Monday, December 25, 2017

Why Aren’t Russians as Angry as Germans Would be by Official Praise for Totalitarian Oppressors?

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 25 – “Imagine,” Boris Vishnevsky suggests, if senior German officials were to declare that “the repressions which the Nazi regime carried out had an objective side and were operations directed at blocking the undermining activity of agents of foreign intelligence services … and his officers called themselves Gestapo officers.”

            And then, the opposition deputy in St. Petersburg’s legislative assembly says, imagine that the chancellor of Germany “were to declare that the absolute majority of Gestapo officers were real statesmen and patriots.”  Almost certainly, the response would be an explosion of public protest (

                One can only imagine this because “never would the leaders of present-day Germany permit themselves such a justification of Nazi crimes and the glorification of the executioners,” Vishnevsky says. But that is exactly what FSB chief Aleksandr Bortnikov and President Vladimir Putin have done in Russia – and with far less opposition that they should have faced. 

            The Yabloko opposition party has denounced these statements as have some but far from all of the members of the Academy of Sciences, but most members of the opposition have said nothing and the people have not gone into the streets to protest this outrage, Vishnevsky continues.

            And here is why, he says. “The powers are confidently proceeding along ‘a Stalinist course,’” one in which the individual is nothing and the state is “immeasurably more important,” when anyone can be caught up by the organs of repression, and when any actions by them can and will be justified because officials will say that they don’t make mistakes.

            One can only praise those who have spoken out against such outrages, Vishnevsky says, especially because the Putin regime has not yet succeeded in completely restoring a Stalinist regime. There is still time to stop it – and the key date now is March 18, 2018, when Russians can quietly but firmly say no to a return of those horrors.

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