Thursday, September 03, 2009

Russia Becoming Increasingly Nationalist at the 70th Anniversary of the Soviet-German Invasion to Poland

Global American Discourse has published a few posts on Russo-Western conflicts and nationalism recently. The tension between Russia and the West will be intensified as the presidential election in Ukraine will be held in January next year. Also, a nationwide nostalgia for Joseph Stalin is growing, and the Medvedev-Putin administration makes use of this emotion.

As if it is a prelude to further tension between Russia and the West, a remark by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia startled President Lech Kaczynski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk of Poland, and leaders across Europe who attended the 70th anniversary ceremony of the outbreak of World War in Gdansk, Poland. In sharp contrast to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany who expressed heartfelt regret to Nazi brutalism, Putin denied the massacre of Katyn Forest in 1940, in which 22,000 Polish officers and soldiers were executed by Soviet Red Army (“Russia and Poland clash over who was to blame for the war”; Independent; 2 September 2009). Furthermore, Major General Lev Solotov of SVR, Russian foreign intelligence agency has released a report to mention that Polish cooperation with Nazi Germany before the war and Polish attempts to sow discord among the Soviet Union’s ethnic nationalities. (“In a Visit, Putin Tries to Ease Rifts With Poland”; New York Times; September 2, 2009, and also, the report in Russian)

In the video below, Russia Today reports almost the same as Western media do.

The Putin Russia is rewriting the history, and showing excessively self assertive attitude to the West. In other words, Russia is acting like the Old Soviet Union.

The fall of communism has transformed East European nations into free and peaceful allies to the West, but things have gone completely different in Russia. Post-Soviet political anomies have led to the rise of cult nationalism, which is more dangerous than communism. As I repeatedly say, the Clintonian dream of incorporating Russia into the Western political economic system of IMF and WTO has failed. The market economy has not changed Russia into a real democracy.

Despite this, the Obama administration is too hesitant to demonstrate wholehearted American support for Poland, regarding the deployment of the anti-missile system. I wish George W. Bush had manipulated some crises in East Europe and Former Soviet Union, in order to let John McCain win the election, and to contain Russian expansionism. The Georgian crisis was not enough to awaken American voters.

The 70th anniversary of the German-Soviet invasion to Poland is a reminder that Russian challenge to European security will grow increasingly critical. The ceremony in Gdansk is no less important than the summit in Yekaterinburg this summer. Keep an eye on Russia.