To all my Diary of a Republican Hater readers, I apologize I haven't been around the last 3 days, though I think you'll agree I left enough material for people to read in my past posts for those with any withdrawal pains. May has been so far even with the 3 day hiatus my most prolific month yet as I've averaged until the hiatus 4 posts per day.
Unfortunately I've had a technology problem-my power cord's wire has finally frayed so much that it's no longer working. Hopefully I'll get a new power cord soon but until then I'm confined to using the library computer-which only gives you two hours.
What I have been up to lately is reading a very interesting book by Robert Conquest who has written extensively about the old USSR and Stalinism. I'm reading his "The Great Terror: a Reassessment" that he had first written in the early 70s but updated in 1990 as certain facts had since come to light with more declassified documents in the Soviet Union.
It of course was in 1990 a very timely book as the USSR was about to be "confined to the dustbin of History" rather ironic as Marxist-Leninism was all about "being on the right side of History." The book by Conquest by the way was authoritative enough to be the one that historians and just those who generally wanted to know what really happened during the Stalinist Show Trial period also leaned on. That is those who wanted accurate knowledge of the period saw Conquest's account as a godsend.
It's truly amazing to read-I'm not sure anything is comparable to the Stalinist system in History-of course I include in the Stalinist system Maoist China and North Korea. True Nazi Germany is also unprecedented but only in Stalinist society does the rule of law simply disappear where anyone at any moment can be slandered and destroyed. Never before had a society so crushed the human spirit because while men have in the past often been wrongly accused, imprisoned and executed only in the Stalinist system are even their inner reserves conquered where they aren't even allowed to die heroically by insisting on their innocence. That is in Stalinism alone the state does more than simply kill the body but imposes a second, symbolic death as Zizek puts it. Zizek of course knows whereof he speaks as he lived in the USSR satellite country of Slovenia.
In any case I chance across this article in the Wall Street Journal today about Putin and his attempt to form a new party as his own United Russia party is suffering from wide unpopularity. Vasily Yakemenko his acting head of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs is forming a new party called the Party of Power that it is hoped those who have turned against United Russia might turn. Putin it is beginning to seem plans on running Russia for life. In the recent March election the serious opposition parties were not allowed to run.
"The Kremlin disqualified all serious opposition candidates from the March presidential election that ushered Mr. Putin into a new six-year term, and since then he has rejected the democratic changes demanded by demonstrators in the largest street protests since the fall of the Soviet Union."
On Monday, Mr. Yakemenko, the youth affairs chief, said he didn't think that United Russia could prevail in the next parliamentary elections in 2016 and that other parties in parliament have "nothing to offer young people."
What is most striking is this comment:
"One new appointee to the ministry of culture is a high-level official from Mr. Putin's United Russia party, who has lately called for the government to play a greater role in producing patriotic films and literature. "Stalin knew a lot about ideology and brainwashing," the official,Vladimir Medinsky, told a regional newspaper in February. "Now everything is left to chance, and efficiency has of course gone through the floor."
It's hard to believe but Boris Yeltsin was Russia's first democratic politician. Twenty years later Russia hardly seems to be going forward. It's truly amazing to hear Stalinist efficiency evoked.
Clearly the tactics of Putin and company to explain their lack of popularity hasn't changed:
"Mt. Yakemenko has routinely accused the U.S. of trying to foment revolution in Russia, and his followers have trailed the Moscow-based ambassadors of the U.K. and, more recently, the U.S. as they went to meetings with civil-society officials and businessmen in the Russian capital."
"He declined to say whether the party would support Mr. Putin personally. But he said that former President Dmitry Medvedev, who stepped down to make way for Mr. Putin's return to the Kremlin earlier month, failed in his campaign to modernize Russia. "
"During Dmitry Medvedev's presidency, modernization remained but a dream," he said. "It didn't reflect the interests of the majority."
It seems any aspirations the Russian people have at this point 'remain but a dream.'