Today we continue working through this piece in VZGLIAD by co-authors Marina Baltacheva and Mikhail Moshkin.
The theme of today’s segment is “The Futility of Crying”. Crying about a lost past; about a lost “friendship” which never actually existed; about a lost alliance which was false and deceptive from the beginning. Crying about bridges which were supposedly built, and then torn down.
We mentioned how Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova wept the tears of Yaroslavna about the provocative actions of U.S. soldiers stationed in Poland and Estonia. The soldiers were seen participating in local political events which are designed specifically to taunt Russia, as well as to put into question the entire post-World War II system of international law, and to redefine the roles of victors and vanquished in that war.
Zakharova argued that such activities do not shine a good light on American troops. She calls upon them, instead of marching with local nationalists in the nations where they are stationed, instead to honor the memory of those who fell in the common endeavour to rid Europe of the “brown plague” of fascism.
This is all highly naive, of course, and I am sure that Zakharova knows that as well, and is just going through the motions of formal diplomatic language. Perhaps intending to trap the Americans in a web of their own lies and contradictions. Everybody knows the history: Most of Europe did not particularly wither under Nazi occupation. Many Europeans welcomed the Nazis and supported the local fascist political parties. Resistance movements were mostly non-existent, and the ones which did exist, were, on the main, run by Communists. It is true that Poland, as an exception, enjoyed a national-indigenous bourgeois anti-Nazi Resistance movement; but even they regarded the Germans as the lesser of two evils, compared to the Soviet Russians.
During the fighting part of the war, there was a military alliance between the United States and the Soviet Union. That part is true. But once Germany was defeated, the United States quickly turned on its former ally and launched the Cold War against the Soviet Union. Americans smuggled Nazis out of Europe and supported fascist movements in Europe and all over the world. The rewriting of history began on the very day the war ended!
Zakharova knows all of this history, she knows that Americans are just doing what Americans do: Support any group of people who have a bone to pick with Russia.
But What About Europe?
It isn’t just Americans, of course. The European Union actually started, and is deep into, the lateest round of this game: Taunting Russia by waving brown shirts, as Russian Parliamentary Deputy Leonid Kalashnikov points out:
“The EU has long been playing footsie with these anti-Russian elements, not just applauding the parades of nationalists, but even the SS Legionnaire marches [in Latvia]. And now the Americans have started doing this too, but in conjunction with certain other events; namely, bringing troops in and introducing new technology and hardware for, as they put it, the future rotation.” Kalashnikov continues his complaint: “Currently, the U.S. is playing to these nationalist tendencies which, 25 years ago, carved for themselves an already well-trodden path in the Baltic countries. It will be a real pity of this tendency continues. Even sadder is the fact that the Soviet Union and the United States were allies during World War II, along with a series of European countries which, judging by what we see today, have forgotten all about that.”
Again, Kalashnikov is being naive. Or perhaps disingenuous. He is a smart man, and it is unlikely that he actually believes that the U.S. and Europe were sincere allies of the Soviet Union against Hitler. More like conjunctural, or temporary, allies! And that’s just the U.S. Most of Europe was allied with Nazi Germany during the war, and probably half the population of each nation was quite happy to be under the fascist boot. Hence, it’s not like they have actually “forgotten” about this past. More like, waiting for the opportunity to show their true colors and celebrate this past.
“Russia needs to express its protest,” Kalashnikov concluded. “What else can we do? They need to be held accountable.”
Another commentator, Vladimir Lukin, expressed similar sentiments, combining historical naivete with nostalgia for past alliances. Lukin is a Russian Liberal politician who served as Russia’s Ambassador to the U.S. during the height of the Yeltsin administration (1992-1994). As a founder of the Liberal Yabloko Party, Lukin is well known for his pro-West views. He regards the West as a pinnacle of democracy, and a civilization for Russia to emulate. That’s okay. Lukin is more or less a Russian patriot, he wants what is good for Russia, and he is entitled to his political views. Like Kalashnikov, Lukin recalls nostalgically the “bridges” which were built between the two nations (Russia and the United States) during World War II. Through rose-colored glasses he remembers a past in which Americans and Russians fought side by side against the plague of Nazism. “And now to blow up those bridges,” he laments, ” is an empty and unnecessary thing to do. Impediments and barriers, [past] tragedies should remain in the past, and we should be concentrating on finding ways to peace and cooperation. Therefore I am opposed to this situation, in which people are blowing up the bridges forged during the Second World War.”
[to be continued]