Saturday, December 17, 2005

The National Socialists

In Yezhednevnyi Zhurnal Yevgenia Albats writes about her intention of taking part in the anti-fascist march that is being organized in Moscow tomorrow, December 18, and her reasons for doing so:
To me it seems impossible that in a country which lost a minimum of 27 million lives in the war with the guardians of "the purity of Aryan blood" there should not be enough normal, sober-minded people who understand that it's impossible to grow accustomed to such horrors, that Nazi delirium in the Russian manner cannot be allowed to become the nation's dominant ideology of nation. We cannot allow ourselves to fall ill with historical amnesia. We paid too high a price for victory. And we shall pay too high a price if we allow ourselves to forget.
In the comments that follow her article, there's an interesting discussion among readers, most of whom seem to have little time for "old-fashioned" invocations of World War II memories. Yet the consensus is clear, even in the most critical and nationalistic posts: Russia is facing a situation analogous to that of Germany in the late 1920s and 30s, there is a sharp divide between a privileged minority and a huge disadvantaged majority, with a strong and irrational revanchist climate of feeling among a public that is in search of a strong leader. Racism, founded on hostility to dark-haired people from the Caucasus and elsewhere, is widespread, and the longing for an ethnically "pure", Orthodox and national socialist Russia is not going to die down.

One commenter wonders what he can say to his friend in the United States, a Jewish historian who "loves" the Russians because they freed his parents from Auschwitz.
I tell him, why don't you just make one trip to Russia? No, he won't go. I think he's right in that, he will die in happy ignorance.
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