As if the memorial to the Victims of Communism wasn’t bad enough. Communists in Ukraine and Russia have decided to enter the battle over memory. In response to the Victims of Communism groundbreaking last week, Leonid Grach from the Ukrainian Communist Party has proposed “establishing a museum commemorating victims of U.S. imperialism.” “American imperialism, from the extermination of native Americans to war crimes in Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq,” Grach added, “has caused substantially more deaths than the ‘orange forces,’ along with their masters over the ocean, blame Communism for.” Grach also asserted that the the Victims of Communism Memorial would certainly please the U.S.’s “vassal” Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko, whose government has sought to have the 1932-33 Ukrainian Famine declared a genocide.
Grach’s hasn’t been the only response to the Victims of Communism Memorial. Russian Communist Party chief Gennady Zyuganov called President Bush “a symbol of state terror” and the memorial “attempt to distract the attention of world opinion from the bloody evils of American imperialism as a whole.” That wasn’t all. Zyuganov also claimed former President George H. W. Bush was responsible for the shock therapy economic policies of the 1990s, which according to Zyuganov, “10 million people, 9 million of them ethnic Russians.”
Nothing like burnt out Communists to push the limits of absurdity. I’m sure all the massacred Native Americans will rest well knowing that they have Grach and Zyuganov fighting to preserve their memory.
Thanks to Wally Shedd for alerting me of the article.
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By Sean — 9 years ago
One reads a lot of weird and fanciful things about Russia. The place is such an enigma to some that attempts to understand it leads one to make all sorts of absurd connections. Take for example, Anthony Julius’ commentary “Dreams of Empire Strike Back” in the Guardian. Julius, whose bio says that he’s a “highly-regarded litigation lawyer specializing in media law and defamation,” poses the rather calumniatory question: “What do Osama bin Laden and Vladimir Putin have in common?” Those who think that the obvious answer is a resounding “nothing” will be surprised to find that Julius believes that the vozhd and the terrorist “have identical perspectives on one specific issue” i.e. the desire to recreate a past empire. He writes:
What is that issue? Bin Laden’s and Putin’s imperialist ambitions are novel because they are driven not by a desire to create something new, but to recapture something that has past. It is now appropriate to consider an additional age of empire, namely the age of attempted restoration.
For Osama bin Laden, it is the Arab-Islamic empire of the mid-seventh century. Bin Laden has romanticised this period in Arab history and sees himself as heir apparent to the earthly caliphate established (briefly) by the warrior prophet Muhammad. When justifying his attacks on western targets, he frequently makes reference to the crusaders and Jews who have thwarted the return of the Arab-Islamic empire.
Putin is also driven by a desire to revive a lost empire, the Soviet Union. In Ukraine and Georgia, Putin has shown that he is not reconciled to its dissolution. He tolerates the independence of the former Soviet states only when such independence is superficial. True acts of independence (such as asserting territorial integrity or attempting to negotiate the terms of an ostensibly commercial contract) are met with forceful demonstrations of Russian strength.
Reading this one might even walk away thinking that Putin is worse than Bin Laden. For while the latter sits in some undisclosed cavernous location along the Afghan-Pakistani border dreaming up “delusional” imperial ambitions, the former’s dreams are “real” backed with a formidable state and its military might. Putin, unlike his Islamist counterpart, is a “master tactician” who deploys the right weapon at the right time. In Ukraine it was the soft power of the economics of gas; in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the silent weapon of doling out Russian passports or using Russian mobile companies to “expand Russian influence in the region.” The August war was merely the cherry on top of Putin’s imperial sundae.
Predictably, in August last year, Putin seized the opportunity to complete his program of expansion. The final stage: the expulsion and murder of elements in the subject population. The burning of ethnic Georgian villages and the forced ejection or murder of their Georgian inhabitants by paramilitary irregulars, armed by Russia, suggests a systematic project of altering the ethnic composition of the regions in Russia’s favour. It defines a moment in which Putin’s imperial dreams became a reality.
I don’t know. Last I checked Russia wasn’t occupying Kiev or Tblisi, unlike say Baghdad and Kabul. Or standing idle as its 51st state turns Gaza into corpse laden rubble for no other discernible reason than to manipulate its election. Or using drones to wage a silent but deadly war in Pakistan. Perhaps the question is not about resurrecting old empires as it is about maintaining the borderless jurisdiction of a current one. Julius’ own dreams of Russian imperial revival have clearly obfuscated the real imperial reality before him.Post Views: 184
By Sean — 11 years ago
On Monday Robert Gates met with President Putin and other officials in Moscow to discuss US plans to deploy the US ABM complex in Europe, and most importantly to offer cooperation on the issue: a potential linking of Russian and US systems and the ability for Russia to initiate inspection checks to the newly-built facilities. These plans were publicly rejected by
Russia‘s newly-appointed Minister of Defense Anatoliy Serdyukov and Mr. Ivanov ( ‘s first-vice-premier). Russia Russiacontinues to remain skeptical that Iranpossesses any type of threat to Russiaand to Europe. Similarly, the US, in the face of Secretary of State Rice has called Russia’s concerns over plans to deploy the ABM systems “ludicrous”, the New York Times reported.
In his annual address to parliament, President Putin made it clear that
Russiawill respond immediately to US plans by withdrawing from the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces Treaty in Europe, which was based on an earlier treaty of 1990 during the dissolution of the Cold War and the Soviet Union. ‘s claims are that it is the only nation to have fully ratified the treaty and refuses to continue to fulfill its obligations unless other members (specifically NATO members) ratify it. NATO has declared its surprise over such actions as it believes Russia was never fulfilling its promises under the treaty. Russia
Because of numerous confusions in the press, it is important to go back and determine the realities of the treaties. An adapted copy of both treaties (1990) and (1999) can be found on the Arms Control Association Websites. The New York Times reports that:
The agreement in question, the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, known by the initials C.F.E., was signed in 1990 by the N.A.T.O. nations and the nations of the former Warsaw Pact, including Russia. It required the reduction and relocation of much of the main battle equipment then located along the former east-west dividing line, including tanks, artillery pieces, armored vehicles and attack aircraft. It also established an inspection regime.
Under the treaty, more than 50,000 pieces of military equipment were converted or destroyed by 1995. With its initial ambitions largely achieved, it was renegotiated in 1999, adding a requirement that Russia withdraw its forces from Georgia and Moldova, two former Soviet republics where tensions and intrigue with Moscow run high.
The fact of “force withdrawal” remains very controversial. NATO members in 2002 had accepted that Russia fulfilled all of its requirements under the treaty, specifically regarding the fact of withdrawal of TPE (treaty prohibited weapons) from Georgia and Moldova and other territories.
Russiaclaims that its obligations essentially stop here, and a withdrawal of forces is a gesture of goodwill; NATO members claim that made promises to withdraw its troops also. The treaty was originally signed to ensure the collective security of Russia Europeand security from a “blitzkrieg-type” attack when one state would concentrate a large number of weapons on another’s border. Thus, severe caps on TPEs were implemented (specifically tanks, jet fighters, light-armored vehicles, cannons, etc.) Consequently, troop presence would not be an issue to collective security, neither would the US ABM bases (clearly a missile deterrent system).
In addition to the above, Russia’s attempt to withdraw from the treaty is set to completely confuse all negotiations, as the treaty seems to be read differently by both sides. With Russia having ratified it but slow on implementation and NATO members, having not ratified it accusing Russia of slow progress. Even before Russia’s announcement, the Guardian reported that:
The Bush administration has this week been struggling to convince sceptical European partners that the missile shield is a good idea.
In an interview yesterday, Germany’s deputy foreign minister, Gernot Erler, revealed that at least six allies, including Germany, raised doubts about the project at a Nato meeting last week — amid fears of another cold war on European soil.
The CFE treaty is not the first treaty
has threatened to withdraw from. Russian officials initially opened up their protests by suggesting likely withdrawal from the 1987 treaty limiting medium-range missiles. It is a paradox that both treaties are virtually outdated, with Russia and US having mostly scrapped their medium-range missiles, while six other countries still possess them. With regard to the CFE treaty, the militarization and force-withdrawals have mostly been achieved already, and Russia remains the beneficiary under the treaty due to its massive territory. While other countries had to scrap their weapons, Russia Russiashifted its TPEs beyond the limit-free Urals in Siberia. Yet the treaties are highly symbolic and are the essential foundations of collective security in the post Cold War period.
The Financial Times reports that, the US was the first country that began breaking such treaties, through its 2001 unilateral withdrawal from the ABM treaty:
However, Thursday’s decision is strategically important because it signals Russia’s growing readiness to tear up the post-1990 diplomatic order. Moscow believes today’s strong Russia can revisit the deals done in the 1990s by a weak Russia. The Kremlin also argues the US has repeatedly acted unilaterally, including over Iraq and over recent plans for Czech and Polish missile defence bases. If the US can set aside bilateral or multilateral pacts, says Moscow, so can Russia.
These developments take the world into perilous waters. While there is no open ideological conflict between east and west, there are deep differences over democracy and the rule of law. It will be dangerous if these disputes prevent Russia, the European Union and the US co-operating on matters of mutual interest, including energy, the war against terrorism and nuclear non-proliferation.
The US is entitled to look after its own security. But it must accept security is often easier to build in partnership with others than alone. America, not Russia, was the first to pull out of a cold war arms pact when in 2001 it abandoned the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Washington’s recent effort to explain its missile defence plans to sceptical European states, including Russia, is long overdue.
Russiais behaving irresponsibly in a diplomatic sense and is severely threatening collective security in Europe. But the is doing the same, yet indirectly. Analysts have rightly pointed out that withdrawal from both treaties will make US ‘s position worse: it has barely the right capital to finance development and deployment of medium-range ballistic missiles, and to engage in a large-scale rearmament of its European part. These capabilities are dwarfed by 10 times by the Russia military budget. But clearly US has no choice. Its policy of countering NATO’s dominance must start now, at a time when relations are moderately cool. The fact of no ideological difference between the East and the Wets means no serious threat of confrontation will occur. Yet, it is worrisome if Russia Russiaand the USscrap their commitments to security in Europe, especially given the experience of the 20th century. We are living in a different world, but relations among countries sour easily, and alliances and counter-alliances form just as fast.
The end goal of its diplomatic game is not to scrap its commitment to European security, but to make the rest of Europe aware that such issues as the ABM deployment if pushed unilaterally by the
without NATO approval could bring instability. Yet, the threats that Russia has made show that it is engaged in almost full-scale bluff, the US knows and understands this. Germany understands this even better. This poker game is very long, and the stakes may rise with every passing day. Unless serious negotiations start soon, Russia will turn its bluff into action. If a treaty withdrawal will occur, there is a marginal prospect of US rearmament in Europe. This would be quite an unfortunate prospect. US
Nikolay, Student, Boston U., Business Major, Russian. Interests: International Relations (1930-1945); Russian 20th century History, Capital Markets, Private Equity. He also runs the blog Russia’s True Tales of Terra.Post Views: 199
By Sean — 10 years ago
Russian Communists don’t like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, reports the Associated Press. But the communists in question are not the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), as the report implies. There are several communist parties in Russia and the one that has began a campaign against Indy is a small 500 member sect called Communists of the St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region (KPLO).
According to their website, KPLO have no official affiliation with the KPRF. Rather they, “are communists, like the KPRF, only better: more modern, younger, lively, and creative.” They forgot to add freakier. Just check out the accompanying photo. I’ve seen a lot of things but never communist vestments. And what’s up with that Young Pioneer? He looks like should adorn someone’s lawn.
And what has the good Dr. Jones done to get the KPLO all hot and bothered? As the Ideological Committee of the TsK KPLO explains in a letter to the film’s stars Harrison Ford and Kate Blanchet:
Your role in the film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skill offends all the Soviet and Russia people, all who remember the difficult 1950s, when our country finished the reconstruction after the Great [Patriotic]War, and didn’t send to the United States merciless terrorists.
A bunch of ranting and attempts at historical corrections follow. The film’s plot centers around Indy battling Soviet agents trying to get their hands on some skull with secret powers that, I assume, will aid them in world domination. Maybe someone should let the KPLO know that it’s just a movie, and probably not a very good one in the first place. Also, maybe someone at AP should do their homework and realize that in Russia, not all Communist parties are the same.Post Views: 185