous hatred against Yeltsin that is personal rather than rational, and rather forgiving of Gorbahev. Ole Gorby today still seemed a sucker, either willingly so, or pretending to be so to keep the stream of pittance coming for a rather sorry living.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Sep 25 2021 5:24 utc | 80

Rob @75:

Your 700,000 figure, did you get it from the likes of WaPo, NYT, et al???? And Gulags, oh yeah, so you were there in person and knows exactly what these places are and how many died there.

I suspect you bought in all the narratives on Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong suppressions, blah blah blah, too.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Sep 25 2021 5:46 utc | 81

Does anybody have more detailed information on the contemporary Russian communists? Are they really "Soviet nostalgists"? Do they still adhere to the Soviet economic model? What kind of politicial system do they aim for?

Where do the Russian communists stand, 30 years after rhe downfall of the Soviet Union?

Posted by: m | Sep 25 2021 5:50 utc | 82

The very fact that the term "Stalinism" came into being is proof that the man did differentiate himself from his predecessors (in same manner or another) but, although vk was right that it became a perjorative in the U.S., I am not so sure that it becoming a perjorative in America is useful in the longrun where one begins to rethink past prejudices as bad seeds given by unreliable sources. Look at our modern-day Pravda in the U.S., gaslighting us at will over Russia and China.

I have heard Stalin kicked out the Jewish contingency in the party. The Trots emigrated to the U.S. and became our modern-day Neocons, hence their absolute hatred for a Nationalist Russia under Putin.

Was Stalin really anti-Nationalist? I know he wrote a book on it and decried the notion in favor of Internationalism. But what is the truth there and did his feelings on internationalism change as the Soviet Union wore on?

In any case, and in my mind, the purge gave the Jews the sympathy they needed from the American government to go after the Ruskies with the Chosen Race in-tow. The fallout of which we have felt from Vietnam all the way down to the Afghan. It just so happens that while industrious, honest, and good-natured, Americans are also dimwitted and malleable bloodthirsty-killers.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Sep 25 2021 6:16 utc | 83

@73 jason

I absolutely agree that little wars are vastly preferrable to big ones.

Border skirmishes are much more likely under bilateral arrangements in an Age of Nationalism. You have a confederated body of nations that will attempt diplomatic solutions through peace, but, sometimes fisticuffs is warranted between two bordering countries.

Then you look at the present day situation under a burgeoning globalist paradigm.

You have 10,000 ICBMs aimed at every nook and cranny on the globe. And you know what will set those Minute Men off in our age of MIC- budgets being lost in WTC-7 on 9/11? It is not the threat of war.

IT IS THE THREAT OF PEACE!!!

War with China will not be because the Chinese are a threat. But that America's own would sooner kill their own elite than go to war against the Chicoms. And that is why we are veering towards a catastrophe.

The insanity of the globalist is to think that peaceful nationalism would be the doom of all! And that is what is being hammered into our head everyday. And yes, it will be the doom of them all.

Them all.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Sep 25 2021 6:36 utc | 84

The opposition had an opportunity to powerfully attack Putin's Pension Reforms, which were/are unpopular with most Russians. They missed that opportunity.

TEP.

Posted by: TEP | Sep 25 2021 7:10 utc | 85

"If U.S. support over the last two decades would had gone to some nationalist minded social-democratic party in Russia, instead of the fake 'liberals', the election outcome this year would probably have been different."
US support would never go to a party with its nations interests at heart because the US wants to act against that nations interests by looting the nation.

Posted by: Johny Conspiranoid | Sep 25 2021 8:52 utc | 86

Every Nazi rides a state/bank controlled fiat printing press.
But that's acceptable.
We must focus the minds of people on the non issue. Politics. And redirect them from asking pertinent questions about the structure of the economic system of which politics becomes just a symptom.
Libya was political suuuure.
Russia is political suuuure.
US is political suuuure.

Posted by: Jezabeel | Sep 25 2021 9:31 utc | 87

Rob, you completely have no clue about the Stalin era.

The ordinary folks loved him, and had norhing to fear. See my earlier comment about Alexander Zinoviev and his mother, a peasant woman who kept a picture of Stalin on the wall.

A mother to 11 children, an illiterate peasant [since they were never provided even with primary education], she saw her children become doctors, engineers, officers, writers, professors...

Such an urbanization, universal education, and uplifting of the peasant class was unprecedented in history. Even in today's China.

Few are aware of this, like yourself.

The only people who feared Stalin were among the bourgeois and the political class, who refused to play along with the system of rapid progress. Hence the name 'refuseniks.'

Tsarist Russia was by far the richest country in the world. Yet all that wealth was in the hands of one percent aristocrats. Eighty petcent of the population was landless, illiterate peasants.

Those peasants became doctors, engineers and intellectuals...absolutely free of charge. Cities were built at a pace that outsripped today's China. Those peasants became urban dwellers with all that modern life has to offer.

But resistance was deep and broad. Imagine how many useless parasites would have to be eliminated in today's US?

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 25 2021 9:49 utc | 88

The entire reason for the ongoing conflict between the West and Russia/China is because of fundamental ideological differences--Western Neoliberalism aims to entrench oligarch control and channel all wealth to the top 10% and doesn't give a damn about the welfare of citizens, while Russia/China put their focus on uplifting and increasing the wellbeing of their #1 asset--their Human Capital, their citizenry--and offer real democracy and freedom from being enslaved by debt.
Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 24 2021 19:20 utc | 6

I agree almost entirely with what you say, Karl, and I agree with you that B has got it all wrong in his article. But I would to some extent take issue with what you say about ideology.

Yes, the ideology of the West is to enrich the elites by exploiting and robbing from (and killing off wantonly) anybody else, while Russia and China put their focus on the benefits and welfare of the people. But my objection to your characterisation of the difference as ideological is that in the West's case what is even more fundamental is sheer raw greed and criminality - and that is to a large degree why the Empire is in all-out self-destruct. Over the last 70 years the Empire has built for itself major strategic advantages in the global system; if they fought exclusively on the basis of ideology and practiced that ideology with sincerety (fortunately they don't), they would have a tremendously greater standing to compete with Russia and China, despite the inherent gross unsustainability of their extractive system. Because the fundamantal raw criminality overrides the ideology, however, as the monkey's hand is writing in the sand his foot is scrubbing it out (eg the extreme corruption of MIC ensures that US weapons are decades behind and mostly hardly work; pervasively real national interests are ignored in favour of raw corruption; etc). Afghanistan is a perfect example of that, complete with their proxy escaping on a helicopter crammed full with US dollar bills and leaving bundles of cash on the runway because it would not fit.

This raw corruption cannot be subsumed under the term ideology. It is a separate factor, and in recent decades as the decadence of the US has become ever more extreme, it has come to dominate ever more forcefully over that ideology. That is what is driving so forcefully the self-destruction of Empire, much more than the inherent unsustainability of the system. That is a good thing, ultimately - as otherwise most people would remain as compliant frogs slowly coming to the boil until far too late, as they become ever more and more dumbed down, ever more enslaved, and ever more marginal in terms of survival.

Posted by: BM | Sep 25 2021 9:55 utc | 89

@BM | Sep 25 2021 9:55 utc | 86

This raw corruption cannot be subsumed under the term ideology.

This was exactly my reaction to the claim that there is an ongoing conflict between the West and Russia/China based on "fundamental ideological differences". What we see in the West is not ideology, but raw criminality.

Thank you for formulating it so well.

Posted by: Norwegian | Sep 25 2021 10:15 utc | 90

Strong stuff, kudos b.

Posted by: fx | Sep 25 2021 10:22 utc | 91

Putin is neo-liberal:

"Shifting taxation to regressive consumption taxes (VAT went from 18% to 20% in 2018) and extending the retirement age, while having a flat tax on income of 13% (15% for over 5 million a year?), a corporate tax rate of 15%, and a social security tax with an income ceiling, are all very, very much neoliberal.

Chinese income tax rate is 45%, corporate tax rate is 25%, sales tax is 13%.

Roger | Sep 24 2021 20:19 utc | 20

Overall, Russia has a mix system. For example, export taxes are a big part of the overall budget, and they are paid by business, some state owned, most private. One must also observe that the retirement age was comparatively very low, especially for women, and all countries with such low retirement age are increasing it.

It is tricky to develop domestic production in an economy with high export of raw materials that get "rent" from the difference between domestic cost of extracting them and prices abroad. The impact is that for everything else it is cheaper to import than produce domestically. One can justify Russian tax structure as redistribution from exporters to producers of other goods, the only way to have reasonable number of jobs that are reasonably distributed around the country. Russia is like a Rustbelt with additional burden of malicious sanctions, so avoiding de-industrialization is a measure of success, especially if it does not mean propping obsolete industries but fostering continuing modernization.

Countries exporting materials are also vulnerable to huge swings in export prices. That requires to accumulate surplus in good year to dampen the effect in bad years, but if you do not do it in an extremely convoluted way, hostile Financial Empire will take the savings away, like it did with Venezuela. Of course, that creates corrupt opportunities, and if you are careless, the country is looted flat, Yeltsin's Russia or contemporary Angola (and a long list of others).


Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 25 2021 10:39 utc | 92

The opposition had an opportunity to powerfully attack Putin's Pension Reforms, which were/are unpopular with most Russians. They missed that opportunity.
TEP | Sep 25 2021 7:10 utc | 83

Mind you, which party gained votes? Communist. However, rolling back the reform totally is unrealistic, unless you return shoddy healthcare of 1990-ties and associated low number of the citizens lucky to live beyond 60. And Putin rolled back the initial proposal to a compromise level already. It may be my personal opinion, but quite possible, not rare in Russia.

There are other issues in the social sphere that may require resources and better methods, but this is a more complicated and less exciting.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 25 2021 10:48 utc | 93

I would like to express my appreciation to the posters involved in the interesting historical discussion. Being a multi-faceted and thus eternally controversial topic, to participate is inevitably to court disagreement, which generates a more nuanced reading experience for those of us who don't consider ourselves as experts. So, thank you for that.

As for my personal thoughts on the matter, I would merely suggest that Putin, being a result-oriented moderate, probably has an instinctive dislike of ideologues, no matter the actual ideology. I believe Stalin too was a result-oriented moderate. Both of them focused on what was possible within the framework that they essentially inherited, without committing to extensive and unpredictable overhauls. As such, their roles were and are those of competent custodians more so than visionaries. Which is not to suggest a lack of vision or creativity, qualities which are essential in positions of leadership, but more probably a general aversion to unnecessary risk-taking.

Posted by: Skiffer | Sep 25 2021 10:53 utc | 94

The only people who feared Stalin were among the bourgeois and the political class, who refused to play along with the system of rapid progress. Hence the name 'refuseniks.'

Posted by: Gordog | Sep 25 2021 9:49 utc | 85

My late father was in Communist who was in Soviet Union during WWII, and I know that quite a few people that do not fall in those categories and who had good reasons to fear. For example, the only members of the leadership of Polish Communist Parties who survived the purges were those in Polish prisons (the party was illegal there). The leaders in exile in France came to Moscow to defend themselves against accusations, and, lamentably, lost. The biographical entries in Polish encyclopedia from 1970-ties were starting with "X. Y, 1892-1937" and ending "Fell victim of false accusations". The phrase that is usually metaphorical...

Incidentally, hundreds of thousands of Polish Jews survived WWII because they were in the eastern part of the country, taken by USSR in September of 1939, and were deported, typically to Kazakhstan, as "suspicious elements" like "podkulachnick" (hard to translate).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 25 2021 11:06 utc | 95

re: Stalin, the sentiment of "The ordinary folks loved him, and had nothing to fear."

There was a rather stark selection bias behind that attitude. And also a mass media / PR program that would put Fox News and CNN to shame.

I also agree with comments who said, let's recognize the egalitarian, educational, industrial, health, scientific, achievements, but let's not romanticize too much.

Good and educational discussion in any case, thanks to all who are posting. No disrespect to anyone with contrary opinions.

Posted by: ptb | Sep 25 2021 12:22 utc | 96

Yeltsin perhaps a fool for trusting US - like the the leadership of the last several decades not having much of an idea about how to guide Russia into the future - the younger generations of Russia at that time infatuated with America...Russia is what it is, the Putins and Rasputins.

Not discussed here... how close the CPC came to embracing neo-liberalism themselves... It was the events of the failed color revolution at Tinamen Square in 89 which changed their course...

Actually, the Russians had role models they could have followed in converting their system into a market system, considering the time in which they needed to do this. Japan, Korea, and China. The Russians needed to look east. However they were focused on their western periphery. The Russians, who did not start the cold war, wanted a "normal" relationship with their western neighbors.
Unfortunately, their western neighbors, led by the UK, wanted to enslave them and take their resources for little or nothing.
Witness the current howling by the UK & EU over gas prices, while doing everything possible to stop NS-2 going online, everything possible to enable Ukraine retaking the DonBas and Crimea, creating scandals over poisonings they themselves perpetrated, and perpetrating color revolutions within the FSU.

The Russians have convinced themselves that they must be predictable. So they continue to honor business agreements long after the conditions under which they were negotiated ceased to exist. I expect this to continue as long as Putin is in charge. His successor may be more hawkish.

Most certainly, following the closure of the Gronigen Gas Field in Holland, and the terminal decline of North Sea oil/gas production, and the terminal decline of tight oil in the US, Russian control of hydro-carbon supply is ascendant and she can demand favorable terms.

Interesting times are ahead. I expect Russia to focus on Central Asia. The accession of Iran to the SCO, and the Talbian's victory in Afghanistan open new economic vistas for Russia/China. They, of course, must come to terms with an Islamic Emirate with a medieval mindset, currently bent on executions and amputations, most likely with the sword.

That said, they need each other. Necessity triumphs all... The Talibs will moderate their look backward into the ancient past, because they must, and their neighbors will look the other way as long as stability reigns in Afghanistan.

How long will it be.. I wonder before the Talibs meet the Kims, and juche becomes the economic model of Afghanistan?? For only juche shows the path from chaos for a country whose chief resource is it's people.

INDY

Posted by: George W Oprisko | Sep 25 2021 12:42 utc | 97

@Gordog, 85

The ordinary folks loved him, and had nothing to fear.

I mentioned the Butovo killing ground further up the thread. This article provides background on the site https://archive.is/JrjA

I remembered Butovo because, in the film coverage of President Putin's remembrance visit, mention was made of the range of victims buried in this particular killing ground. These included factory workers who had been shot for being late for work. Ordinary folk can be exterminated in a terror pour encourager les autres.

Posted by: cirsium | Sep 25 2021 12:46 utc | 98

He also inspired innumerable people in the colonized regions to struggle against colonialism and establish their own independent countries under systems that would benefit the popular majorities. Feel free to read how the great Vietnamese revolutionary Ho Chi Minh became a communist, as he described it in 1967.
Posted by: Constantine | Sep 25 2021 1:08 utc | 56

Your "great Vietnamese revolutionary" was also an evil colonialist. Right from the 1920's he was already plotting not just to get control over Vietnam (and well-justified independence from other colonialists) but to immitate the colonialists' methods in colonising Lao and Cambodia. He plotted relentlessly to do the latter, brutally carried it out, and brutally ensured that only ethnic Vietnamese could hold key positions forever after. All Lao and Cambodian nationalists who refused subservience to Vietnam were eliminated.

Posted by: BM | Sep 25 2021 12:51 utc | 99

When correcting others, it is best not to err ourselves. I make it a point to listen to VVP in Russian, and have never heard him say that he 'hates' Soviet ideology. Also, his policies are a far cry from neo-liberal bs. I'd agree with Gordog that for the ideology question, it is a much more complex matter; as for policies, he expresses a great concern for people (opposite of neo-liberalism) and has attempted in the last 20 years to put it in practice. And some of the large enterprises are owned by the state. Thanks for great work otherwise, b (pandemic exempted, of course).

Posted by: GoraKoshka | Sep 25 2021 13:10 utc | 100

next page »

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Working...