Wednesday, April 25

Tsar Vlad

I don't know much about Russia. However, I remain very interested in the land my family called home until the beginning of the 20th Century.

All this week, I have been reading eulogies and obits about former Russian President Boris Yeltsin. I am struck by the credit that these writers give him for opening Russia to democracy and pluralism.

I find these platitudes to be disingenuous. Yeltsin did try to open Russia, but his personal failings doomed the effort.

He handpicked Vladimir Putin to be his successor; if for no other reason than a promise that Putin gave Yeltsin to keep him out of the gulag. Putin quickly undid Yeltsin's reforms and began cementing in yet another Russian totalitarian regime.

Russia may not now resemble the former Soviet Union. However, every year that Putin remains in power it reminds me more and more of the czarist monarchy. Perhaps Russia is not ready for democracy. However, giving credit to a corrupt drunkard who sold his country's future in order to get away with his crimes seems inappropriate.


david said...

Boris definitely was not perfect, but he deserves credit for effectively declaring that "Soviet communism" was officially dead, and he should be honored for that. Without him, we might very well still be engaged in a true Cold War, and the world would be much worse off.

Treasure State Jew said...

Would we be worse off? The USSR was many things, but one thing it was not was inefficient.

Right now, we have a third world, corrupt system willing to sell its nuclear technology to insane regimes in North Korea and Iran. There is not effective tracking of nuclear technology and supplies owned by the former Soviet state.

As long as a Cold war stays cold, it is better than a hot one (IMHO), as we are now embroiled in the Middle East.

Anonymous said...

I would not go so far as to say the USSR was effecient. It was inefficient (economically speaking) which directly led to its downfall. That said, the USSR did give the region more political stability while it lasted.