DRAFT OF AN ESSAY I AM WRITING
A Short History Of Inventing The Russian Enemy or How Glasnost And Perestroika Were Subverted By Stealth:
Questions we are asking of, verdicts we are passing upon Russian power today are so sharp in contrast to those wielded just a few years ago one can only assume a higher agenda to rewrite the story about the West’s relationship with that Goliath nation so often beleaguered by history, so often deep in trouble. Indeed now, while western rhetoric deep imbued with the interventionist ideology of liberal humanism - which we forget owes principally to Russian humanists observing at their own risk that domestic terror is an international security threat - is in theory deeply invested in showing concern states' domestic and global agency abides to collective human values, Western politicians and journalists in practice have lost focus on saving minority populaces in the Crimea from the settler colonialism of neostalinist imperialism, moreover going silent on the multiple deaths of dissident journalists exposing ossified regime corruption, who were so beautifully resistant to fascism, the rubber tread and its tempo of death, they could be coerced in to silence only by assassination. Western rhetoric cosmetic, then, on the collective human values of glasnost and perestroika, which bore aloft the new millennium, bastions of progress in a sea of treachery, Western commitments only superfluous, to rights like the right to lie with impunity for parochial, elite gains, whilst deflecting from genuine human rights concerns. This article delves deep in to contemporaneous framing of Russian power and exposes how current media references construct the image of a nebulous fifth column emboldened by a grasp of television and electronic communications undermining western stability from within. That is, partisan, parochial agendas in Washington are writing a story that there is a domestic threat of collusion with Russian malefactors that is as much a cause as consequence of Kremlin diktat, because that story, people’s personal emotional investment in that story makes it easier to isolate and destroy those who aren’t acolytes in a deep state with highly specialized agendas encumbered with the wants of vested interests.
There is no doubt Putin’s Russia is a reprehensible regime capable of engineering vast misery for the billions of people living within its sphere of influence. As if highly fraught mediation between Russia and the West came undone, as if the pact between two classmates swearing to forego enmity in favor of common cause was forgotten, Putin’s Russia sails treacherously back to Stalinist basics. In 1991, what Mikhail Gorbachev on Christmas Day denounced as a bureaucratic command system, whose ossified power structures and cultures of cruel impunity were defunct in an age demanding obeisance to human rights, crumbled. A cultural thaw descend from the Khruschev era and suppressed with a range of successes and failures up to the nineties, allowed relative freedom of opinion to gestate, ultimately stacking the odds in favor of mass mobilization in support for the sort of multiparty system and modern policy making apparatus that makes desirous living standards attainable. Another key concession leading to the funeral of the Soviet reich was the recognition of the right to self determination in regions often brutally forced by comintern policy, enforced by tanks, to remain under the aegis of the soviet metropole. Historians and commentators alike commended Gorbachev for his visionary audacity for deciding to stop flogging the dead horse of the bureaucratic command system out of respect for Stalinist pseudo religion. Perhaps Gorbachev was erudite enough to perceive no legacy for Russia except suffering and bloodshed and foresaw her future legacy as being one alloyed to the cause of human rights. Why then, do textbooks in the Putin era, cry of such a “mistake?”
It should worry us. Accepting of course your liberty to interject with Godwin’s law, it is nevertheless not a scientific law, so I have no qualms comparing contemporary complaints by powerful Russians that glasnost and perestroika were a mistake to the way the third reich taught that the treaty of Versailles was an epic betrayal of German interests by statesmen of the Weimar regime. But the West strategises its diplomacy towards Russia increasingly in selfish terms. With flagrant indifference towards the plight of oppressed citizens and murdered journalists considered traitors in Putins order, whose only crimes are to dream out loud of a Russia liberated from corrupt elitism and war, US power has thought (or lack thereof) and acts with total self-reflexive regard for the maintenance of its hegemony in world order.
To this end a red scare is apace, in the corridors of power, across the web, deep in to the demos we thought was safe from intrusive surveillance and monitoring of opinion. The complexities of accusations being made against a range and variety of targets are too fraught to be untangled neatly here, but I have addressed aspects of the red scare in another article. The major point remains: What do changes and continuities in the West’s approach to Russia reveal about the nature of US power and world order in a neo imperialist system increasingly weakened by democratic insurgencies? Namely, that politicians conditioned in the cold war mentality which at once externalises and internalizes the other as the enemy collaborate with a military industrial complex which elides democratic inputs, in order to suppress dissidents, renegades, rebellions and genuine democratic insurgencies. The spirit of 1991 was beautiful, but Russia has opted for its own 1933, and the US has barely stopped entrenching and elaborating upon its justifications for repression since it became a de facto arms state in 1945.
Ideally we would have politicians as visionary as Dr King, imagining a world where Americans and Russians have common cause to bring down oppressors. If only we could see past the bars behind our eyes.