Friday, November 3, 2017

Russians Foolishly Believe Their Country is Weaker than the USSR, Khramchikhin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 3 – Russians today foolishly think that their country is weaker than was the USSR and that it may suffer the same fate, Aleksandr Khramchikhin says; but in fact, the reverse is true. The Russian Federation is much stronger and more stable than its predecessor, and only by recognizing that can Russians and their leaders move forward.

            In an essay for Novoye voyennoye obozreniye, the Russian nationalist commentator says that it is long past time to dispel “the specter of the USSR” that hangs over much of Russia and to realize that there are six major areas in which Russia wins in comparison with the Soviet Union and others where “survivals of the past” still need to be overcome (

                Khramchikhin lists the following six advantages he says Russia already has over its predecessor:

·         “First, Russia is much more ethnically and mentally unified and internally consolidated than was the USSR.”

·         “Second, the Russian market economy is much more effective than the Soviet command one … despite a high share of state ownership, there is no price regulation or Gosplan.”

·         “Third, even under conditions of the current economic crisis, the standard of living of the absolute majority of the population of Russia is qualitatively higher than it was in the USSR.”

·         “Fourth, even under the conditions of present-day political and ideological ‘freezing,’ the level of rights and freedoms of Russian citizens is much higher than even in the last years of the USSR.”

·         “Fifth, state propaganda has reached a qualitatively new level” and can compete on all platforms, including the Internet in particular.

·         And sixth, “in its foreign policy, the Russian Federation displays greater elements of healthy pragmatism,” something that was often absent “not only in the USSR but in the Russian Empire as well.” There are of course “survivals of the past” in this regard but Moscow isn’t handing out money in the way that it did to so-called “friends.”

Despite these successes, Khramchikhin continues, everything could be lost quickly if the country does not maintain its military forces. And that in turn means that it is “extremely necessary to restore at least to the Soviet level science and education – the only sphere in which the USSR really was better than present-day Russia.”

And in pursuing its goals in the world, Moscow must also avoid shifting from the extreme of “senseless idealism” that the Soviets displayed to “the other extreme of absolute cynicism.” (The distance between the two approaches, the commentator says, is often all too short.)

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