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« Obama corners Castros: ‘Take steps’ to free Cuba | Main | Daniel Ortega moves Nicaragua back toward dictatorship »

October 27, 2009


jj mollo

Maybe there were no right choices. Eastern Europe was ready for democracy ... somehow. What made the two places different? Is it just the presence of evil men?

Frank Warner

In Eastern Europe under the Soviet Union, the leaders really were puppets. Almost no one in those nations believed the Soviet ideology, in part because they were forced from the outside to enforce it.

In the Soviet Union, everyone who moved up in the army, the KGB, the bureaucracy, the courts, the "press," the arts and academia did it by proclaiming allegiance to a repressive system, and by reinforcing that horror.

Gorbachev displaced a number of the die-hards at the very top, but just about everyone else in mid- and upper-level positions kept their jobs, and they still have every incentive to justify the atrocities they've profited from for decades.

jj mollo

So basically, most of the influential Russians have bought into their own subjugation?

Frank Warner

Too many have. Others are profiting from the new repression. And others are simply scared of Putin.

Roman Sverdlov

Okay I have no idea how Putin could isolate Yeltsin in dacha. I mean, did Putin get police involved? If so, what were the charges?

I also don't know how Stalin could isolate Lenin -- especially since Lenin was the leader up until he died, and after he died it wasn't clear who his successor would be, only several years after Lenin's death did Stalin solidify power.

But in any case, the two things I do know is that Brezhnev isolated Khruschev in dacha, and Yanaev tried to isolate Gorbachev in dacha during the 1991 coup.

So if the incidents with Lenin and Yeltsin also happend, that would be 4 different dachas, and out of 9 rulers, it makes it sound like a standard procedure.

But like I said I only know about Brezhnev and Yanaev. The thing about Stalin and Putin is a lot more puzzling.

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