Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Majority of Russians Regret Breakup of USSR

00 Unknown  Artist. We're Coming to the Victory of Communist Labour. 1970s

We’re Coming to the Victory of Communist Labour

Unknown  Artist

1970s

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On Tuesday, independent pollster Levada Centre said that more than half of Russians polled regret the breakup of the USSR; they believe that we could’ve avoided it. Of 1,600 respondents polled in 45 Russian federal subjects, 57 percent bemoaned the collapse of the USSR, whilst 30 percent said that they didn’t regret it, and 13 percent had difficulty answering. Seniors tended more to nostalgia than younger people. Only 37 percent of respondents aged 25 to 39 said that they regretted the collapse of the USSR. However, that figure reached 86 percent amongst those 55 and older. Only 29 percent said that the breakup was inevitable, whilst 53 percent said that we could’ve avoided it. The rest of the respondents couldn’t say one way or the other. The USSR formally ended on 26 December 1991.

15 January 2014 (MSK)

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/russia/20140115/186524071/Over-Half-of-Russians-Regret-Loss-of-Soviet-Union.html

Editor’s Note:

When asked who the most influential politician in Russia was, VVP answered, “Gennady Zyuganov”. Pro-Western journalists sniggered at that. I believe that Vova knows the country better than they do. As a former member of the organy, he has no illusions about life, none at all. He knows that the “provinces” want the USSR back, and that the KPRF is the only real political party in the country. Besides that, only the KPRF is looking to the future in a real way, Gennady Andreyevich wants the young firebrand Sergei Udaltsov to replace him as leader when he steps down.

VVP wants no chaos when he steps down. The country agrees with him. I believe that Sergei Udaltsov will be the next real leader of Russia, and he may very well restore the old Union under the guise of the Eurasian Union (EvrAsS). Russia will end its present infatuation with the West and sweep away the godless neoliberal crapitalism now regnant. I wouldn’t want to be an oligarch, then… there’ll be a new emigration (the Affluent Effluent will flee to the USA, where the Republicans will ooh and ah over them)… the citizens of the Union will say, “Good riddance to bad rubbish”, and most of the world will agree with them. I wonder what the ROCOR will do when (not, if) that happens (will Potapov, Lebedeff, and Whiteford flip yet again?)… perspirin’ minds wanna know!

BMD

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Thursday, 9 January 2014

Ho, Hum… Tempest in a Teacup Department… “Russian Orthodox Church” Under Fire Over Stalin Calendar

Unknown Artist. Long Life to the Stalin Cat! contemporary

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Editor’s Note:

One of the reasons that non-stories such as this have tread is that all Russia is on holiday until Monday. Every year, Russia “shuts down” from 1 January to the Monday closest to 10 January. It’s like France in August. Nothing happens… so, of course, 24/7 news agencies are frantic for SOMETHING to report. The guy responsible for this calendar got the shitcan back in July… ergo, it’s a dead story. As for Andrei Kuraev, he’s become a crankish figure, only taken seriously by the Western media apparat (he’s a new Yakunin… only half the brains, but twice the chutzpah). Kuraev lost out to Vsevolod Chaplin, Varsonofy Sudakov, and Mark Golovkov in the turf war that followed HH’s accession in 2009 (Kuraev doesn’t have the savoir-faire of a Kliment Kapalin, who managed to hang on to cred despite being out of favour with the Gundyaev Mafia). He and the Blunder were the biggest losers (remember, the Blunder’s only a “Patriarchal Vicar”… a vicar bishop with a bigger title, that’s all) in the reshuffle after Aleksei Ridiger’s death. They were bright stars in the early 2000s… much dimmed as of late (justifiably so)…

Oh, should I mention that this story (like the Pussy Riot non-event) has no cred in Russia? Don’t get your knicks in a knot over an obvious media non-event. When will they ever learn? Silly wabbits…

O Tempora! O Mores!

BMD

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This week, the MP came under heavy criticism on the internet this week over a 2014 wall calendar published by a revered monastery’s printing-house featuring portraits of Soviet leader Iosif Stalin. The publisher flogs the black-and-white calendar, entitled Stalin, costing 200 Roubles (USD. CAD. AUD. Euros. UK Pounds), as “a great gift for veterans and history fans”. Historian Mikhail Babkin brought it to public attention on his blog on 7 January. One person wrote in one of nearly 200 comments under Babkin’s post, referring to the millions who died because of Stalin’s farm collectivisation and political repression, “Disgrace, shame, and insult to all those who perished”.

Stalin severely persecuted the Church, but it’s enjoyed revival since the collapse of the USSR in 1991. A Church official said that the head of the printing-house got the boot in July once authorities found out about the incident, but only after the delivery of the calendars. A Church spokesman, Vakhtang Kipshidze, told Reuters, “The Church was subject to the most severe repressions during Stalin’s rule when he ordered the deportation and execution of thousands of priests. Releasing such a publication in a Church establishment … is morally unacceptable”. However, reflecting the sympathy for Stalin still felt by many Russians who credit him with victory in World War Two, and giving their country superpower status, Kipshidze added, “Nonetheless, one should work on the assumption that both in the Church and in Russian society there are differing views on the role Stalin played in Russian history and everybody has the right to hold to their own views”.

Critics of the Kremlin accuse President Vladimir Putin of burnishing Stalin’s image and celebrating the USSR’s modernising achievements to prop up national pride. Since returning to the Kremlin in mid-2012, Putin also seeks to appeal to conservative voters to boost his authority; increasingly, he promotes the Church as a standard-bearer for national values. In turn, the Church faces growing criticism from critics who say that it fosters excessively-close ties to the Kremlin and seeks too powerful a role in secular life. Andrei Kuraev, a {disgraced: editor} cleric and religious activist, wrote on his blog, “This is business. The Church uses its resources to make money. This is where the trouble is, not in Stalin pictures”.

9 January 2014

Maria Tsvetkova

Gabriela Baczynska

Reuters

http://news.yahoo.com/russian-orthodox-church-under-fire-over-stalin-calendar-210940027–sector.html

 

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Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Five Years After the Five-Day War, Everyone’s Learned Their Lessons

01g South Ossetia 2010

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Russia and Georgia’s clash over South Ossetia happened five years ago, but today it feels like an age away. Much has changed since then in Georgia and Russia, as well in all the countries that were indirectly involved in the conflict. Georgia was the first post-Soviet republic to engage in a direct military clash with Russia, certainly an extraordinary event. Georgia changed politically since then, with a new government coming to power last fall. The five-day war didn’t topple Mikhail Saakashvili, as many in Moscow hoped it would, but it did seriously mar his moral and political image. Little by little, Saakashvili’s government abandoned its pro-reform policy and turned into a repressive régime that wanted only one thing… to remain in power at all costs. When a strong political rival appeared three years later, it turned out that Saakashvili’s chair was much shakier than many thought.

Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream, which won the parliamentary elections last fall, promised to examine the causes of the military conflict and the role of Tbilisi in it. Some members of the current Georgian government said that the government made gross mistakes, but Georgia is unlikely to do a U-turn on its attitude toward the war. The war did major damage, and if a leading politician tried too abruptly to change the idea that Georgia was a victim in the events, the political consequences might be unpredictable. It’s unclear whether anyone should do this at all, although such a positive change would be of truly revolutionary importance for relations with Russia and a breakthrough in relations.

The new Georgian authorities are grappling with many problems. However, most predictions agree that the Georgian Dream will easily win the presidential election in October and that Saakashvili’s United National Movement is losing weight. Firstly, Georgia still heavily depends on the West, which sees Georgian Dream’s attempts to restore political order as a persecution campaign, even if there may be very serious reasons behind it. Therefore, the government should move slowly and act prudently. Secondly, people heaved a sigh of relief when the previous government’s pressure eased, but they soon became aware of drawbacks in the new democratic rule. Georgians are heatedly discussing their problems, and political life is in full swing, but there are few practical results so far. Furthermore, with the United National Movement discredited and no other serious political forces in the country, the government is in a dangerous position, with no opposition to keep it in check. Life without opposition corrupts, as we know from history. Nonetheless, it looks like Georgia learned its lesson and is unlikely to act opportunistically again.

The West took a warning from the Georgian example. The August 2008 war put an end to the idea of NATO’s eastward expansion, which the West hasn’t discussed since, at least not in practical terms. Only a major change in American policy would bring this issue back in focus. However, so far, events have gone in the opposite direction. NATO’s extensive development, which masked the lack of a strategy in the 2000s, gave way to attempts to adapt the bloc to the more practical tasks at hand. These tasks have very little connection with the Caucasus, and the bloc is no longer enthusiastic about the post-Soviet space as a whole.

The five years after the South Ossetian war were a time of quest for Russia. Many saw the defeat of Georgia as a major landmark and a psychological resurgence after more than 20 years of geopolitical retreat. At the same time, it became clear that Russia wouldn’t pursue an expansionist policy to regain the losses it sustained after the dissolution of the USSR, which the West and some neighbouring countries feared would be the case. Moscow is gradually abandoning the post-imperial mentality rooted in the Soviet collapse and related feelings in favour of a new vision of itself and its interests in the neighbouring countries. The Customs Union idea proposed several months after the war was a major improvement on all previous plans. It focuses on economic expediency and the logic of mutually beneficial integration rather than reunion for the sake of reunion.

Russia’s most controversial postwar move was the recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In the five years since, Russia hasn’t convinced any major country to do the same, and it’s unlikely to succeed any time soon. Moscow had to make the decision because the situation was rocky and they needed to stabilise the state of affairs. Nevertheless, it hasn’t resolved the problem. It only put the political and diplomatic conflict on ice, and it’s a fact that what’s frozen sometimes melts. A final settlement will come only when we find a solution that suits all sides, which means that aggravation is still possible, even though the status quo is stable and no one wants an escalation.

One can describe the South Ossetian war, which is deeply rooted in the dissolution of the USSR, as the closing page in a long chapter. The global financial crisis, which broke out a month later, put into question the results of an era that began in the 1990s and was a time of triumph for the West and its market ideology. It also engendered processes that have made things even more problematic. The Arab Spring, which began two-and-a-half years after the South Ossetian war, further complicated matters. There’ll be many more such events before a new world order emerges from the chaos. Russia paid a high price for being a lead actor in 20th-century history. It had its share of shocks and would rather be a spectator from now on, unless a new play develops in direct proximity to its borders.

01 Fyodor Lukyanov RIA-Novosti8 August 2013

Fyodor Lukyanov

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/columnists/20130808/182661056/Uncertain-World-5-Years-After-the-5-Day-War-Everyones-Learned.html

Editor’s Note:

The above is far different from the narrative that’s still bruited in neocon and interventionist circles. They claim that Georgia was the totally-innocent victim of Russian neo-imperial aggression. Such wasn’t so… indeed, they’re the most disgusting apologists for AMERICAN neo-imperialism. Since 1991, American neocons and interventionists have been drunk on their ”victory” in the Cold War. Factually, the Cold War ended in 1987, after the Reykjavik Summit, not the 1991 implosion of the USSR, which was something else altogether (and had nothing to do with Socialist vs Market ideologies, in any case). America has run riot… showing all concerned that the leading elements of the USA are greedy, self-centred, and violent; they’re incompetent, uncivilised, uncultured, and indecent, not fit for the role of a “world leader”. That’s true of both the Right and Centre in American politics (there’s no Left in the USA… the last Leftists were FDR and Henry Wallace).

We see the moral bankruptcy of the trend in the USA (and the West, in general) that’s been regnant since the time of Slobberin’ Ronnie. “Might makes right” has run rampant in the USA… “Greed is Good”, “The race goes to the swiftest”, and “You earned it” sum up its evil credo. It’s Social Darwinism (actually, a misnomer, as it owes everything to Spencer, not Darwin) writ large. America’s become a McMansion… glitzy on the outside, cheap softwood plyboard inside (with the termites busy at work). It’s time to put things right… but shall we? That’s up to YOU…

If we don’t, the consequences will be dire… I’m not advocating chaos and bloodshed, I’m predicting that it could happen if we don’t scrap our present neoliberal Rightwing arrangements… that’s two very different things…

BMD   

Sunday, 23 December 2012

23 December 2012. Sergei Yolkin’s World. Let’s Put It Off Until Spring Time

00 Sergei Yolkin. Let’s Put It Off Until Spring Time. 2012

Let’s Put It Off Until Spring Time

Sergei Yolkin

2012

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The Solovetsky Stone is a monument located in Lubyanka Square in Moscow, across from KGB headquarters. It was installed in 1990, BEFORE the fall of the USSR. That’s proof that the USSR was on the brink of a breakthrough aborted by the ludicrous August 1991 coup. That is, the USSR was ready to open a new chapter, but the boobish coup plotters threw a spanner into the works, skewing history and bringing about precisely what they wished to avoid. Oft we mar what is good enough by trying to do better…

This Yolkin caricature has a hint of Sisyphus about it, doesn’t it?

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Political experts believe that the decision of the opposition to resume protest activity only with the coming of better weather in the spring is a rational decision, but they think that another surge of mass action is possible only when the opposition has a new agenda with a lucid programme, coherent demands, and a single leader.

17 December 2012

Sergei Yolkin

RIA-Novosti

http://ria.ru/caricature/20121217/915105497.html

 

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