This blog was created with the intention of taking on poor journalism about Russia, and wouldn’t you know it- I’ve found an excellent example. The idiotic headline reads: Vladimir Putin ‘As Dangerous As Stalin And Bigger Threat Than ISIS,’ Claims Former Defense Secretary.
The reader can take the time to go through that drivel if he or she should so desire. I’m only going to tackle one excerpt from this piece of shit.
Vladimir Putin poses a bigger threat than ISIS and is more dangerous than Joseph Stalin, according to former defense secretary Bob Ainsworth.
The senior Labour MP in Britain qualified his claims by saying that Putin so dangerous due to the fact he has a strong state and the military to achieve any ambitions he might have.
Apparently the author failed to mention that Mr. Ainsworth is also what the British refer to as a “right muppet,” at least on this topic. First of all, Josef Stalin was barely dangerous at all from a foreign policy standpoint. The aggressors in the conflicts involving the newly-formed Soviet Union were the British, not the Soviets. At best one could claim that the Bolsheviks were trying to expand by conquering Poland in the Polish-Soviet War, but then again Stalin wasn’t general secretary at that time and he was highly dubious of that aim. In fact Trotskyites and other historians go so far as to blame him for the failure of the Red Army to take Warsaw, though as most stories about Stalin go, it’s largely bullshit.
As far as the US was concerned, the USSR was simply not a threat at all. The US military was more interested in contemplating and actually preparing for a war against Great Britain. The main worry about Communism was internal- that the militant labor movement would rise up in America.
Britain and France pussyfooted around with Stalin’s proposal of a collective security pact against Hitler from 1936 to 1939, even after the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact. Evidence shows that the leaders of the former two countries were happy to encourage Hitler to go east in exchange for peace with the West, but at the same time they were willing to maintain at least cordial relations with the USSR. Of course from 22 June 1941 onward, Britain, the US, and the Soviet Union were allies, with the latter playing a key role in the defeat of fascism.
This means that the only time Stalin was a “threat” would have been in the post-war era, as the Cold War grew. However, he wasn’t much of a threat. Historians often like to lament the loss of Eastern Europe to the Soviets, as though these innocent countries were sacrificed to Stalin’s aggressive appetites. Nonsense. Finland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, the Independent State of Croatia, and Bulgaria were all either Axis members, or participated in the invasion of the USSR in some way. Finland managed to sign a peace deal and got out for a very low price. Romania and Hungary attempted to do the same, but the Germans forced the latter to fight on their side to the end. It’s also worth noting that all these countries were run by right-wing, often fascist dictatorships prior to their fall, a fact which needs to be considered later on. The only country which doesn’t fit this mold is Poland, though that was previously ruled by a right-wing dictatorship which played games with Hitler and the West due to a delusional foreign policy aimed at creating a Polish state “between the seas”(the Baltic and Black seas). Getting back the the issue of right-wing governments, it’s important to remember that in the immediate aftermath of WWII, the USSR was actually quite popular and enjoyed a lot of prestige worldwide. By contrast, local nationalists and conservatives were often rightly seen as collaborators or members of the old order who sent their paltry armies off to die in the steppes for Hitler’s mad gambit. In some places, Communists and their fellow travelers were the only force left standing.
It must also be remembered that in the aftermath of WWII, and indeed before it even ended in some cases, the Western allies were also working behind the scenes to create favorable political outcomes. Agents were dropped into countries like Poland and Albania, but the most glaring example was Greece in 1944. Here, local Communist forces had all but driven the Germans out of their country. British troops then arrived and removed them by force, re-installing the right-wing monarchy. No doubt this was instructive to Stalin, still contemplating the fate of Poland. At one point Stalin quipped that each side enforces its social system as far as its army can reach. This is often interpreted as Stalin tacitly admitting to using his army to influence politics, but it was actually in response to his negotiations with the US and UK over topics such as the fate of Italy and Poland.
More important than any of this is the fact that Stalin was actually quite naive when it came to the fate of post-war Europe. Geoffrey Roberts’ Stalin’s Wars reveals that Stalin was extremely keen on maintaining the Grand Alliance as long as possible after the war, knowing that his country sorely needed to rebuild itself. Stalin often hobbled more militant local Communist parties on the ground, insisting that they allow their opponents to break agreements first.
Long story short, if Stalin were truly so aggressive in the immediate post-war era, he certainly could have done far more. He could have occupied Austria, he could have kept Berlin, he could have taken more of Finland and possibly grabbed part of Greece, as well as more of Korea too. At the end of the day, you can still claim Stalin was aggressive or sought to control lands, but he’s simply not the expansionist threat that British twit makes him out to be. Sorry.
This isn’t the first negative comment either which has been made by a high-ranking British official, as Prince Charles said to reporters during a recent trip to Canada that he believes that Putin is as bad as Hitler.
Now Hitler is a guy who you can call aggressive. The guy practically ran on a platform of going to war with any European country that wasn’t Germany or its allies, and to his credit he then went out and pretty much did exactly that. He didn’t just make war either, he went out and made vernichtungskrieg – a war of extermination. To date, Putin hasn’t done anything of the sort. In fact his government still maintains a farcical appearance of competitive democracy, something the Third Reich never bothered with. Hitler was a man who subscribed to what was a rather popular view in educated circles of that time, namely the social darwinist belief that some people were unfit to live and their extermination was not to be regretted. Putin is just a power-hungry man willing to do anything to remain at the top, largely because he is afraid of what will happen to him should anyone take his place. Putin has no beliefs other than in Putin himself. More importantly, unlike Yeltsin he doesn’t murder his own citizens en masse.
This isn’t a defense of Putin. The problem is that when people cry Hitler when it’s so obviously inappropriate, people stop listening. They don’t take the time to learn and understand the situation. Worse, the Kremlin cronies seize on this as evidence of the “information war” being waged against Russia, which in their delusional little minds, means Putin. I’m sure I’ve said it on this blog before. Putin is no Hitler. Putin is Mobutu Sese Seku.
Speaking of Mobutu, the argument that Putin leads a “strong state” is spurious as well. In fact he has a weak state which can’t get anything done without someone skimming off state funds. When you state can’t build a road without everyone down the chain taking his cut and forcing the project to go ridiculously over-budget, you do not have a strong state. And if the state wasn’t weak enough, Russian society is critically ill. It has never corrected the mentality of the 1990’s. If you’re American and you think that American society is dog-eat-dog, fuck them before they fuck you, you need to learn Russian and spend some time in a small town over here. The kind of shit that goes down between people here makes our celebrity gossip look tame by comparison. What this means is that when that shit finally does hit the fan, and we’re getting close now, rats are going to start jumping ship left and right. Everyone who can grab something by any means is going to take it. In the West, if you have 90’s nostalgia you go look at pictures on Buzzfeed. In Russia they have it so bad they’re literally going to go back to the 90’s, and the 90’s weren’t good here.
I think what these sensationalist morons fail to realize is that all these fear-mongering articles about Russia actually bolster the Putin regime. It’s not just that they dishonestly make the country out to be a dystopian nightmare that it simply isn’t, but Putin’s supporters actually thrive on this kind of fear-mongering. They want Russia to be feared, they want other countries to be afraid of them. They have nothing else in life and creating a stable, successful country is too much work and too dangerous. Therefore in a situation like that which we’ve seen in the past two years, many people put down their protest signs from Bolotnaya and line up behind the government. Now they can unleash all of their rage against NATO or America, which always gets government approval and is always safe.