The treacherous march of Stalinism
In the clouds of the 21st century the apocalyptic symbol of Stalin is hovering over the planet. There was nothing worse than hearing his name, be it in the form of an appeal or a curse.
No one is interested in an ordinary Georgian by the name of Soso Dzhugashvili, a seminary student who became a revolutionary and went through the Bolshevik school of godlessness and unscrupulousness. However, everyone knows about Stalin and that this man made his name by using methods that left Lenin horrified. He was also known for his ruthless way of enforcing the so-called autonomy of Transcaucasia, and his rude conduct.
Given the general unscrupulous approach, the Bolsheviks of the old school adhered to certain rules and knew not to cross the line, except in life-or-death cases.
Stalin made crossing the line a standard practice, a law in itself. He was the number one criminal of the 20th century and his crimes defied the imagination. In this sense he was a brilliant criminal. He had a special talent for crimes and enjoyed committing them. He despised those who stopped halfway and even criticized Ivan the Terrible: “God prevented Ivan from doing what he should…” Stalin knew no fear of God — it was a disease that affected his soul, a contagious one, tending to become endemic. Milovan Djilas, a keen Yugoslav analyst, wrote in his book Conversations with Stalin that he perpetrated all crimes one could think of; that whichever way one would look, Stalin was the worst criminal in history.
I have to go back to this disgusting subject because of the agony of communist revanchism, first in Russia and now in Ukraine, considering that the construction of a monument to Stalin in Zaporizhia is said to be a sure sign of this country being afflicted with a terminal disease.
In actuality, this project is a symptom of provincialism that has got out of hand, with the awareness of impunity rooted in the lack of morals and a desire for revenge.
Stalinism in Russia is a totally different story, it is a disease that keeps destroying that country, fed by Russia’s innate imperial falsehoods and pompous arrogance.
President Medvedev orders Fedotov [the presidential human right’s advisor – Ed.] to root out Stalinism and then flies to the Kuril Islands in a haughty gesture. What is this? A futile attempt to act like Stalin, something a clever head of state would never do.
What is Fedotov going to do about Stalinism, a doctrine that has made corruption, falsehood, and venality standard practice?
A LESSON IN IMMORALITY
For many years Christian culture has struggled to rid man of servility and treachery. The Church, the family, all governmental institutions have worked to this end, lest a communal member become unreliable. Certain achievements have been made, as during the epochs of knights or the Enlightenment, people were taught law and order, and the fear of God’s punishment.
Obviously, people started being taught differently after being rid of that biggest fear. Lenin’s party sanctioned impunity, but then Stalin made his special contribution to the raising of a new kind of communal member, one unquestionably devoted to the political leader, to the extent of neglecting all religious, ethical, and moral principles. Friedrich Engels wrote about the elimination of the old basis (production relationships), including all the “superstructures” (religion, philosophy, ethics, law, morals, etc.) This statement was then regarded as revolutionary rhetoric.
Stalin made his own conclusions from this teaching on the basis and superstructures, and emphasized the elimination of law, ethics, morals, and other “lasting human values.” In fact, he showed what had to be done: brainwashing the political enemy and producing a false alternative of reality that was readily believed by the readers of the carefully censored printed media. His book Problems of Leninism is packed with false notions used while arguing with his yesterday’s Parteigenossen. Only an “enemy of the people” could disagree with Stalin’s relativism, raised to the highest level of demagoguery. Suffice it to say that Stalin claimed the reasons behind the Soviet Union’s victory in the Second World War were the advantages of the USSR’s political system, with its kolkhozes — the latter being something all Soviet soldiers in the field wholeheartedly wanted to be rid of after winning the war, especially after Marshal Zhukov made his vague promises.
As a university student, I witnessed that mad campaign aimed at turning all logic inside out. To me, it was a cultural catastrophe threatening world culture that had been built over thousands of years. Then there came the notion of dialectical logic, which scorned all formal logic — in other words, all laws of human thinking — as being of a “lower level.” Worst of all, it drew the discriminatory line between a party member and the man in the street. Common decency, humaneness, and principled stand were cast aside as hangovers of the accursed past. Every effort was being made to built a proletarian world of hardened criminals. Each of the latter who swore allegiance to the Party was officially considered to have been “reformed” and fit to become a Cheka agent, with all the attendant privileges over people like parish priests, peasants, and intellectuals who were supposed to be suffering from these hangovers. “We’re are happy today, /We’ll be happier tomorrow.” These lines from a popular post-genocidal song demonstrate the degree of cynical degradation sustained by millions of inmates of the Soviet system with its kolkhozes.
The older generation remembers the times when no one locked the door. But then came time for poverty when every door had to be padlocked and each window kept closed against a starving intruder, a phenomenon resulting from the Soviet-enforced five-year plans and the notion of socialist ownership, when no one owned anything, when everything was owned by the state, when no one gave a damn about anything. Vasyl Symonenko wrote a poem, The Thief, about a peasant who had to steal grain from his own plot. Had this poem been recited to Comrade Petro Symonenko (then secretary of the regional party committee, with a plush office in Donetsk, currently the leader of the Communist Party of Ukraine), he would have responded with a soliloquy that would have lasted several hours, without saying a word of truth.
This is also understandable, for the morals were then class-oriented, truth was a relative notion, as defined by the ruling class, and the man in the street was disposable material. Why should anyone hesitate to steal, if and when one had the chance?
GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS OF REJECTING STALINISM
How is Medvedev going to combat Stalinism, considering that he was raised in the spirit of this doctrine? Isn’t the Stalinist theory best for retaining Russia’s imperial mentality with its self-aggrandizement and scorn for the individual’s honor and dignity?
Doubtlessly, in today’s world, with its integration process, Stalinism is identified with Hitlerism, so the president of the Russian Federation has to distance himself from both doctrines.
On the other hand, can he tell with all honesty, as during the Final Judgment, that yes, he is guilty of the sin of Stalinism, and that he will repent?
Will [Moscow Patriarch] Kirill give Yanukovych absolution?
The idea of lustration was perceived not as a purely political tactic meant to distance oneself from Stalinism; it was an attempt to draw some kind of line between those who kept telling lies, using democratic phraseology, and those who had accepted the notion of private property and appeared prepared to accept the rules of democracy, including the rule of law, morals, and responsibilities.
In our society, the critical lack of confidence in those in power has everything to do with the ongoing moral crisis, with each communal member being exposed to the basic consumer instincts. It doesn’t have the superstructures that create social nature, the notion of common social good, social justice, and law which is above personal interests.
An imitation of democratic values, like that of morals, only adds to the atomization of a society which is not rallied or organized as a single social organism. It is like a criminal who pretends to be a law-abiding citizen when caught red-handed.
At present, ex-communists, currently members of the Party of Regions, can no longer distance themselves from the “stagnating” West. Conversely, they want to integrate into European structures, receive loans from the IMF — specifically to finance the official status of the Ukrainian and Russian languages in Ukraine. They want to enter Europe’s comfortable environment reeking of this bilingual status and habitual double standard practice.
They were among those who broke into homes, ransacked them, and confiscated copies of the Constitution of the USSR when they found the clauses about the rights of the citizens and nations/peoples underlined, and said frankly that the Constitution was meant for those who read it abroad.
Those who have read Volodymyr Kolesnychenko’s interview with Den’ (November 4, 2010) must remember his politically correct interpretation version of human rights as Chairman of the High Council of Justice of Ukraine, in regard to cooperation with the European Council and Venice Commission’s experts.
Kolesnychenko, of course, is all out for serving the interests of “our state,” which attitude is approved of by lawyers in the West — except that they can’t figure out what “our state” is all about, and whether there is difference between it and the Soviet Union.
Let’s not forget that Soviet dissidents like Sakharov used to explain to experts in the West that they should read between the lines of Soviet texts composed so they would meet Western standards. Naturally, we were accused of lack of patriotism, even branded as traitors to the Soviet Fatherland.
Kolesnychenko says: “Our country has its representatives in European institutions. These people must be patriots in the first place and they should by no means act as prosecutors, slander Ukraine, its values, achievements, intentions, least of all demonstrate that everything in their homeland is unacceptable to them.”
This has everything to do with all those sham experts who are offering their comments left and right. I might as well remind the interested reader that Stalin wrote that such sham experts more often than not served their own interests.
All these sham experts are faring well, going through the motions of defending the national interest, while actually damaging it, “for the benefit of the bourgeois West.” Each of them ought to have served ten to twelve years in the Gulag camps to learn to ‘love the Soviet Fatherland.
The times have changed, phraseology has become milder, and I’m not getting any younger… I was supposed to be an “enemy of the people”‘ and they treated me accordingly. The interrogating officer paid no attention when I tried to explain that I was a patriot and that was why I drew the line between falsehood and truth, calling a spade a spade; that I wanted to make an exact diagnosis to treat the disease rather then conceal it.
With Comrade Kolesnychenko nothing seems to have changed, no matter what has changed elsewhere in the world. They want to steal their way into the West with their contagious diseases. They recognize no sanitary borders and regard them as discriminatory.
In the spirit of Stalinism, they believe offense is the best defense; they will never reveal their true intentions.
Actually, the big difference between [us in Ukraine and people] in the West is that the law comes first there and everyone is equal before the law. For them, recognizing hard facts is standard practice. No one there will ever understand a nation that won its independence not so long ago, but is still unable to protect its language and history. How can any of them fathom the existence of an antinational party in power working hand in glove with the criminal communist party, with all those characters who will never repent?
The leader of that party has shown that it is not casting votes that matters, but counting them. This anti-national party, caught red-handed during the 2004 rigged presidential campaign, has learned nothing from that experience. They confidently won the next [presidential and recently the local election] campaign, expecting confirmation by experts in the West.
Stalinism teaches us to organize all kinds of falsehoods, to form a single front, so as to build a new kind of state where everyone would be presumably heard “upstairs,” where everyone would be free to voice their opinion, where the living standard would be raised. Above all, the media must establish the image of the likes of Tabachnyk and make sure everyone in the street believes that there is no alternative.
Needless to say, Stalinism is about “well-being” in a single country isolated from the rest of the world, with no one allowed to exit. Young people these days lose confidence in those currently in power and tend to leave their country [in search of a better life]. Ukraine is losing intellectual potential, with talented people keeping away from the antinational, uncultured government. Our mediocre ranking bureaucrats are unable and unwilling to enlist people up on the intellectual ladder. They collaborate with the communists because the latter are on the same [intellectual] level.
Does Stalinism serve to unite them as patients afflicted with a similar dangerous albeit dormant disease? It doesn’t, for only positive creative principles can do so, but it proves effective, feeding the masses the good old tale about well-being, if and when…
Irresponsibility is the main trait of Stalinism, when a nation’s healthy manpower is wasted and a disaster is camouflaged. This happened in 1928, when the effective farmers were destroyed and their property was confiscated. In 1933, the life-giving roots of the nation were severed. In 1937, millions of people in their creative prime were slaughtered.
That was how the Second World War was won by the Allies, but mostly at the cost of millions of Stalin’s slaves, men and women who simply had no choice. Ukraine suffered her lot under the godless Soviet regime. Back in 1847, Taras Shevchenko prophetically wrote: “Ah, may God pity you, my lovely country,/ Rich and luxuriant!/ Who has not marred you?”
The ruling Party of Regions wants to use Stalinist methods in Ukraine, once a rich but currently a robbed and exhausted land, albeit rid of former isolation. True to the good old [Stalinist] irresponsible policy, these people are making their personal fortunes. They don’t care what will happen tomorrow, and nor do they remember the old truth that you can steal and get away with it only so often.
Let me take the liberty of reminding the younger reader of the main conditions of Stalin’s experiment aimed at building a happier future:
1. After the 1917 Russian Revolution, the world was supposed to believe in this happier socialist future, with the Bolshevik experiment receiving a degree of support across the world.
2. The ideas of internationalism and social justice sounded good while those of egotism and profit-making sounded bad.
3. The political leaders kept their vices and riches to themselves while posing as humble, even ascetic public servants — something that impressed the younger generation.
4. All media worked hard to build the existing government’s attractive public image, to portray all of them as people who were selflessly serving the people. All information to the contrary was regarded as the enemy’s doings, and could lead to criminal prosecution.
5. The masses were reduced to a low but comparatively healthy living standard, with big families receiving token government aid, which looked good, given the lack of adequate consumer goods, as well as the fear of stepping out of line; manpower and natural resources were considered to be inexhaustible.
Even now one finds it hard to believe the stories about all those “enemies of the people,” “spies,” “saboteurs,” and “traitors to the Soviet Fatherland.”
Try to visualize anyone being told at the time that all those dedicated Leninists would start embezzling all that socialist property, to become millionaires before long, who would boast their wealth while posing as democrats with well-paid-for seats in parliament. Anyone who would try to do so would be stoned, because none of the members of the Communist Party would have ever dreamed of doing such a thing! Never, not in his life!
However, the old adage, tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis, holds true, as does this line from The Internationale: “We have been naught, we shall be all!” The small fry are eager to become big shots. Tell them they will be brought back to naught again, no one will believe you; just as they will shrug off any mention of the need to work hard and by the book to make one’s name. Ditto the taxes. They will grin and toss a few bucks your way. There is no vampire like the regular sovok apparatchik. Try to drag him away from the feeding trough, he will be at your throat before you know it.
History shows that nothing is free. Stalin wanted to immortalize himself; he was sure that his doctrine would last forever, but after his death his disciples waited for the mourning pomp to end and then exposed his crimes. Stalin loved sensations, and the biggest one was his posthumous expose. Thousands, nay millions of people across the world were horrified to learn the truth about him.
However, the sovok in the street has learned nothing from this morbid lesson. Some [in Russia and Ukraine] pretend nothing bad ever happened under Stalin; others try to keep silent about his crimes while quietly building their own [political] image after that of Stalin; still others quietly use Stalinist methods, assuming that they were always affective.
This sovok angrily refutes any criticism of Stalinism, especially when told that this doctrine has turned a wealthy country into a regular street beggar. The Donetsk sovok refutes this in the characteristically stubborn and stupid Soviet manner, which is understandable; he is unable to visualize what has to be done for he is brainwashed to destroy what has been done before; he refuses to accept the established rules of the game and wants to play it by the rules set by Stalin, the way this hardened criminal understood them.
One ought to remember that Stalin, like Hitler, had global objectives in mind. Both firmly believed that the end justifies the means. None dared object to this philosophy at the time, while in the Soviet Union everyone rose to sing the Bolshevik version of the White Guard’s song “War is on, old men, /Get packing to join the fight…”
In the late 1960s a public debate about the objective and means of that doctrine began. Kariakin, the then popular Russian philosopher boldly tried to prove that the end never justifies the means, considering that history is written after the fact, and that reaching an illusory end means using sweat and blood. Needless to say, he would never question the then ultimate objective of building a communist society. None would, ever.
The Donetsk sovok had never bothered considering any of this. His plan was to have power, as was the main clause of the poniatia unwritten underworld code, so he could reign supreme. He has promised nothing to his people except stability — in other words, keeping the current proportions: minimum or average wages and salaries, while giving those in power a hundred times more. He wants to keep this “stability” by applying Stalinist methods that are ineffective in a democratic society with its rights and liberties.
The Stalinist regime was ruthless as well as cautious. Pavlo Tychyna was appointed the Minister of Culture of the Ukrainian SSR, although a character like Dmytro Tabachnyk may have been there as one of the NKVD informants. Noted scholars were appointed as directors of institutes. Protocol and official morals barred anyone with a criminal record — not even a relative of the head of state — access to such posts. Everyone found guilty of bribery was severely punished.
Stalin had the armed forces and law enforcement agencies completely under control. The nouveau riche sovok doesn’t seem to realize that in the event of serious public unrest — which he keeps provoking for economic, linguistic, and cultural reasons — there would be no one to protect him.
Even now it is safe to assume that Yanukovych and the likes of him are causing people to make statements showing that there is no love lost between them and those in power. The attitude of the current administration to the Constitution, the Supreme Court of Ukraine, public opinion prompts the man in the street to scorn all those “upstairs,” with reason.
Well, this rates a different story about how our politicians headed for their fiasco by crossing the line every season, when and whenever it served their interest.
23 December 2010 The Day