It seems all Communist leaders of Russia, from Lenin to Stalin to Khrushchev to Brezhnev to Gorbachev, have been social swine and as popular as snakes. The last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, may have been a decent person who helped end the Cold War, earning him the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize.
For the first time in my life, I will say something good about a Communist leader: Gorbie seemed to be a decent man, especially as Communists go, but saying something good about a Communist caused me a severe case of heartburn.
The world was surprised when Gorbachev, leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), announced his resignation on live television to the nation on December 25, 1991. Boris Yeltsin had quit the Communist Party earlier in July of 1990. When Gorbachev walked out, he handed his power (and nuclear launch codes) to Yeltsin, who had become the president of Russia in June 1991, only months before Gorbachev’s resignation from the USSR.
Yeltsin was the first freely elected leader in Russia’s thousand-year history!
So, the immense power shift in the Communist world was passed from the USSR (consisting of 15 republics) to the new Commonwealth of Independent States under Yeltsin’s leadership. Russia began a messy shift from a communist dictatorship to capitalist multiparty democracy. At least on paper, but not in real life.
The following day (December 26, 1991), the Upper House of the Supreme Soviet voted the USSR out of existence—and itself! Not only did that surprise the world, but it shocked and stunned the world. That decision shouted to the world that more than 74 years of Soviet history proved to any sane person that Communism had failed.
But then everyone with the I.Q. of a fencepost knew that. Poland had thrown off their Communist shackles in the summer of 1989, blazing a trail for other former Soviet republics to follow and for the Berlin Wall to come down in November 1989. Yes, even the dullest person knew Communism was gasping for breath and struggling to stay alive.
Yeltsin was a lifetime Communist who resigned from the Party on July 12, 1990, during a dramatic speech and walked out of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Surprised members shouted, “Shame, shame!” Other members announced they too would leave the Party. It didn’t use to be that way. No one quit the Party, but many were carried away after the ritual of being shot, poisoned, hanged, etc., but no one quit.
The new President of Russia announced astounding reforms for Russia that included more liberal trade policies, limited private enterprise, removal of many price controls, private banks, a stock exchange, a more open society, and generally more freedom. Wow, not bad for a corrupt politician; evidently, the free enterprise system had impressed them after all.
Things were changing quickly in the world’s largest country.
No one knew there would not be a Communist Party in a few months because Yeltsin would issue a decree in August of 1991 banning the Party, nationalizing its property and assets, and condemning its activities. Yeltsin correctly saw his political future governing Russia, not perpetuating the Soviet Republic that was crumbling around him.
Yeltsin had no choice but to reject fundamental Communist theories since the Soviet system was a proven failure: people were hungry; the nationalists on the borders were getting restless, and Reagan’s preaching free enterprise and criticism of Communism still echoed in the halls of the Kremlin. Communism’s basic tenets had often been challenged and criticized by Reagan and other informed Conservatives generating spectacular success.
Yeltsin’s biggest personal problem was spending an unusual amount of time with a vodka bottle while former Soviet countries were rebelling, corruption was rampant, and people were hungry!
He permitted gangsters to take advantage of the nation producing oligarchs (“rule of the few”) who got vast wealth by taking or buying once state-owned businesses, utilities, etc. The unexpected unrestrained capitalism brought shattering poverty for many and stupendous wealth for the few. Along with that came crippling economic depression and rampant crime and corruption.
Near the end of Yeltsin’s eight-year rule, the nation collapsed in 1998, shocking Russian society. The following spring, Russia was in a death spiral as hungry workers went for months without being paid. By the summer, Yeltsin and his corrupt cronies were not sleeping well, fearing angry retribution from irate citizens when their terms were scheduled to end in a few months.
Russia was standing on the edge of a civil war.
Yeltsin made some good decisions during his eight-year rule but alas, lost his battle with the bottle and resigned on December 31, 1999, after getting a guarantee of immunity from prosecution from Putin. According to the Russian Constitution, Putin, Yeltsin’s prime minister Vladimir Putin became acting president. His first official action was to make official his immunity promise to Yeltsin and his cronies.
Yeltsin may have been a drunk, but he wasn’t an idiot.
Vladimir Putin was a true-to-life spy without morals but with one motive—power. In June 2000, Putin’s popularity was 2%, matching the outgoing Yeltsin, but a series of deadly bombings of apartment buildings in Russian cities turned the polls dramatically favorable to Putin. People overlooked the corruption and seizure of the nation by powerful oligarchs; they wanted peace and safety. Putin promised to find the bombers and bring them to justice. People in major cities were sleeping on the streets, fearful of being bombed in their beds.
Putin won the election as president overwhelmingly. He never did discover who was responsible for the many bombings that killed so many Russians, and few, apart from his family and personal entourage, believe the bombings were unrelated to his election victory.
The cold war had ended, and our enemy flattered us by trying to put America’s most important policies into practice.
It seemed the leopard could and did change its spots. Russians were now “free.” Criticism of the old regime, including Stalin, Lenin, and Marx, was now permitted. However, Putin showed his heavy, authoritarian hand when he closed two of the country’s most popular independent media outlets. You see, free doesn’t really mean free in the Communist nomenclature.
The times were changing for sure; however, Communism was and is still alive and well in Russia. Putin is legally president of Russia, which translates as a strongman, authoritarian, autocrat, top honcho, totalitarian, tyrant, despot, bully, and dictator.
The Communist Party had been banned by Boris Yeltsin in 1991, but Communism was still alive. Almost 74 years of Communist rule resulted in a failed experience, and in desperation, Putin permitted capitalism to pull his chestnuts out of the fire. He took advantage of the free flow of money by squirreling away 70 billion dollars for his retirement.
Biden could almost guarantee Democratic victory at the polls if he could deny Putin his ill-gotten gain. But then some Conservatives might demand he hold himself (and his debauched son Hunter) to the same standard regarding their investments in Ukraine!
When Russia was set free from shackles in 1991, free enterprise investors had rushed to invest in the new “freedom-loving” nation. Billions of dollars were invested in Russia, facilitating the funding of its aggressive moves globally. Communism was not dead, although many former Communist leaders were.
One of those former Communist leaders, Lenin, declared, “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.” We bought the rope when capitalists rushed in to pull Russia’s chestnuts out of the fire after the “fall of Communism.”
Of course, the investors were expecting to profit from the use of their money to prop up the Communist nation. However, I don’t think it is wise to help a vulture determined to pick out my eyes.
Yes, there is more freedom in Russia than before the condemnation of Communism, but corruption, poverty, and human rights abuse are still widespread. Under Putin’s leadership, secret service thugs still run the nation, and while the old prison system known as the Gulag is gone, harsh prison camps still exist.
Gulags (prison work camps and isolated “corrective labor colonies”) were populated with 18 million (some historians say 25 million) vicious convicts, child molesters, petty criminals, and political prisoners with many more inhabitants during Stalin’s rule. The series of penal camps numbered almost 500. Any citizen could expect to be hauled to prison with no trial or right to an attorney, and family members might never hear of them again.
Convicts and exiles (who had criticized or even joked about Communist leaders) were sent to the underpopulated areas, more notably Siberia, with few towns or food sources and no organized transportation system. Even prisoners as young as twelve were required to work up to 14 hours a day, often in extreme weather (80 degrees below Fahrenheit), and were fed depending upon their work production. Less work, for whatever reason, meant less food. Many died of starvation, disease, or exhaustion—others were simply shot.
The movement of revolutionaries and troublemakers to the vastness of Siberia over 2000 miles from Moscow was a quick and easy way to eliminate problems and get free work done at the same time. This relieved the pressure of feeding (and controlling) troublemakers and served to populate inhospitable villages and towns far from the populated cities in the Soviet Empire.
The gulag prison system had been disbanded within days of Stalin’s death, and millions of prisoners were released. With the fall of the Soviet Union, most of the remaining gulags were closed with a few exceptions; however, Putin has 430 political prisoners in work camps at this hour.
Socialism/Communism (the same thing except Socialists don’t have guns, yet) doesn’t seem so attractive, does it?
Stalin assumed room temperature (probably with the assistance of some of his “friends”) in 1953, and when his toes pointed up, it was the only good thing he ever did for mankind. That day, he really served his country magnificently. If Putin would “go do likewise,” the world’s political health would improve immensely. That could be emulated by leaders in China, North Korea, and assorted African and South American dictators.
Putin, now popular as a snake, could cap his infamous career of evil-doing if his invasion of Ukraine convinces non-thinking Americans to vote for radical leftist Democrats. He would then be responsible for destroying America as well as Ukraine. His praise of Biden, America’s current Blunder-in-Chief, would rescue fellow leftist Biden from inglorious disgrace, defeat, and delay his departure back to the backwaters of Delaware.
However, Putin can rise a little, in my opinion, if he withdraws his lifeline to Biden and leaves Ukraine. Or Putin could throw Biden an anchor by praising the pure Socialist agenda of Biden.
No sane American would vote for a Democrat again.
But then, it depends on who counts the votes. Joseph Stalin declared nearly a hundred years ago, “what is extraordinarily important is this — who will count the votes, and how.”
In Putin’s Russia, even the poll workers must be members of Putin’s United Russia party, and all votes are counted behind closed doors. Somehow, Putin always wins.
Americans know about vote counting, especially in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Arizona.
Content syndicated from TheBlueStateConservative.com with permission.
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