That’s the topic under discussion at Front Page Magazine’s Syposium by Jaime Glazov, “When an Evil Emprire Returns”
Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent, is leading his country back into the dark ages of Soviet totalitarianism and instigating a global confrontation between Russia and the United States — as well as between Russia and the West as a whole.
The Russian President has consistently rolled back democratic freedoms. And he is proving that the genie can be placed back into the bottle: he has centralized authority and suffocated dissent in the media and in the nation at large. Reformers making efforts to build democracy have been intimidated and silenced.
On the international front, Putin’s Russia is making trouble on Iran, obstructing U.S. efforts to get the Mullahs to stop their nuclear ambitions. And it is no surprise, seeing that not only did Russia obstruct U.S. efforts in Iraq, but evidence indicates that the Russian ambassador to Iraq passed on U.S. war plans to Saddam in the early days of the American invasion. More troublesome still, it appears that Russian mischief is behind the missing Iraqi WMDs.
So is the Evil Empire back? Or did it ever even leave us?
Former leading Russian dissident Yur Yarim-Agaev has this to say:
I would not reduce the political system that shaped the 20th century and brought our civilization to the brink of elimination, to a blip on the radar of Russian history. Whatever communism borrowed from Russian autocracy and from Marx’s theories, it developed into a clearly identifiable and new political system with a unique set of basic principles. That system is so deterministic and dominant that it established itself in virtually identical form in Russia, Eastern Europe, China, Korea, Cuba—with no regard to race, ethnicity or local history, and suppressing those countries’ cultures and religions. The Russian Gulag, the Chinese Laogai, Castro’s prisons, and Pol Pot’s killing fields are unalienable parts of any communist system and follow directly from Marxism-Leninism. They can hardly be explained by some obscure article of Nicholas I’s criminal code, typical for any autocracy.
Communism is cemented in its ideology and cannot survive without it. It does not make a difference whether its leaders believe in it or not, as long as they serve that ideology. Upon decline of the ideology, the system may continue to procrastinate its demise, since there is no opposition to challenge it. After the collapse of the system, constituent parts can exist even longer, especially if they are as tightly organized as the KGB–but they would still live on a borrowed time.
The KGB was always subservient to the party and cannot exist for any extended period without it. The KGB did not take over the communist party; in 1991 it totally lost its power together with the party. It never regained it, but rather filled the void left by disorganized Russian democrats, and the controversial policy of Western democracies.
Secret police cannot run a modern country; they can only try to control it. All the powers of the FSB as listed by Pacepa are of a destructive or restrictive nature. They only suppress society’s productive and constructive forces. That is why, with the skyrocketing prices of oil and gas, Russia remains a poor country in comparison with Estonia and the Czech Republic, which have no natural resources but a much higher level of political and economic freedom. Of all the offspring of the Soviet Empire, these two countries undertook the most radical steps to root out Communism.
With all its atrocities, totalitarianism has only one advantage. Like a sponge it soaks up into its hierarchy the most evil part of society and makes it localized and easily identifiable. It is unwise not to use that advantage. Any good doctor would be glad to identify a tumor timely and to remove it to save the patient’s life. It would be strange if instead of taking that action he would leave the patient with the explanation that his heredity and unhealthy lifestyle caused the deterioration of his health. Such advice can be useful after removal of the tumor, but not instead of it. It would have been quite unfortunate if in 1945 instead of holding the Nuremberg trials and carrying out the policy of denazification, America had found a historical explanation for German Nazism and left the Gestapo to rule.
Besides Mr. Yarim-Agaev, the panel includes; Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney, retired Air Force fighter pilot and military analyst, Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, former acting chief of Communist Romania’s espionage service, and James Woolsey, former director of the CIA. Read it here.