Walter L. Bell, Ph.D.
Russia has had a long and troubled history with some of the most cruel and vile leadership of any nation. Its most enlightened monarch was Peter the Great who tried to modernise the nation against great odds because the ruling oligarchy opposed him at every turn. He wanted to Russia to join with the nations of Europe because Russia was basically isolated and backward in comparison. Unfortunately he was unable to accomplish all of his goals, but he is remembered for trying to loosen the hold of the oligarchy over Russia.
The next leader to try to loosen the hold of the Communist Party over Russia was Mikhail Gorbachev who tried to introduce economic reforms to move industries from state ownership to semiprivate owner ship. One of the persons Gorbachev recruited was Boris Yeltsin to help clean up the corruption in the Communist Party in 1985. As a reformer Yeltsin proved to be too ambitious for his mentor Gorbachev, but when Gorbachev resigned, Yeltsin took his place and helped to move Russia closer to a civilized nation instead of a nation which imprisoned and killed more of its own citizens than had been lost in World War II. It is estimated that under Stalin’s notorious leadership more than 20 million people were killed in his purges. When the Soveit tanks were gathered in Moscow, Yeltsin climbed on top of one of the tanks and dared the Russian Army to fire upon its own people. Unfortunately, Yeltsin’s economic policies caused a deep economic depression in Russia which lasted several years. Before Yeltsin resigned he freed many of parts of the Soviet Union such as the Ukraine, Georgia, and many of the states that had large populations of Muslim citizens such as Uzbekistan and many others. At the time about one quarter of the Soviet Union were of the Muslim faith. Even though Yeltsin’s policies were eventually beneficial to Russia, his great mistake was appointing Vladamer Putin to take his place.
Putin was originally a member of the KGB, the notorious version of our CIA and FBI combined. The KGB was responsible for the death of many of the Soviet citizens during the reign of Joseph Stalin who sent millions of his own people to prisons in Siberia or had them killed outright at his own whim. Putin the same mind set as Stalin and if left unchecked will leave his own cruel policies on his own citizens. His goal is to put Russia back together again as the Soviet Socialist Republic so as to make Russia an international bully and threat to former states such as the Ukraine and the Balkin States.
About the only thing I agree with Senator McCain of Arizona is his statement that “if you look into Putin’s eyes you see reflected KGB,” because once a spy and bully he will always be a bully and thug.
I am reminded of the history Professor from whom I took many courses, that it is difficult to discuss Russian history because like the history of China with its more than 6,000 years of history there is too much history.