Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

Why Russia Should Not Repent for Her Past - Part 1

The struggle for Russia’s past is a struggle for her future. Russian liberals disingenuously attack the Soviet Union’s “crimes” to disguise their true intentions: to help Western oligarchs steal Russia’s wealth

MORE: History

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Originally appeared at Nikolai Starikov blog. Translated by Andrey Medvedev and Joseph Waters

This is part one of a two-part article by the famous Russian writer and historian Nikolai Starikov.

The Russian liberals as well as the West as a whole have been trying to tarnish and sling mud at our country’s past with such tenacity that some might find it surprising. Sometimes you see a “conscientious” blogger write something nasty about the Soviet Union; or on another occasion, an “opposition” TV channel will have conducted a survey about the Great Patriotic War, insulting the memory of the fallen. They always receive enthusiastic support from major Western media outlets. Recently, the BBC, a British public broadcaster considered “independent” for some odd reason, tried diligently to rewrite history by publishing a lie about Russian soldiers that was so revolting that I am too disgusted to even repeat those words.

The battle for history is waged as part of the information war

A perfectly reasonable question to ask is “why?”. Why does this journalistic caboodle constantly try to slander our past? Why do they keep trying to paint it black?

Let’s figure this out.

We begin with a frame of reference. Why are Stalin’s times the main target in this information war? Why is it that the lion’s share of lies, falsifications, mud slinging, and manipulations is always directed at the period from the late 1930s to the mid-50s?

This is because our geopolitical opponents are very aware of two things:

1. History is not simply an inventory of what happened in the past. First and foremost, it is a way to program the future.

2. The geopolitical struggle never stops, not even for a day, and therefore one must try to weaken one’s main competitors every hour of every day. Rewriting history, its vilification and falsification, offer an excellent opportunity to do just that.

Today’s Russia, a country with a clear and consistent foreign policy that aims to strengthen its own interests, a country preparing to do the same with its domestic policies, is a competitor for the West. It’s a dangerous rival. You may sneer at numbers like “GDP” and “share of the global economy” to your heart’s content and point out how powerful the US and its satellites are and how “weak” Russia is, but the most recent history shows us that these are merely sneaky moves which are part of information warfare. The West has no reason to be complacent and knows it better than anyone else.

From Joseph Stalin to Deng Хiaoping – tragic success stories

By the mid-20s of the 20th century, Russia/the USSR was a virtually non-existent factor in world politics. Its economy was destroyed during the Civil War in which Western powers heavily and directly intervened. Also, the New Economic Policy (NEP) which came afterwards only made it possible to feed the hungry, but small-commodity peasant farming was never going to be able to compete with large Western corporations that used machines on a large scale. The USSR had no heavy industry to speak of, and machines or heavy weapons (tanks, aircraft, and large ships) were impossible to manufacture.

But it would only take 10 years for the situation to change drastically. After implementing two five-year plans, the USSR built around 300 major production facilities which were producing heavy machinery rather than chips and soda. It would take another 10 years before the USSR, having gone through an unimaginable war and the death of vast numbers of its people, would become the second most powerful economy in the world! - second only to the US, which never had to go through the horrors of war on its own soil and which, in contrast, expanded rapidly thanks to Marshall Plan “aid” to Western Europe that ultimately went to American corporations; it was this that enabled it to shake off the remaining ill effects of the Great Depression.

After 20 years the situation changed beyond recognition. Hitler’s onslaught and the total brutality on the part of the Nazis, who had been led to power in Germany by the West, were meant to annihilate the Soviet Union as a rival, whose successful development began to cause serious concern.

Something similar happened with China with the reforms that started in 1978. In 1989, seeing what was happening and how rapidly China was growing, the US tried to instigate a coup d'etat. Then came the Tiananmen Square incident with those “they-are-just-kids” students, and the calls for “democracy” and human rights. Today, after the events in Ukraine, the answer to the question who uses “color revolutions” and for what purpose is abundantly clear to everyone but Russian liberals, American diplomats, and Western journalists. After it managed to crush the coup attempt, China went stratospheric. Today, even the most hardened Russian advocates of the United States love to mention China as an example, cynically neglecting to point out that had it been “democracy” that emerged victorious that day in Beijing, such Chinese successes would have been nowhere in sight.

Now, after 25 years of development, China has become not just an ordinary competitor of the West, but is skyrocketing ahead at full speed, bringing our Chinese comrades dangerously close to overtaking their European and American partners.

All of the above leads us to one conclusion: it does not take a lot of time, by historical standards, to see radical changes happen in the world as a whole; and the West does not want to allow such changes.

One of the ways to prevent such changes is the struggle for our past. Or rather, the struggle with our past - its falsification and denigration. Why is this important?

Behind every revision of history there is a profit motive

Imagine that you have inherited a beautiful country house and a huge plot of land from your grandfather, but your neighbor is very keen to get his hands on the house and the land. So he starts telling you all kinds of stories, lies, and vilifications about how your grandfather got the land and the house in the first place. This clever neighbor, however, tells you nothing about the ways in which his ancestors acquired his own house that is even more expensive, and his plot of land. The campaign of brainwashing the heir – you – is massive, and it involves other neighbors, the local press, and even the local authorities.

The funny thing is that as soon as you agree that your grandfather was a scoundrel and that he had obtained the land and the house in violation of the law, the neighbor will be right there and he will tell you a seemingly logical thing: you have to return what had been acquired by your “criminal” grandfather through dishonest means. Return to whom, you may ask? Why, the neighbor, of course.

To be continued

Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Anyone is free to republish, copy, and redistribute the text in this content (but not the images or videos) in any medium or format, with the right to remix, transform, and build upon it, even commercially, as long as they provide a backlink and credit to Russia Insider. It is not necessary to notify Russia Insider. Licensed Creative Commons

MORE: History

Our commenting rules: You can say pretty much anything except the F word. If you are abusive, obscene, or a paid troll, we will ban you. Full statement from the Editor, Charles Bausman.