Years after writing Judgment in Moscow in Russian, Vladimir Bukovsky wrote an epilogue in English, for another English edition which was also never published. The first part, “in the East,” has been lost — this is a translation from English into Russian, translated back into English by Judgment translator Alyona Kojevnikov. Part 2, “In the West,” is Bukovsky’s original English.
1. In the East
“Oh, what’s the difference? - was the chagrined response I heard in both East and West - the main thing is that communism should fall, and without loss of blood.”
So again, as always, it appeared that I was some kind of dissatisfied mudslinger and even a dangerous “extremist.” Nothing can please me: the Soviet regime is no more, the CPSU is proscribed, the USSR has disintegrated – what else was there to wish for? The sooner the horrors of the past could be forgotten and shaken off one’s boot-heels like dust, the better - move on toward the triumph of capitalism!
I do not know why this purely Freudian loss of memory (and of shame with it) bothers me more than purely material consequences of the current crisis. Their lives had regressed to zero, without regrets, contrition or a mere effort to rethink the past. All of us, irrespective of our former deeds, are now equal, we have all suffered, and we are all democrats. There were occasions that defy reason: a total stranger, stopping me in the street, could declare joyfully and with no trace of irony:
- I worked in the “organs” for twenty five years, and my colleague was one of those who accompanied you out of the country to Switzerland. He is always very proud of that.
What could I say, looking at his beaming countenance, except that he could pass on my regards to his friend?
Yet this is not amusing, it is downright frightening. We are not the point at issue – we few who refused to be accessories to evil, - we are prepared to forgive the guilty, but they should not forgive themselves. This is not something we need, it is something they need, and if they feel no stirrings of conscience, the situation is hopeless. Say what you like, but I cannot believe that one can be reborn without pain and a tortuous reassessment of his one’s former values, the more so for a whole country that lived for decades under the conditions of a monstrous lie. The only known example of such a rebirth is post-war Germany, which would have hardly been successful without the Germans’ acknowledgement of their collective guilt, and this realization without the condemnation of their crimes before all humanity. In all continental Europe that lived through Nazi occupation (and the collaboration of its elite) democracy would not have triumphed. Take a close look, and a year or so after liberation the authorities that came to power there were those very same collaborationists (obviously, in the guise of “democrats” and by means of genuinely democratic elections), as it occurred in time in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and even Lithuania.
So their triumph was not surprising even in Russia. After the bloody meat-grinder of Chechnya in the mid-1990s, and especially after the second Chechen war and the rise of the KGB to power, the talk in the East and the West was about the “demise of Russian democracy,” the isolation and unaccountability of the ruling clique in the Kremlin, control over the press and public indifference. Every time these events were declared to be almost a “watershed” of the entire Russian political development. Come on gentlemen; was this really such an unexpected phenomenon? Were these not the same valorous generals who headed the storming of Grozny and who had previously “helped” Afghanistan? Were they not the same party apparatchiks who defined “national policy” as in Brezhnev-Andropov times? Did the chekists who seized power in 2000 come from Mars? Are they not the same “professionals” who enjoyed such popular support in 1991? And is “the society” not the same that could not find sufficient courage to throw off the totalitarian yoke?
Let us not quibble now, gentlemen: it was all your choice, succumbing to the lures of perestroika and fearful of confrontation, then blocking any attempts to shed light on the investigation of communist crimes, dismissing them as “witch hunts”? Well, the witches took heart and are now hunting us. Our world is such that we have to pay for all our mistakes, all our choices. But if you pay for your personal errors individually, the price for political mistakes is paid by the whole country, not to say the world. One thing links to the next making a third choice impossible, leaving subsequent generations with an ever-decreasing number of possible decisions. Therefore a problem that could have been resolved at the outset escalates into a crisis, and the crisis into a catastrophe that shall affect people who had nothing to do with the initial problem. However brilliant they may be, their only choice will be between the bad and the worse.
Is this not how we had to pay for our grandparents’ fascination with the beguiling idea of socialism at the beginning of the century? And even more for their indifference, their conformity when the beautiful dream began to turn into a nightmare before their eyes? If there is one thing that amazes in Russian history it is that very indifference, the famous Russian “maybe”: there were no more than forty thousand fanatical Bolsheviks in 1917, but only a handful of officers opposed them. Even at the height of the civil war - there were only several hundred thousand on each side, of which a significant number was made up of completely incidental people: Poles, captive Czechs, Latvian rifleman. At best - Cossacks. So where was the entire country with its population of 150 million? They sat at home and waited for the outcome: “Maybe this will all pass us by…”
Even though historical parallels are rarely justified, it is hard to avoid them: looking at the present indifference toward the disintegration of an immense country, how can one ignore a 75-year-old apathy? Of course, the transition from decades of totalitarian subjugation to democracy and from “mature socialism” to a market economy could not be easy. It suffices to recall collectivized village agriculture, the rigidly monopolistic industry almost 50% of which was geared toward military needs, the absence of investment capital, drained resources and masses of people that had never worked productively to understand the scope of the problem. No matter how gradual a reform of such an economy, it would result inevitably in huge unemployment, the fall of living standards and social tension, the scope of which could not be withstood by any democratically –elected government (just as no elected government could create such a system).
A government composed largely of incidental people faced with such a colossal problem could not be expected to cope; they were totally unprepared for such sudden power and they had no structural support that could stabilize the situation in a period of transition. New democratic bodies were in their infancy and existed more symbolically than in reality; in any case, they were no opposition to the all-pervasive and well established structures remaining from the old regime and connected by joint interests (and common past crimes) into a de facto mafia. There was nothing to replace the old administrative apparatus, thus the former nomenklatura with its unlawfully acquired wealth, international ties and experience, continued to control both executive and legislative power in an allegedly democratic state.
Let us not forget the less than friendly attitude of the West to the nascent democracy in the former USSR: while those who tried to rescue the rotted system, - Gorbachev and Co. - until the last moment enjoyed the unconditional support of the West, their more democratic opponents (including Yeltsin) were branded “unreliable” and even “dangerous.” All this merely prolonged the agony of the regime, held back the development of a genuine democratic opposition and made the problem of curing the country even more difficult.
Finally, to get the full picture, add in endless ethnic conflicts, the rapid rise of crime, fantastic corruption and the complete apathy of the disenchanted population and it becomes clear that the chances of a total cure were very negligible.
The only way out of the situation would have been the attraction of as broad a sector of the population as possible into the political process. And this required the drama of an all-nation struggle against the old regime, a catharsis of a people’s victory of society over the system or, to put it more precisely, - over themselves. But as we saw, this was something the “elite,” to which the nomenklatura was dearer than the people, was not ready to do. On the contrary, these provincial secretaries of regional committees and former Komsomol leaders who, by a quirk of fate found themselves in power, had no intention of changing anything, let alone sharing power. And they were not the only ones.
“Oh, the people are not ready for something like this…” exclaimed the intelligentsia, accustomed to justifying its faint-heartedness by referring to “the people.” Yet as we have seen from the above, the people were ready to fight for democracy, but it was easier for the elite to cohabit with communists rather than popular power, tasked with serving the interests of the people.
Nonetheless, as if in confirmation of the old truth that life is an ingenious creator of the most incredible scenarios, fate granted Yeltsin and his supporters a last chance: the so-called “August putsch” an unexpected gift that accelerated the fall of the communist system. If it were not for the putsch, one can only guess how long the preceding demoralizing uncertainty would have lasted, when the intellectuals babbled inanely about the feasibility of “holding round table negotiations” and the horror of a possible confrontation while the West engaged in desperate efforts to save its beloved Gorby. And as if to shame them all, the “evil empire” decided to strike back and disintegrated before their very eyes, showing to what extent the rot had really set in.
This offered the unexpected possibility of compensating for the too-long period of uncertainty. But using this opportunity called for very rapid and decisive actions, while the nomenklatura was still reeling from the shock, and popular enthusiasm had reached its apogee. It must be said that Yeltsin’s crew gave an excellent account of itself during the putsch and the several following days. Without doubt the fact that Yeltsin climbed up on a tank outside the White House and addressed his fellow-citizens was his moment of glory, and his signing of the decree proscribing the Communist Party of the Soviet Union some days later was the crowning achievement of his life.
But this was where it all stopped. Over the next hundred days, as if petrified by his unexpected triumph, Yeltsin did absolutely nothing of any consequence. Just as in 1917, the August “revolution” was victorious in the centre of the country, mainly in several of the larger cities, but had no effect in the provinces. The putsch fizzled out so quickly that pro-democratic forces had no time to unite and oust the local bosses. Theoretically, the “democrats” were the party of power, but in fact they had no local power - and Yeltsin did nothing to change that situation.
Even in the centre, where Yeltsin’s personal power was undeniable at first, it was insufficient to seal regional and district party headquarters and confiscate their property. It was essential to neutralize similar components of the totalitarian system as quickly as possible, including the KGB and its tangled web of agents, the monstrously inflated army with its supremely powerful industrial base and ministries that had retained control over the minutest aspects of the process of production and distribution. But most important of all, it was essential to publicly dethrone the socialist regime forever, to unmask thoroughly its crimes, which would have been done better in an open trial or by a public investigation - so that all the relevant documents from the archives of the CPSU and the KGB would be made available to the media for publication.
In other words, an end had to be put to the old structures, and new ones be created in their place. Undoubtedly, this would have required Yeltsin to break ties with the “liberal” representatives of the nomenklatura, which could have been achieved through new parliamentary elections. All this and much more could have been gained easily enough during the first hundred days after the August putsch, when a cowed nomenklatura would have been unable to offer resistance and Yeltsin was at the height of his popularity. Putting it plainly, it was possible and necessary to implement the more painful yet essential reforms from the very start: in the first place a broad privatization of local state property - residential property, agencies, wholesale and retail trade.
One such step would have broadened Yeltsin’s power base, introducing gradually the basic principle of private property, without which no further market reforms would be possible. Moreover, the introduction of this principle would mean a change to normal market distribution from the disintegrating system of centralized state distribution, which had been the main cause of deficit and a constant source of corruption. Finally, it would have been a matter of satisfaction for a significant part of the population to feel the real consequences of the revolution.
These measures, conducted simultaneously with a purge of the nomenklatura, and also the actual formation of a new Russian legislative body would have brought new people to power through the removal of the main obstacle to reform - the old legislative body, invented by Gorbachev for the specific purpose of slowing down the course of changes. Instead of attempting to persuade his enemies to vote for their own death sentence in the form of a new Constitution and law on land (which Yeltsin did later), or instead of storming the White House by force to bring down the former Supreme Soviet (which Yeltsin had to do subsequently), he could have achieved a new tool for reform. In any case, this would have rendered the post-August changes irreversible, and also reinforced his own position significantly.
Furthermore: at that time it was also necessary to pull Russia out of her imperial past, yet in this matter Yeltsin was irresolute once more, not to say ambiguous. Despite the fact that in December 1991 he did strike a fatal blow on the Soviet Union, his idea of Russia’s future relations with newly-formed states was extremely nebulous, and this opened the way for future conflicts.
On one hand, the republics were proclaimed independent and recognized as such in Moscow, but on the other hand Russia aspired to the role of “legal successor” of the Soviet Union, assuming responsibility for maintaining peace on the territory of the former empire. This was another colossal mistake. As a result it emerged that the Russian people were responsible for the evils of communism, even though they were its primary victims, much more so than any others; but it also became impossible to implement any significant reform of the immense Soviet armed forces located all over the length and breadth of the former Union and which were frequently involved in quelling local ethnic conflicts.
Even worse, the opposing sides in numerous local ethnic conflicts looked upon Russian forces at the epicentre of a conflict either as a source of arms supply, or a potential ally (if it proved possible to provoke the anger of the military toward the behaviour of the opposing side in the conflict). There were increasing occurrences of local Russians becoming hostages in this harsh game. In turn, this would provoke an upsurge of nationalist feelings within Russia, and exacerbated its economic difficulties by the exodus of refugees to their historic homeland.
In the end, army commanders in areas of national conflicts often had to rely on their own political reasoning, and this reasoning was not always oriented toward democracy. There were also instances in which the military would act in its own interests by allowing the conflicts to drag on, seeing military action as the sole guarantee of no reduction of armed forces and other undesirable military reforms. The only way to avoid these potentially explosive problems would have been for Yeltsin to refuse, right from the start, to participate in any conflicts outside Russian borders, rapidly withdraw all Russian troops from territories not belonging to Russia, and embark on a serious reorganization of the armed forces. All this would have been attainable if Russia had seceded unilaterally from the Union immediately after the August putsch.
Obviously, Yeltsin would have been unable to implement all the aforesaid reforms in the remaining months of 1991. But undoubtedly he could, and should have, launched them in those first hundred days, thereby setting the main directions of his policies. Instead, all he did was dismiss and reshuffle the old bureaucratic deck of cards. Consequently the bureaucracy swelled, taking firm hold of all governmental spheres, rendering the government uncontrollable and extremely corrupt. The absence of a radical state-supported program of privatization enabled the bureaucracy to “privatize” at its own discretion. Former party functionaries, who had transformed swiftly into “democrats” and then “businessmen” just as rapidly, now seized much of the desirable state property in the process of this actual “privatization.” The rest fell into the hands of “black market” dealers and downright criminals. Never mind that this did not elicit public indignation, - it besmirched the very concept of a market economy.
Due to the establishment of a new financial foundation and Yeltsin’e inaction, the reborn nomenklatura was able to regroup and develop a new action strategy, this time a purely “democratic” one. There was now no need for overthrows or conspiracies. All the former communists had to do was to simply position themselves as a “democratic” opposition, protecting the interests of the man in the street, while blocking and sabotaging further reforms. As the communists were now predominant in the executive and legislative branches of power, they emerged as the undoubted victors in this new game of “democracy.”
The few and scattered democratic forces, finding themselves in a losing situation, only continued the feuds that deepened splits in their ranks. They could not oppose Yeltsin openly for fear of becoming a card in the communists’ game, nor could they support Yeltsin for fear of alienating their main followers. In the end, some of them joined the government, others turned their backs on politics completely, and a minority dissolved into the ranks of the disappointed majority, which considered itself betrayed and robbed, deprived of the fruits of the revolution it had achieved.
Yet what else were they to think seeing the same party bureaucrats occupying the same offices, holding the same posts and enjoying the same privileges they had before August? Which Yeltsin were these deluded people supposed to support? The one who climbed up on a tank and declared war on the nomenklatura or the one who between such declarations of war sought a compromise with that same nomenklatura?
Thus only one hundred days after victory, Yeltsin’s government - with its inability to solve the basic problems, incapability of supporting political structures and with an ever-diminishing popularity - became more and more like the Provisional Government of 1917.
As though all these mistakes over three or four months were not enough for one man to bear, Yeltsin added another one: not having resolved the problem of political power in the land and not having ensured that straight after the institution of private property he charged Yegor Gaidar with the implementation of a market economy.
By an ironic twist of fate, just like Gorbachev before him, this new Russian star was hailed immediately by the West as a young and energetic champion of a market economy, even though in fact Yegor Gaidar was a scion of the old nomenklatura deadwood. His grandfather, a well-known Soviet writer, earned his laurels by glorifying the Bolshevik revolution; his father, a Soviet admiral followed the family tradition by lauding the heroism of Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan. Clearly, with such an enviable revolutionary pedigree, Gaidar-the-Third forged a brilliant professional career in various think-tanks of the CC, such as its main theoretical journal “Kommunist,” and then rose to become editor of the economic section of the “Pravda” newspaper.
It stands to reason that with such impeccable qualifications, characterizing him as a specialist on Western economy, it was impossible not to appoint him to the post of Prime Minister of a neo-democratic Russia. His crew was composed of just such young, energetic and liberally thinking offspring of the nomenklatura, who had spent years in prestigious research institutes. In Brezhnev’s times they would have been regarded as almost rebels for their efforts to convince the old dogmatic CC that socialism could be perfected by the introduction of certain elements of a market economy. I suspect that in their student years they had secretly read Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek. The trouble was that their knowledge of economics was derived purely from books, insofar as they had never lived the lives of ordinary people, - neither under socialism, nor capitalism.
It was these “radical reformers” that persuaded Yeltsin to adopt the Polish model of a “shock therapy” and commence the entire process of “liberalizing prices.” They were firmly convinced that alongside a stringent monetary and financial policy, the rouble could become convertible by the summer of 1992, and to commence privatization come autumn. After all, this is what happened in Poland, did it not? The result was catastrophic. The reforms which were seen as daring by the West proved to be wholly unsustainable, as they ignored the enormous difference between the Russian and Polish economies. Agriculture in Poland had not been subjected to total collectivization and was always based on private farming; moreover, both wholesale and retail private trade had existed in Poland for many years.
So the shock therapy in that country stimulated competition in the private sector (embracing one third of the country’s overall workforce), and after an initial leap of 60%, prices stabilized in several months. It was just the reverse in Russia, there was no private production or private trade - the private sector did not exist, just as there were no legal grounds for private property. In such conditions, it is impossible to create competition: monopolistic producers could simply reduce production and set prices for their products at any level they wished.
Therefore it is not surprising that production, including agricultural, suffered an overall fall of 20-30%, while prices increased twenty-fold, and continued to rise. At the same time, Gaidar’s strict monetary and financial policy - he had culled some bits and pieces from Friedman’s books - put a stranglehold on any private initiatives. Under taxes established in accordance with the Swedish scale (federal and local taxes reached up to 90%), and with a dearth of cheap credit, any aspiring entrepreneur would be driven underground, in which dubious deals were concluded in cash only (to the unconcealed glee of racketeers).
Thus private enterprise turned into a senseless activity instead of becoming an effective element of a market economy. “Business” of this kind was not conducive to amassing capital, created no new workplaces or new products; it did not even make a significant contribution to tax collection. But it did create inflation, led to a rise in crime and made the general public hate “bloody capitalism.” One more distinction from Poland was that most of the production in Russia was not consumer-oriented, but was government-controlled heavy industry, around 40-50% of which was destined for military purposes.
Any market reform would lead inevitably to an enormous wave of unemployment. In our time, no government could survive such immense unemployment, especially a government as weak as Yeltsin’s; market reform would have to be implemented simultaneously with a rapid expansion of a private sector capable of creating new work places. But even this would be insufficient, so it would be necessary to prepare a new program of public works such as the one introduced under Roosevelt in the USA.
None of this was taken into account. So Gaidar’s harsh monetarism combined with feverish inflation and a “black” cash economy caused a liquidity crisis. Simply speaking, the Russian economy became bankrupt. Enterprises could not pay for raw materials, power, services and products provided by suppliers; workers were not paid for months on end. (When the nuclear arms factory in Siberia went on strike, Yeltsin had to fly there personally to deliver the wages owed to the workers.)
By the summer of 1992 there was no sign of a convertible rouble, but the government had to print astronomic amounts of the usual one instead. Under pressure of circumstances, Gaidar and Yeltsin were forced to return to large-scale subsidizing of industry and an indexation of wages and pensions - in other words, to the old Gorbachev economic “policy” of the printing press and additional loans from the West.
Naturally, talk of all kinds about reforms continued, and in the autumn “as planned” there was even a timid attempt at “privatization.” Privatization vouchers, with a nominal value of 10 thousand roubles each were printed and handed over to every Russian citizen. The population was not particularly enthusiastic about this: nobody could imagine what sort of property one could acquire with these vouchers. Could they buy something useful such as land or houses, or did it mean the acquisition of a minute share in some huge crumbling factory, which would never yield any dividends? As the former was already “privatized” by party apparatchiks and “black market” dealers, the population was stuck with the latter.
The vouchers were hardly placed into circulation, they simply added around a trillion to an inflation that had spiralled totally out of control and became no more than a method of payment. By the end of 1992 the market value of the vouchers had dropped to 2, 000 roubles.
This was the finale of Gaidar’s “market reform” which had made the people twenty times poorer than before, shattered their illusions and fed their anger. This “reform” was a boon for the communists: even though there was still no democracy in the country and no market economy, both ideas were completely discredited. As for Yeltsin, this failure signalled the start of a lengthy retreat. If in the spring of 1992 he had to sacrifice his political convictions, by autumn he had sacrificed his entire crew (including Gaidar) and in the spring of 1993 he was fighting for his own political survival.
Even the storming of the White House and the forced removal of the old Supreme Soviet did not reinforce his positions: the new parliament (Duma) was no better than its predecessor, and from this time Yeltsin became a hostage to the “power structures” (the army, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the new KGB - the FSB). These were the only powers remaining in Russia that supported Yeltsin although, to use Lenin’s term, they supported him the way a rope supports a hanged man. Their open accession to power after Yeltsin was the logical conclusion of this process. Out of all the fragments of the old nomenklatura, the chekists were always more organized, and their role in the “privatization” of party power and property was pivotal.
Their marauding regime continues to hang on, just like the late Soviet empire, solely due to high oil prices. However, these prices are not eternal, and oil production is declining inexorably, so the fall of the chekist regime is only a question of time. All these years they have been only deriving oil and filling their pockets – nobody gave a thought to using the fabulous income from oil to reform the economy or establish infrastructures. So when production of oil declines to the point when it will be adequate to cater to domestic use only, entire regions will be left without fuel, transport and heating, while several large cities (such as Moscow, St. Petersburg and a few others) shall continue to import Western goods. This situation alone will split Russia much more decisively than any clashes on a nationalist basis.
In fact, the disintegration of Russia began much earlier than the conflict in Chechnya, which only served to speed up the process. Since the early 1990s, it only took the centre to weaken a little for regions and districts to start talking about establishing their own customs, local currency, and even secession from the Russian Federation. The army may well follow in the same direction, lending local politicians its support and receiving provisions that Moscow can no longer supply.
Possibly this is the inevitable outcome for a state that has historically developed not from the bottom upwards instead but the other way round. Who can explain why Siberia, still fabulously rich in resources of all kinds, should continue a miserable existence only to enable some oligarchs to make presents of yachts to chekists in a very distant Moscow, nine hour zones away? What has Moscow done for Siberia apart from issuing orders, penalties and levying taxes?
Without doubt, the desire for “sovereignty” became the most forceful factor of the last revolution in Russia; moreover it affected not just ethnic groups. In fact, the concept of “sovereignty” can turn out to be the only mass understanding of freedom in a highly centralized totalitarian state - the desire to secede from it with the aid of some kind of border, or even better – an iron curtain. It was precisely this desire, and not a handful of former communists - now democrats - that put a decisive end to totalitarian control.
But if the country should break up into parts, then even its largest fragments would be unable to sustain common national systems of communication, transport and power, to say nothing of the security of nuclear and chemical enterprises. Nor could they support the Academy of Sciences by a network of scientific research institutes, nor the art culture amassed over the past two centuries. Strictly speaking, the country (or what was left of it) could be thrown back to medieval times, when countless petty dukedoms fought for survival.
It is impossible to foretell how these fragments of Russia could be governed - by elected parliaments or warlords? Would they live in peace with one another or fight for oilfields and gold mines? And if they fight, with what weapons? In a word, we are looking at numerous varied and so far unanswered questions. The most important of them being what should we do?
Clearly this global problem cannot be resolved from the outside. Nor is it possible to solve it from the inside if this chaos does not produce a new band of rebels that will accomplish what their cowardly fathers could not: an end shall be put to the remnants of the totalitarian regime that has evolved into a mafia by removing generations ruined by decades of slavery and allowing the building of a new society.
2. In the West
But if the price Russia pays is so exceptionally high, it will be extremely naive to think that the West somehow manages to escape retribution. I do not mean by that just the commonly acknowledged problems: the inevitable spread of mafia and of corruption, Chernobyl-type ecological disasters or smuggling of nuclear technology and materials to the Middle East, (although all of the above threats are quite real and the West is yet to find a proper response to any of them). Nor do I mean possible consequences of the fighting between different fragments of Russia.
There are much more far-reaching consequences of the West’s failure to win the Cold War (or even to identify its ideological nature). The universal crisis of the 200 year old UTOPIALis bound to affect political, social, economic life of the Western world in a direct proportion to its former influence. From the collapse of the world order to the bankrupcy of welfare state, and from the crisis of representative democracy, abused and besieged by power-hungry "minorities,” to degeneration of our cultural life - these all are direct results of the collectivist egalitarian dream which reigned.supreme since French Revolution. Yet, very much like in the East, the "elites" here are not even prepared to recognize the crisis, let alone to cope with it. Unrepentent of their past complicity in hideous crimes against humanity, they stubbornly cling to their bankrupt UTOPIA in a desperate effort to preserve their position of power.
Look at them: ever so eager to exploit sense of guilt one feels when confronted with poverty and misery of even the most obscure human tribe, or even with a plight of a rarest species to which we bear no relation, they feel no guilt for a monumental catastrophe they have helped to bring about. On the contrary, as if endless repetition of lies can ultimately turn them into a truth, Western left establishment has recently produced virtually libraries of books striving to “prove" that they were “right all along.” The revelations.of some former Soviet officials about the extent of the Western collaboration with the regime are greeted with indignation, as a "witch hunt.” Or, at best, with a shrug: “So what? Who cares?" '
Many still present their past ideological allience rather nostalgically, if not.proudly, as algood fight.for a noble cause, (which somehow went wrong). As if we are not talking about a system which killed in one day more human beings than the Holy Inquisition did in three hundred years of its existence (please539 recall Stalin’s note condemning to death 6,600 people in one stroke of a pencil; Inquisition has managed only 5,000 in three centuries).
"What was so wrong about pursuing a beautiful dream of universal happiness, even if it turns out to be impracticable?“ - they ask they with a poorly faked naivity. As if we, at the end of the 20th century, do not have a duty to know that one's man dream may be another man's nightmare. I suppose the Nazis also have had a lofty dream of purely Aryan happiness; yet, no one would take that fact into consideration at Nuremberg.
Alas, this brand of dreamers did not meet their Nuremberg. Undefeated in the Cold War I, they continue to wage a Cold War II, forcing their agenda on unsuspecting mankind. Just look around: former Soviet. clients everywhere in ‘the 'world are carefully preserved by their Western ideological allies (in Cuba, Angola, Mozambique), or even brought to power (like in South Africa or in Palestine). If we are prepared to use force in order to liberate poor oppressed people from an undemocratic regime, it will be in Haiti, not in the neighboring Cuba: bringing a socialist President to power by force is acceptable while deposing one is not.
This is what the so-called "New World Order" boils down to: the very same two-hundred-year-old UTOPIA, forced upon us by hook and crook. Like Bourbons after the Restoration, our utopians did not even learn anything from their disastrous past: confronted with remnants of communism in China and North Korea, or with relapses of it in Russia, they still talk the same language of appeasement, of “not interfering in internal affairs" and of "influencing by closeness.” As if last 10 years did not prove beyond any doubt that communist system is unreformable, we are still urged to “encourage reforms" there by trade and loans, cheap»credits andeost Favored.Nation status. And.10 years later, when quite predictable disaster hits the news, they will once again shrug it off with a fake amazement.
The very idea of a World Order, imposed and maintained by some sort of a World Government is itself a utopian dream; when, however, it is implemented by a rotten political "elite" infected
Armed with a bankrupt ideology and pursuing its own narrow interests, it rapidly becomes a cdisaster. Leaving aside such obvious examples as Somalia and Yugoslavia, even the Middle East "peace process" has all the marks of a catastrophe in making: it has already cost Israelies more human lives than the Six Day war in 1967. And what else can be expected from a “peace process“ secretly concocted in Norway by international socialist nomenklatura?
- But the main consequences are yet to follow, and not only in the Middle East: just try to discourage any terrorist if they all have now in front of them.a shining example of Yassir Arafat.
Moral standards of the "New'World.0rder" are thus defined: if you have a stamina to murder innocent people long enough, you will become a.statesman and.a Nobel Peace prize laureate, not a terrorist. One can rest assured this message is not lost on Hamas, on the IRA in Northern Ireland, or on different groups fighting today in Bosnia, where every village claims to be a "state“ with its own "government.” With such a powerful incentive dangling in front of them, what is a point in keeping the UN troops there, or in pretending to conduct international mediation?
The case of Bosnia is probably the most illustrative of the mess created by the New World Order utopians, and a harbinger of the things to come. God only knows why did they decide, in their wisdom, to make an independent state governed by a Muslim minority (43.6% by the 1991 census) out of a Yugoslav province, which has not been a state for at least 500 years. Was it their attempt to Show their impartiality to the Muslim world? Or, was it a utopian experiment aimed at proving that a lion and a lamb can lie together? We might never find out. The fact remains that this decision.has been made with.total and arrogant disregard for local, sentiment. Serbs, constituting“ the .1argest. "minority" (31.2%) particularly objected to any attempts at separating them from Serbia proper, unanimously boycotting the so-called "referendum" of 1992.
But, who cares? Being the most vigorous proponents of the "minority rights" where it suits their ideological goals, our New World Order utopians completely ignore them wherever it does not (e.g. in South Africa, where even Zulus could not win their sympathy). So, all their objections ignored, the Serbs in Bosnia have suddenly woke up one nice morning in an “independent" Muslim-governed state. Small wonder they have taken to arms: just imagine a British town Luton, (where many Muslim emigrants have traditionally settled after the war), is suddenly proclaimed an independent Muslim state, and is recognized as such by the world. Wouldn't you find it's a bit too provocative for its non-Muslim residents? Wouldn't you say that those who have made such a decision must share responsibility for the bloodbath which will follow?
Not so in the case of our utopians who are never wrong, and never held responsible for any consequences.of their lofty dream. At least as long as the mass media is in their hands, they will always occupy high moral grounds, no matter what.happens. So, the ensueing civil war, barbaric as it usually is between peasants fighting for their land, has been cleverly termed the "ethnic cleansing.” Ethnic? Since when did "Muslim" become an ethnicity? Whoever coined this expression, must be an expert in propaganda, not a specialist in ethnography for the latter will tell you
There is no ethnic difference whatsoever between Serbs, Croats and, of course, Muslims (who are the same South Slavs as the rest of them, only converted to Islam under three centuries of Turkish occupation). Thus, in reality Bosnian conflict is no more ethnic, than the troubles in Northern Ireland.
But, who cares? The truth today is what CNN tells you. Being emotionally excercised by this skillfully created parallel with the Nazi crimes, our enragedﬂworld.could.not remain inactive. For the first time since 1940s the powers of International Tribunal on crimes against humanity were invoked in order to punish the perpetrators of this now-existent “ethnic cleansing" . Fifty years this tribunal was not convened. Neither the crimes committed by Stalin in Eastern Europe, nor by the Soviet Army in Afghanistan, nor the "social cleansing" conducted by Pol Pot in Cambodia were deemed worthy of its judgment. Ironically, most of the main culprits in Yugoslavia - the leaders of "ethnic communities" - have routinely committed similar crimes for the past few decades in.their former capacity as the communist.bosses. But, no, no one is going to judge them for those crimes. And if they continued to murder capitalists and kulaks, priests and "reactionaries,” no one would have dared to condemn them. Our moral indignation must be reserved only for the mythical "ethnic cleansing.”
One would have hoped that the tragedy of Bosnia will at least serve as a wake-up call to our utopian dreamers, (as, indeed, should have done spectacular disintegration of the Soviet Union after 75 years of compulsory "internationalist friendship" of its nations). The trouble is, however, that the modern-day utopians are not naive idealists anymore, but, like their Soviet counterparts, they are self-serving nomenklatura. They could not care less about the consequences of their "dream“ so long as it helps them to stay in power. Take another example: their drive for European integration. One cannot even understand why, after all the above-mentioned disasters, should the same experiment be attempted again, unless their self-interest is taken into account. Having failed to win by normal democratic means, and seeing that the universal trend goes against their ideology, our socialist nomenklatura knows it can remain in power only as an unelected centralized bureaucracy which will be almost impossible to dislodge. This is simply a new attempt at creating "common [socialist] Europen home" on the slight, before anyone even notices the trick, an eternal dream of building yet another Tower of Babel. Never mind that in Europe, with its less than peaceful history, this compulsory unification is very likely to open old wounds, if not to create new Bosnias. All they care about is perpetuation of their power to "redistribute wealth" from "rich" parts of Europe to "poor,” or to impose the “socia1[ist] charter" on market economy.
One can admire (if one has a taste for such entertainments) their clever manipulations: how could an idea of a free common market be turned onto its head and made into a socialist straight-jacket? One can wonder: what has happened to vaunted European democracy which somehow became a mockery? So much so that the Danes, (who voted narrowly against the Maastricht Treaty), were made to vote twice, while the Britons, (who were known in advance to be against it), were not given a chance to vote at all. The fact remains, however, that this shotgun marriage of European nations cannot possibly result in anything different than all other such marriages in our history. There is hardly a better recipe for making enemies than compulsory cohabitation. But, ten to fifteen years down the road, when this ' will happen, can we at least expect the architects of United Europe to admit their guilt? Oh, no, not a chance. They will be blaming nationalism and intolerance, xenophobia and greed which will suddenly afflict Europeans.for no apparent.reason. They will be condemning everything and everybody but themselves.
Utopians were always disinclined to accept human nature; this is why their dreams could never be implemented without violence and their results are always exactly opposite to the proclaimed aims. Their main fallacy is a totally unscientific and utterly dehumanizing belief that the man is infinitely malleable, and, given the “right“ social conditions, can be "perfected,” i.e. changed in a direction they like. Accordingly, they do not accept the most basic institutions evolved in thousands years of our civilization as reflecting essential characteristics of human nature. Private ownership, family, religion, nation - all of them together and each separately were subjected to persistent attacks in the last two centuries with inevitably disastrous results. Ultimately, this is a two-hundred-year-old war waged against individual, his rights, his dignity, his sovereignity, by the self-proclaimed power-hungry "elite,” the coercive utopiansg. Communism was simply the most consistent expression of their aspirations, and its defeat could and should have discredited the whole utopian concept, pretty much like the downfall of Nazism has discredited the concept of Eugenics. It.could.and should.have helped the mankind to develop an allergy to their demagogery and an immunity to their manipulations. Anything suggesting "social engineering" should have produced today our instant rejection like the "ethnic cleansing“ does.
Alas, we did not win, and they are not defeated. Indeed, private ownership is grudgingly recognized now as indispensible even by the most ardent utopians, after their century-long assault on it has nearly ruined half of the world’s economy. But, can we call it a victory?
Hardly so. Even the world economy is not free today from the utopian concept of "wealth redistribution" from the so-called ‘ "rich“ to the so-called "poor" countries. A recent UN conference on social development in Copenhagen was once again framed in these terms, as if our experience of the last 50 years did not teach us that massive injections of Western cash into the Third World have simply “developed” a huge and corrupt bureaucracy there. As long as I remember myself, these countries were subsidized, first as "underdeveloped,” then as "developing,” a more polite and promising expression reflecting no real progress. But, 50 years and trillions of dollars later, can we name a single country turned into a “developed" one thanks to those injections? On the contrary, their situation became only worse as they turned into aid-addicts, while those who did not receive Western aid - like Taiwan or Singapure, Chile or Hong Kong - became economic giants.
Meanwhile, in the Western world itself the utopian concept of welfare state has finally come to fruition. Practically every country of the industrialized.world has either bankrupted itself by trying to fulfill this lofty dream, or will be bankrupt early next century if the system continues unchanged. And yet, poverty, crime, illiteracy, lack of medical care have not diminished; in some countries they have actually grew in a direct proportion to the growth of welfare. Worse still, there is a welfare-dependent underclass.growing almost in every large city, with many families drawing some kind of state benefits for three generations. And there are good reasons to believe this dangerous development is deliberately encouraged by those who need such a constituency in order to stay in power.
But the real disaster, according to many experts, is the destructive effect welfare has on the family. Dramatic increases in teenage pregnancy and fatherless families, directly attributable to the welfare policy of the last 30 years, are indirectly responsible for the current explosion of juvenile crime, drug culture and the rapid growth of welfare-dependent underclass. This vicious circle, admittedly more vicious in the English-speaking world now than in the continental Europe, is in itself quite frightening. Add up to it two more long-suffering victims of the utopian experimentation: practically destroyed543 education system, with its emphasis on games and fun rather than study and discipline, and a judicial system, in which procedures and technicalities have over-ruled justice rather than to safeguard it, and the emerging picture is simply apocalyptic.
Again, Europeans may try to distance themselves from this horror by calling it "an American disease,” but they are not likely to avoid it, for the root of the problem is common across the Atlantic. Both worlds were for too long dominated by the utopian concept of human being, thus shifting his ultimate responsibility for his own life away from the individual. As a result, modern state became a breast-feeding mother for some, and a blood-sucking monster for the majority. Unable to change its ways, ruling nomenklatura continues to pile tax upon tax, thus pushing the average taxpayer into poverty and state dependency. One can safely predict that no state on earth will be capable of sustaining the cost of this "social justice" by the turn of the century. What will happen then? A revolt of taxpayers, refusing to pay any more? A collapse of the State?
Indeed, what is the modern state? A crossbreed between a medieval protection racket and a socialist utopia. As long as the Cold War dominated our life, it has had at least some rationale: we wanted to be protected against the ultimate threat to our way of life by paying for the defence, and by bribing the underclass lest it become infected with the communist bacilli. Today this rationale is gone and our "social contract“ has no meaning. What does the modern state protect you from? The criminals? Hardly so. Today, if you are mugged or burglarized, you pray to God they are not caught. For if they are, you as a taxpayer, will be obliged to pay through.your nostrils for a lengthy and senseless judicial procedure, at the end of which the criminals will most likely go home. But even if they are sent to jail, God help us! The cost of keeping a prisoner behind the bars is simply astronomical - in Britain it is £20,000 to £40,000 a year. No one of us, average taxpayers, can even dream of spending so much on ourselves.
And what about the other function of the modern state, its “kinder, gentler" side? It makes even less sense to us than the "protective" one for it.is always "kinder and.gentler“ to someone else at our expense. There are plenty of couples who postpone having children until they can afford their decent upbringing; yet our "kinder" state mercilessly taxes them in order to pay single mothers. There are plenty of ill and elderly who cannot afford decent treatment of their illnesses; yet our "gentler" state taxes them to death in order to treat drug addicts. With such state-sponsored kindness, who needs protection from criminals?
The whole concept.of this compulsory charity is so ridiculous and so insulting that we would be better off paying criminals to protect us from the state.
Clearly, the very existence of the modern state is in question, or will be in question pretty soon. And yet, present-day “elite" has no courage to address the crisis, as it has no honesty to admit their basic concept is wrong. On the contrary, no sooner the big, all-embracing utopia of Communism died in front of us, than myriads of tiny utoplets sprang up in its place, as if to fill the void left in the lives of the utopians.
Humanity is overwhelmed; accustomed as we may be to placating our crusaders, we still cannot reconcile all their demands. Lest we be branded an “enemy of the people,” we must attempt to be green, blue, and color-blind, all at once. We are expected to deny that there is any difference between the sexes, and yet we are obliged to believe that the God.Almighty is a woman. Animals' rights have become superior to ours, except in AIDS research. And smoking... Smoking is the worst crime of them all, unless you smoke marijuana.
At first, our bewilderment leads us to suspect that the world has simply gone mad. Indeed, our time has truly become an era.of crusading crackpots and of universal conformism, Any small but voiciferous group of freaks seems to be able to change a law, or a policy of a state, or even those of international community pretty much against the wishes of the tired majority. Common sense, logic, science are no obstacle: there may be not a shred of scientific evidence to support the doomsday scenario of the "greenhouse effect"; yet the governments are forced to compete in cutting down the “greenhouse gas" emission even at the expense of economic development. We are yet to find out what is a ’ function of the “ozone holes" in our geosystem because there was not enough time since their discovery to study them properly: but the governments are already obliged to launch expensive programs in order to fight them. And what can we expect from the feeble politicians if every means of propaganda are used to whip up public hysteria? Even my dictionary boldly states: ozone hole n. An area of depletion in the ozone layer, especially over Antarctica, largely caused by industrial gases, and posing a threat to the well-being of the planet and its inhabitants.
Never mind that the industrial gasses, emitted mainly in the Northern hemisphere, cannot possibly cause ozone depletion over Antarctica, since the gas exchange between the hemispheres is about 10%. Who could care about such insignificant details if the "world summit" of all sorts of green freaks has decided otherwise, and the mass media presented this as a fact? Business and governments, political and international organizations - all jumped on the green bandwagon, ignoring the protests of many leading scientists. You simply have to declare yourself "ozone- friendly" if you don't want your business to be destroyed, or your character vilified by a smear campaign.
Meanwhile, the science itself became abused and twisted in this struggle to the point that one cannot trust its conclusions any longer without knowing first who paid for the research. Few years ago BBC-2 screened a documentary in which quite a number of prominent scientists complained that they are under financial pressure to show the results confirming the greenhouse effect.
Similar complaints one can hear from those studying effects of . pollution and, in particular, the effects of so-called "passive" or "secondary" smoking. Although dozens of studies did not show any harmful effect at all, the one which did has been instantly singled out, its results "doctored" and used in a vicious world- wide campaign for a "smoke-free society.” At present this campaign became so hysterical, so absurd as to turn us, law-- abiding, taxpaying smokers into a persecuted minority for no apparent reason. After all, despite the smoke-screen concern for ' our health, we are “consenting adults“ and entitled to decide for ourselves.
Mind you, all of this happens at the time when the other establishment-designated "minorities" are gaining privileges and preferential treatment. While homosexuals can serve in the army, and women can become priests, we cannot have even a tiny smoking compartment on the publicly subsidized trains we pay for through (among other means) growing "sin" taxes on cigarettes. Thus, all means of public transportation.- planes, trains, even.buses -‘are suddenly denied to us in a case of most blatant discrimination. My local bus service was one of the last to succumb to the international pressure, and a remarkable public notice has just appeared in it few months ago:
“This bus is people friendly. No smoking please.” Just try to imagine the same sign barring gays, or blacks, or even dogs! Next day the whole world would have screamed to high heaven. Surely, George Orwell is immortal, for as long as the coercive utopians are in command, some animals will be always be more equal than others. What is started under the banner of equality will always end.up in privileges for some and oppression for others. There is no concept of law, no place for human rights left in our crazy world, just the noisy gangs of freaks who can virtually get away with murder. As a Russian poet once said: "Whoever loudest barks bow-wow Is always in the right, you know.”
But perhaps the most outrageous, and certainly most damaging for our civilization is the campaign of “women’s liberation,” male-bashing, "role-reversal,” or whatever you care to call it. Again, as most of these epidemics are at the beginning, it seems to be far more vicious in America and Britain than in the rest of Europe. Yet, all the signs are in evidence that the infection is rapidly spreading, particularly through the electronic media, invaded as it is by the images of glamorous, bright, articulate, hyper-energetic and.super-successful women executives. If we see men at all, they are usually wimps, good for-nothing failures, whose sole purpose of appearance is to be lectured and ordered around by the above-described women, while bleating every five minutes: "I am sorry..." “Sorry, darling..."
Alternatively, they are the enemy: beasts, abusers, dictators, rapists and child-molesters. In fact, the only positive image of a man one can encounter in the present-day television and films is that of a gay, preferably suffering from AIDS. But even in this field preference goes to the other side, with the all-time winner being a black handicapped lesbian with a drug problem.
Outrageous as it may be, this typical socialist realism would have been just another passing fashion pedaled by the ' "elites,” if it were not so deliberately targeted at the young. Here, too, the boys are generally dumb and clumsy, while the girls are smart and agile to the point of incredulity. There is already a "scientific" study, advertised at every corner in Britain, "proving" that the girls are much better at mathematics than the boys: there is even a movie showing that girls of 14 are much better football players than the boys of the same age. The general picture presented to the young today, be it through television, films or schools, is that of a male being doomed to failure, underachievement and a subservient role to an aggressive.
Now, this is not just ridiculous, this is outright criminal as it can only result in more youth violence, more broken and fatherless families, more crime and more misery for the generations to come. Human nature, needless to say, will not be changed by this propaganda assault, but it will avenge itself by all available means as it did in the case of private ownership or of nationhood. If nothing else, the backlash in this field will be even more powerful, as the issues involved are far more fundamental. Especially since this assault is not confined to propaganda alone, which one can learn to ignore, but is carried out in courts, thus bringing into play the whole machinery of state coercion.
I remember, in 1991, the world was going to pieces with the collapse of the Soviet Union, but the number one news in America was about.a girl who sued the Boy Scout organization.for refusing to accept her. Instead of being spanked by parents and explained some basic facts of life, she was shamelessly exploited by the adults for their own ends and turned into an all-American heroine. What followed, however, was much worse: somehow the women, who constitute a slight majority in any society, were proclaimed a minority, protected and promoted by law. Legal blackmail became a norm: each and every organization, public or private, is forced today to have a quota of women in every position of power lest it be accused of "discrimination.”
As if this was not.disgusting enough, further abuse of legal system has brought us such pearls like "sexual harassment,” "date rape,” "child abuse" and other assorted means of intimidation, which completely poisoned relations in the society. In present- day America, like in a totalitarian state, people are scared and mistrustful of each other: men are afraid of even looking at their female colleagues at work, gym teachers and coaches are scared of touching kids7, parents are scared of social workers and all of them are too scared to talk about it.
But, crazy as this brave new world may be, those who create it are not mentally ill. Indeed, who are these people? Why do they have such enormous power over our lives that they can force us to live in the realm of absurdity? While the crowds may be still the same as those marching for unilateral disarmament in the early 1980’s, where is the new Politburo which guides them now? For let's make no mistake: it is Cold War II we are living through today, with a new breed of coercive utopians striving to alter our culture, to control our behaviour and, ultimately, our thoughts. Strictly speaking, not even very new: the same American foundations which financed "peace campaign" of the 1980s, have allocated today billions.for the "environmental research” and the "feminist studies,” while the same mass media makes them our new heroes.
Same methods, same style, even the faces are quite often familiar. What is new today is only their newspeak: "cultural diversity,” "political correctness,” "reproductive rights.” You name it. Yet, totalitarian essence of the new ideology is quite evident together with its indispensible instruments: repressions, propaganda, censorship. We are witnessing today a massive assault on the very foundations of our civilization, openly targetted as a culture of "dead white Europeans,” which, if successful, will return us to the Middle Ages. Or even worse: at least at that547 time William Shakespeare was quite free to write and stage his plays. Today, most of his works would have been banned as ‘ politically incorrect. "Othello" as racist, "Taming of the Shrew" as sexist, and even "Romeo and Juliet" - in the words of one very progressive British teacher who refused to bring her young charges to see it - as a "blatantly heterosexual show.”
Sadly, we did not use the golden opportunity the death of communism has offered us: we did not finish them off, did not expose their crimes, did not discredit their "dreams" and, above all, did not learn to resist this modern plague. Being incurable believers in appeasement, we twist our tunges and mutilate our speech by trying to pronounce: "he-she-it,” "Mizzz, Misss,” “vertically challenged,” "ozone friendly.” But even if we manage to be green, blue and color-blind, all at once, we still will not buy peace and live happily ever after, because they care about their "minorities" no more that the communists cared about proletarians. Those are just vehicles for attaining ultimate power to dictate, to control, to destroy our inner self, known some old obscure writings as human soul. And, sad as it may be, we have to admit, that all our efforts and sacrifices have turned out to be meaningless. In the final analysis, Man appeared unworthy of the freedom granted to him, and in the crucial time of trial has found neither courage, nor sense of honour to rise to the task. As a result, we did not become better, wiser, purer, while the trial itself had no more meaning than a gigantic earthquake which swallowed hundreds of millions.
Well, perhaps I should not complain too much, as this is also a part of our human nature. But, through all the tribulations of my life, I carried a belief in its better part. And, although I am unlikely to see it, I still believe in an old, wise Judge, who will come one day and say:
— There is nothing on God’s earth that can justify this course of events.
All that is given to me now — is to treasure this evidence until Judgment Day.