Russia’s admiration for the Gestapo

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Russia’s admiration for the Gestapo

The KGB considered the Stasi, man for man, the most effective secret police/intelligence agency ever. The Soviets never spoke openly about the Stasi but privately they were quite proud of “their Germans” (Russian dominated East Germany). It was what many Russians wished the Soviet Union was. East Germany was the most efficient communist state ever and the Stasi was the kind of secret police the KGB wished it was.

Russia invades Ukraine

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Putin’s reckless invasion of Ukraine requires rethink of Western policies

Russia’s recent “humanitarian invasion” of nearly 200 trucks—which crossed the border and then returned, the Ukrainian government alleges, with stolen factory equipment—is only one of the more recent Kremlin experiments aimed at testing both the global rules of the game and Western leaders’ readiness to confront Russia. This alleged mass theft, in particular, took place just before Ukraine’s Independence day, on the eve of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Kiev and before the meeting between Putin and Poroshenko. It was an intentional slap in the face…

Burning Bush

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Mike Potemra on the new movie, Burning Bush:

The new movie Burning Bush…begins with the self-immolation of Czech dissident Jan Palach in 1969, and tells the story of how his family subsequently sued the Communist government for slandering him. It’s basically a courtroom drama, but with this twist: We know that the real verdict on the Communist regime would come not at the end of this particular trial, but decades later.

So it’s the film’s great achievement to create a sense of immediacy about characters in a truly desperate situation: Palach killed himself in protest against the Soviet invasion of 1968, which snuffed out Czechoslovakia’s experiment with “socialism with a human face.” The good guys were decisively defeated, by Soviet tanks and by Czech and Slovak hardline Communists; and they will not defeat the totalitarian regime by suing a lying government minister. But it’s when you can’t “win” — when all you have is the truth — that hanging on to the truth is most essential. The second half of this movie packs a huge emotional wallop, in making precisely this point.

Jan Palach’s family, friends, and supporters did not bring down the Evil Empire. But their efforts proved that the truth can live even in the most dispiriting of circumstances. When you say “No” to human-rights abuses and other forms of injustice, what you are saying is: Someday. Someday it will be different. The human-rights abusers may have power, but they will never have the truth. [emphasis added]

Russia’s politicization of the Winter Olympics

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Russia’s politicization of the Winter Olympics

When the Russian team entered the stadium for the Paralympic opening ceremony, organizers played “Goodbye America,” a 1985 song given a second wind in Russia in the 2000 anti-American crime thriller Brat-2, mixed with “For You, Homeland,” a song written a couple of years later expressing support for the Russian army. According to Svobodnaya Pressa—as related by the Open Source Center analysis—state media played the same “For You, Homeland” song during the 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia.

Alas, it wasn’t just as the Paralympics. The Open Source Center’s Russia analysts also observed that during the Olympic Games’ closing ceremonies, Russian authorities played an instrumental version of a song that called for Alaska’s return to Russia.