Monday, July 30, 2007

Chilling

This article's inside look into Russia under the rule of Putin is literally frightening.


Slogans such as "Russia for the Russians" now attract the support of half of the population. Echoing Kremlin propaganda, Nashi denounced Estonians as "fascist", for daring to say that they find Nazi and Soviet memorials equally repugnant. But, in truth, it is in Russia that fascism is all too evident.

Just as the Nazis in 1930s rewrote Germany's history, the Putin Kremlin is rewriting Russia's. It has rehaabilitated Stalin, the greatest massmurderer of the 20th century. And it is demonising Boris Yeltsin, Russia's first democratically-elected president. That he destroyed totalitarianism is ignored. Instead, he is denounced for his "weak" pro-Western policies.

Russia barely commemorates even the damage it did to itself, let alone the appalling suffering inflicted on other people. Nashi is both a symptom of the way Russia is going - and a means of entrenching the drift to fascism.

Terrifyingly, the revived Soviet view of history is now widely held in Russia. A poll this week of Russian teenagers showed that a majority believe that Stalin did more good things than bad.

If tens of thousands of uniformed German youngsters were marching across Germany in support of an authoritarian Fuhrer, baiting foreigners and praising Hitler, alarm bells would be jangling all across Europe. So why aren't they ringing about Nashi?
The answer is that the Hitler youth didn't jangle bells across Europe. Someone so well versed in history should remember the denial, the slogan of "peace in our time".

I often wonder, now, if a modern counterpart to Churchill will arrive, for surely history will repeat itself. If not Russia in the early 21st century, then someone else later.

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