Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Soviet Citizens Defended Soviet System Out of Ignorance; Post-Soviet Ones Defend It Out of Vileness, Kazarin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 15 – There is a fundamental difference between Soviet citizens who defended the USSR from criticism and Russians who defend that system today, Pavel Kazarin says. The first did so out of ignorance, but the second know the truth but choose to deny it out of vileness.

            “The Soviet man could sincerely believe that the mass repressions of the 1930s didn’t happen, that Katyn was the work of the Wehrmacht and not of Soviet executioners, that punitive psychiatry was a Western slander, and that the communist party sincerely was building a state of universal well-being,” the Radio Liberty commentator says (ru.krymr.com/a/28671750.html).

                That is because the ordinary Soviet citizen had little or no access to the facts but instead lived within a hermetically sealed society. “The information iron curtain’ was strong.” As soon as it began to shred and people had the chance to know more, Kazarin says, the entire Soviet edifice collapsed.

            But the post-Soviet man “who is nostalgic for the USSR” is something very different and can’t cite ignorance as the basis of his position, the commentator continues. “In the baggage of the new resident are the 1990s, when the archives began to be opened, when interviews with dissidents appeared, when information about mass repressions became available.”

            “And thus, when no illusions about the Soviet system of suppressing those who thought differently could be sustained.” No one had to go looking for this information: it became “mainstream” and was shown on television and in the newspapers, and it was “the main content of election campaigns and new agendas.”

            There was no longer any room for ignorance as an excuse. The post-Soviet man who justified the Soviet Union and denied its crimes did it consciously,” often employing the regime’s favorite tactic of saying that despite everything, “on the other hand,” there were space ships, everyone feared the USSR, and there was stability.

            “All this ‘on the other hand’ nonsense is only an attempt to justify by personal comfort repressions against others.” The pro-Soviet post-Soviet man has managed to “convince himself that he would have been comfortable in the old reality,” even though almost certainly he would not unless he participated in the persecution of others.

            In short, Kazarin says, “cynicism has replaced naivete” and “vileness has replaced ignorance,” with those taking this approach “consciously rejecting the truth” and happily assuming that they would not have been victims too.  They and their vileness needs to be called out and denounced rather than simply passed by in silence. 

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