WAs the USSR a Russian Empire?

In my latest piece for RT, I discuss whether it’s correct to view the USSR as the Russian Empire 2.0. I note a common effort by pro-Western East European intellectuals to portray the Soviet Union as not ‘Soviet’ but rather an exercise in ‘Russian’ colonialism. The aim thereby is to distance their own countries from Russia and justify a pro-Western vector. However, as I point out in the article, it’s not very good history.

You can read the article here. As always, constructive feedback is welcome.

49 thoughts on “WAs the USSR a Russian Empire?”

  1. In Tbilisi, right across Rustaveli street from the museum of Soviet occupation, there is a monument to protesters shot during a protest in the mid 50s. It doesn’t specify the fact they were protesting against de-stalinization. Besides, soviet occupation of Georgia?? VDNH in Mosow should dedicate a pavilion to a museum of the georgian occupation of the USSR. Stalin brought a whole brigada from the mountains with him to the kremlin — and that crew did practically everything nationalists from those ex-soviet states that are butthurt they didn’t end up as little eastern swedens in the 20th century (and they’ve missed the boat, western exceptional wealth is over) blame the moskals for.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Assuming this person is Russian, here’s a non-sovok Russian example of the kind of one-sided BS that’s favored in Western m@$$ media:

      She used to be with the BBC. Her tweets indicates a woke, snowflake manner.


  2. Oh dear, the arts as entrance into world of movers and shakers “cum” forget what was on my head just a second ago, ???

    Ok, ok I read Paula Erizanu article not that I have an inner drive after the first couple of paragraphs.


    1. To some extent, I regret this comment. If I could, I would have deleted it.

      But yes, from the Calvert 22 Foundation and the Calvert Journal’s mission, the framing may make a lot of sense. Highly professional enterprise, …

      More interesting is the academic debate around the introduction of the USSR/Russia into the larger postcolonial studies field, and resultant academic debates. Or the postcolonial studies debate more generally, from the original colonial discourse theory in literature to subaltern studies in history.


  3. and as for ‘Tsarist imperialism’, it was largely run by baltic germans, most of the serfs were Russians, Muslims and settler people like volga/black-sea germans had higher literacy than russians and far more civil rights, and every group absorbed had its elites elevated to the aristocracy equal to the ‘russian’ aristocracy. Rasputin was murdered in the mansion of a prince from a Tatar lineage, the Napoleonic war’s ‘lion of russia’ was Bagration from Georgia… but none of it matters, these squakers will keep squaking whatever gets them more of that Atlantic council funding


      1. Did you mean that it was not so different in metropoly, but in fact very different for colonies because after committing unprecedented atrocities in the overseas colonies British had always had an opportunity to just freight a ship and move away from their retribution. Like in the case of Indian mass famine during WW2 that almost nobody remembers despite having a casualties compared to that attributed to “man-made disaster” in USSR.
        West has always been a cradle of exceptionality culture because of it’s communities divided by various geographical features breed a special kind of relationships responsible for contemporary nationalism of 20th century and the industrial wars associated with them. Not that I’m saying that other larger nations of the world aren’t doing wars over seemingly stupid reasons but what usually is implied in such musing is that while “civilized” countries did enslave and occasionally genocide other people, at least they did it in a humane and civilized manner, and not in a barbaric way those Russians did (not). It’s like saying “not too different from Chinese Empire” or whatever.


      2. On the subjects of China and “Russian colonialism” (however the latter is termed), it’s somewhat amusing for me to periodically hear some US establishment types talk of how Russia and China can’t possibly get along because of the past. Specifically, the Sino-Soviet dispute. That period isn’t great in historical terms.

        Russia never did to China what Britain did in the form of the Opium War. Britain held onto Hong Kong, while developing a pro-Brit element there. At the end of WW II, the Soviets withdrew from Manchuria. Rhetorically put, why didn’t the imperialistic Russians under the Soviet name, give that rich territory back to China?

        The Korean War very directly involved large scale clashes between Chinese and Americans. Germany and France pretty much buried the hatchet, but (as a comparison) Russia and China are doomed to being tense rivals.

        Given the kind of stupidity exhibited by American elites (like Kamala’s recent trip to Hanoi), some like Russia and China can find more reasons to be on better terms with each other.


  4. But also The Russian Empire itself wasn’t much of an empire, methinks. Or much of Russian either, with ethnically German czars, Francophile aristocracy, and aristocrats of newly joined nations routinely accepted as equal.

    ‘Empire’ is another word in need for definition. Or a qualifier. Maybe Dugin’s thalassocracy-tellurocracy thing could be useful here.

    Otherwise, almost anything can be viewed as an ’empire’, with all the negative connotations attached to this word. Like, good people of Texas are oppressed by the DC Empire. Sure, why not. And yet it’s not quite the same as Belgium and Congo.


  5. Empires are supposed to benefit the metropolis. The USSR didn’t fulfill that function, with the RSFSR subsidizing the other republics – especially the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Baltics – to a massive extent.


  6. Was the USSR a new Russian Empire? I would argue yes and no. The Soviet Union was from its start in November 1917 to its end in December 1991 a Russian state. Ethnicity and politics never perfectly matched but Russians were the ethnic group most receptive to Soviet power. The ambiguous attitude of Soviet power to Russianness was best exemplified by Lenin. He exorciated the repressiveness of the Tsarist government in keeping people, particularly non-Russians down in all respects of society. At the same time some of his actions and word made clear he believed creating a new Socialist man would in large part be accomplished by enforcing a kind of political culture that had been nurtured in Russia, namely the culture of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which later (by long process) became the Bolsheviks and the Communist Party. He also sometimes indicated a contempt for non-Russian peoples, while also believing they needed to be educated in their ‘national’ languages.

    Many of the Bolsheviks themselves were non-Russians, Stalin being the most famous example, but all of them were very comfortable with Russian culture. This further could solidify the idea of Soviet power being synonymous with Russianness as Russian national identity, like the ethnic group itself, draws on many diverse sources and in part through the Soviet Union very comfortably absorbed a number of different aspects of non-Russian cultures into its own. However this Sovietising drive only provoked mass identity crises in the intelligentsias of non-Russian ethnicities. Solzhenitsyn may have argued the Soviet Union was stealing Russian identity – but with Mosfilm producing an epic of War and Peace in 1969, Gogol’s The Overcoat broadcast as a children’s animated film – most Russians certainly did not think so and Solzhenitysn remained on the margins.

    Therefore the creation of what would become Soviet culture and ways of doing things originated in Russia. Its agents, Russian or not, were to a large extent more than happy to go along with it if not outright embrace it, and this acceptance of something Russian could make them, one could argue, Russian.

    Most emphatically though the Soviet Union was an Empire where Russia exploited the peripheries economically. Far from it. Everybody exploited everybody in the Soviet Union and later the Eastern Bloc. The Eastern Bloc countries took incredible advantage of the Soviets delivering precious raw materials at rates appreciably lower than what would have been market value. The Soviets in turn, with the Russians at the centre, benefited immensely at first from being to draw – at prices appreciably below market value – technical know how from many of the Eastern Bloc countries before 1960.

    In the Soviet Union itself material and energy rich Russia lavished these resources on scale that these countries have never been able to obtain again under market conditions and whole industries were created out of nothing whether it made economic sense or not. But ultimately by binding it all together in the command/planned economy it ended up more or less making sense while it was all one unit. It no longer made sense when it all unraveled.

    The Soviet Union was, ultimately, I would argue a Russian empire in the way that the Hapsburg Empire was a German empire. The Habsburg Empire had an undeniably strong German character. The Germans within were to some extent ‘entrapped’ one could say by the imperial ideal but German was the language of government, the army, German culture was to some extent imprinted on all the large towns of the empire. And even if the Hapsburg Empire was not THEIR (the Germans’) empire it was always to some extent an Empire for them. However this did not mean the centre in the Hapsburg Empire ‘exploited’ the peripheries or that power, wealth and influence were closed off to anyone who was not German, far from it. But like the Soviet Union those who rose to such prominence under the Hapsburgs undoubtedly liked, and often embraced German culture and ways of government. Like in the Soviet Union funds and resources were invested where the state saw the need for it. This meant Trieste (Italian) received lavish investment whereas Innsbruck (German), somewhat less so.

    Also like in the Soviet Union when it all imploded the people who had identified with the old Empire in the new ‘national’ republics were left to pick up what pieces they could even though from their point of view they had not been liberated but lost their country and like those who felt likewise after the fall of the Soviet Union they were told with smirks and snarls to be quiet. Like after the fall of the Soviet Union, the old ‘imperial core’, Austria ultimately found it could build no solid identity save on the old one and draw strength from the fact that they had believed even when no one else had, that they had done what was right, tried to do some good, bring development and good government to others, and that if they were execrated and cast as imperialists they could still hold their heads high for giving their best, and doing good. Like after the fall of the Soviet Union rather than create smaller but happier nation states it created animosity, recrimination and even hatred.

    By the way this comment is long but it is also too short. This is a subject that deserves a critical, balanced, ‘on the one hand, on the other hand’ look at the question. But my view is that it was a kind of Russian Empire but mostly because the Russians or people who were quite okay with if not ready to embrace a way of doing and thinking that originated among mostly Russians and in Russia were the ones who supported it throughout.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. dewitt, This is a very intelligent comment which delves into all the complexities and paradoxes, thanks.
      The Professor’s RT article is also quite well written, and intelligently discusses all the ambiguities. The only thing I would diverge on is the Marxist class analysis. Empires are empires, but class is also class. A communist empire is an empire, but also a different kind of animal. In the final analysis, none of this can be understood without factoring in that Marxist-Hegelian variable!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Appreciate your contribution. But, if I may?

      the Hapsburg Empire was a German empire. The Habsburg Empire had an undeniably strong German character.

      Depending on what you call German and thus of German character over the centuries.

      Prussia and Austria no doubt were dominant players in central European politics over the centuries (and beyond). 😉

      The house takes its name from Habsburg Castle, a fortress built in the 1020s in present-day Switzerland by Radbot of Klettgau, who named his fortress Habsburg. His grandson Otto II was the first to take the fortress name as his own, adding “Count of Habsburg” to his title. In 1273, Count Radbot’s seventh-generation descendant Rudolph of Habsburg was elected King of the Romans. Taking advantage of the extinction of the Babenbergs and of his victory over Ottokar II of Bohemia at the battle on the Marchfeld in 1278, he subsequently moved the family’s power base to Vienna, where the Habsburgs ruled until 1918.


    3. “The ambiguous attitude of Soviet power to Russianness was best exemplified by Lenin. He exorciated the repressiveness of the Tsarist government in keeping people, particularly non-Russians down in all respects of society. At the same time some of his actions and word made clear he believed creating a new Socialist man would in large part be accomplished by enforcing a kind of political culture that had been nurtured in Russia, namely the culture of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which later (by long process) became the Bolsheviks and the Communist Party. He also sometimes indicated a contempt for non-Russian peoples, while also believing they needed to be educated in their ‘national’ languages.”

      Kudos to Putin and some others for speaking negatively of Lenin. The latter showed a contempt for Russia with his “Great Russian chauvinism” line, while comparatively downplaying anti-Russian trends.

      When accessing the USSR legacy, Armenia/Armenians arguably benefited. Ukraine became its largest under Soviet rule. Upon the Soviet breakup, it was generally observed that the Central Asian republics weren’t so gung ho on seeing its end.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Opposite of Kudos to Putin. As my own comment shows. Lenin was of two minds. His disdain and contempt for Great Russian chauvinism was real. But equally he always identified as a Russian and believed and he even stated a few times that the peoples of Central Asia were more primitive compared to Russians, but also believed that they needed education and they would become better, happier and so on. Lenin was not really anti-Russian. He just was not Alexander III.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Show me the disdain you claim. While highlighting “Great Russian chauvinism”, he said nothing about anti-Russian manner as exhibited by some Ukrainians and others.

        Kudos to Putin.


      3. “Great Russian chauvinism” is a special kind of misquoted attribution, because it speaks to nationalists in their own language. Lenin wasn’t nationalist and he didn’t bother about nation-building matter as much as he was worried about class matters and economical issues in society abandoned by the ruined Empire. This politics was essential to provide higher mobility of people and their resources inside USSR and of course it was vital to develop the country, especially if people took it to heart to help each other and treat their neighbours equally.
        And to his credit if the Russian government ever bothered for those national identities more than for economical issues there wouldn’t be Russia on the map anymore, just how all those modern national-liberal “thinkers” always wanted it to be. Granting autonomy to various republics, nationalities and imaginary nations (like that of “Siberia” or “Ingermanland”, in reality nothing more than a geographical or territorial terms) has always been a hallmark of those “nation-builders” who were looking to completely annihilate Russian identity and build their own microscopic empires on it’s remains. Putin, as intelligent person, understand the same, and thus misquoted in the same manner.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. ?!

        Lenin catered to some anti-Russian elements, as evidenced by Hrushevsky going over to the Soviet side. Subtelny, a kind of latter day Hrushevsky, noted that the USSR initially promoted the UAOC as a means to offset the influence of the ROC – the latter seen as sympathetic to non-Communist Russian patriotic views. Despite that and the post-Soviet svido trends, the UOC-MP remains quite evident today.

        Soviet propaganda promoted the idea of a union of nations. As objectively as possible, pre-Soviet Russia should be measured under what existed in the world at the time of its existence.

        There were viable alternatives to the Soviet Union. One example:


        Meantime, there’s no more USSR, with Russia readopting its pre-Soviet flag and emblem over the RSFSR variants.

        Yes, not all was bad about the USSR. Then again, Nazi Germany brought about the Volkswagen and the pageantry of the opening day Olympic ceremony. No, I’m not equating the two. Rather, I’m throwing some cherry picks to show how some can spin things in a not so accurate way. There a reason why the USSR outlasted Nazi Germany. The same can be said of pre-Soviet Russia versus the USSR.

        Svidos, sovoks, neocons and neolibs have good reason to not like this set of thoughts, thereby explaining the kind of censorship that’s out there.


      5. Understandable, that neither Whites, nor Reds were undeniable proponents of Russian nationalism and quite a lot of them were deeply opposed to the Russian state for ideological reasons, a disdain mostly nested in the downfall of Empire and specifically in all the revolutions and revolts that happened after it. There is, however, one caveat that does prove the status quo that lasted FAR longer than certain other “dictatorship” did – a test of time, so to say.
        Likes of people of Skoropadsky, Petlura and other persons completely disavow the entire notion of separate “Russian State” that can’t formed on the territory of Russia and therefore somehow need to be brought from elsewhere (much less, by force). Every such attempt at “freedom” IMMEDIATELY led to unprecedented terror, hostility and loss of human life against Russian population. This memory is so deeply ingrained in national mentality that any uninvited foreign involvement in internal politics is always viewed by majority with unambiguous suspicion and hostility (see Navalny’s trip to Germany and it’s result). And this is good enough.
        Ukrainian mentality isn’t as much of a determined one and it seems to be stuck between two extremes as it ever been. While most of them clearly understand how unwelcome they are in the “unity” of European nations, and how unfair they are treated by it’s members (no better than Turks or Africans), many still nest the hope of fitting into it by sacrificing their identity and dignity in small quantities at a time. USSR republics by far weren’t perfect, but they were the best anyone could provide.


  7. Not quite off-top, but was just reading in the news about that horrific terror-attack at the Kabul Airport. Apparently it had been warned and predicted, in advance.

    Would bet money this was engineered by the U.S. I sort of take it as a given that anything credited to ISIS should just change the initials to CIA. Taliban also insisting they have nothing to do with this, and I actually believe them. People have died, and this is very sad, but Evil marches on…


  8. Some follow-up tot this excerpt from the professor:

    “I note a common effort by pro-Western East European intellectuals to portray the Soviet Union as not ‘Soviet’ but rather an exercise in ‘Russian’ colonialism. The aim thereby is to distance their own countries from Russia and justify a pro-Western vector. However, as I point out in the article, it’s not very good history.’


    American based neocons have pretty much gone with the above. Over the course of time, I’ve run into my share of leftists saying the USSR started out on a good footing, with the Russian character screwing it up.

    Note how saying the USSR benefited Russians at the expense of others is considerably more acceptable than saying the USSR benefited the Jews at the expense of others. For the record, as absolutes, I consider both of these claims to be flawed.


    1. > saying the USSR benefited Russians at the expense of others is considerably more acceptable

      Well, the USSR was a Bad Thing, and Russians getting benefits is also a Bad Thing, and it’s always very tempting to accept the statements of the shape of “one Bad Thing entailed another Bad Thing”.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. …Will Paul Finlay Robinson write about yesterdays terrorist attack in Kabul as a “blowback” against the American Hegemony?


    1. Fox Business just had a ridiculous segment on how the Uighurs in Afghanistan are afraid of Chinese involvement. No mention made that the Uighurs are Muslim and have some Jihadi types, with China concerned about the ones in Afghanistan promoting such views.

      Somewhat reminded of when the neocons collectively spun the Bosnian Muslims as a virtuous group against the evil Serbs. The latter’s fondness for Russia giving added reason to that portrayal. Related:


      The arrogance, ignorance and hypocrisy within the US political establishment, serves to undermine American interests in the form of unnecessarily pissing off a diverse range groups abroad.


    2. The professor has selected to highlight some crazy woman writing in the Calvert journal some incoherance that kills these anti-USSR arguments before they have barely started.

      Crazy woman states that USSR as extension of Russian imperialism has deprived her of:

      Romanian Imperialism!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      That’s right, she views herself as Romanian, with Romanian culture and a native speaker of the Romanian language. Furthermore she goes turning the argument on its head completely 180 degrees. She claims that her Moldovan identity is a construct of this Soviet/Russian imperialism (!!?). Cognitive dissonance does not exist in bigger forms than this. Soviet promotion of Moldovan national identity has to classify as the most un-imperial thing that one could do.

      By her sense of reasoning then the Soviets took the Russian identity away from Ukrainians. Polonisation of Russians is what Ukrainianism is, but in contrast to the crazy Moldovan woman, the Ukrainian nationalists view themselves as completely different to Polyaks.

      To give an added subtext to this – the President of Moldova is a unrepentant Romanian citizen, as practically most of their elite is

      What would give the game away over the dishonesty and nasty geopolitical aims of these claims would be if tripe like Radio Svoboda, RFE/RL do their propaganda to Moldovan audience in that language, OR if they do so in Romanian. Does anybody know the answer to this?
      Belarussian and Ukrainian have their own language service for the US government controlled Svoboda and RFE/RL , so what does it say if they forgo Moldovan but go straight into Romanian for their services there?


      1. The Principality of Moldavia existed before the advent of Romania. The former included territory which constitutes present day Romania. The Romanian alphabet was initially in Cyrillic. In Soviet times the Moldavian SSR was freer and had better living conditions than Romania.

        The aforementioned “crazy woman” is an easy take down for the professor. On the one hand she deserves it. On the other, it highlights how some like the professor spend more time in noting the likes of her over some valid views that run counter to the Western establishment. Once again noting how Meduza is propped unlike the Strategic Culture Foundation.


      2. An insightful comment Mikhail.
        One should further add that those who are enthusiastically accepting Stalin’s rather generous border changes after World War 2, don’t have any ground to stand on regarding Russian or Soviet “imperialism. ”

        Germany and Hungary exempted for obvious reasons, every country in Europe who had their border redrawn after the war by Stalin, received an excellent deal. A deal that placed them very well in the post-Soviet era. Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, Moldova and Romania who got the Hungarian territory of Transylvania simply have no right to complain.

        Without Tsarist Russia, the Romanian state wouldnt even be around anyway


      3. Czechoslovakia ???

        Generous deal? Sounds a bit patronizing to me on the face of it. Didn’t hold???

        Full discovery: I did have a lot of friends from those more or less generously treated nations over the decades over here. Czechs too. 😉

        But on a more general or meta layer, I might be willing to lean your way. Somehow. On some aspects?


  10. “whether it’s correct to view the USSR as the Russian Empire 2.0”

    For those interested, the classic formulation of this thesis (all ultimately derived from Wittfogel’s pseudoscientific _Oriental Despotism_) is _Russian Imperialism: Development and Crisis_ (1996) by Ariel Cohen, a man whose ‘wisdom’ on Russia was lustily embraced by the Washington policy elite. This text, whose hatred for all things Russian reaches such a passionate intensity that it contrives to blame Moscow for the Fall of Constantinople (33), is a testament (if any more were needed) to the depths of self-loathing to which members of the Russian diaspora are prone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ariel Cohen doesn’t sympathize with Russia as much as he does with Israel.

      There’e Jews and non-Jews alike who in varying degrees sympathize with Russia Such views aren’t as welcomed.


      1. I’m not sure this suggestion is incredibly helpful, especially if it’s pure extrapolation from his surname — though there’s nothing particularly unusual in a (naturalized) Jewish American of Cohen’s generation identifying closely with the Jewish state (especially since, after 1967, such sentiments cohere perfectly with overall U.S. Cold War policy in the Mideast.)

        While one could speculate that members of a historically persecuted minority (less so under the Soviet regime), like Jews, might carry a special animus towards Russian authorities, FWIW I’ve observed such sentiments by the spadeful among the “ethnic”/Orthodox Russian diaspora.


      2. I was replying to the prior comment about A. Cohen being from Russia (actually Crimea when it was part of the Ukrainian SSR ) and dissing it. I explained his situation, as well as that of some others thinking like him, adding that not all Jews and non-Russians from the former USSR are negative towards Russia.

        Hence, there’s absolutely nothing wrong in what I said, unlike the kind of PC, woke, snowflake negativity towards it.

        Quality control wise, part of the problem is a kind of restrictive self censorship inhibiting some to make cogent points.


      3. Hence, there’s absolutely nothing wrong in what I said, unlike the kind of PC, woke, snowflake negativity towards it.

        This is an interesting response, Michael/Mikhail.

        FWIW I’ve observed such sentiments by the spadeful among the “ethnic”/Orthodox Russian diaspora.

        An interesting larger field of incursion. But the dates and details of your observations would be interesting to me. … 😉

        Concerning the present, and blogs: I have been wondering too if I should have realised the prominently raised “Russian Orthodoxy flag” hid something deeper much earlier… But I had to stumble across a Russian Orthodox (diaspora, descendant? … via Switzerland to Florida?) flag raiser’s reading of European history. … 😉


      4. I’ve had these views for quite some time. You write in an indirect manner. You’re obviously referring to The Saker. Nothing that I’ve expressed at this thread has been taken from him.


    1. It was an Empire but not all Empires are rapacious and exploitative serving to feed the centre/metropole at the expense of the periphery. The Soviet Union was an Empire like the Roman Empire or the Habsburg Empire. It was not only the central national group and its servants that could feel loyalty, even love for the Empire. And like both those Empires the Soviet Union was a lot more a political Empire than one run on economic exploitation. Everybody exploited everybody. Everybody helped everybody. Everybody lost, everybody benefited.


      1. Having a passport that says you can travel from nation A to nation C, crossing nation B; because all three nations are under the rule (either tigher or looser) of a common ruler, referred to as the Caesar, Tsesar, or Emperor… (?)

        Define banana.


      2. I was asking userperson “dewittbourchier”. But thank you anyway, yalensis, to demonstrate your wit and depths of knowledge with your answer. Please, show us all of your intellect and honesty, granted, that won’t take too long or too many a space

        “Define banana.”


        БАНАН (лат. musa), род многолетних растений семейства банановых.

        Truly, I overestimated you, yalensis. Oh, well…


      3. @userperson Lyttenburgh, I can’t believe I actually got you to google “banana”. You didn’t get the reference? haha, what a catfish!


  11. Meanwhile, Joe Biden is bragging how he totally blew up a couple of ISIS leaders to punish them for the Kabul Airport attack. Biden blurted out that [paraphrasing] “We know exactly where these guys are.”

    Maria Zakharova, in her usual sarcastic way, expressed “surprise” that Biden knew where they are. “In other words, the USA knew where the leaders and assets of ISIS were located?” she asked, arching an eyebrow or two.

    My own personal theory: I don’t have any extra information, other than what I read in the news. But my assumption is that ISIS = CIA. Therefore, logically, it was the CIA (possibly some rogue elements) who set off the bomb at the airport. Maybe they just got tired of all these mobs swarming around and wanted to thin the herd. Or create a distraction, I dunno…

    Then why would Biden bomb their own guys, the intelligent person might retort? Well, American Presidents always have to do SOMETHING, to show the American people that they’re not total cucks. “They do something to us, we bomb their asses, we’re big tough hombres…” that sort of thing. And you might even be an American asset, like Bin Laden at one point; but that don’t mean you won’t be asked, at some point in the future, to die so they can show your corpse to the world like a trophy! In Biden’s words, “You know the thing…”


  12. See, I knew that there ought to be a different reason for such high bodycount. When a suicide-bomber commits an act of istishhadia in the middle of a crowd (at least – that’s what we are told) then the amount of the dead in the immediate epicenter of the explosion would be, indeed high. But, at the same time, these poor unfortunate people (well, their bodies) who were the closest to the shahid, would act as a sort of “wave-breakers”, making the number of the affected by the blast and shrapnel lower.

    In a completely “unforeseeable” twist, it turns out “significant numbers” of those killed were shot dead by US forces in the panic after the airport bombing

    182 dead, 150+ injured.

    [Clears the throat. Continuous in singsongy tone]

    “Anti-terrorism policy must be judged by whether it is likely to increase or decrease terrorism, not by whether one thinks the terrorists’ reaction to the policy is justified. So if the policy consists of bombing people in other countries in order to kill terrorists there, but the foreseeable side effect is that you radicalize some people who live in your own country and they then bomb you there, then your anti-terrorism policy is a bad policy. It is counterproductive.”

    [Short intake of breath]

    “I have no idea whether the attack in KABUL AIRPORT was blowback from THE COLLECTIVE WEST’s military campaign in the MIDDLE EAST OR CENTRAL ASIA, but it’s a possibility which deserves serious consideration and shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand because it’s politically inconvenient.”

    There. Is it so hard to write such a thing for you, maestro Robinson?


  13. Was the USSR a Russian Empire? Alec Nove and J. A. Newth authored a book on this subject. “The Soviet Middle East. A Communist Model for Development” (1966). The ‘Middle East’ is composed of the 3 Caucasian republics, the 4 Central Asian republics plus Kazakhstan. Altogether 8 of them. I’ve extracted some paragraphs from this book.
    Pages 45-46: ” … let us turn to the resource endowment of these eight republics here analysed. One sees at once that they are modest, with two exceptions, Azerbaijan (oil) and Kazakhstan (coal … ). …
    Given that capital was relatively scarce, given also the much richer untapped resources in Siberia and parts of European Russia and the Ukraine, it followed that, if economic rationality alone were adopted as a guide, there would be very little industry in these republics. In a free-enterprise setting, in a huge free trade area within the USSR’s present borders, it is very doubtful if there would be rapid industrial growth in these regions. They have benefited, therefore, not only from being part of a much bigger whole, but also, or even particularly, from the fact the Government of the USSR had an industrializing ideology, equated social progress with industry, and paid special attention to the development in formerly backwards areas. … Given the distribution of natural resources, the location of markets and alternative uses for capital within the USSR there is little doubt that more resources have been devoted to industrialization in the seven republics than would be warranted by any economic calculation, capitalist or socialist. Once again, this is in itself neither a matter of criticism nor praise. Some economists would consider this to be resource misallocation, but there are legitimate goals other than maximizing the rate of return on capital, and the effect on the development of the formerly most under-developed areas of the USSR was on balance, clearly positive.”
    Pages 53-54: “Relatively backward and ill-educated native peoples had to be trained ,,, . Part of the process was the responsibility of Russians, not merely in the sense that the policies were determined in Moscow or that many of the experts were Russian, but in some republics at least many of the industrial workers were Russian too. … The Communists have conscientiously endeavoured to train local cadres and to draw local inhabitants into industry and into the expanding towns.”
    Page 55: “It is wrong and pointless to denounce Russian efforts to encourage cotton-growing as if the fact that the cotton goes to the Russian textile industry is proof of colonial exploitation. What requires to be examined are the terms of trade.”
    Page 59: “On balance, there no evidence that the price policies were deliberately differentiated by republic or by nationality; they were differentiated by product.”
    Pages 113-115: It is a characteristic of colonial status … that the dominant Power uses the economy of the colony for its own benefit, keeping it industrially relatively under-developed, extracting profit from investments, underpaying colonial labour, neglecting education and so on. None of these features of traditional colonialism can be discerned in an impartial analysis of Soviet policy in the republics. Far from there being any economic exploitation, it is reasonable on the evidence to assert that industrialization, especially in Central Asia, has been financed with money raised in Russia proper. In other words, capital has tended to move to those outlying under-developed areas and there has been virtually no counterbalancing move of remittances of profit or interest, because in the Soviet Union capital grants are not repayable and do not bear interest. … This may be contrasted with the very substantial remittances of profits to capitalist companies from Latin America. No reasonable person can doubt that industrial growth would have been less rapid without Russian capital and Russian skills.
    One of the main ways in which capital was accumulated in the Soviet Union was through the imposition on the peasants of compulsory deliveries at low prices. The areas which which have been analysed here have suffered least from these impositions. Already, in 1935, prices paid for raw cotton were relatively high, and this applies broadly to most of the products in which these republics specialize. Consequently the average income of peasants in these republics has tended to be significantly above that, for instance, of Central Russia.
    So far as educational policies are concerned, there has been a prolonged effort to bring forward to responsible positions a native intelligentsia in these republics where educational levels have been very low. No one who is not blinded by prejudice could fail to be impressed by the statistics quoted here concerning educational advance.”
    Pages 120-121: “If one’s picture of colonialism is associated with exploitation, with grinding the faces of the poor, then clearly the word does not fit the circumstances of the case. … Living standards do compare favourably not only with the neighbouring Asia countries but with Russia itself. The use of the Russian language in schools and universities is in some respects a mere convenience rather than a means of russification. It is easier for Uzbek students to learn physics and other sciences from Russian textbooks and it helps them in their subsequent career to know Russian.
    … every Uzbek scientist must know that he would not have the chance of working in advanced and modern laboratories unless these were provided by Russians.”


    1. That analysis totally makes sense. Every Soviet republic benefitted economically from being part of this larger whole. The more backward the country when they started, the more they benefitted. It’s just simple logic that larger entities can command more resources and can do more. Same notion that causes some companies to merge into larger conglomerates. Same notion that brought about the European Union, although that Union has not been as successful as was the Soviet Union; probably because it’s run by dweebs.


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