Friday, October 17, 2014

World War 1: Putin and Russia's New Perspective

I've been personally disappointed by the lack of recognition and public ceremony in the U.S. over the 100th anniversary of WWI, or "The Great War," as the Brits like to call it.  WWI is one of my favorite and most studied periods of world history and is still probably the seminal event of the last two centuries.  Obama and other European leaders gathered at the Menin Gate in Ypres earlier this year, but the even was largely ignored in America.  Russia had its own ceremony and the speech is really quite revealing of how Vladimir Putin and modern Russia and look back on its past.  Instead of venerating the Bolsheviks and murderers like Trotsky and Lenin, he calls them out for what they really were--not altruistic communists, but thieves who "sought only power for themselves."  Putin's view of the Russian Civil War of 1918, one can presume, is decidedly more White than Red.

Putin (6:22):  "Russia stayed true to its duties as an ally.  The Russian offensives in Prussia and Galicia upset the adversary's (Germany and Axis states) plans and made it possible for our allies to hold the front and defend Paris.  The enemy was forced to turn its attention east where Russian forces....put up the fiercest possible struggle...and was then able to launch an offensive.  The Brusilov offensive became famous throughout the world, but this victory was stolen from our country.  It was stolen by those who called for defeat of their homeland and army, who sowed division inside Russia, and sought only power for themselves, betraying the national interest."  (Turn on subtitles if you don't speak Russian)

Putin's candid insights into history explain much about the current tensions between Russia, the EU and US.  What he's saying is that in return for taking extraordinary losses to support the Western Front, Russia was betrayed by brutal revolutionaries who had been in exile (Lenin in Sweden and Trotsky in New York) and were assisted by the allies in their return to Russia.  The story of how the Bolshevik movement was supported by key western industrialists and government leaders is well documented in a book (available free online at this link) called Wall Street And The Bolshevik Revolution by Prof. Antony C. Sutton.  Sutton's work is often taken out of context by conspiracy theorists and it's not the most enjoyable reading, but it is dense with facts.  What can be said about this book is that it represents an important yet esoteric side of history from which it could be argued that the Cold War was one big case of blowback.  The people who lived in what became the USSR got the worst of it.  Naturally, Russia is suspicious of western leaders promoting globalism.

No comments: