Sunday, November 17, 2019

Those who Came to Power in 1991 were More Marxist and Communist than Those They Replaced, Tsipko Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 13 – There were more Marxists and communists among those who won out in 1991 than there were among those they replaced, Aleksander Tsipko says; and as a result, the more time that passes, the fewer forces remain who are committed to the completion of de-communization that was begun in the early 1990s.

Indeed, the Moscow commentator says, “no one among Yeltsin’s team was as convinced an anti-communist and anti-Marxist as Aleksandr Yakovlev,” Gorbachev’s chief ideological advisor. That means both that there won’t be a Russian Nuremberg and that national bolshevism remains a threat (

“The special feature of our anti-communist revolution,” Tsipko says, “was that it was initiated from above by the leadership of the CPSU and that the decisive role in the destruction of the Marxist state ideology was played precisely by members of that party.” That was not the case elsewhere in the communist bloc, although the Czechs approached this in 1968.

But those who overthrew these people and came after them were different: they were Marxists and communists even if they did not identify as such.  “All who even today call for a Russian Nuremberg somehow have forgotten that that trial was not only about condemning the killers and leaders of the Hitlerite regime but also about condemning and banning an ideology which underly all the crimes against humanity committed by national socialism.”

“None of the well-known politicians and publicists insisting on the need for a Russian Nuremberg have never spoken about a condemnation of Marxism-Leninism which lay at the bass of the Stalinist terror.” Instead, “the overwhelming majority … have somehow limited their demands to a condemnation of Stalin and Stalin’s killer but passed over the issue of the condemnation of Lenin and Trotsky.”

Such an approach has the effect of “obscuring the main historical cause of the Stalinist terror – the Leninist October of 1917,” Tsipko says. And such “a selective approach to the terror of the Soviet era produces nothing for the spiritual recovery of present-day Russia.” But that is as far as most advocates of a Russian Nuremberg are prepared to go.

Yeltsin and his team, the leaders of Democratic Russia, might have acted differently in 1991 but among that group “there was not a single individual whose worldview was close to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.”  Instead, they were mostly people of the ‘60s and convinced Marxists who believed that “Stalin perverted the great ideals of October.”

Such people were “greater Marxists than were the ideologues and creators of perestroika” they replaced. And the situation became even worse in 1993 because “absolutely all who supported or who urged Yeltsin to the so-caked forcible resolution of the conflict with the White House [the Russian Supreme Soviet] were convinced Marxists.”

Even more the Russian commentator says, these people weren’t prepared to condemn 1917 because they had little or no love for the pre-revolutionary Russia that the Bolsheviks destroyed. Note that the 1993 constitution says nothing about succession between that Russia and the present-day one, Tsipko continues. It acts as if Russia now was created de novo.

All this leads to “the main conclusion,” and this is this: “the 1991 revolution did not have an active ideological basis. Instead, the victors were still greater Marxists and communists than the losers.” And that has gotten worse not better with time, prompting one to ask whether there are any forces in Russia interested in thoroughgoing de-communization.

In their absence, Tsipko says, Russians will hardly be able to repent for what the Bolsheviks wrought not only to Russia but to the countries of Eastern Europe where Moscow imposed “our Soviet totalitarian slavery.” 

To be sure, he continues, “Marxism and the ideology of the generation of the 1960s of our liberal intelligentsia is much less dangerous for the spiritual health of the country than national bolshevism which with each passing day is gathering force and popularity” precisely because there has not been a reckoning with the past.

And that opens the door to the revival at some point of a communist utopia among the impoverished.  “For the present powers that be and for stability in the country, national populism is becoming much more dangerous than Navalny’s liberal Leninism.” That is because “the latter would exploit normal human feelings” – the desire for freedom and becoming European.

“But national communism today exploits the worst sides of human nature: aggression, the desire for revenge, envy and so on,” Tsipko concludes. “No one knows how this will all end, but there remains the hope that somehow by the gift of fat, our country will be saved this time as well.”

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