Posted On: Monday - September 18th 2017 7:10PM MST
In Topics:   The Russians  History  Socialism/Communism
Part 1 of this post about the Russians (the Bear) and the Chinese (the Panda) was about the fabricated worries about these great nations of the world vs. Peak Stupidity's small concerns (somewhat facetious). There are real concerns about China, in particular, but those worries are mostly misplaced from where they should be, as worries about the major problems with the US economy.
In this follow-up are some thoughts about these 2 countries relating to their both having come through decades of rule by Communists. It should serve as a warning to the horrors of this sick ideology, as even after it's over, the recovery may not really take. Now, having written much of it (cool, it's like a time machine for the reader!) it looks like this one will be just about Russia, and Part 3 will be on China).
OK, about the Russians first, again. Peak Stupidity is not a history site, so the entire 70 year reign of the Commies in the USSR can't be related. Let's just summarize a bit here: This terrible period started when the Bolsheviks took over the country during hard times, oppressive rulership of the latest Czars, and World War I going on. A great epic movie about this period was is Nicholas and Alexandra about that last Czar and his family (a hell of a movie if you like history). (A great book about the former aristocrats and the hell they received is "Former People".). Life in the USSR may have had its ups-and-downs on a large scale, but compared to any western society it was ALL down. Between collective agriculture attempts, starvation - some forced and other natural (Herbert Hoover, in the early 1920's, before becoming US president, was part of a program to ship food to starving Russians, way before the forced Ukraine starvation), complete lack of freedom of speech, and a basic all around police state, the place was so entirely opposite from America of those times that the Free World and the Communist World (hence, the rest being termed the 3rd World) were like different planets with different atmospheres.
The end of the Communist era in the USSR was in the late 1980's. Now, many people maintain that the system was collapsing economically. That is partially the cause, but that collapse was helped on by the struggle to keep up with the US militarily, and Ronnie Reagan's (bluffing for the most part) Star Wars anti-ballistic-missile threat was the straw that broke the Bear's back. However, it was just the outside influence in general, the wealth and the fact that people inside the USSR knew more about how sick their system was, that put their system down finally. One could also say that the great leaders of the West, President Reagan, Konrad Adenauer of W. Germany, Pope John Paul from Poland, and others, along with millions of US/NATO soldiers, sailers and airmen, and millions of mechanical and electrical engineers were the ones that ended the Cold War. Let's keep in mind that there was this huge outside influence against the oppressive inhuman system of Communism.
After the Berlin Wall between East and West Germany came down, a major move both in action and symbolism, and then the USSR broke up, a lot went on there that at least I, but most Americans didn't care too much about. This was during the whole 1990's and until recently, when we have been told we should care a lot. More about this shortly. It was such a heady time, one might call it, as this Cold War had been a big part of people's lives for a long time. Americans (who paid for most of the "war") expected a "peace dividend", which didn't really occur due to the Neocons basically, but also much worry about imminent nuclear World War III had been lifted. Additionally, people in the West hoped the Russians along with the former East Bloc and their economies, would recover to the level of the West.
How did this economic recovery go, and how did the Russians break out of this 7 decade-long period of freedomless hell? As for the earlier part, the 1990's, this writer has learned a lot recently about how American bankers, big business and parts of our government just raided, looted and ravished the country of assets, as it was a period free from government iron-control but with no good rule-of-law. I don't believe many Americans know anything about this period in Russia. We figured they'd get hip to the Western ways (good, but turning bad anyway, so maybe no great loss anyway).
Russia still has the big resources, the metals, the coal, the oil and gas, timber and all that it used to have but couldn't exploit worth a damn under a Communist economic system. They can now, and maybe this new neocon-started Cold War (talk, for now) has something to do with the resources. The Russian people, however, don't seem to be just thriving from what you read. Sure, some of the older people would find it hard to cope, when things are not as stable (miserable, but stably miserable) as in the old days. However, one just hears about the young people as either becoming thugs, oligarchs or thug/oligarchs, not say, like Chinese small-business entrepreneurs.
Nobody takes the new Russians for fools, but people don't seem to trust them either. Between the on-line girls that come to marry horny Americans, only to bring the husband and kids over a few years later, and the scammers, spammers, spoofers, hackers, and just violent mafia types, they don't seem to be sending their best here, because maybe there's no best over there either. Is this just the culture or inherent genetic ways of these people coming out, that existed from before the whole Communist era, and beneath the surface during that time? The population, even with all that big land area to spread out in (not counting Siberia!) is not thriving, as far as I've read. Now, western countries in general have low fertility rates, but one expects the Russians to be a bit different, having NOT experienced the years of feminism, cntrl-left radicalism and just general stupidity that the West has. Yet, they are not making new Russians so fast, anchor-Ivans notwithstanding.
Religion was pretty much banned in Soviet Russia, or at least screwed with so much as to make sure people could not have confidence in it. That's to be expected, as Communism is a religion to its actual believers, the Party people, and it does not want competition. Has the revival of the Orthodox Christian churches helped the Russians recover at all? I hope it does, but I don't know if the new Russians are a religious people or not, whether they go to church or not.
The question is, then, did 7 decades of Communism do such a number on the population of Russia, that even 30 years, and maybe forever, is not time enough for a recovery, or did it just cover up the defects that then reappeared again? OK, this post was not written to denigrate the Russian people, as Peak Stupidity feels they should be natural allies of Americans. Many people still do not have it straight (or pretend not to) that Russians ≠ Soviet comrades. It's just been a long struggle for people treated like garbage, as is just the way under Communism. In the next post of this series, I'd like to write about the Chinese recovery from their equally brutal, though shorter period under this sick scourge on mankind.