Thursday, April 19, 2018

Attack on Telegram Shows Kremlin Leaders are the Bourbons of Today

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 19 – The Kremlin has made a serious mistake in going after Telegram, Russian journalist Gleb Moryev says, because what they have shown is that they are very much the Bourbons of today. That is, like the Bourbons in Talleyrand’s immortal observation, they have learned nothing and forgotten nothing from the Soviet past out of which they came.

            In a comment for the Rosbalt news agency today, Moryev says that the Kremlin leaders should have recognized that “the best and the most far-sighted strategy for the chekists of all times is to do nothing” because taking the kind of steps such policeman like has unintended and unwarranted consequences (

            If those with roots in the special services paid attention only to the post-Stalin era in Russia, they would quickly recognize that in almost every case, their attacks on those they deemed dangerous enemies only increased the threat such people posed to the system and to their own positions, Moryev says.

            “If the KGB had not looked for and found Sinyavsky and Daniel and not tried to convict and sentence them,” he argues, “the formation of the human rights movement in the USSR would have occurred at a completely different speed and in completely different forms: the process almost certainly would have been less intensive and less massive.”

            Moreover, if the KGB hadn’t searched a Moscow apartment in 1965 and seized Solzhenitsyn’s archive, “his social career would have had an entirely different character, and his clash with the Soviet system would have been much less personalized.” Indeed, even publication of his novels would not have represented the threat to the system the attacks on him did.

            And if the Soviet organs hadn’t seized so many copies of Solzhenitsyn’s GULAG Archipelago, he wouldn’t have seen the need to publish it in the West and it wouldn’t have attracted so much attention there and back in the Soviet Union as well.  But thanks to the organs, the Soviet system was discredited, and Ronald Reagan declared the USSR “the evil empire.”

            Thus, it would have been much wiser, Moryev suggests, “not to have touched Durov.” But “as we will be told five or ten years from now, there simply weren’t any attentive people capable of understanding this” in the Kremlin in 2018.

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