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Thread: When the West betrayed democratic Russia

  1. #1
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
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    When the West betrayed democratic Russia

    This year was the 25th anniversary of the August coup against Gorbachev, and the demise of the Soviet Union. In Moscow in August 1991 I joined the crowds outside the KGB’s headquarters, jubilantly celebrating the felling of the hated statue of “Iron Felix” Dzerzhinsky, the founder of that murderous organization that had kept them in check for seven decades. I drank Soviet champagne out of any plastic cup that was offered to me, and was swept away, like all the revellers, on a wave of euphoria.

    A couple of days later, tens of thousands turned out for the funeral of three young men killed during the short-lived putsch. The events that followed made me dizzy: Russia’s president, Boris Yeltsin, recognized the independence of the Baltic states, Ukraine declared itself independent, and the mayor of Moscow ordered that Gorbachev’s office in the Communist Party Central Committee building be sealed.

    After 73 years, Soviet communism was over. It was a re-run of the popular outpourings I had witnessed in 1988 in the Baltic states, and in 1989 as communism was toppled in Poland, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia... For me, it was all part of the same movement — the people rose up in all those places and overthrew totalitarianism. The Russians embraced freedom in 1991, exactly as the eastern Europeans had done.

    But that is not how it was seen in the West. The revolutions in eastern Europe came to be viewed not just as the overthrow of communism (an experience shared with Russia itself) but as liberation from Russian occupation. That was a grave mistake, which a quarter of a century on has brought us to the brink of a new Cold War, or something even worse.

    We in the West have to ask ourselves: Why did we treat Russia differently?

    The peoples of eastern Europe, with understandably bitter memories of Soviet rule, found it hard to distinguish what had oppressed them — an ideology or a nation. The West listened to the urgings of those whose views we should have been wariest of — those who had suffered the worst of Soviet sins in the past, the Poles and the Balts — as though Russia had not changed. Emotion was not a good basis for such a momentous decision.

    We invited them to join NATO, thereby making the equally liberated Russians feel unwanted and distrusted. Remember that at the point when NATO resolved to expand, in the early 1990s, there was no Vladimir Putin — there was Yeltsin, close bosom-friend of Bill Clinton, lauded as a democrat, the Yeltsin who had welcomed the freedom of the Baltic states and was praised by them for doing so. There was, at that point, no threat from Russia at all. Many senior Western figures (including Clinton’s “Russia hand,” Strobe Talbott) had great qualms at the time, because they foresaw exactly what would happen if every other country in Europe was corralled into a military alliance against Russia.

    But the doubts were overwhelmed by the West’s visceral and ancestral hatred and suspicion of Russia. Did we not understand what had happened there? Russia needed our help even more than the eastern Europeans did. Poles had only 44 years of communism to recover from, and people were alive who remembered living in a democracy. Not so in Russia, a country that had to reinvent itself from scratch now, while its economy was in ruins.

    We failed to help the Russians adequately. Our aid in the Nineties was pathetic. We poured billions of dollars into Western consultancies, but little trickled down to the people who needed it. Russians were left with the very worst impression of both capitalism and democracy — poverty for millions, oligarchs with their snouts in the trough, and fraudulent elections that kept Yeltsin in power in 1996 when he had no popularity at all.

    The West ignored Russia’s attempts to recover any semblance of influence in the world. While patronizing Yeltsin as a “democrat,” it rejected him as a partner in world affairs, and caused puzzlement among democratically-minded, westward-looking Russians by casting them as NATO’s “enemy.”

    For eastern Europe there was praise and inclusion. For Russia, humiliation and exclusion. And it was precisely those conditions that allowed a hard-man like Putin to come to power eight years later, promising to restore the nation’s pride. If we had handled Russia’s revolution better, there would probably have been no Putin. All the disastrous consequences might have been avoided.

    At the end of this anniversary year, it is worth reflecting on the great opportunity we missed, to build a new Europe. We didn’t just betray the Russians who came out to celebrate their freedom in 1991; we betrayed the eastern Europeans who longed for security, yet ended up (in NATO!) feeling less secure than they did in the years following Russia’s democratic revolution.

    Angus Roxburgh is a writer, broadcaster, and former BBC correspondent in Moscow and Brussels
    Why the West's Betrayal of Democratic Russia Brought Us Putin

    Exactly what I have been saying for years. The West helped bring along Putin, by pushing Russia away, after 1991, rather than embrace her. In the 90s, there actually were many peope in Russia who wanted to be a part of the greater European family. Many actually wanted to join the EU and, potentially, in future, even the NATO! But, rather than treat Russians as another nation who have freed themselves from the clutches of Communism, the West decided to looked down upon them as a vanquished enemy, blame all the crimes of Soviet Union on them, just ONE of FIFTEEN fucking republics, who barely ever even had a chance to rule this Union. The West listened to the Polish, a hated enemy of the Russuans for many, many centuries, who had attacked and invaded Russia as many times as Russia attacked them, as the two nations competed, violently, for hegemony in Eastern Europe and the Slavic world and especially - for control over the no-man's lands between them, which make up modern Ukraine! This is the struggle that continues to this very day. There is a monument, on Red Square, to two brave Russians who, in 1612, led an armed uprising which overthrew a Polish occupation and expelled them from Russia. Yes, Russia was occupied BY Poland once upon a time, bet nobody in the West even knows this. But today, the Poles just pkay the victim... And who was Poland best ally back then? Why, the bloody Lithuanians. They even had a Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Russia fought brural wars with them, most of them - defensive, btw.

    And in Western schools, history is taught as "Russians bad, everyone else in East Europe good."

    Well, congrats, this is what turned Russians into what they are today, and helped elevate Putin into the Kremlin...

  2. #2
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
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    Just so y'all know what I am talking about, the monument to Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky, right next to St. Basil's Cathedral


    In USSR, when Poland was a Communist ally in Warsaw Pact, their story was allowed to fade into obscurity.

    But Putin has really brought them back now, as popular heroes



    He made the day they defeated the Polish occupants, November 4th, a national holiday, when he and all the leaders of major religions in Russia bring flowers to the monument


    Again, a natural response to the Russophobic crap constantly spewing out of Poland
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  3. #3
    Established Member NeoVsMatrix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Man View Post
    Why the West's Betrayal of Democratic Russia Brought Us Putin

    Exactly what I have been saying for years. The West helped bring along Putin, by pushing Russia away, after 1991, rather than embrace her. In the 90s, there actually were many peope in Russia who wanted to be a part of the greater European family. Many actually wanted to join the EU and, potentially, in future, even the NATO! But, rather than treat Russians as another nation who have freed themselves from the clutches of Communism, the West decided to looked down upon them as a vanquished enemy, blame all the crimes of Soviet Union on them, just ONE of FIFTEEN fucking republics, who barely ever even had a chance to rule this Union. The West listened to the Polish, a hated enemy of the Russuans for many, many centuries, who had attacked and invaded Russia as many times as Russia attacked them, as the two nations competed, violently, for hegemony in Eastern Europe and the Slavic world and especially - for control over the no-man's lands between them, which make up modern Ukraine! This is the struggle that continues to this very day. There is a monument, on Red Square, to two brave Russians who, in 1612, led an armed uprising which overthrew a Polish occupation and expelled them from Russia. Yes, Russia was occupied BY Poland once upon a time, bet nobody in the West even knows this. But today, the Poles just pkay the victim... And who was Poland best ally back then? Why, the bloody Lithuanians. They even had a Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Russia fought brural wars with them, most of them - defensive, btw.

    And in Western schools, history is taught as "Russians bad, everyone else in East Europe good."

    Well, congrats, this is what turned Russians into what they are today, and helped elevate Putin into the Kremlin...
    Of course.. Liberals made Trump President, the West created Putin (and made Jelzin a drunk rambling and dancing alcoholic with no self control to accomplish that)... never ever look at yourself.. always find the blame somewhere else.

    If you would live in the US, i assume you would be a perfect fit for the flyover states.
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  4. #4
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeoVsMatrix View Post
    Of course.. Liberals made Trump President, the West created Putin (and made Jelzin a drunk rambling and dancing alcoholic with no self control to accomplish that)... never ever look at yourself.. always find the blame somewhere else.

    If you would live in the US, i assume you would be a perfect fit for the flyover states.
    I just explained to you the real history there one you would not learn in an American school.

    As for Yeltsin, yes, US helped keep his alcoholic ass in power. American advisers helped him rig that election in 1996. Mostly because they got scared: Gennady Zyuganov, the Communist leader, was actually projected to win!
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    res
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Man View Post
    I just explained to you the real history there one you would not learn in an American school.

    As for Yeltsin, yes, US helped keep his alcoholic ass in power. American advisers helped him rig that election in 1996. Mostly because they got scared: Gennady Zyuganov, the Communist leader, was actually projected to win!
    No offense but you didn't. You gave a biased account placing the blame solely at the feet of the western nations. I'm not saying you are not correct about Zyuganov. You are. He was expected to win that presidential election. But having rigged the election in 1996 really destroys the argument from your OP that Yeltsin was a benign democrat. He wasn't. His daughter immensely enriched herself during his presidency and helped people close to her to get rich as well. It was Tatyana that was pivotal during his second term and it was Tatyana and her so called "Family" that included oligarchs like Boris Berezovsky and Roman Abramovich that secured the 1996 election for Yeltsin and chose Putin as his successor thinking he would be an easy guy to manipulate and do their bidding like Tatyana's father had done. And then Putin started chipping away their power bit by bit until he ruthlessly dealt with Khodorkovsky, Berezovsky, and many others.

    Russians fucked it up. The Russian so called political elite in power at the time chose Putin. Very little the EU or NATO could've done about that.

  6. #6
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by res View Post
    No offense but you didn't. You gave a biased account placing the blame solely at the feet of the western nations. I'm not saying you are not correct about Zyuganov. You are. He was expected to win that presidential election. But having rigged the election in 1996 really destroys the argument from your OP that Yeltsin was a benign democrat. He wasn't. His daughter immensely enriched herself during his presidency and helped people close to her to get rich as well. It was Tatyana that was pivotal during his second term and it was Tatyana and her so called "Family" that included oligarchs like Boris Berezovsky and Roman Abramovich that secured the 1996 election for Yeltsin and chose Putin as his successor thinking he would be an easy guy to manipulate and do their bidding like Tatyana's father had done. And then Putin started chipping away their power bit by bit until he ruthlessly dealt with Khodorkovsky, Berezovsky, and many others.

    Russians fucked it up. The Russian so called political elite in power at the time chose Putin. Very little the EU or NATO could've done about that.
    Of course he wasn't a true democrat. Hell, he sent tanks to shoot at his parliament in 1993! And started a war with the separatists in Chechnya. Threatened military force against Tatarstan too, in early 90s, until they ratified the new Constitution...

    He wasn't hostile against the West though. He mostly bent to the wishes of US and Europe. Not like Putin.
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  7. #7
    res
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Man View Post
    Of course he wasn't a true democrat. Hell, he sent tanks to shoot at his parliament in 1993! And started a war with the separatists in Chechnya. Threatened military force against Tatarstan too, in early 90s, until they ratified the new Constitution...

    He wasn't hostile against the West though. He mostly bent to the wishes of US and Europe. Not like Putin.
    That's true.

    But the animosity wasn't one sided. Russian governments during the 1990s were usually headed by guys like Viktor Chernomirdin and Yevgeny Primakov. Those guys were old school Soviet politicians who still saw the world through a Soviet lens; as were the security services.

    But that's where their similarities with Putin end. They didn't truly want nor entirely accept democracy. But they didn't have any intentions of crushing it.

    I don't know if you remember but Putin was very flexible too until he had pacified Chechnya. He and Bush Jr used to be buddy-buddy. Putin grabbed everyone's attention when he invaded Georgia in 2008. By then he had relatively restored the Russian army.

    I really don't understand the logic of "The Family" in placing Putin in charge and proclaiming him the successor to Yelstin? They were putting the chief of the FSB into the driver's seat and were expecting to be able to manipulate him. That's FSB director's job. I think Putin has had an enormous advantage over his opponents through life. His gnome like appearance makes people seriously underestimate him.

  8. #8
    Cat-tastic Babba's Avatar
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    Interesting discussion. I don't know whether I buy the premise of the OP and Res certainly has some interesting arguments.

  9. #9
    Veteran Member bajisima's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babba View Post
    Interesting discussion. I don't know whether I buy the premise of the OP and Res certainly has some interesting arguments.
    I think there is some truth there. I recall in the early 90s American companies and businesses were rushing to get into Russia. American businessmen suddenly were able to make business trips there to sell their products or offer services. Microsoft sent an entire team there to set up internet infrastructure and offer training. I just don't know what happened as to why it didn't keep getting better? Who abandoned who?
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  10. #10
    Veteran Member Dr.Knuckles's Avatar
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    Here's the problem.

    This part.

    "The West ignored Russia’s attempts to recover any semblance of influence in the world. While patronizing Yeltsin as a “democrat,” it rejected him as a partner in world affairs, and caused puzzlement among democratically-minded, westward-looking Russians by casting them as NATO’s “enemy.”

    For eastern Europe there was praise and inclusion. For Russia, humiliation and exclusion. And it was precisely those conditions that allowed a hard-man like Putin to come to power eight years later, promising to restore the nation’s pride. If we had handled Russia’s revolution better, there would probably have been no Putin. All the disastrous consequences might have been avoided."

    If you want influence in the world, you have to offer the world something that influences them.

    China has money, so China influences the world of money.

    Hong Kong has vibrancy, energy and speaks Chinese and English, so Hong Kong influences world culture.

    What Russia seems to want is for hundreds of countries to understand and accept that there are two or three big important powerful countries that are respected, and the rest of the world is divided among those two or three powerful cultures.

    And that Russia is, by nature, simply because it's Russia, one of those top dogs.

    But Norway, or Iceland, or Taiwan, or Egypt, or Poland, or New Zealand...
    We just simply don't think there's any reason whatsoever that anyone else is entitled with a God given right to influence us and guide us and lead us.

    We want China's money. We want USs security. We want Londons banking. We want Indias manufacturing and market. We want Brazils resources. We want New Zealands political innovation. We want Germany's stability.

    We don't want or need Russia in a world leadership position, because it's economy and culture and political development are less than our own.

    Why would we give leadership positions to average performers?

    The answer, always, "because of our glorious, ancient tradition of power"

    Well.... Portugal has that too. So does Greece. And Eithiopia.

    So then it becomes brute force.

    Step 1: perform more admirably than others. Step 2: be admired.

    You can't skip step 1
    Last edited by Dr.Knuckles; 19th January 2017 at 07:02 AM.
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