While watching an interesting video on Putin’s Russia and the “Ghost of the Romanovs” by The Economist, I was struck with a mortifying thought: The real reason that the left in the West hates Russia today is because, under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has returned to where it was in the pre-revolutionary days of the czars. Leftists everywhere view that country as a tragic and backward place waiting to be liberated by Marxism-Leninism.
Of course, Russia under the Communists was likely worse than it was during the reign of the czars. That old, pre-revolutionary Russia, was actually modernizing under the Romanov family. Had the Communists never launched their bloody revolution, it is likely that Russia would have become a reliable — and competitive — member of the international community.
Today, Russia reminds the left of the loss of their Soviet benefactor. Also, Russia’s abandonment of communism has automatically made it an enemy to the global left. Russia under Putin has reverted to its historical norms, in terms of governing. (This is not necessarily a good thing, because Russia was always a tough nut to crack for the Western powers — though it is still better than the communist system).
Putin is desperate to rekindle the Russian culture eviscerated by 70 years of Communist rule: He is reopening the Cossack military schools (shuttered by Lenin himself), and he rarely makes a move without the explicit consent of the Russian Eastern Orthodox Church.
And, despite Russia’s failing demography, Putin’s regime has invested heavily into establishing government programs designed to prop up ailing fertility rates (thus far, to no avail).
In other words, Putin is undoing some of the most heinous distortions that the Reds created in Russian society.
Putin is no liberal reformer, however. He, too, has an extensive amount of innocent blood on his hands (just as the autocratic czars did). What’s more, Russia is not America’s friend. Putin’s goal of reconnecting Russia with its classical, pre-communist heritage is to legitimize his autocratic rule and to reinvigorate the unhealthy state that Russia presently exists in.
Yet, many in the West appear to view the Putin regime only in the context of the last decade. They conveniently forget the 70 years of Soviet rule that preceded Putin’s regime (and the decade of chaos that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in Russia under Boris Yeltsin’s reign).
Putin’s rule is not only a reaction to what many Russians view as the vulture capitalism of the decadent West; more importantly, Putin’s rule is a reaction to communism.
However, while communism may be dead throughout the world, its twisted sister ideology — socialism — is growing in popularity. What’s more, it is prevalent in the West and is beginning to take hold in the United States. Over time, socialism just might become the dominant ideology in the United States at precisely the same moment that Russia is desperately fighting to overcome its terrible historical experience with communism.
Former Idaho state Rep. Curtis Bowers, as a graduate student in 1992 studying at the University of California Berkeley, disguised himself and attended a secret meeting of the Communist Party of the United States of America. At that point, the Berlin Wall had fallen, the Red Army was in retreat from Eastern Europe, the Cold War was over (with an apparent American victory), and the Soviet Union was collapsing.
Bowers had expected to hear defeated leftist ideologues grumbling about their wasted lives fighting the capitalist system. Much to his shock, he heard just the opposite.
The American Communists who headed the meeting (mostly older gentlemen) outlined a detailed plan of action for creating the political climate in the United States that would militate against the family, entrepreneurship and traditional moral values. If anything, the CPUSA members were inspired by the defeat of the Soviet Union more than they were discouraged by it.
The reason these leftist radicals wanted to destroy the basic underpinnings of American civilization was — you guessed it — because once those values were erased, the proper work of revolution could begin. Just like the Bolsheviks who tore down the czars in imperial Russia, these well-educated American revolutionaries firmly believed that nothing good comes from America’s past, and their preferred system of socialism was superior.
When he became an elected official in Idaho in 2008, Bowers remembered that CPUSA meeting he’d attended while in graduate school in 1992. After witnessing a series of radical bills come before the Idaho legislature, Bowers was convinced that the agenda the CPUSA members outlined in 1992 was actually being disseminated to the rest of the country — even in places like the paradisiacal Idaho countryside. (As Idaho goes so goes the country, eh?)
Vigilant Americans should be mindful of the manipulation that the leftist elite in Washington perpetrate upon them in order to gin up toxic Russophobia. Further, Americans should recognize that, whatever threat emanates from a dying petro-state — like Russia — is greatly eclipsed by the militant radicalism of the American left.
After all, if the left gets its way, the same sordid history that played out in Russia a century ago will repeat itself here — with the same dire results.
Brandon J. Weichert is a geopolitical analyst who manages The Weichert Report: World News Done Right and is a contributor at The American Spectator, as well as a contributing editor at American Greatness. He is a former congressional staffer who holds an M.A. in Statecraft and National Security Affairs from the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C., and is currently working on his doctorate in international relations.
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