Vladimir Bukovsky, a former Soviet dissident, fears the European Union could become a totalitarian state like the old Soviet Union.
He says Soviet archives document a conspiracy, dating to 1985-86, to turn the European Union into a "socialist organization." By "socialist," Bukovsky means Soviet-style socialist, without accountable democracy or political freedom.
European ideologies. Last week in Belgium, he explained what he believes is happening in Europe:
I am referrring to structures, to certain ideologies being instilled, to the plans, the direction, the inevitable expansion, the obliteration of nations, which was the purpose of the Soviet Union.
Most people do not understand this. They do not know it, but we do because we were raised in the Soviet Union where we had to study the Soviet ideology in school and at university. The ultimate purpose of the Soviet Union was to create a new historic entity, the "Soviet people," all around the globe. The same is true in the E.U. today. They are trying to create a new people. They call this people "Europeans," whatever that means.
From many, one. Bukovsky’s fears sound a little goofy to me. The Europeans don’t appear to be losing their old national idenitities, except possibly with the influx of Muslims, and that has little to do with the E.U.
What would be so bad if all Europeans felt they were one people, as long as they maintained a liberal democratic atmosphere? That sounds more like America (from many, one, freely) than the Soviet Union (many forced together).
Bukovsky seems to be afraid the Europeans are being told to accept an E.U. ideology that insists they sublimate their national identities artificially. He believes that all these nations eventually will rediscover their identities, and then all hell will break loose, as in the former Yugoslavia and in Russia itself.
Watch Europol. He concedes the E.U. does not look exactly like the Soviet Union -- yet.
Please, do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that it has a Gulag. It has no KGB – not yet – but I am very carefully watching such structures as Europol for example. That really worries me a lot because this organisation will probably have powers bigger than those of the KGB. They will have diplomatic immunity. Can you imagine a KGB with diplomatic immunity?
Political correctness. Buskovsky is particularly wary of the prospect of the European police enforcing laws against "hate crimes."
Today’s ideology of the European Union is social-democratic, statist, and a big part of it is also political correctness. I watch very carefully how political correctness spreads and becomes an oppressive ideology, not to mention the fact that they forbid smoking almost everywhere now.
Look at this persecution of people like the Swedish pastor who was persecuted for several months because he said that the Bible does not approve homosexuality. France passed the same law of hate speech concerning gays. Britain is passing hate speech laws concerning race relations and now religious speech, and so on and so forth. What you observe, taken into perspective, is a systematic introduction of ideology which could later be enforced with oppressive measures.
Collapse and recriminations. Then he predicts the E.U. will fall apart. There, I partly agree. If the E.U. starts enforcing silly laws in oppressive ways, the E.U. will split. But I don’t believe the return of Europe’s old, more independent nations would produce all the chaos Bukovsky foresees.
There will be a collapse of the European Union pretty much like the Soviet Union collapsed. But do not forget that when these things collapse they leave such devastation that it takes a generation to recover. Just think what will happen if it comes to an economic crisis. The recrimination between nations will be huge. It might come to blows.
Look to the huge number of immigrants from Third World countries now living in Europe. This was promoted by the European Union. What will happen with them if there is an economic collapse? We will probably have, like in the Soviet Union at the end, so much ethnic strife that the mind boggles.
The mind would boggle. But with a modicum of vigilance, Europe won’t erupt into one big riot. I don’t believe the E.U. will ever become the centralized federal state that some have imagined anyway. It will remain an economic partnership with limited political cooperation. And if its political structure ever is centralized, the Europeans would demand democratic safeguards. Bukovsky seems to believe the people would surrender their liberties.
Bukovsky also fails to notice that the E.U. is not disconnecting itself from the world economy, as the Soviet Union had. As long as Europe’s trade is fairly free and global, its economy will be flexible enough to survive, E.U. or no E.U.