Thursday, October 26, 2006

Telling the Time

In a New Criterion essay written before the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, Yale University Press editorial director Jonathan Brent looks at today’s Russia, and finds a society uneasily poised between a crude anarcho-fascism that more resembles the ambience of the Germany of the early 1930s than that of a modern state, and a slide back into the xenophobic anti-capitalism that characterized the Russia of Stalin’s rule. Brent sees the two directions as currently merging into one, in a gradual fading of transparency that presages the rebirth of some very unpleasant historical phenomena indeed:

Many Western and Russian commentators have noted with dismay Putin’s apparent rehabilitation of Josef Stalin, perhaps the greatest murderer in all of Western history. His brutalities and evident sadistic pleasures surpass those of Hitler. Had Stalin, not Hitler, lost World War II, his name would be banned and everything connected to him would be illegal. But today his image and name appear throughout the Russian nation.

(via MAK)

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