The inspiration for this article is something many people living in the West may encounter.
The scenario unfolds like this. A genuinely open minded individual who can understand the failures and faults of the west, sees the disasters of Islamic terrorism and what Russia is doing to combat it and is sympathetic to the Russian people and to Russian culture. But then comes the line, “Russia isn’t perfect either”.
Of course it isn’t and thank goodness for a strong political opposition in the form of both the LDPR and Communist parties in order to hold the government to account.
But what starts as innocent if not juvenile ‘east versus west’ banter reveals what in the West is a tale untold. A tale of suffering, misery and devastation. If one wonders why Russia has problems, here is why, and it has nothing to do with the trite and bigoted reasons offered up to people in the West by the mainstream media.
Historically, Russia is a country that has suffered disproportionally from war. Since the Rus’ founded a state, the Russian people have been slaughtered and displaced by Mongols, Poles and Lithuanians, Swedes, Turks, French and Germans.
The civil war of the 1920s was devastating, as was the attempt to rebuild the state in the 1930s.
Then of course in the 1940s the Russian people suffered the biggest loss of life in the history of humanity during the biggest war in human history.
This is not some attempt to attract sympathy, but a matter of context for people living in countries like Britain, who have never seen a land invasion of England since 1066, or the people of north America, who have seen sustained invasions of their country…unless of course they happen to be native Americans (but that’s for another day).
Fast forward to the 1970s, a unique period of happiness for the Russian people.
Strife was little and violent crime was lower than in any Western country. The population was housed, fed, in good health, educated to a universally high standard, and luxury goods were more widespread than during any previous Russian epoch.
Abroad Soviet prestige remained high. The Helsinki Accords of 1975 affirmed that the sovereignty of states is sacred, effectively amounting to Western capitulation against the tide of contestant meddling in the Soviet state.
The revised Soviet Constitution of 1977 guaranteed not only basic human rights but also included the rights to personal leisure and cultural enrichment. Ground-breaking to this day.
But by the mid-1980s there were calls for reform, and many were justified.
Unfortunately, after the death of Brezhnev in 1982, there were few men in high Soviet politics capable of engineering reforms that could improve the lives of the people, without compromising the integrity of the state and the basic needs of the people.
What the Soviet Union needed in the 1980s was a Deng Xiaoping, a wise and far-sighted man who understood the importance of economic development to ensure a consistent increase in living standards and national wealth, but one that would be accomplished without comprising past progress,and the integrity of the state, and without capitulating to foreign powers.
Instead of a Deng Xiaoping, Russia got Alexander Yakovlev.
Yakovlev’s ideas for reform weren’t based on economic revival within the framework of stable and consistent governance. Yakovlev’s idea of reform included destroying many crucial parts of the Soviet economy without having any idea of how to replace them.
It was a misguided metaphysical reform to a country in good emotional health, rather than economic reform which would have improved the material wealth of individuals.
Yakovlev’s idea of reform included capitulating to outside pressure and making Soviet men and women feel ashamed of their own heritage. He was widely criticised at the time, including by current Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov.
Things however, were about to get much worse. The weak leadership of Yakovlev’s boss, the controversial Mikhail Gorbachev, allowed a situation that could have been brought under control to spiral into chaos.
In spite of a 1991 referendum in which a majority of the Soviet people expressed their desire to remain part of a united country, the Soviet Union was illegally and undemocratically dissolved at a small lodge in Belavezha Forest in the presence of only three leaders of three Soviet Republics: the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic (Boris Yeltsin), the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (Leonid Kravchuk) and the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic (Stanislav Shushkevich). No one else was consulted.
This was the dawning of the terrible 1990s. After an un-constitutional power grab by Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1993, his two henchmen Anatoly Chubais and Yegor Gaidar set Russia on a course of self-destruction.
After selling off all of Russia’s assets for the equivalent of Judas’s 50 pieces of silver, industry and agriculture collapsed, unemployment rose to catastrophic levels, poverty and hunger became endemic, and health services were on the verge of collapse. Lives were cut short, mothers abandoned their babies, old men and women were malnourished.
This combined with an influx of western narcotics saw an exponential rise in suicides and neuroses.
Whilst Western leaders encouraged Chubais and Gaidar to press on, and press harder and faster with their ‘reforms’, the people suffered.
It was the biggest disaster in Russian history since 1945, and one of the worst in history; all caused by a combination of foreign puppeteering and internal treachery.
And then something happened at the turn of the millennium.
After the Second World War, West Germany’s economic and cultural recovery was called the ‘West German Miracle’. It was accomplished in a small, ethnically heterogeneous country, and paid for by US Marshall Plan money. Ironically, due to pro-Soviet Communist governments in neighbouring states, the US and its allies decided to pump money into West Germany so that it could be a showcase of the ‘American way’, a kind of geo-politics in a dolls’ house.
When Vladimir Putin became president of the Russian Federation, he did something similar but far more wide ranging, and he did it without foreign aid.
The Putin Miracle of the 2000s saw industry and agriculture rehabilitated, Russia’s resources no longer for sale to the lowest foreign bidder, wages increased, pensions increased, health and education improved, corrupt businessmen jailed and removed from positions of power, GPD increased, Russia’s foreign prestige increased, and Russian culture receiving renewed support and investment.
It is for this reason that if Putin walked down the streets of Moscow unaccompanied, people would throw flowers at him; but if Chubais were to try the same many would throw him punches.
No one in The Duran, RT or anywhere else has said Russia is internally perfect.
In the heart of Russian politics – the Duma – criticisms of conditions in Russia are voiced passionately.
Most of Russia’s internal problems are no different from those of any developed country. However it must be said that whilst Putin has done much to fix the horrors of the 1990s, the effects of such a catastrophe cannot be overcome overnight.
Russia is a vast, multi-ethnic, multi-religious country, and one being sanctioned by many of her critics. Yet what has been achieved is quite miraculous, especially given the Western enmity towards the idea of a prosperous Russia.
Frankly another reason for this enmity is because Russia has recovered from the 1990s on Russian terms, not foreign or globalist terms. This irks many who still seek to subdue Russian independence.
So when people go to Russia and see that it isn’t some sort of giant version of a 5-star resort on Lake Geneva, tell them this dark tale, tell them the authors of the villainy, and tell them that the happy ending has just begun.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.