Monday, May 09, 2005

Remembering the Red Army

Given the history of the 20th Century, you know that when something is called "red" and it's not a tie or a shirt, but rather an entire nation's military, it's probably not that good a thing. If you disagree with me here, please stop reading. The rest of this post will make as much sense to you as algebra does to a dog.

Vladimir Putin, former chief of the Soviet Committee for State Security (KGB) seems to think that the Red Army were liberators during World War II. In a way, they certainly were. The Soviets paid an unbelievable price in terms of lives and resources to destroy the Nazis. But once they liberated Eastern Europe, they never quite left. The rest of the story is trillions of dollars spent on updating weapons systems, bloody proxy wars in Asia, Africa, and Central America, many lives quietly lost because of political activities, and reams of spy novels and movies.

Then there is this which I caught from RealClearPolitics, which just about says it all. Putin, were he forward looking, would celebrate the past, and look forward to a nation which could easily become an economic rival to the United States. But he looks back to a time, and with eerily similar rhetoric that really has no place in the mouth of a Russian leader given that nation's totalitarian past and the current environment favoring the elimination of despotic governments.

The Red Army was the source of oppression and death in Eastern Europe. It squashed freedom and formed the rods of the Iron Curtain. And Putin now stands with a choice. He can move his nation forward in a free market democracy, or perhaps he could try to engineer again what he failed to do in Ukraine during Yuschenko's Orange Revolution: he could try to keep a totalitarian state running--a mini Soviet state. At least "mini" until other nations "want" to join.

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