“Yes” or “no” are tiny words, yet so powerful that they change everything. In proportion to their effect, they should surely be bigger, more elaborate, and come with warnings about the consequences of their use. One of them hit me in response to a spur of the moment question I’d asked of a contact in Moscow. In fact, I then had to ask again, just to make sure that the same word would follow and was not some ‘fluke’ the first time around.
“Are there some people who believe that Communism didn’t fail, but was deliberately stopped instead?”
Perhaps it’s a constant stream of re-interpreted reality, presented by a state/media/system with vested agendas that, over time, wears its audience down into an accepted mould of belief. A liquid flow that shapes jagged rocks into smooth pebbles over time with seemingly little effort in its slow constant erosion. That’s our media that I was talking about, incidentally, as much as “theirs”.
At any rate, there are Russians today, that would welcome Communism back in the wink of an eye, to complete a mission that was deliberately cut short by Gorbachev and Yeltsin in the early 1990s. Even Stalin is getting a make-over and a tacit welcome back onto the main stage of Russian history. Reuters evidences this in the following unholy marriage of church and state:
“Stalin was no saint, but he was not a monster,” said Russian Orthodox priest Alexander Shumsky, accusing Stalin’s critics of exaggerating the scale of his crimes.
Those critics included home-grown commentators too, of course: not just the go-to “biased Western media”. Even Putin appears to welcome Stalin’s bloody ghost back to the table. An estimated 6 million of Stalin’s subjects would doubtless disagree with them both; were they not all dead as a direct result of his “policies”, Terrors, Purges, 5 Year Plans (take your pick). We also have to wonder on just what “scale” of mass-murder would be reasonable then, in the face of such claimed exaggeration.
It’s also a strange normality that sees willing “comrades”, too young to remember life in the Soviet era but wanting it back anyway. Even now, that thin sliver of history looks smaller and more remote as the years leave it behind, already by a quarter of a century. The Mongol invasion and rule of Russia lasted for nearly 250 years after all, whereas Communism managed a mere 70 before the plug was pulled.
It was already running over-schedule, by the way; a project working to established its utopia by the 1980’s, but instead lumbered on unfinished for a decade more. That’s according to Khrushchev’s housing program that would have seen the citizenship relocated from their temporary K-7 blocks into “proper” ‘80’s Soviet homes; all ready and gleaming at the project’s completion. Instead these Khrushchyovka’s still lay around today, like old bones with their denizens peering out, simply getting on with their lives anyway, in spite of it all.
The Soviet project was abandoned before completion, leaving both proponents and detractors free to argue the likely outcome. With such high stakes, including lives, dependent on the final call, perhaps the argument is better than the outcome’s reality.
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