April 16th, 2015
By: Gaither Stewart, Senior Editor of the Greanville Post
( Originally published at The Greanville Post , August 28th, 2014 )
Much of this age is bedeviled by the sheer toxicity of the so-called Anglo-American alliance.
The West cuts industrial exports to Russia, Russia answers: no more Western automobiles to Russia; we’ll use our own; we’ll also eat our own cheese and drink our own beer. And they will. (I’ve drunk a lot of Russian beer and eaten a lot of Russian cheese and was perfectly satisfied.)
The question ordinary Europeans ask is: Why does Europe not rebel against America’s selfish and base diktats? And that, dear readers, is a key question. It is true that Europe is in decline and that the future is in Asia and elsewhere. Yet Europe is still Europe, the cultural home of many of us, and a continent-market of 450,000,000 persons, who export to and import from Russia. So what Europe does in this circumstance is not secondary.
At the same time many Russians want to be part—even if peripherally—of Europe. Even the old de Gaulle dream of a Europe extending from the Atlantic Ocean to Russia’s Ural Mountains and on to Vladivostok is no longer valid; a renaissance of the European idea and resumption of normal Russo-Europe relations has more economic-cultural-demographic sense than a Europe deprived of Russia and hanging —abjectly—onto America’s coattails. Although in this turnaround no small shame attaches to the leaders of France, Italy and Germany, the lion’s share of the blame belongs with the utterly cynical role played by Britain, which has clearly chosen a complicit—if second-banana— position at the feet of the US empire than a more rational integrationist posture with the rest of Europe, including Russia. In that sense, much of this age is tarnished by the sheer toxicity of the so-called Anglo-American alliance.
I have a number of Facebook Russian “friends”, some among ethnic Russians in Ukraine, others scattered here and there across Russia. One I read frequently is Sergey Zelenin, a free lance writer in the very Russian city of Vologda, called “the cultural capital of the North”, a city of 300,000 located between Moscow and St. Petersburg. Zelenin often posts entire articles on Facebook in which he describes what is happening and what is being discussed in Russia. In a recent article he portrayed the internal histories of the United States and Russia as more similar than I would guess 99% of Americans and Russians realize.
Zelenin examines salient points of the similarity of the formation and development of the two nations by comparing each of their bloody fratricidal wars that created their social character and brought about dramatic changes in each. I have both translated and interpreted his interesting article and his points of view and have added my own comments.
Under Russia’s internal wars the writer lists:
1. The “Time of Troubles” (Smutnoye Vremya) of 1598-1618), a bloody internal war that brought chaos and devastation to the country and resulted in the birth of the Romanov dynasty of the Tsars and the empire it created.
2. The Civil War of 1917-1922, another terrible, fratricidal carnage, brought down the Romanov tsardom which was then replaced by the new Soviet (Socialist/Communist) system. “And only by God’s Providence,” writes Zelenin, “was Russia spared a repetition of the same slaughter in the early 1990s after the fall of Communism in Russia when there were only local hotbeds of instability.”
Zelenin then devotes more space to the historical formation of the United States of America than to Russia, with which country Russians are much more familiar than are Americans with Russia.
1. The Revolutionary War (1775-1783) like Russia’s wars above pitted Americans against Americans, or rather, as Zelenin notes, “English loyalists to the British Empire against English fighting for independence”, that is for self-determination, as are ethnic Russians in southeast Ukraine today against a foreign imposed regime in the nation’s capital of Kiev. In any case the result of that war was the birth of the American nation, that is, the United States of America. (Today we witness the birth of the Donetsk People’s Republic and similar entities in Novorossiya.)
2. The Civil War (1861-1865) the now clearly Americans fought against other Americans. A ferocious war allegedly to free the black slaves but in reality for the rights of the southern states to indulge and expand their “way of life” and the unity of the country. “Though the conflict had a constitutional character, the situation of Black slaves did not bother anyone excessively. I, (Zelenin) would place their liberation on one table together with the Homestead Act, which together attracted Abe Lincoln to their side.” The Russian writer explains that decisions for the benefits of Blacks and farmers were not only of momentary interest; they affected the subsequent history of the USA as a whole. Thus the frontier moved forward and by the 1890s the American pioneers stopped only at the Pacific Ocean. However, the real freedom of the Blacks had to wait 100 years more. Here Zelenin notes that the liberation of Russia’s serfs came about earlier. Their freedom then became full rights after the 1917 Communist Revolution when all the restrictions and harassment they had suffered were eliminated.
Zelenin thus raises not only historical but political-ideological questions. By implication, he asks, which system—that imposed by the American pioneers free to own lands as far as the eye could see or the Socialism born with the idea of a classless society based on social equality—offers society more?
Many Americans—the Exceptionalists, Libertarians, the self-made men, the me-for-me people, the Capitalists, the 1%, the piously religious—believe the former. People of the Left, unfortunately not the majority in the USA but, like the huge majority of the “real” peoples of the world, the truly spiritual, believe the latter.
Zelenin, I believe, wanted to say also that pragmatic, cool American thought is diametrically opposed to the Russian mirovozreniye, their world outlook, which has a spiritual quality. American thought has a purely religious outlook which is hardly the same thing.
(to be continued, next: The Russians Part IV – A Spiritual Creature Aware of the Entire World Around Him )
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The Greanville Post Senior Editor Gaither Stewart’s latest book is RECOLLECTION OF THINGS LEARNED: Remembering Socialism (Punto Press). His trilogy of novels a la Carré about Cold War-style espionage [The Trojan Spy, Lily Pad Roll, Time of Exile (forthcoming)] incorporate a lucid panorama of what Western intel services do, and the criminal wrong-headedness of US Foreign Policy. Stewart is an expert in Eastern European culture.