Skip to comments.No Apology, No Future - (stubborn Putin's unapologetic Russia losing it all)
Posted on 05/01/2005 9:56:48 PM PDT by CHARLITE
Budapest, Hungary, October 1997. It was a gorgeous fall day, the sun sparkling off the Danube, the domed Royal Palace glinting on Buda Hill, smartly dressed shoppers strolling along the Vaci. Just a few years ago this place had been a fear-ridden Russian colony. Now everyone on the street was chattering away on a cell phone. Back in the Soviet days, only the Nomenklatura the Communist elite could get a telephone, and even they were terrified of talking freely.
I was in Budapest speaking to a conference of international business leaders. Another speaker was a Moscow television news commentator well-known in Russia, Boris Notkin. He informed his audience about how humiliated Russians felt, losing their Empire and the Cold War, not winning many medals in the Olympics, and having their Mir space station go belly-up. He warned of a dangerous anti-Americanism emerging among Russians, who resentfully blamed America for their problems.
A gray-haired gentleman with a Central European accent stood up and asked Boris a question: In addition to their feelings of humiliation and resentment, do Russians have any feelings of remorse for inflicting Communism upon so many countries? After their defeat in World War II, the Germans apologized to the world for being Nazis and for the horrible atrocities Nazism committed. After their defeat in the Cold War, will the Russians ever apologize to the world for being Communists and the equally horrible atrocities Soviet Communism committed?
Boris looked straight at the man and coldly answered, No. Russians feel no remorse. They will not apologize.
This past Monday, April 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin reaffirmed this absence of remorse and refusal to apologize for the genocidal horror perpetrated by Soviet Communism upon so many countries and peoples. In a nationally televised speech to the Russian Federal Assembly in Moscow, he declared that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.
The truth, of course, is that the existence of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century
It was only because the Germans went through a mea culpa emotional purge of the Nazi poison that they were able to create a prosperous free market democracy. The Russians will never be able to do the same until they can summon the moral courage to say to the world, Were sorry.
Until Russians can take responsibility for their history and stop blaming everyone else for it, they can never overcome it. Until they can admit they created a monstrously evil tyranny, they can never create a morally decent society. Until they can stop yearning for past imperial glory, their former colonies will always hate them, and never trust them.
For these colonies know that the Soviet Union was a fiction, a Hollywood-set country that didnt really exist. What actually existed behind the façade was a Russian Imperial Empire with the secular religion of Marxism-Leninism as its ideological justification. The justification may be gone, but the dream of empire has not. This was confirmed by Putin asserting in his speech that Russia should continue its civilizing mission on the Eurasian continent.
Continue civilizing? The mass slaughter of millions, the Gulag concentration camps enslaving millions more, imprisoning a score of nations behind the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain this is civilizing? Ask any Latvian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Pole, Czech, Hungarian, et al, and theyll tell you Russias historic mission has been un-civilizing to the horrific extreme.
Thus Russia remains determined to march resolutely towards cultural and national extinction. Putin may fly off for photo-ops in Egypt and Israel this week, and have George Bush and other world leaders stand next to him in Red Square week after next (commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII) but its all for show.
Because in the meantime, in spite of Russias being the worlds second largest oil producer (after Saudi Arabia), of all fifteen now-independent nations that once comprised the Soviet Union, Russia is next to last in current economic growth. Only Tajikistan is lower.
An extremely high-placed source in the Kremlin tells To The Point that capital flight has reached flood levels. The governments public admission was that $8 billion flew out of Russia last year. The true figure, our source said, is four times that: $32 billion. It will be much more this year.
So no matter how much Pootie-Poot struts on the world stage or on Red Square, the disintegration of Russia and its influence will continue unabated. Just before he goes to Moscow, Bush will be in Riga meeting with the presidents of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, once Republics of the Soviet Union and now members of NATO; just after Moscow, Bush will be in Tbilisi meeting with the president of Georgia.
A central focus of both meetings will be to cooperate on ending the last dictatorship in Europe, that of Aleksandr Lukashenko in Belarus by exporting the Orange Revolution from Kiev to Minsk. This regime is the last ally of Russias on the entire European continent. Think about that. Soon, quite possibly before 2005 ends, Belarus will dump Lukashenko and Russia will be alone in Europe.
Russia doesnt have to be. All she has to do is apologize. But she cant. With no apology, theres no future in Russia. A pure Greek tragedy based on an inescapable tragic flaw in the Russian character. Aeschylus and Sophocles would have understood.
I'm not so sure that "the Russians" actually had anything to do with it. The Germans embraced Nazism in its early days, and Hitler's party actually got its foot in the door through the ballot box. The same can't be said of Bolshevism, which took advantage of dire circumstances to more or less seize power. Once in power it used ruthless terror tactics to consolidate and spread that power. The Russian people become nothing more than hostages to a sick and bloodthirsty ideology.
That may be so, and I might even agree.
But then, why the present day reluctance to once an forever denounce and renounce imperial Communism and all it stood for? The Russians aren't hostages any more.
Probably for the same reason I don't renounce and denounce slavery or the injustices done to the American Indians. Not very nice things, those two, but I didn't have anything to do with them.
You're right. This reminds me a little of Clinton apologizing for slavery or the pope apologizing for the crusades. I don't expect an apology, but nor do I expect them to lament the collapse of the Soviet Union, erect victory statues of Stalin, and deny the crimes of Katyn and the Holodomor.
"Many people link their whole lives with Lenin's name. For them his burial would mean that they had bowed down to false values, set themselves false tasks and lived in vain." - Vladimir Putin
Unfortunately, they did. That is why Putin will not bury the Stalin cult in the garbage heap of history where it belongs either.
They definitely need to face reality and start looking to the future. Times may be bad now, but they're probably only slightly worse than what they were in the last years of the Tsar. It's almost as if Fate were giving them the opportunity to go back to those days, sans the disruption of World War I, and get it right this time.
Here's the passage that I originally replied to:
Until Russians can take responsibility for their history and stop blaming everyone else for it, they can never overcome it. Until they can admit they created a monstrously evil tyranny, they can never create a morally decent society.
It would be one thing for everyday Russians to acknowledge and renounce the evil of what their leaders had done; quite another to apologize for it.
Those atrocities took place in the nineteenth century, and it's true that you had nothing to do with them. But communism was still functioning in Russia only 15 years ago. Many of the people who live in Russia today were not only active Communist Party functionaries but would leap back into their positions of power instantly if they could. Many modern Russians long for a return of communism. For them, communism represents the good old days. Putin, the former KGB agent, is one of millions.
The difference is that while slavery ended in the 19th century many of the perpetrators of the Communist atrocities are still alive and prospering. Putin, Yeltsin and Gorbachev were all part of this vicious system and deserve to be in prison, not in power or comfortable retirement. Many of the Gulag guards and commandants are alive and well as are numerous former KGB types. Who has been tried for war crimes committed in Afghanistan? No one.
The author of this piece is right. Until the Russians come to grips with their past they have no future.
There was also that little fact of a civil war that cost 5 million lives.
Post #6 is a good point.
I think that Russia should unequivocally condemn Communism and Stalinism as bloodthirsty ideologies and look honestly into its own history. Contemporary Russians can't be responsible for the crimes of Stalin. However, denying that crimes were committed is equally wrong and disgusting.
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