Donnerstag, 26. Februar 2015

NOTHING NEW ON THE EASTERN FRONT


by Daniel Dragomirescu, Bucharest

    
   Nothing is more instructive for experts and for the interested public than the history of the great state from the East. Although it proclaimed itself to be humanist and pacifist, the USSR was – as shown in many documents today – directly responsible for the outbreak of World War II, but since the Nazi totalitarian regime lost the game, it blames it all on Germany. Similarly, in the past, the Tsarist Empire, along with Austria-Hungary and the German Empire, was equally culpable, because of the system of alliances, for the outbreak of the First World War.

   In reality, Russia was and is the great paradox of the modern world, starting with the era of its illustrious founder, Tsar Peter the Great. It is a country that has serious economic and social problems, a country that is unable to organize itself through reason and effectiveness and that somehow found a solution to its perpetual internal crisis through territorial extension in the immensity of the Eurasian space, where it didn’t face any invincible resistance, therefore, in about two centuries, it managed to extent itself westward to the Vistula, Prut and the Black Sea, and, on the other side of the country, to reach the Frozen Ocean and even go beyond the Bering Strait, in North America, annexing Alaska as well for a period of time. But this entire formidable imperial structure was shaky inside and crushed by the huge contradictions that were captured very well by the great Russian literature: “Why do you keep trying to resist, young man?” allegedly said an exponent of the tsarist regime, rebunking young Lenin. “It’s a flimsy wall”, allegedly replied the Bolshevik leader, “it’s enough to push it as to collapse”. It was true.

   But Soviet Russia also failed, beyond appearances and propaganda films and books, to truly make Russia a modern, functioning state, so USSR continued to seek solutions to all its internal crisis through expansion and aggression, just like the old tsarist empire did. If the Second World War had not occurred, Soviet empire would have imploded and would have collapsed due to its lack of socio-economic and political viability (among other things, it had an underperforming economy and stifling bureaucracy). So USSR, sheltered from the threat of its division into national states, a division that would have occurred, if it had not defeated the Germans in Moscow, Stalingrad and Kursk, was able to prolong its existence for two more generations, due to the huge reparations that it received from the defeated countries like Germany, Finland, Hungary and Romania and the economic exploitation of all the countries in the “socialist camp” (do you remember the Romanian SovRoms and the transferable ruble-dominated CMEA?).

   In 1991, at last, the weakened USSR passed away, but received a huge monetary reward (in Marks) from Helmut Kohl in order to withdraw its occupation troops from the former GDR. But instead of taking advantage of the situation and investing the money in modernization and socio-economic efficiency, to provide Western European living standards for the Russian citizens, Russian oligarchs pocketed everything.

   It is true that now the old evils and contradictions of the great Eastern state have reached, once again, alarming proportions, so Vladimir Putin is obliged: a) either to reform the state in a radical manner, or b) to employ the old Muscovite political system – meaning that he should try to solve the problems his state faces by recovering and exploiting the lost territories and possibly by gaining more prosperous territories outside the former USSR, and even farther west or south. Sure, that would certainly lead to the Third World War.

   Whoever described Russia as a giant with feet of clay was not wrong. It has a large state structure which, in spite of its advantages, lacks viability, reliability, internal consistency, but still manages to exist, maintaining a huge military force, exporting its seemingly inexhaustible natural resources and constantly arming countries, developing populations and nations, where there’s a long-lasting perpetuation of conflict situations that have caused, so far, the death of millions.


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