Why do many Westerners show sympathy to Russia and Communism – but not to their victims?

Magadan Hills, a painting by Mykola Hetman, a former GULAG prisoner, born December 23, 1917 in Kharkov, Ukraine. Background of the picture: In 1932, members of a Soviet geological expedition discovered gold at the mouth of the Utinny River in Siberia. A GULAG settlement was built between the villages of Balaganny and Ola, the hills there destroyed, piers built, and the settlement named Magadan after a nearby stream. Forced laborers were brought in to build roads from Magadan to the gold. Building the roads was incredibly harsh labor in the permafrost. The prisoners were poorly fed and worked for long hours under fierce conditions with rudimentary tools. The sentiment expressed here is that the roads were built on human bones—that every hill, every gully, and every path in Magadan represents human lives and could be the site of a human grave. The sun is eclipsed to symbolize the darkness and evil that cast its shadow over the people of the Soviet Union. The cross represents the enormous burdens the prisoners had to bear. It also symbolizes Christ's trek up the hill of Golgotha, which the artist likens to the prisoners' journey. (Source: thegulag.org)

Magadan Hills, a painting by Mykola Hetman, a former GULAG prisoner, born December 23, 1917 in Kharkov, Ukraine. Background of the picture: In 1932, members of a Soviet geological expedition discovered gold at the mouth of the Utinny River in Siberia. A GULAG settlement was built between the villages of Balaganny and Ola, the hills there destroyed, piers built, and the settlement named Magadan after a nearby stream. Forced laborers were brought in to build roads from Magadan to the gold. Building the roads was incredibly harsh labor in the permafrost. The prisoners were poorly fed and worked for long hours under fierce conditions with rudimentary tools. The sentiment expressed here is that the roads were built on human bones—that every hill, every gully, and every path in Magadan represents human lives and could be the site of a human grave. The sun is eclipsed to symbolize the darkness and evil that cast its shadow over the people of the Soviet Union. The cross represents the enormous burdens the prisoners had to bear. It also symbolizes Christ's trek up the hill of Golgotha, which the artist likens to the prisoners' journey. (Source: thegulag.org) 

2016/05/01 • Analysis & Opinion, Politics

Those who study the post-Soviet world and especially its non-Russian parts are often struck by the fact that many who do so show an understanding or even sympathetic deference to Russia and Russian feelings while ignoring those of the peoples of living in countries near Russia and a tendency to forget or downplay the crimes of communism.

There are many reasons for this pattern, of course; but two articles provide an important part of the answer for approaches that have distorted the world’s understanding of what is going on and has been going on in the former Soviet bloc and allowed some of the crimes of the past to continue into the present.

In an article on the Euromaidan Press portal, Fabio Belafatti, an Italian specialist on Central Asia who now teaches at the University of Vilnius and earlier worked in Latvia and Tajikistan, argues that such sympathy and deference to Russia reflects a rebirth of Orientalism.

He says “pro-Russian commentators in many Western countries have been portraying the Ukrainian events using a mix of stereotypes that scarily resemble the rhetoric once typical of racist and imperialist ways of thinking [and] as a result … [they along with] Georgians, Moldovans, Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians have fallen victim to a new form of Orientalism.”

That term was introduced and popularized by Edward W. Said in his 1978 book of that title, Belafatti continues, in which the Columbia University scholar argued that “Western commentators consistently looked (and look) at the Orient as an entity incapable of evolving, stuck in an endless past of decadence and backwardness.”

Said, Belafatti points out, argued that those who follow this approach “constantly portray” the East “as an invariably passive subject, unable and unworthy of being an active subject in its own way,” with the West in contrast being presented as “the one and only entity worth the dignity of an active subject.”

“The Ukrainian crisis is revealing the existence of a strikingly similar prejudice” both among Moscow commentators and pro-Russian ones in the West, the Vilnius scholar argues. There are two basic kinds of pro-Russian narratives, he suggests:

  • One argues that Russia should be excused for its actions because the West has done something similar or worse elsewhere.
  • The other, which Belafatti calls the geopolitical, “defends Russia’s actions by accusing the West of ‘interfering’ in the business of a region where it does not have any right to operate, or expresses understanding for Moscow’s preoccupation about the enlargement of NATO, the erosion of its sphere of influence, the actions of EU and NATO in its ‘near abroad,’ and so on.”

It is around this second theme that Orientalism is playing a role. Indeed, Belafatti suggests, “practically all those who defend Russia in this debate fell into this trap [with] many of the articles [accusing] the West of “causing” the Ukrainian chaos by “provoking” Russia in its strategic interests and wounding its pride of great power.”

Such an argument demonstrates, the Vilnius specialist says that “the authors write from a distorted, hierarchical and, ultimately, orientalist (if not outright racist) perspective on the small countries of Eastern Europe,” one that takes as a given that Russia has “inalienable” rights to run this region and that “Eastern Europe [is] nothing but a tool to compensate Russia’s unresolved inferiority complexes.”

“The idea that Russian actions are legitimate reactions to the interference of “outsiders” in a region seen as “Russian” is nothing but a version 2.0 of the same imperialist mentality with which Europeans empires split the Middle East. This is all the more surprising as it often comes from people who embrace ostensibly anti-imperialist positions in any other context,” Belafatti observes.

And this perspective spawns other “appalling ideas” such as the one that “Russia is right in interfering in Ukraine because it already ‘had to give up’ the Baltic States in the past and ‘the West’ really shouldn’t ‘deprive’ it of other countries,” regardless of what the peoples of these countries have experienced in the past and what they want for the future.

“For far too many Western experts what really matters is the Russian feelings,” Belafatti says. “What Ukrainians, Poles, Moldovans, Balts, Georgians, Armenians may think, is much less significant, because it’s just the feeling of “others,” subaltern subjects, unworthy of the dignity of actors, at best reacting victims of an orientalist interpretation of history that Westerners apply far too often to their Eastern European neighbors.”

“Pro-Russian commentators’ orientalist thinking emerges in the way they portray Ukraine as a country incapable of action on its own initiative. They invariably see Eastern European countries as objects manipulated by the West. [And] Former communist countries are seen as victims of an inclusion in Western security structures carried out against their will.”

“This is of course nonsense: the integration of Eastern Europe in Euro-Atlantic security structures happened” because the East Europeans campaigned for it, often in ways Western actors have often found far too pressing.” To write otherwise is “not just post-Soviet nostalgic thinking: it is outright racism” because it’s actually Russia who should be held responsible for destabilizing the region with its opposition to the desires” of its neighbors.”

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“It is therefore racist to think that nobody east of the EU may want an order of things in which Russia doesn’t dominate, as if we “Westerners” were the only ones worth of, or capable of fighting for, things like rule of law, human rights and so on.” The peoples of the region are actors and should be recognized as such.

The second article by Christopher Szabo, a Hungarian commentator, explicitly asks “Why are we so understanding toward the crimes of Communism?” He suggests that there are complex reasons for that:

  • Part of the reason is that what the West likes to call “the collapse of Communism” in fact was largely peaceful because those who had been in power became “the new political elite and the wealthiest stratum of society.” In short, the nomenklatura took advantage of the changes with the lesson being “’crime pays.’”
  • But another part and one that helps explain “the lack of justice for victims of communism” is “Western apathy toward [its] victims.” It is something “hard to understand for those … whose families were affected and very hurtful” and which is the product of the spread of “cultural Marxism and simple ignorance.”

Few in the West today talk about the crimes of communism, even when information about their horrors have become available and even when these horrors continue in places where communists are still in power, Szabo points out.

One of these is mass rape. The Red Army raped from three to four million East European women at the end of World War II. Today, the Chinese communist forces engage in similar actions in Tibet. “One cannot help wondering,” Szabo says, “where the feminists are in all this” and what can be done.

Obviously, more attention must be given to the crimes of communism via memorials and mass media. Unfortunately, the trend is going in the other direction at the present time. Thus, the Hungarian journalist writes, “there are some memorials to the victims of the GULAG in Ukraine and Russia, but since the rise of Vladimir Putin, some have been taken down and some have been ‘re-scripted’ to whitewash history.”

All too often, he says, “the liberal West and Putin’s regime are in agreement: all memory of communism’s crimes must be carefully edited out of all books, films and other media and quickly forgotten.” That needs to change because many of these crimes are continued or at least continue to cast a shadow on the world.

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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Cargocat

    The answer is simple–progressives. These type of people are prevalent in western politics, education and media. They are blinded by progressive dogma and cannot see or refuse to acknowledge the real damage communism has inflicted on the world. Communism has murdered more victims than any other system but the progressive mind excuses communism because it is a leftist ideology that they favour.

  • Randolph Carter

    Cargocat, I agree – for all of the 1960’s and some of the 1970’s, Communism was the darling of the left. I can’t say why; possibly a backlash against Sen. McCarthy and his House Un-American Activities Committee which blacklisted many Hollywood celebrities but was formally disbanded in 1975.

    Since the tradition at that time was to condemn the “military-industrial complex” due to the war in Vietnam, the counter-culture against democracy looked for (and found) its antithesis in Communism. I think many people had a poor understanding of what Communism was; it just happened to be fashionable to say you were a Communist (John Lennon’s lyrics in the song “Imagine” – “imagine no possessions” – ok, give me your $5M brownstone in New York). Some day, try asking someone the difference between Communism and Socialism and watch them grope for answers. Many people still make excuses for Jane Fonda’s consorting with the enemy; an offense which would be considered treason in earlier times.

    Also, westerners (especially in America) see Russia and still think of the Soviet Union. Even recently, I’ve had people ask me – “Ukraine; isn’t that part of Russia?” We are a very insular society and recently, deployment of troops has always been to the mid-east, probably to protect our interests in petroleum products there. The was no deployment to Ukraine and assistance there was only grudgingly provided once Ukrainians and others who were sympathetic to them were able to prevail on Obama and Congress to pull their collectives heads out of their asses and try helping someone whose products don’t directly benefit the the oil and gasoline companies.

    I think we’re still dealing with the remnant of the 60’s generation who saw Communism as an antidote to a variety of capitalist evils; the bailout of the banks, Bernie Madoff, vast differences in CEO vs. worker salaries, insider trading, etc, etc. Personally, I had never even heard of the Holodomor until I began researching Ukraine due to meeting my girlfriend in Lugansk. Eastern (especially Slavic, non-Russian history) is not taught in schools. Even questioning Communism today in most colleges will result in a PC backlash; the percentage of people who truly know the evils that Stalin, Beria and others inflicted on the Slavic people are ignored out of either Political Correctness or simple disinterest.

    • Oknemfrod

      Thank you for an excellent post.
      What is funny (and in a way sad at the same time) is that those who were eager to ‘condemn the “military-industrial complex” due to the war in Vietnam’ thought of the Soviet Union in terms of something opposing the “military-industrial complex” and hence opposite of it. In reality, the Soviet Union was first and foremost a quintessential “military-industrial complex” (which the West actually had helped build) with very little productive capacity left over to do anything else.

  • Terry Washington

    I suspect it’s a form of Stockholm Syndrome- if we make nice to the aggressor- Nazi, Bolshevik and now Islamist, he will be good to us!

  • Tatra

    Cargocat & Mr. Carter,
    Please don’t paint all on the left with the same brush. This issue exposes a division in the left that goes back over 100 years – namely, the Plekhanov debate (bolshevism vs. menshevism) and the division between state socialism & anarcho-syndicalism. Unfortunately, the Bolsheviks prevailed and successfully removed the left opposition not just in eastern Europe (eg. against the Kronstad sailors and Nestor Makhno), but also in the Spanish revolution against revolutionary Catalonia. Echoes of those struggles still reverberate. Despite the fall of the USSR, old guard fellow travelers in the west still dominate the parameters of the left-right debate. Even though Putin’s Russia is more gangster capitalist than socialist, many on the left still see Russia as the last bulwark against western capitalism. For example, leftist blog sites such as “thenation.com” and “counterpunch.org” have pedigrees that directly trace back to Soviet apologists. These commentators live in a dualistic world that forgives resurgent Russian imperialism due to its opposition to the western variety. The author’s characterization of this as orientalism is correct – the US and Russia are seen as puppet masters manipulating world events, while all others lack the facility for independent action. Sadly, this worldview is not restricted to commentators on the left. Putin’s supporters in the EU and America includes many on the right. Even those who blame all of Ukraine’s problems on Russia fall victim of this mindset. Their identities are defined by their anti-Russian reaction rather than an independent assessment and viewpoint. Until they can rise above dualism, Ukraine will continue to be a pawn between east and west, to the destruction of the people and culture.

    • Randolph Carter

      Tatra – thanks for the pointer to the Plekhanov debate. I had never heard about it, so it should present some interesting reading (especially since I need to learn the difference between bolshevism and menshevism). Who still considers Russia a puppet master of world events? I would have associated a reputation like that with the Soviet Union, but since glasnost and perestroika plus the dissolution of the Soviet empire, I wasn’t aware that Russia still had that kind of power. Putin manipulates Merkel and Hollande, but they seem to be willing pawns, not fighters.

      Also, other than issues of corruption, I don’t see how Ukraine can be held responsible for the war and destruction there. I focus on Russia solely because there are no Ukrainian tanks attacking the Donbass nor are Ukrainian troops occupying Crimea. Where do you see a Ukrainian factor in these and other issues, other than their own defense?

      • Tatra

        Randolph,
        I agree that Russia’s influence has decreased since the fall of the USSR. However, Putin has exploited the Syrian conflict and refugee crisis, to his advantage, for example. And of course, he continues to rattle his ‘near abroad’ neighbors – most notably Ukraine.
        I also agree that Russia bears full responsibility for its international crimes in Crimea and Donbas. In fact, especially regarding Crimea, I consider Putin’s action worse than a crime – it was a blunder. But, I also find Poroshenko lacking. I appreciate the difficult position in which he is operating, trying to appease intransigent elements within the country while facing a potentially existential external threat. Yet, to date he does not seem to be up to the task.
        For me this is frustrating, because I can visualize a different course. Putin’s Achilles heel is his phobia for the outbreak of civil society in Russia. Here, Ukraine can be a beacon, but only if it can clean up its own act by relieving the oligarchic strangle-hold on its political-economy. This will require true revolutionary change – not just the bait-and-switch ploys that have followed the 2 Maidan events, when change was promised but not delivered. It will also involve avoiding the neo-liberal trap that the EU & US have prescribed for Ukraine.
        I know that there is popular support for this, and I have faith in the Ukrainian spirit. As difficult as it may seem, I do not think that it is impossible.

        • Randolph Carter

          Tatra,

          Interesting bit about Syria – I interpreted that to be a loss to Putin because he withdrew his forces and (as I understand) now is only supplying Assad’s troops with weapons – no “boots on the ground” Unless there is an ulterior motive somewhere, the whole thing seemed like a debacle for Putin; he and Russia lost some of their image of strength to the west.

          You mention a neo-liberal trap that the EU & US have set. Could you elaborate? The only thing I see is companies wishing to do business in Ukraine but unwilling to do so under the umbrella of widespread corruption. I agree about Poroshenko; I am not sure he is up to the task of reducing the corruption in Ukraine, but I am still hopeful; I care about Ukraine very much and am more hopeful in the Ukrainian people than their government.

          • Tatra

            Randolph,
            Putin doesn’t have to have boots on the ground to fan the flames in Syria. Providing arms & logistical/air support for Assad’s forces guarantees that the refugee crisis will persist. The effect this has on the EU plays right into the hands of EU skeptics, with which he has allied himself. His goal is a weak divided EU, ideally with a lukewarm commitment to NATO.
            The neo-liberal trap is the exploitation of Ukraine labor and resource markets by western capital. The most immediate is the debt trap set by western banks. This is similar to the crisis faced by Greece (or Puerto-Rico), for example. Although most articles talk about anti-corruption measures as loan pre-conditions, the banks also require austerity measures and more privatizations. Besides increasing greater hardship, which leads to social instability, less government investment lowers growth, which leads to less revenue to pay off previous debt. Loan payments favor creditors rather than alleviate cuts to social services. Also, it was privatizations that created the oligarchic system in the first place. More privatizations will only increase wealth, and power inequality.
            Neo-liberal policy also includes greater control of resources by foreign corporations, such as Monsanto in the agricultural sector.
            I could go on, but you get the picture.

          • http://culture.pl/en Gryzelda Wrr, III RP

            I agree with many of your points but I am afraid you are wrong about the reasons of the process of oligarchization of Ukraine. Privatization took place in Poland too and to much greater degree yet here are no oligarchs in Poland.
            Another thing that I consider a bit detached from Ukraine’s reality are the alleged attempts at Ukrainian workers rights. The biggest problem in Ukraine’s economy seem to be the gray zone caused by total rejection of state institutions. People don’t want to pay taxes as they are convinced that the money ends up in private pockets.
            The first and most important right of Ukraine workers is to have trustworthy institutions. Without that the gray zone will only expand.

          • Randolph Carter

            Gryzelda, people here in American (especially the wealthy) have talked about privatization of services for decades. The problem (as I understand it) would be equity of services; poor neighborhoods couldn’t afford police, fire, etc., whereas rich neighborhoods would be able to obtain the best, which would further stratify society and cause alienation between the rich and the poor (not to mention the ethical issues). Oligarchization is happening here when you consider that the average C* executive makes about 400 times what the average worker makes.

            Perhaps today, people still see Communism as the antithesis of an
            increasingly dysfunctional Capitalist economy. Studies have shown that people are making less in “real dollars” than in 1970. Human nature dictates that if a situation becomes unworkable and can’t be repaired, then they must leave to survive. Since many still confuse Communism with Socialism, there is a tendency to seek the opposite to Capitalism which, in many peoples minds, is Communism (especially to those laboring under a system which they increasingly perceive as “unfair”). They see the idea of “free” services (health care, college, elder services, etc) and contrast it to our own (American) system’s dichotomy of better services to the rich and less to the poor. Communism becomes an antidote to the failures of Capitalism.

            I can’t speak about Ukrainian measures to establish worker’s rights but sadly, worker’s rights here have been eroded for a long time. For a better monologue on the issue, find George Carlin’s “Who owns the country?” and listen to what he says – it’s frightening because a lot of it is true. In this age of computerization where nothing is forgotten, I predict the evolution of many more “gray markets” where goods or services are traded and not can’t be tracked by the government (which drives the IRS nuts). People here don’t want to pay taxes because of the very real fear of government waste (look up things like “the bridge to nowhere” or even the F-35 fighter/bomber). Things like this drive people to desperation and the need to find other ways to live, and the Russian government is especially good at propaganda (worker’s paradise, the people control the means to production, etc).

            Sorry if I’m off-topic…a lot of the things here are sore points for me.

          • http://culture.pl/en Gryzelda Wrr, III RP

            A bit off-topic but inspiring, thank you :)
            The problem is the fact we are on antipodes. You are talking about privatization of public services, which in Europe is rather unthinkable, at least in spheres like penitentiary institutions, police, fire fighters. I’m talking about privatization of farmland and state owned companies, if there are any left, and if possible with a meaningful participation of the people working in the companies.
            It’s a fact that rich are getting richer everwhere in the world and a salesperson in Wallmart with his/her 1200 USD monthly salary may find it quite hard to believe that she/he lives a paradise. However, the US have a vast middle class and offer plenty of possiblities to improve one’s social status.
            In case of Ukraine, we are talking about a handful of magnates who practically own entire regions and the rest of people who spend most of their income on food. The Wallmart employees spend on food about 25/30% of their income.This is a very big difference.
            Ukrainian people were obviosly robbed in the process of privatization that began in the 90s. To some extent we were robbed in Poland too. I think it was done deliberately as a kind of social engineering strategy, which aim was to mobilize the apathetic and state dependent society to more market-like behaviours. I truly don’t know why in Poland and in Ukraine the results of the process of privatization gave such different results. Our rich seem poor comparing to their Ukrainian peers and have not even a fraction of their political influence, which is the most damaging phenomenon in today’s Ukraine.
            Now, we have just recovered from communism, so it is not a viable alternative. I’m afraid that in this crazy experiment of leaving the communist paradise towards the capitalist paradise Eastern Europe must pass through all the stages of world history, serfdom and wild capitalism included. That’s why talking about workers’ rights here sounds sometimes unbelivably utopian. Even when one feels a socialist, like myself. And it is actually difficult to define what socialism in a post communist country is. Western socialists seem so naive from Eastern Europen perspective.

          • Tatra

            My family is from Eastern Slovakia. I used “Tatra” as a username on a site once that was connected to ‘Disquis’, and haven’t changed it. My surname is actually ‘Kozak’, which explains my interest in Ukraine.
            The process of privatization was different in Poland than in Russia, & Ukraine. In Poland, during the transition from Communism, there was more of a house-cleaning than in Russia and Ukraine. As a result, in Russia and Ukraine more of the state’s assets ended up in the hands of insiders (with the help of organized crime).
            I am skeptical that a new round of privatizations at this point will be much better. I fear that former state assets will only end up in the hands of existing oligarchs or foreign corporations. How will this benefit the average Ukrainian?
            There is no one formula for good governance. There are risks associated with any political-economic model. The key is identifying the risks, designing & implementing controls to address those risks, and then constant monitoring to verify that the controls are effective. Most important is the tone set at the top. A fish rots from the head down.

          • http://culture.pl/en Gryzelda Wrr, III RP

            Why “Tatra”?

          • Tatra

            Thanks for your response, Gryzelda. It is good to know that there are still socialists in Poland who have not thrown the ideological baby out with the bathwater of soviet communism (forgive the mangled metaphor). To me, the solidarnosc movement remains one of the most significant events in my lifetime. I am confident that Poles will recover that spirit and rid themselves of the Kaczynski crowd.

          • http://culture.pl/en Gryzelda Wrr, III RP

            Well, I’m from this non-heroic times when freedom was granted but bread not. Solidarność was a founding myth. Predatory capitalism was the reality.
            The old left had to prove its commitment to the new born reality, so it became fiercely liberal.
            We are trying to rebuild the left from scratch. But Kaczynski has stolen us a lot of votes. Partially because the new left are often people from academic circles, totally detached from the reality of small towns and villages. Getting rid of Kaczynski won’t be easy. He’s got much more experience than any of us. A big experiment is going on here and no one really knows where we are going to.
            Thank you for your warm words :) I’m writing from a room with view on the Tatras:) I live close to Nowy Targ/Zakopane. We go to Slovakia to drink beer :)

          • Tatra

            Gryzelda,
            I am from the cold war generation. You are correct that the western left does not understand the central/eastern European reality. They are still stuck in an east-west mentality and have a hard time understanding that there almost 20 separate countries in the ‘miedzymorze’ between German and Russian speaking worlds. Each has its own culture, history, perspective, etc… It is easier to fall back on old stereo-types than appreciate the subtleties of your world.
            BTW, I know the road between Zakopane & Poprad well. Dzedo was from Markusovce – near Spisska Nova Ves.

          • http://culture.pl/en Gryzelda Wrr, III RP

            Besides the western left so easily dismisses the fact that Russia and the USSR were an imperial power in this part of the world. It just doesn’t fit in their imago mundi that the Cold War had victims on both sides of the barricade.

            Spiš is a wonderful story, isn’t it? Colorful, multiethnic history and culture. I’m just discovering it. Actually I knew what Spiš is only after reading The Black Town by Kálmán Mikszáth. I must finally visit Levoča :)

          • Tatra

            You are correct, while the western left has been rallying around anti-fascism, they cling to the notion that the only real imperialist threat is from the US.

            On a more pleasant note, I am sure you know that a dozen of the largest cities in Spiš were part of Poland for almost 350 years before the partition in 1770. Even to my grandfather’s generation, there remained linguistic reminders. When I first traveled there in the 90’s, I was surprised that certain words I learned growing up were actually Polish rather than Slovak.

          • http://culture.pl/en Gryzelda Wrr, III RP

            I do know :) Although it is a bit forgotten part of our history. During the Swedish invasion our kings insignia were kept in Lubovla. And one of the biggest reformers of our educational system in xviii, Stanisław Konarski, studied in Podoliniec.
            And as for the west-east uneasy dialog, I’m a Spanish translator. I always have a great time talking about politics with people from South America. I have destroyed a lot of their myths I’m afraid :)

          • Tatra

            I live in Texas. Although I can converse in Slovak, my Spanish is much better. I hear it every day and we have many TV channels in Spanish, including local ones. When I first travelled to Central/Eastern Europe, I often told those who praised the western political-economic model to visit Latin America and see how it is working out for them. If you haven’t read it already, you might be interested in the late Eduardo Galeano’s book, “Open Veins of Latin America” (“Las Venas Abiertas de America Latina”). You can get it in either Spanish or English, in which you are also fluent, obviously. It is the best book I have ever read about the history of Latin America from a left perspective.

          • http://culture.pl/en Gryzelda Wrr, III RP

            Sí, señor, Las venas abiertas de América Latina es un texto básico.
            Eastern Europe and Latin America are mirror images of the same history. Both victims of two different systems and colonialism. Pity we don’t know much about each other, and what we know comes distorted by the old colonial superpowers.
            If we were able to get rid of the two competing discourses dictated by Moscow and Washington, we could even have some weight in the international relations. Perhaps we could even reform the Untied Nations Security Council? The permanent membership is after all nothing but a relict of colonialism.
            But we are poor, and the poor are even more selfish than the rich, because they don’t have time, means and energy for anything except for satisfying basic needs. Pure Marx :)

          • Tatra

            Estoy de acuerdo 100%.

  • Alex George

    Thank you for the pictures of the Holodomor. They are confronting, but we need to be reminded of the sort of atrocities that Moscow has perpetrated over many decades in Ukraine and other areas.

    And the reason why there is so much deference to Russia in the west? The answer is simple: latent fascism. It is no accident that Putin’s strongest supporters outside Russia are western Extremist Right-Wing organisations. Like attracts like.

    • Quartermaster

      Those “western Extremist Right-Wing organizations” are all left wing organizations. Perhaps they are to the right of the organizations that are usually called leftist, but it only in relative terms. Fascism is firmly on the left of the ideological spectrum.

      • Oknemfrod

        True; an important clarification.

      • Alex George

        We can play with words all we like, but the reality is that fascism is of the right as well as of the left.

        When I wrote ” It is no accident that Putin’s strongest supporters outside Russia are western Extremist Right-Wing organisations”, that was accurate.

        • Quartermaster

          We’re not playing with words.

          Fascism can not be both of the left and right. Ideologically, the far left is statist. The far left is anrachy. Fascism can not be both statist and anarchic at the same time.

          I understand where you are coming from, but you are far form the only person that has made that same mistake. That mistake has its origin in communist propaganda and is an attempt to differentiate Stalin’s communism from Hitler’s version of socialism, and Mussolini’s fascism. All three ideologies are quite close to each other in intent and desire. That’s why all three are placed on the left, along with other statist ideologies.

          • Alex George

            Yes we are playing with words.

            My statement was “It is no accident that Putin’s strongest supporters outside Russia are western Extremist Right-Wing organisations”. You haven’t stated a single reason against the accuracy of that statement.

          • Quartermaster

            You aree playing with words because you have no idea what you are talking about. I have explained basic political philosophy, yet you say I have offered nothing that points out your inaccuracy. Since you are not able to accept basic political philosophy, there’s not much I can say to you.

            Those “extreme right-wingers” are anything but right-wingers. They are in no way anarchists. It’s the same sort of stupidity that places Hiter and the Nazi movement on the right, when the entire movement shares most of it’s founding philosophy with Communism.

          • Alex George

            Oh please, this is just more word games. The vast majority of people would classify Hitler and the Nazzi movement on the right, just as they would classify the western groups that support Hitler.

            You don’t like that, and you would rather press your own private theory that Hitler and similar groups should be classified as of the left. Feel free to hold whatever theory you like, but don’t waste my time with it. This is just word games.

          • Quartermaster

            It is not a word game simply because you disagree. What was said is either true or false. I have pointed out to you what basic political philosophy says on the issue. You don’t like. Too bad.
            It is not my view of the issue, that is the philosophy as it has existed for 200+ years. You don’t like that. Too bad.
            It is anything but peripheral because the mistake clouds the issue and it is a mistake that is made repeatedly by the ignorant.

  • Dirk Smith

    Perhaps it’s simply the neo-Marxist curriculum and agenda of public educational systems in the West. The West enabled the Putin Frankenstein to be created; now they have to deal with their creation.

  • http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/ Bu Buccaneer

    A detailed explanation
    Hollywood’s war with Poland
    http://www.amazon.com/Hollywoods-Poland-1939-1945-M-B-B-Biskupski/dp/0813125596
    Even though the book deals mainly with Poland as the victim of the propaganda the motives and background to all of this apply to most of countries occupied by Soviet Union after WW2.

  • http://culture.pl/en Gryzelda Wrr, III RP

    The followers of postcolonialism should be finally told that the USSR was a simple colonial empire and its satellites were its colonies. Is that so difficult to understand? Said can be of course read in the context of Eastern Europe, but only if we get the facts straight. Pseudointellectual morons.