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Letters by a modern St. Ferdinand III about cults

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Plenty of cults exist - every cult has its 'religious dogma', its idols, its 'prophets', its 'science', its 'proof' and its intolerant liturgy of demands.  Cults everywhere:  Corona, 'The Science' or Scientism, Islam, the State, the cult of Gender Fascism, Marxism, Darwin and Evolution, Globaloneywarming, Changing Climate, Abortion...

Tempus Fugit Memento Mori - Time Flies Remember Death 

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Boris Yeltsin and the continuation of Russian history

Poor old Boris will not be viewed kindly by most historians.

by StFerdIII

Yeltsin now dead at age 76 will be the subject of many books and articles attempting to both understand his chaotic reign and place his legacy within greater Russian history. He will be portrayed as a flawed and drunken man, who ousted Gorbachev, pushed Communism into the ashbin of history, allowed Russian resources to be partitioned amongst a new and not so new mafia elite, and one who potentially resurrected hope in Russia. While all true the real fact is that Yeltsin could do little to alter Russia’s course, and his reign reflects Russian history, culture and its orientalist approach to political-economic affairs. Yeltsin's reign was no more than a continuation of Russia’s past.

Yeltsin was mayor of Moscow when Communism fell in eastern Europe and in 1991 was the man who lead pro-democracy demonstrators against Gorbachev’s attempt to solidify Communist party rule. It is only the Western media that has a love affair with Gorbachev giving the Communist boss more credit for the collapse of the Soviet Union than the American-Anglo defiance of an evil empire. Such idiotic analysis is to be expected in the West from its educational and media elite. Gorbachev was a dedicated Communist in thrall to the Soviet empire and its anti-humanist, contra-civilisational ethos. This is why he is so beloved by Western communalists. Yeltsin for all his flaws believed differently and this is one reason why he is pilloried.

There are two problems with analyzing Yeltsin’s role in Russian history and in particular the chaos that descended on Russia during the 1990s.

First, Communism, without support from French and German arms and capital suppliers, would have collapsed long before 1991 in Russia. The system was an anachronism of such brutal and criminal proportions that sustainability was impossible. Its empire ranging from Angola to Cuba was a burden and its system of economy a state managed disaster. There was no chance that the Soviet bloc could ever compete with free, capital-market inspired democracies. Yet without Yeltsin’s intervention in 1991 the course of Russian history might have turned out very differently and quite worse.

Second, there was little Yeltsin could do to alter the flow of events once he was in power. This is a contentious point. Theoretically Yeltsin should have done the following. Built up institutions of democracy; cleaned up and developed a lawful and honest legal system; secured private property rights for all citizens; stabilized the currency and financial markets through foreign direct investment [itself premised on stability]; opened up Russian firms to foreign capital investments; fired and replaced the entire Communist apparatchik mafia which had governed the country; and then slowly opened up key markets to price competition. Theoretically all this is possible. In reality it isn’t.

Yeltsin made many mistakes the most devastating of which, was to divide up the carcass of the Russian state amongst Oligarchs or ‘new mafia’ interests. This division of spoils between the Tsar and his loyal subjects was to enlist stability, support for the state and to immure Yeltsin and his family from the revanchist tendencies of the ousted Communist nomenclatura. Yeltsin, was himself corrupt stealing a purported $5 billion, and he presided over the largest resource theft in history, in the mistaken belief that state stability would follow. It didn't.

Of course Russia was anything but stable in the 1990s. Between 1991 and 1999 when Yeltsin handed power off to Putin and the former KGG in exchange for immunity from charges of corruption, the Russian economy shrank by 30%; inflation reached 20%; prices soared; the poor became much poorer; state budgets were stolen by the Oligarchs for personal and business use; financial scams milking citizens of their savings were legion; murders, crime and drug and alcohol use skyrocketed. It was not the best of times.

Yet there was no alternative. The deleterious consequence of Russia’s 1990s collapse was to forever equate ‘capitalism’ and ‘democracy’ with corruption, fraud, early death and societal breakdown. This linkage will not soon disappear from the Russian consciousness. It colors Russian thought and deeds in all areas of domestic and foreign policy. Russians themselves blame the 1990s on American culture and greedy capitalist predations. They of course do not blame themselves, their system, or their own 1000 year history of corruption and centralized mismanagement.

Yeltsin’s era was thus nothing more than the continuation of Russia’s past moving inevitably into yet another Russian strongman’s [Putin’s] rule. It is the cycle of Russian history simply repeating itself. Russia has had a 1000 year experience with nothing else but fraud, power concentration, orientalist non individualist governance; and a history which has nothing in common with the Western Enlightenment or the Anglo-Saxon capitalist-democratic experience. Russia is in short a very foreign and very unique place.

Russian’s enjoy Tsarist rule. They excuse it by saying that it is a big empire only governed manageably from the center. They support it through collective pride and nostalgia over empire and great power status. The Russians like the French are dreamers. They dream of utopias; perfection and communal harmony. Read any of Russia’s great writers and the same themes emerge: greed, perfidy, corruption, instability, and strife all come from outside the Mother country. Russian singularity based on its Third-Rome Christian spirituality and its Asian orientation has little in common with Western ideals of individuality and secular rationality.

Alas for poor Boris Yeltsin history will most likely not treat him well. He was the man of the moment in 1991, but there was little he could do to stop Russia’s 10 year slide into chaos. It would have happened under any leader. You cannot escape 1000 years of history and culture. So now we are left with the inevitable result – Putinism and the return of the KGB, a force first organized by Ivan the Terrible during the 16th century. How appropriate.

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