Thursday, March 14, 2019

Russia Needs an Iron Curtain to Keep Western Influences Out -- and Russian Elites In, Polyakov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 13 – It had to happen: Only a few days after another blogger argued that the Iron Curtain played a positive role in Soviet times, another blogger is arguing that Russia today desperately needs to erect a new iron curtain to block the influx of all kinds of evil forces from the outside world – and to keep Russian elites from running abroad.

            In Soviet times, Russians dealt with the iron curtain as a fact of life, rarely accepting Moscow’s claims that it was intended to keep people out of the socialist paradise; but now it appears there are a growing number of people in Putin’s Russia who view an even more impenetrable iron curtain as something that country needs to have now.

            And such people argue that a barrier of this kind is needed not only to keep out Western influence but to prevent Russian elites from following the siren song of the West and thus to keep them and their wealth inside the country where it can be used to the benefit of the Russian people.

            One Moscow commentator making this argument is Mikhail Polyakov who says that the new iron curtain must be so impenetrable that no Western influences can come in and no members of Russia’s nouveau riche will be able to get out and take their money with them. Instead, they and it will remain inside the country (

            Indeed, he argues, the second task is even more important than the first because most Russians have been immunized against the worst forms of Western influence but Russian elites, having stolen so much from the people, have learned that they don’t need to develop the country to have a better life but can simply go abroad and use their money to buy what they need.

            “As a result,” Polyakov continues, “Russia has been cast aside: the economy is in ruins, agriculture has degraded, and giant Soviet-era factories have been wrecked and sold off for their metal – and those which nonetheless remain put so much junk into the atmosphere that they make local residents sick.”

            But the oligarchs and officials don’t care: they don’t breathe this aid: they breath the clean air of the Alps or the Mediterranean coast where they have built expensive villas.

            That has to stop, he says, and “only an iron curtain will be able to force them to work for their country” because they obviously do not have any consciences of feelings of duty before it. Such a new iron curtain would not be needed for all time, however. Once the country returns to socialism and develops, it could have open borders again.

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