Monday, July 11, 2005

Moscow Echo

In Yezehdnevnyi Zhurnal Leonid Radzikhovsky has an article entitled "Moscow Echo", on the subject of the London bombings and Russian reaction to them:

Official propaganda (supplied by Putin himself - a fine place and time he found for it!) and the moods of [Russian] society at large are coinciding and can be reduced to two words: "double standards". These words relate to the British, and have an explicit nuance of condemnation.

"Double" in two senses. First, you went into Iraq – now you've got hit, and you’re surprised. Perhaps the blood of Iraqis is a different colour from yours? In the second place, over there in London you’ve been adopting a policy of religious tolerance to various Zakayevs – and now you’ve got your! You accuse Russia of harsh methods of combating terrorism – well, this is what happens if you go soft on it.

The poorly concealed schadenfreude (with the required official sympathy for "ordinary Londoners") of these arguments is obvious. In essence, they can be reduced to one: the blasts are a reciprocal act, an act of defence, an act of legitimate (though, of course, lamentable) self-defence. "In war as in war". Well, we - Russia – take a neutral position in this war (i.e., we actually justify the "self-defending terrorists"). Anyway, Russia is not original. Something similar was said in the West apropos of Beslan and Nord-Ost by the craziest of the human rights activists. True, not one Western government (so far as I know) ever preached at Russia over the fresh corpses.

On the whole, Russia is keeping well abreast in terms of “double standards” - not only we do not lag behind our western colleagues, but in many respects we exceed them. We act correspondingly - we supply nuclear technologies to Iran,we give what political help we can to "fighters for the liberation of Palestine" (we have "terrorists", they have "a national liberation movement"), we condemn the US-British invasion of Iraq (in Chechnya we are fighting for "constitutional order", and they are committing aggression "under a pretext of a struggle for democracy"). On the whole, we behave towards the USA and Israel approximately as France and Germany do. True, we get angry when Europe applies the same standards to Chechnya.

Politically correct Europe angrily condemns the United States for its unjust war in Iraq; Israel - for the occupation of Palestine; Russia - for the atrocities in Chechnya. Meanwhile, the U.S. upbraids Russia for Chechnya, and Russian public opinion is piously convinced that the enemy of Russia is, first of all, by no means Islamists but, as anyone can see, the U.S. and Israel, which want us to “fall out” with the Islamists. It’s all against all: continental Europe does not agree with the U.S. and Britain, Russia and Israel; the U.S. and Britain do not agree with Russia; Russian public opinion hates the U.S. and Israel, and is angered by continental Europe, and Israel - well, its opinion about Russia and Europe is generally of no interest to anyone….

Thus, neither at the level of moods and emotions nor, even more so, at the level of action, can there be any talk of "a united anti-terrorist front" (i.e., there’s quite enough talk already!), and there is no “second edition” of the anti-Hitler coalition…

But perhaps this is how it should be? Perhaps it’s not necessary, this united front? Perhaps there is no "one single enemy"? There are just isolated episodes not really connected with one another?

[passage omitted]

To me the opposite view seems more correct – the theory of "the global terrorist war", the war of civilizations, though without a visible front and without a united centre. Yes, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Indonesia and so on are weakly interconnected, as are the bombings in New York, Moscow, London, Tel Aviv, although, undoubtedly, they quite frequently involve the same people and money. The main thing, however, is that the connection is an ideological and moral one, not an organizational one.

I am convinced that although the "liberation of Palestine", "liberation of Chechnya", and the "liberation of Iraq" are serious pretexts, they are only pretexts. And it’s always possible to find a pretext - someone declares (in Russia declares!) that September 11 was merely a "legitimate response": how dare the U.S. maintain its military bases in Saudi Arabia? Now they have been attacked in response ... It’s possible to argue like that. If they were to blow up a couple of apartment blocks in Moscow, and then explain: this why we need to keep bases in Abkhazia and Transnistria, they are is our legitimate self-defence – will that argument seem convincing in Moscow to those who make such wild explanations of September 11?

Certainly, the Iraqi, Chechen, Palestinian pretexts look far more convincing, and for many Palestinians, Iraqis and Chechens they are not entirely a pretext. But to those who pay for them, they are pretexts, just the same as "American bases" were for September 11.

There’s another reason: yes, no matter how banal it may sound, this is a struggle by terrorist methods for world domination. By the way, there was a precedent: something similar occurred in Europe, in Russia to be more precise, 100 years ago, when terrorists - Social Revolutionaries, Anarchists and Bolsheviks - waged terror "on behalf of" the working class. Then as now the different gangs of revolutionary terrorists were autonomous, went to offer self-sacrifice, there was united centre or plan, they simply pursued enemy like wild beasts, following the bloody trail, by the smell of blood. In those days terror was "pin-pointed", against ministers and tsars, while now it is done more on a mass scale, against the population – that’s democracy!

There are general social reasons. In the late 19th and early 20th century there began a great mixing of classes, and the proletariat emerged and onto the greater historical scene, demanding its portion of power and property. A religion was created - Marxism, and the extreme, "shakhid" flank of that religion was composed of revolutionary terrorists. Well, on the whole, they did not attain THEIR goal, i.e., the political domination of THEIR groups (with the exception of Russia), but the position and status of workers was very greatly altered. To the point where the proletariat itself disappeared.

There is of course an obvious analogy with the late 19th and early 20th century, when the great mixing of peoples began. Millions of Moslems have gushed out into Europe and central Russia, a second "awakening of the East" has begun, and against this background terrorist organizations have arisen which want to "privatize'" this movement and, after harnessing it, to storm their way to power. What do they actually mean by "power" – the universal transition of Europe and USA into Islam,? It’s not clear, although there is no shortage of fantasies on this score. It’s as it always is: "We shall destroy the whole world of tyranny TO ITS FOUNDATIONS, and only then...". "We shall destroy" is always more comprehensible than "and then...".

At all events, the analogy is not a good omen for the present day. The present religion (Islam) is much more durable than the Marxist pseudo-religion, and cohesion based on national and confessional principles is much more reliable than "proletarians of every land, unite", but politically correct Europe and USA, and corrupted Russia rather less so – are capable of resistance.

And nevertheless, the West does not have any other way out except to overcome this “difficulty”.. And for some reason I am confident that it will be overcome! And if it’s overcome, then Russia, too...
(my quick tr.)

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