President Obama recognized the reality of Russian propaganda and disinformation, telling an audience in Belgium that “It is absurd to suggest — as a steady drumbeat of Russian voices do — that America is somehow conspiring with fascists inside of Ukraine or failing to respect the Russian people.” But he went on to spew his own propaganda, saying that “…unlike the Soviet Union, Russia leads no bloc of nations, no global ideology.” These assertions are demonstrably false and go far beyond the usual “gaffes” attributed by the media to (mostly Republican) political figures.
Analyst Toby Westerman has put together a list of examples of how international communist ideology still guides the conduct of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer and one-time head of its successor agency, the FSB. “I don’t see why it is so difficult to see the ideology behind Putin,” Westerman says, noting that Putin has declared, “There is no such thing as a former Chekist.” The Cheka was the forerunner to the KGB and stood for the All-Russian Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage.
“The mission of the Cheka was to defend the Communist Revolution and to destroy its enemies,” notes Westerman. “[Cheka head] Felix Dzerzhinsky carried out his task with stunning brutality and efficiency. The Cheka developed what became a legendary reputation for kidnapping, torture, and murder. In its first years of operation, Cheka victims numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Although officially dissolved in 1922, the Cheka’s methods and mission continue to the present. All current and “retired” Russian intelligence officers consider themselves as Chekists. Today, Russia is controlled by the Chekist Putin, and his spy associates. Russia is, in reality, a ‘spyocracy.’”
Other examples of the Soviet KGB’s living legacy include:
- Putin sang the KGB unofficial anthem with the Russian spies who were deported from the U.S. in 2010 shortly after their arrival in Russia
- Putin has praised the work of Soviet spies (such as Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who stole U.S. atom bomb secrets for the Russians)
- A plaque dedicated to Kim Philby, a Russian double agent, was placed on the wall outside Russia’s foreign intelligence service headquarters
- Soviet Red Star markings have returned to Russian military aircraft
- The cruiser Aurora, which played an important role in the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, was made into a museum
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“Their minds are in 1917,” Westerman says of Putin and his former KGB associates.
Westerman points out that, in terms of leading a bloc of nations, which Obama denies, Russia has basically united with pro-Stalinist Belarus, while it aids North Korea, arms neo-Communist Venezuela, is closely allied with Communist China, shares intelligence with Cuba, and sponsors the Iranian regime’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Belarus is a member of Putin’s proposed Eurasian Economic Union, an association of post-Soviet states.
In addition, as we have reported, Putin adviser Aleksandr Dugin is the leader of the “International Eurasia Movement,” which includes a “strategic alliance” between Iran and Russia.
On top of this, there is the group known as BRICS, referring to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
We found very few references in the press to how BRICS had rejected sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. One source was the Iranian Press TV, which highlighted how the foreign ministers of the BRICS countries had issued a statement defending Russia.
A Russian Pravda report went further, noting that Dilma Rousseff, the former communist terrorist who is now president of Brazil, is the liaison with the “left South American bloc ALBA,” consisting of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. Brazil has “initiated removing the US dollar from internal trade within BRICS.” The report added that “Brazil is also the largest trading partner of Russia in Latin America, and the trade between the two countries is expected to increase from the current $6 billion a year to $10 billion by the end of the decade.
In terms of how Soviet-style ideology lives on in Russia, we could add several other examples:
- Soviet symbols, such as the hammer and sickle, were displayed with pride during the Sochi Olympics opening ceremony in Russia
- A supporter of Crimea joining Russia was photographed holding a poster of Stalin in front of the statue of Lenin in Simferopol’s Lenin Square
- The Russian Orthodox Church published a calendar for 2014 dedicated to Stalin
- The music of the Russian national anthem is the same as the old Soviet anthem
In his speech, Obama said, “We welcomed Russia into the G-8 and the World Trade Organization. From the reduction of nuclear arms to the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons, we believe the world has benefited when Russia chooses to cooperate on the basis of mutual interests and mutual respect.”
Russia has now been suspended from the G-8, but it continues to have access to Western capital through Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR), which Obama forced through Congress in 2012.
“The House of Representatives and the Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation allowing Obama to grant permanent normal trade relations, or PNTR, to Russia in order to ensure that U.S. companies share the full benefits of Russia’s recent entry in the World Trade Organization,” Reuters reported at the time.
PNTR for Russia passed the House by a vote of 365-43 and the Senate by 92-4. The membership of the U.S.-Russia Business Council includes many major U.S. companies, and can be counted on to oppose revoking PNTR for Russia.
As far as nuclear arms reductions are concerned, despite the New START treaty passed by the Senate in response to Obama’s demand, the “ World Nuclear Stockpile Report” of the Ploughshares Fund still shows Russia with 8,500 nuclear weapons—800 more than the United States.
Bill Gertz, who recently received the Reed Irvine Award for Investigative Journalism, has reported evidence that Russia is violating the terms of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with the United States.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.