A Young Russian Explains Why the West Reminds Him of the USSR
A lying media, suffocating political correctness, kangaroo courts, and former Marxists now in the establishment
by Edvard Chesnokov
The author, a Russian in his early 30s, writes on international affairs for Komsomolskaya Pravda, a major Russian newspaper. We have deliberately left his writing in imperfect English, because we like the way it comes across.
1968-2018. This year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the French mass protests — Red May, Red June, Red July, Red August — which turned all the Western civilization entirely upside down. Four months of crowd crying — half-century of intellectual silence. One regime changing — five decades of unprecedented total brain cleaning on its wrecks. And finally — last but no least — the young protesters, (‘prohibitions prohibited’ was their slogan), have successfully converted into the old autocrats they’ve rebelled against.
I’m looking through old photos of smart, young, and courageous that-time freedom fighters with flaming Paris barricades behind. In German they could have called ‘Gutmenschen’ — handsome-face persons. Joschka Fischer (70). Accidentally he was also born in spring, 1948, and entered Red May at the age of twenty. His Frankfurt am Main was not far from France, so the game was almost the same: joining ‘The Proletarian Union for Terror and Destruction’ (this entity really named so, yep!), listening to Theodor Adorno’s lectures, assaulting govt offices, studying Marx and Mao, burning up police officer with ‘the Molotov cocktail’. And joining the global elite thirty years later, when Fischer took chairs of the German Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Affairs Minister.
Another Red May leader and Fischer’s friend, Daniel Cohn-Bendit (73), decades later became a European Parliament deputee. Their ‘brother in cocktailing’, Hans-Christian Ströbele (78), had been spending as a Bundestag MP for 19 years (1998-2017). To wrestle bureaucracy, you should think like a bureaucrat, shouldn’t you?
Currently the ‘Generation 1968’ with its ‘liberal values’ convinces it has won. But so did four and a half thousand participants of the 28th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1990 — who used to proclaim ‘the only truthful Marxist theory’ less than a year before the USSR and all the Communist system collapsed.
I was born only a couple years earlier, and don’t remember the Soviet time at all — but nowadays I’m recalling everything. Because by the 50th anniversary of the 1968 equity struggle, the contemporary West, the Number One World, the Heaven on the Earth, the Elvenland Rivendell — yet how it seemed for us, the first post-USSR generation, — has degraded into damnable autocracy. Or, as we called it in Russia, The Sovok. (a slang term, an adjective meaning anything typically Soviet, in a negative way)
What does this word exactly mean? Unfortunately we Russians know it better than anybody in America or Europe.
The Sovok is when you're not allowed to wear clothes you want. If you put on jeans (imported ones, 'cause the second world economy couldn't produce such goods), you have to attended the Komsomol (Young Communist League) meeting, where the committee of party activists used to 'mix you with the sand' for your nonconformity: ‘propesochit’ in Russian.
Perhaps you would be alleged as the Western agent and State Dept-backed disruptor… We’re so happy all this fashion-fascism remains in the past. Oh, wait! May 2018. Keziah Daun, an 18-year-old Utah non-Chinese student, appeared at the school ball in a traditional Mandarin dress. And faced cyberbullying and media blames for ‘cultural appropriation’.
Welcome to the Freedom House, where you can self-express overwhelmingly! Em… Hey, guys, what’s the difference between you and The Sovok?
The Sovok is when newspapers lie. It means, they don't have 'a special opinion', they don’t ‘remark the facts’ — they just absolutely, desperately, permanently assure you that pure water is the worst poison. Different points of view? Take the two: false and our’s! Enjoy these Sovok headlines:
Foreign affairs: ‘Israeli militarists kill innocent civilians’.
‘European privileges exploiting the Non-Europeans to withdraw’.
‘Protecting democracy, we send our troops to Afghanistan’.
Interior policy: ‘Beware of overseas agents’.
‘Being internationalist is good, being chauvinist is fool.’
‘By the insistences of migrant workers, an abandoned village church was rebuilt into the hostel’.
Do you get my rhetorical device, or shall I read out the contemporary headlines of the Sovok 2.0?
The Sovok is when everyone, from a prince to a pauper, could be detained with absurd accusations and imprisoned.
I’m looking through now-unclassified NKVD dossier on my grandgrandfather, Fyodor Chesnokov. On October 9, 1937, at the top of the Big Terror, this 64-year-old man was executed by the NKVD officers — perhaps via headshot series.
Previously, before the communist revolution, he used to be ‘a privileges male’— owning a little butter-press and other agricultural machines, which were taken off by the Social Justice Warriors… or, sorry, by the order of the local Party committee. On September 19, 1937 (compare this with the date of killing and find out the ‘quality’ of the Sovok investigation) he was arrested. All his guilt consisted of public allegations that life under ‘commies’ became worse (statistically, it did).
Fortunately it’s not Gulag time anymore, and suspects won’t be shot or expelled after a fake prosecution. But let’s remember the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is hiding in the Ecuador embassy out of liberal justice. Or Michael Flynn, President Trump’s National Security then-Advisor, who is still being under investigation for more than a year, while his deadly sin was just making calls to the Russian ambassador negotiating international affairs.
Frankly, I don’t want to consider myself anti-Soviet or anti-liberal. The USSR wasn't an ‘Evil Empire', as Reagan said, and offered lots of advantages. Domestic flights were cheap (like in the U.S. today). One would travel across all fifteen Soviet Republics without a visa, as well as in Eastern Europe. And you could make a brilliant science career, adding in dusty quotations from ‘the only real Marxism-Leninsm theory’ to your doctoral thesis — kind of like ‘gender studies’ in the Western universities of today.
I remember the fate of the most successful Red May kid, Joschka Fischer, whom I mentioned in the beginning. Finally, in 2005, the former regime adversary got involved in a scandal with thousands of German visas issued for Ukrainian criminals via fake applications, and resigned ingloriously.
Congrats, buddies! You’ve successfully built your amazing, embracing, engaging Sovok. Your mission is accomplished.
Your mission was only to wake people’s fear in order to return them into the brave old world, before your 1968 madness. Thus your time is over. Go on leave.
Yet you are not the objects of history, but its subject. You’re dead waste of the Paris barricades, going to be stormed by the new rioters — international right-wings, Trumpists, cisgender chauvinists, rusty belters, and classical-style artists.
‘Cause karma is a wheel.