Ideology and the Ukraine

When living in Tallinn in the ninties I quite often heard my acquaintancies  say that ”just you wait, when Gorbatjov and Jeltsin are gone the old russians will be back”. I was sceptical and saw things a little bit more rosy with a pluralistic democratic development in Russia as the most likely scenario for the future. I was wrong.

GolodomorKharkiv (1)So today what are the components of the cleavage between Russia and the Ukraine? Is it only about geopolitics, sphers of influence, natural gas pipes and money not to mention the catastrophic,  by Stalinist policies created, famine in the early thirties in the Urkraine or is there a real  ideological core in the conflict that calls for closer examination. Has the Russian state, inheritor of the Soviet system, completely and irrevocably morfed into kleptocracy?

What was the Soviet system? Well on the positive side and something which is not totally lacking of interest in todays world of mass unemployment, is the fact that the Soviet Union was a society of full employment, albeit with manpower  allocated very inefficently.

If people had skills and higher education they were expected to contribute to society and if unwilling to work were put under some preasure to do so.

On the negative side you were supposed to shut up when it came to critizing the regime. If one did not adhere to the principle of shutting up, death, imprisonment, ostracization or exile could follow.

The blueprint of the Soviet union can be traced back to Lenins, in 1920, stipulated criteria for allowing socialist organizations to join the Comintern. Among these criteria was the acceptance of Democratic Centralism which  meant handing over very farreaching powers to a small communist elite, doing away with what we consider fair democratic procedures, accepting the complete subservience of media to the communist party and abolishing free speach.

Marxism leninism was supposed to be the guiding star. In everyday conversations in our time this concept of Marxism Leninism is often treated as an integral concept. As I remember, the difference between Marxism and Leninism, Marxim being a tool for analyzing capital accumulation and Leninism being a political ideology, was sometimes pointed out  by my leftwing inclined fellow students at the Stockholm School of Economics in the early seventies. This ”fine point” was however not something that, at that time, lingered on my mind  it probably quickly bounced of , there were other concerns.

So how should one look on Russia today, mainly as a caretaker of Marxist ideas or as a derailed leninist klepocracy? My gutfeeling says that it is mostly the latter reality that calls the shots but I can also hear a feeble voice wispering that the Marxist legacy is not completely dead. When this feeble voice meets fresh statistics about accelerating and worrysome inequalities in the West, including Sweden ground for some interesting conversations materializes.

Islamiska statens grymheter

islamiska staten2

Marwan Bishara, politisk analytiker hos Al Jazeera har en del intressanta saker att säga om IS, Islamiska statens, uppmärksammade grymheter, halshuggningar m.m. Bishara ser extremvåldet inom IS som en direkt följd av brutaliserande terrorbekämpning i Irak och Syrien och andra länder.

Grymma och förnedrande övergrepp i kända och okända ”terrorfängelser” som inte uppmärksammas i media har brutaliserat tillfångatagna rebeller. Det är enl Bishara inte konstigt att vi fått se spektakulära grymheter begångna av IS då t.ex många av de 500 fångar som fritogs från det ökända Abu Ghraib fängelset i juli 2013 anslutit sig till IS och kan förmodas ha haft ett stort inflytande i brutaliserande riktning.


Bishara ser dock inte IS grymheter utan rörelsens snabba erövring av territorier som skälet till varför USA nu agerar militärt och politiskt. Händelseutvecklingen har på ett kraftfullt sätt spelat USA i händerna men USAs reaktion inger ändå betänkligheter om man begrundar att rötterna till islamisternas övervåld kan hittas i de regionala regimernas ständigt pågående våld, bl a i så kallade ”terrorfängelser” vilket inte tillnärmelsevis får samma mediala uppmärksamhet som IS övergrepp.


Jag kan inte undgå reflektionen att här finns stora likheter med den våldsdynamik som präglade både den franska och den ryska revolutionen. I den franska revolutionen mördades, avrättades och halshöggs cirka 20 tusen adelsmän. Omvärlden förfasade sig, men inte många ger sig tid att sätta sig in i de extrema standardskillnader som rådde mellan de fattiga, mer eller mindre livegna bondebefolkningarna och kung och adel och de grymheter som under sekler begåtts mot de fattiga befolkningarna. Även mycket små förseelser renderade grymma straff och avrättningar.


Som exempel kan nämnas att en betjänt vid hovet hos Ludvig den XVe i Frankrike på något sätt kände sig kränkt av kungen och tog sig för att stöta en trubbig bordskniv i låret på kungen. Straffet blev sönderslitning mellan fyra hästar.


Att det sprang omkring kärringar från Paris fattigkvarter med avhuggna adelshuvuden uppsatta på käppar i den franska revolutionens mest våldsamma skeenden är egentligen inte ägnat att förvåna när man betänker den brutaliserande inverkan som sekler av grymheter och extrem materiell nöd måste ha haft på de fattiga skikten av befolkningarna.

Varning från president Eisenhower

Eisenhowers varningsord i hans avgångstal som amerikansk president den 17e januari år 1961 ang det militärindustriella komplexet har ständigt aktualitet. Här är orden:

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

Our military organization today bears little resemblance to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States corporations.

Now, this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.