Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Nightmare in the "New Russia"

The press reports that a video has popped up in Russia that shows the beheading of two young men in a forest by a Neo-Nazi group under a Nazi flag. While there is some question of whether or not the video is real and some comments by Russian "nationalist" members of the State Duma that it may be a provocation aimed at discrediting them, there are open fascist groups in the "new Russia" seeking to take advantage of the suffering created among the masses of people by the destruction of the Soviet Union. There are also a reactionaries using chauvinistic and pseudo-radical slogans to try to appeal to people, And of course, there are champions of "free market capitalism" (conservatives or reactionaries in the U.S) who are called "liberals," and are especially favored by the capitalist states, who are ready and willing to accept any regime that is not Communist and not committed to any restoration of the Soviet Union, whose destruction they regard as their major political victory in contemporary history, one that shapes directly their twenty-first century policies of turning NATO into a global military club for the imperialist policies they call "globalization."

I don't know if this video is true or not. I do know that twenty-seven million Soviet citizens perished in the war against Hitler fascism. I do know that anyone of ethnic Russian background who waves a swastika is waving a symbol the five million fascist troops who invaded the USSR on June 22, 1941, fighting both an ideological "holy war" against the "Judeo-Bolshevik" conspiracy of their twisted ideological imaginations and a "race war" of decimation and extermination directed against all of the peoples of the Soviet Union, both the Slavic and non Slavic peoples, whose culture and history was to be obliterated in the fascist new order. I do know that any support for Hitler fascism among any of the peoples of the former Soviet Union as an act of grotesque self-hatred, in its own way a tribute to the major capitalist states who spent trillions in the cold war era alone to defeat and destroy the Soviet Union

The Soviet people led by the Soviet Communists from 1941 to 1945 defeated the most powerful war machine in human history and literally save the world from the consequences of a fascist Axis victory. Specifically, they saved their own people from being treated the way Belgian colonialists treated Congolese at the beginning of the twentieth century or the South African Apartheid government sought to treat the African majority of South Africa, as less than human creatures to be driven out of their own lands and literally worked to death for the benefit of their colonial masters.

The Soviet Union was destroyed and dismembered in 1991. Perhaps those in the "new Russia" whose alienation from their society has not led them to withdraw completely into private affairs, and the race for the accumulation of personal wealth that highlights capitalist society anywhere should stop for a moment and remember not only the Soviet victory over those who threatened humanity with the Swastika but the Soviet ideals that were the foundation of that victory.

The Soviet idea and ideal was proletarian or working class internationalism, anti-racism, and anti-imperialism. The Soviet ideal was to turn the many peoples of the Soviet Union into a family of peoples, equal and cooperative with each other, to build a socialist economy that would end both the foreign capitalist penetration and exploitation that was characterizing late Czarist Russia and also what Lenin condemned over and over again, "Great Russian Chauvinism" which the Czarist autocracy used to oppress the non Russian peoples of the empire.

What the Soviet revolution, the formation of the USSR and its industrialization, its leadership of the world Communist movement in the interwar period, and its defeat of the overwhelming majority of fascist Axis forces on the ground in WWII, along with the inspiration and support it provided for Communist led anti-Axis resistance movements in China, Vietnam, France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, and many other countries, both the victory over fascism and the postwar end of colonialism would have been, at very best, highly unlikely.

These are the achievement and the history that Russians and non-Russians in the former Soviet Union can look at with great pride. This is what real patriotism, Russian and Soviet was about--and it is the only patriotism that makes sense, because it is the only patriotism that made a better life for the peoples oft he Soviet Union and the peoples of the world. It is what the Communists and all those who keep alive the Soviet achievement should point to today and what the young people of all of the former Soviet Republics should seek to recover, because it is
a truly heroic past that holds the key to their and their diverse peoples future, not "liberals" who are not liberals or "nationalists" who are chauvinists, not to mention fascists, who are open enemies of humanity anywhere on earth but on the soil of the former Soviet Union assume a grotesque character that is truly mind-boggling.

For those Russians who have not put their heads down and accepted the present status quo, it should fill them with both anger and shame and a resolve to fight the capitalist system that is the problem, not the solution for Russia.

--Norman Markowit

1 comment:

Ben said...

Norman's comments on "nightmare in the new Russia" remind me of Nov 2002 when my wife Peggy and I travelled to eastern Ukraine for our son's wedding. Yes, his bride was Ukrainian (he met her in Philly when she attended the U of PA) and we were welcomed warmly by her family. I will just mention a couple of our experiences that suggest the mixed emotions that alot of people apparently are having. The city of Dnepropetrovsk must be gorgeous in the summer when the trees have leaves. It has wide streets and the trolleys were still cheap, but the streets showed signs of a decade of neglect by 2002. Some things had not changed. NOt only was the statue of Lenin still standing on the main thoroughfare, but in the nearby smaller city of Dneprozerdzinsk(sp?) which we visited, we saw the bust of Brezhnev still in evidence (it was his hometown, I think). When we went to Kiev, we had dinner in the apt of friends of the bride. Three generations of Ukrainians were there: I took a chance and asked the 5 year old daughter of the host couple if she knew the song "May there always be sunshine..." Her blank stare told me that I had guessed wrong, but her father, a young business man, saved me when he said "I worry that she does not know it." [Anyone who visited the USSR and saw kids in any kind of organized setting (school, camp, etc) has heard that song.] Whereupon all the adults--two generations--broke into a rendition of that very song! Of the Soviet period, the little girls' father said "that was our period of prosperity." one more memory: in the English langage paper Kiev Post (we were in the city for all of 2 days) I saw an article about an effort to raise $$ to construct a monument memorializing the vicitms of the "famine" of the early 30's allegedly caused by "Russians" who had attempted to "starve" the Unkrainians during that period.(My understanding has been that the causes of the hunger were at least historically debatable and that the "kulaks" holding the grain off the market until they got the price they wanted or simply in an attempt to sabotage the whole collectivization process bore at least a good part of the responsibility.) The article went on to say that the impetus and the support for this memorial came primarily from emigres in Canada and the US and from the Bush administration and that the effort was eliciting little support in the Ukraine itself. I wrote a short article about our trip, but I never sent it to the paper. My thinking went something like this: "How many Americans married Ukrainians in Dnepro in Nov '02? I think the # might be only one. Therefore, any right wing emigre who saw this article in the PWW would not find it hard to make trouble for may in-laws, whose daughter married the son of a writer for the PWW. And, given the history, we know they can make trouble. So I figure the editorial board of PA is an appropriate place to share it. Thanks, Norman for triggering my memory.