Russia flexes her muscle

What’s a few million human lives compared to progress?

A number of Russian media, especially those with close ties to the country’s government, have begun reviving the ghost of the bloodiest dictator of the 20th century, Josif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili-Stalin. It was under his leadership, they say, that the former Soviet Union has developed from a backward agricultural weakling into a mighty industrial giant.

Many may point out that pre-Bolshevik Russia used to be known as Europe’s bread-basket, and that it developed from a pure grain exporter into a land of starvation during Stalin’s rule. Many may also point out that the Soviet Union’s military might during the Second World War depended to a huge degree on supplies from her Western allies.

So much for the claim of Stalin’s contributions to industrial progress in the land he had ruled with his fist of steel. Thus his pseudonym: his original name comes from the southern republic of Georgia, Gruzia in Russian. And never mind that his original surname was perfectly unsuitable for a leader of the proletariat: translated, it means a son of a Jew.

Stalin’s official surname, then, means man of steel (stalj in the Russian language, сталь in the Russian alphabet).

Louder and louder

In any case, the number of Russian media publications that claim Stalin’s name has been besmirched and it’s about time to put things right has been growing lately.

Not many cite the number of victims of what has become known as Stalin’s rule by terror. For the record: the official figure is above 40 million, people who dig deeper come up with a number around 100 million.

Most of the victims were innocent of any wrongdoing. Yes, there were among them some former Bolshevik leaders whom Stalin suspected of trying to replace him, and who paid with their lives for his paranoia. On the other hand, most of these people were just as guilty of crimes against humanity as Stalin had been.

Today’s Russian publications are teeming with rather crude attacks on those who dared use Stalin’s name in vain. Reactions such as blasphemy and profanity form opening salvos on those who dare mention that, perhaps, Stalin wasn’t as infallible as his posthumous supporters make him up to be.

Nikita Khrushchev, who would be the first after-Stalin leader to denounce his predecessor, was a mere irresponsible clown, so far as the new propaganda sees it.

Leonid Brezhnev didn’t do much to criticise Stalin. He would benevolently overlook signs of praise for the old Boss, but it wouldn’t become state policy.

Konstantin Chernenko was too old and frail to matter much, and Yuri Andropov didn’t last long enough to leave much of a trace.

Criminals to end all criminals

Mikhail Gorbachev has become one of the primary targets of those who would like dearly to resuscitate Stalin’s image as the greatest leader of all.

Gorbachev did the unthinkable: by letting at least some of the truth about the Soviet Union’s past (and present) out, he destabilised the country beyond repair. He lost the proper Bolshevik pride and danced to American tunes in hopes to get a few bread crumbs from their table.

And Boris Yeltsin was even worse. Colourful as he was, today’s Russian media portray him as a booze-filled buffoon whose staff were filled with CIA agents who would be telling him what to do, when, and how. And Yeltsin wouldn’t even ask the obvious question: why he should do what they tell him to do.

Yeltsin had the gall to stop the coup d’état attempt, during which faithful communists tried to stop the tragedy developing under Gorbachev. And not only that: Yeltsin put a stop to the so-called “leading role” of the communist party, getting it out of the country’s constitution, and, to round off his crime, he helped dissolve the Soviet Union into a loose gathering of independent nations.

All that because some irresponsible traitors claimed that Stalin was not a true communist. If there was a crime committed under Stalin’s rule, these history revisionists claim, the Leader (vozhdj in the Russian language, вождь in the Russian alphabet) must have been misled by some of his subordinates.

(By the way, compare Stalin’s title to that Adolf Hitler used: Leader (der Führer in German).

And, besides, when you’re chopping down a forest, splinters fly all over (kогдa рубишь лес, летaют щепки: this is a Russian version of you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs).

What’s up?

Not to be outdone by American President Donald Trump, Russian politics seem to be turning toward the motto Make Russia Great Again.

It is dangerous to generalise about a nation’s character. Looking at its history and traditions may be of some help, and here, a keen researcher will find that Russia’s history is replete with wild swings in her relationships towards the rest of the world, its Western parts in particular.

Even those former communist leaders who had suffered under Stalin’s rule, were usually accused of illegitimate contacts with the West that would result in espionage.

The current running topic on many Russian media outlets dwells to a huge degree upon the successes of Soviet intelligence services, in the U.S., Great Britain and Germany especially, and the bravado with which Soviet counter-intelligence used to catch any foreign spy who dared set up shop in the Soviet Union. James Bond, compared to these quasi-documentaries, loses by a full horse’s length.

This is not much of a surprise: the country is led by a former Soviet intelligence (KGB) officer who spent time in counter-intelligence, as well.

We’re the best, and you are not

Using the advantages of pure and somewhat wild capitalism, Russian president Vladimir Putin is riding the wave of Russian nationalism that many call patriotism.

Not that they are paranoid, but Russian leadership are of the view that everybody abroad is against them. Just as it used to be in good old times before Tsar Peter the Great, ruling between 1682 and 1725, opened the gates to an influx of Western minds. The gates closed after his passing, much to most Russian aristocrats’ delight. And they would remain closed, with short intervals of reversing the mistrust into brief orgies of getting-to-know-you-again.

It would be overstating matters to claim that every Russian suspects every Westerner of ill will, but the leadership definitely do.

And since the pseudo-Marxists who lead the European Union don’t like the Russian way of doing things, and since they find support in the currently left-wing America, the Russians seem to have a point: everyone’s against them. Everyone, that is, except their mighty neighbour south of the Amur River.

Unlike in previous centuries, when they looked inside and killed everyone suspected of even liking the West, today’s Russian leaders have found ways how to strike back.

Ditching American dollars from their reserves, thus cutting the greenbacks’ value, banning the U.S. currency from international trade transactions between Russia and the rest of the world, and ignoring the Euro completely, was Russia’s first slap across the West’s collective face.

Replacing the dollar with People Republic of China’s yuan as Russia’s international trade currency was a kick in the groin.

And it doesn’t matter any longer whether Josif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili-Stalin was the smartest guy on earth, or whether he was just a brutal killing machine.

Still, rubbing it all in into the West’s scheme of things must feel pretty good.

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