Why do people hate the Soviet Union

Russia

Kascha - porridge! The Russian public is dominated by a sticky, indefinable pulp of Soviet romanticization, blemishes of history and rejection of the West. Jens Siegert traces these political and historical distortions with deliberate polemics.

After Stalin's death in 1953, the Soviet Union officially initiated a phase of de-Stalinization. For several years now, however, the Soviet dictator has once again served as a Russian identification figure. (& copy picture-alliance / AP)

In the beginning there was the great Soviet Union. This is roughly how a - admittedly somewhat polemical - description of the hypothesis that is now floating around in the minds of many people in Russia must begin.

How often, if you want to understand today, also helps here to look back. In 1978, the Soviet dissident and writer Alexander Zinoviev described Homo Sovieticus, the direct predecessor of today's Russians, in the novel of the same name. The Soviet person in the novel is an opportunist who shuns any responsibility. At the same time, he has an idealized image of the West, which he does not know from personal experience because of censorship and travel bans. The fact that the West is demonized by state propaganda only makes it more attractive.

Of course, after the end of the Soviet Union and the opening of the borders for people, goods and information, the idealized idea of ​​the West turned out to be a mistake, the dreamed-of heaven on earth was far more secular and secular. In addition, in Russia (as in the other independent Soviet republics) in the 1990s, some of the uglier parts of Western life entered into a rather monstrous symbiosis with the remnants of Soviet life. It is true that suddenly people were very free. But political and social freedoms were quickly stifled by a dysfunctional state and market. Democracy fell by the wayside. The (in many ways still Soviet) state not only withdrew from the private life and economy of the people, it also disappeared from many areas of general interest. This was used by a small group of new ones, yes, how should one put it, but it was entrepreneurs who, together with parts of the state elite, often also in personal union, a large part of the still enormous, in the Soviet Union almost exclusively from State controlled wealth shared among themselves. Few got very rich. Many became poorer and poorer. What was left was poverty, corruption and a great deal of insecurity.

Today's similarly emotionally charged rejection of the West (and especially its culmination USA) has its roots here. Without the "disappointment" in the literal sense of the word, especially in the 1990s (which was also experienced by many people in Russia as a humiliation or at least in retrospect is interpreted as a humiliation), it can hardly be explained and understood.

Now, since the end of the Soviet Union, all people in Russia have at least theoretically (so they want and can afford it) the opportunity to travel to the real West. Many (albeit a minority on a national scale) have and are still doing it. Quite a few of the travelers, but also some of the non-travelers, have come to the reasonable conclusion that the real West is worse than the one previously imagined, but above all more complicated and contradictory. That he can be compassionate and show solidarity, but is also selfish and hard. In short, that the freedom that prevails there is an opportunity that one has to work on, that offers no guarantees, but that a chance is still better than no chance.

Others, and this is the vast majority of people in Russia at the moment, have rejected real capitalism that has come to Russia. One of the reasons for this, as the British historian Tony Judt says, is that in Russia (as elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe) after 1989 the "smart neoliberals [used] the opportunity to dismiss the dissidents and at the same time adorn themselves with them ". The dissidents provided moral authority to the mix of market liberals and reform-minded Soviet functionaries who had come to power, while they themselves often persisted in political and economic naivete. Economic naivete was not only widespread among dissidents, but also in large parts of the population. In the reflection of the Soviet planned and shortage economy, the widespread illusion had grown in Soviet times that capitalism was about (Tony Judt again) "a brewer must first and foremost brew good beer," while the decisive factor was "that." his beer sells well ". The successors of the Soviet ruling elite were able to say goodbye to this illusion much faster than the "dissidents" (understood here as those who primarily believed and believe in democracy). The new-old rulers understand it much better (to this day and because power cynicism has always been their main business) how to sell their beer than how to brew it.

The most important sales method is still a (largely) monopolized state propaganda. However, it has been thoroughly "modernized". On the one hand, it no longer consists of telling people how good and beautiful it is at home and that a bright and happy future can only be expected here and from here. Hardly anyone would believe that anyway. Rather, the people in Russia experience day in and day out that things are no better there, in the West, than in Russia. The same, cloudy picture everywhere. But with one important difference. Nobody expects anything else at home (anymore). But there they (and especially the state) pretend that it is better there than that democracy prevails there. State propaganda knows better. In the West, sadness comes, so it bills people, that is, insincerity, even a downright outrageous lie. That makes the gloomy at home a little more homely and makes it appear even more inhospitable when away from home.

The second trick goes even deeper. It consists in not admitting certainty in the first place. This is, so to speak, a postmodern rule technique. The rulership no longer claims (primarily) that it is good, but that there is no such thing as "good rulership". The state propagandists claim one thing and the opposite about everything and everyone. And often something else as well. Everything is in flux, nothing is safe anymore. Everything can be mixed into this anti-enlightenment brew, every idea, no matter how obscure, every conspiratorial (world) explanation. Moscow bookstores have long been a reflection of this method. In addition to a few serious works, there are and still are pseudoscientific works in abundance. The more monstrous the idea, the better it sells.

In many people's minds, the result is what is called "Kascha" (German: "Brei") in Russian. This pulp can be analyzed and chemically broken down into its constituents as little as the pulp in the heads of German "aluminum hats". In fact, they are very similar. This mush is (almost) incomprehensible. It consists of ingredients that are often mutually exclusive and inconceivable in the literal sense of the word. I would therefore rather try to make it tangible by letting it flow like a kind of stream of thoughts. This stream of thoughts is based on personal experiences, the regular (and hopefully not yet harmful) consumption of Russian media and many conversations with very different people, not a few of whom are rather politically remote.

So: in the beginning there was the great Soviet Union. They founded the Jews. They murdered the Tsar and destroyed the great Russian Empire and the Right Faith and organized the Gulag. But of course the Russians continued to believe. Secretly. Then came a great Russian ruler (albeit of Georgian origin). He welded the Soviet Union (founded by the Jews) together, all the Ukrainians, Caucasians, Central Asians and other fraternal peoples of the great Russian people.

After a while it was no worse than before the revolution. Everyone loved one another and nobody was rich or stole too much. That did not suit the European fascists and they attacked the peace-loving Soviet Union under its great Russian leader (of Georgian origin). The Soviet peoples, led by the Russians, defeated the European fascists (which is why they are forever the best anti-fascists). And that, despite all of these Ukrainians, Caucasians and other traitor peoples (who actually love the Russians) collaborated with the fascists. After the victory over the fascists, however, the Russians were generous, forgave everyone, as good parents do with their offspring, even the failing ones, and they all lived brotherly and sisterly in the now even larger and even more powerful Soviet Union.

That was the best time of the Soviet Union, even if the leadership continued to degrade after the great Russian (of Georgian origin). The leaders left fewer and fewer with the Russians, they distributed more and more to the (ungrateful) brother peoples. But that was ultimately unimportant at the time, because everyone lived together, peacefully in a great fatherland. And everyone loved one another. And nobody stole. From today's perspective, this late Soviet Union was paradise. It was her despite scarcity and boredom. It was because of scarcity and boredom. Because of the scarcity it was as just as capitalism (now we know, we didn't want to believe it then!) Is unjust. And because she was big. A real great power. Dreaded. Then the Americans destroyed the great Soviet Union. Out of fear and jealousy. The Americans are stupid and weak. And the Russians are smart and strong. But too good-natured. For a moment they weren't vigilant enough and it was done. The Americans first took advantage of a weak general secretary (who wanted to forbid the Russians to drink, the traitor!) And then persuaded the Russians to submit to a former district chairman of the large Communist Party (who clearly enjoyed drinking). That Communist Party that was founded by Jews to bring down the great Russian Empire, which was even better than the Soviet Union because it was Russian and orthodox (which is why it was destroyed by the Jews).

All the brother peoples who had fared so well in the Soviet Union and who were actually not real peoples at all became independent. OK. Not all but most. And those who became independent didn't really want that, they were only talked into it by the Americans and their own corrupt elites (who weren't really elites, but small bandit gangs, almost fascists). The only remaining part of the Soviet Union was the Russian Federation, which the former district chairman persuaded that it must now also be independent. From what and by whom, you don't really know. As a result, poor Russia became impoverished and everyone began to steal what was not nailed down. And everything else too. And sold everything to the Americans. And the Europeans. They acted as if they had won a war. It was the Russians' love of peace that had ended the Cold War, which the West was now waging on and on. That was humiliating. Just like the drinking of the former district chairman, who now calls himself president, who also had his own parliament shot at.

Other traitor peoples were stirring in the country. And it was even more humiliating that the good, sly, brotherly and sisterly Russians who had fed all those snakes on their chests couldn't cope with it. They were so weak. That was how humiliating it was.

Somehow the former district party committee chairman thought back to his drunkenness for at least a moment and suggested a successor to the Russians, whom everyone immediately fell in love with, because he slapped all the thieves from the time of the former district chairman on the fingers and all the crooked noses Chased terrorists from the mountains to the point of leaving. At the same time, and because they did not have such healthy, energetic and pithy presidents at home, many of the brother peoples (who are actually not their own peoples) wanted to go back to the Soviet Union. Since they no longer existed, they wanted at least to go to the Russian Federation, which under the new favorite president had become almost as powerful as the Soviet Union or at least as religious as the Russian Empire, but actually like both at the same time, what was even better.

Because the Americans were getting weaker and more stupid and could not bear the fact that the new favorite president made Russia great again, they began to overthrow the legal governments of the neighboring brother peoples (who are actually not peoples at all). One in particular, the most fraternal of the brother peoples, stood out. The (stupid and weak) Americans brought the people (who are not people) to the Maidan (twice), distributed biscuits and overthrew the legitimate president (twice). But then the Russian part of this non-people woke up and remembered how nice and warm it had been in Mother Russia's lap. And the favorite president helped them and welcomed them with open arms in the Russian Federation, the heiress of the great Soviet Union, created by the Jews who had destroyed the Russian Empire for this purpose.
It is clear that the (increasingly stupid and weaker) Americans must hate this new Russia and its favorite president. Like their (less stupid but still weaker) European vassals, who at least could still be saved, they would only finally realize that it is not the (increasingly stupid and weaker) Americans who are their true friends, but the great, warm-hearted, peace-loving, unique Russian people with their ingenious darling President.

It was kind of like that.

You can find this and other texts on Jens Siegert's Russia blog http://russland.boellblog.org/.