Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin was not to be outdone in the whining competition. He sent Plushenko a telegram — A telegram? No wonder they lost the Cold War — in which Putin, in his new, self-appointed role as Supreme Olympian, informed his soured countryman that his silver medal was “as good as gold” because Plushenko had “performed the most accomplished program on the Vancouver ice.” Russian state media joined the parade, in tones that during the Andropov period had been reserved for denunciations of the warmongering arch-fiend Ronald Reagan.
It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that this boorish behavior — to put it gently — has a lot to do with the fact that, as a political culture, Russia has never begun to come to grips with the legacy of 74 years of Communism. Lenin’s mummy — the ghastly relic of one of the 20th century’s greatest mass murderers — remains on display for the veneration of the obtuse and the confused in Red Square. Parades celebrating the birthday of Stalin, whose homicidal record topped Lenin’s, are not uncommon. The NKVD/KGB archives, briefly opened under Boris Yeltsin, are closed to researchers. Opposition journalists are murdered with impunity, while the state dominates the mass media. History is rewritten in order to mask, even deny, the horrors of the Gulag system (which, as Anne Applebaum demonstrated in her Pulitzer Prize–winning book, was not an accidental feature of Stalinism but an essential component of Stalinist “economics”).
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Source: National Review