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Posts Tagged ‘Boris Yeltsin’

How A Russian’s Grocery Store Trip In 1989 Exposed The Lie Of Socialism

Posted by M. C. on November 20, 2021

Yeltsin was a member of the Politburo and Russia’s upper political crust, yet he’d never seen anything like the offerings of this little American grocery store. “Even the Politburo doesn’t have this choice. Not even Mr. Gorbachev,” Yeltsin said.

https://thefederalist.com/2019/11/13/how-a-russians-grocery-store-trip-in-1989-exposed-the-lie-of-socialism/

By Jon Miltimore

The fall of the Soviet Union is sometimes remembered as Nov. 9, 1989, the day the Berlin Wall symbolically collapsed. While the physical barrier endured for some two more years, on that day, East German Communist Party officials announced they would no longer stop citizens of the German Democratic Republic from crossing the border.

The fall of the barrier that scarred Germany was indeed a watershed in the collapse of the Soviet Empire, yet one could argue the true death knell came two months before at a small grocery store in Clear Lake, Texas.

An Unexpected Trip

On Sept. 16, 1989, Boris Yeltsin was a newly elected member of the Soviet Parliament visiting the United States. Following a scheduled visit to Johnson Space Center, Yeltsin and a small entourage made an unscheduled stop at a Randalls grocery store in Clear Lake, a suburb of Houston. He was amazed by the aisles of food and stocked shelves, a sharp contrast to the breadlines and empty columns he was accustomed to in Russia.

Yeltsin, who had a reputation as a reformer and populist, “roamed the aisles of Randall’s nodding his head in amazement,” wrote Stefanie Asin, a Houston Chronicle reporter. He marveled at free cheese samples, fresh fish and produce, and freezers packed full of pudding pops. Along the way, Yeltsin chatted up customers and store workers: “How much does this cost? Do you need special education to manage a supermarket? Are all American stores like this?”

Yeltsin was a member of the Politburo and Russia’s upper political crust, yet he’d never seen anything like the offerings of this little American grocery store. “Even the Politburo doesn’t have this choice. Not even Mr. Gorbachev,” Yeltsin said.

A Sickening Revelation

It’s difficult for Americans to grasp Yeltsin’s astonishment. Our market economy has evolved from grocery stores to companies such as Walmart and Amazon that compete to deliver food right to our homes.

Yeltsin’s reaction can be understood, however, by looking back on the conditions in the Soviet Union’s economy. Russia grocery stores at the time looked like this and this:

Now compare that footage to the images of Yeltsin shopping at a U.S. supermarket. The contrast is undeniable. Yeltsin’s experience that day ran contrary to everything he knew. A longtime member of the Communist Party who had lived his entire life in a one-party system that punished dissent harshly, Yeltsin had been taught over and over that socialism wasn’t just more equitable, but more efficient.

His eyes were opened that day, and the revelation left the future Russian president feeling sick.

“When I saw those shelves crammed with hundreds, thousands of cans, cartons and goods of every possible sort, for the first time I felt quite frankly sick with despair for the Soviet people,” Yeltsin later wrote in his autobiography, “Against the Grain.” “That such a potentially super-rich country as ours has been brought to a state of such poverty! It is terrible to think of it.”

Yeltsin was not the only person fooled, of course. There is copious documentation of Western intellectuals beguiled by the Soviet system. These individuals, who unlike Yeltsin did not live in a state-controlled media environment, saw the Soviet system as both economically and morally superior to American capitalism despite the brutal methods employed in the workers’ paradise.

“I have seen the future, and it works,” the Progressive Era journalist Lincoln Steffens famously said.

Paul Samuelson, the first American to win the Nobel Prize in economics and one of the most influential economists of the 20th century, was a longtime enthusiast of Soviet central planning and predicted it would lead to a higher standard of living. “Who could know that [the data] was all fake?” Samuelson is said to have asked a fellow economist following the empire’s collapse.

The Truth About Socialism Revealed

Despite decades of propaganda and obfuscation, the great fiction of socialism was eventually fully exposed with the fall of the Soviet Union and the publication of its archives in the 1990s. No longer could academics deny the truth that the people of the Soviet Union endured a painfully low standard of living despite the vast wealth of its empire.

“Their standard of living was low, not only by comparison with that in the United States, but also compared to the standard of living in countries with far fewer natural resources, such as Japan and Switzerland,” the economist Thomas Sowell observed in “Basic Economics.”

Yeltsin deserves credit for laying bare the lie of socialism that so many others had refused to see. “[T]here would be a revolution,” Yeltsin told his entourage that fateful September day in 1989, if the people in the Soviet Union ever saw the prosperity in American grocery stores. Yeltsin was more right than he knew. Jon Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Jon’s reporting has been cited in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN. He has bylines in The Washington Times, The Washington Examiner, and the Daily Caller. He previously served in editorial roles at The History Channel magazine, Intellectual Takeout, and Scout. He is a former reporter for the Panama City News Herald, and served as an intern in the speechwriting department of George W. Bush.

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The Real Reason for the New Cold War with Russia

Posted by M. C. on April 4, 2020

The view at the top was that Russia had better behave now and do what we tell them to do. They lost the Cold War. They are no longer a superpower, and so they just better do what we tell them and shut up.

That attitude, which wasn’t evident immediately, gradually became more evident. It really broke out with the bombing of Yugoslavia in the late ’90s when Boris Yeltsin—who was supposedly a great friend of America—said, “No, this we will not stand for.”

As I’ve said before, I’m not a big fan of President Putin, but given the possibility, Putin would have worked to have a close relationship with the West.

He was told in no uncertain terms that there was no interest in that, and his reaction was as follows.

https://internationalman.com/articles/the-real-reason-for-the-new-cold-war-with-russia/

International Man

Editor’s Note: Vladimir Pozner is Russia’s most influential TV political-talk-show host, journalist and broadcaster.

Pozner has hosted several shows on Russian television, where he has interviewed famous figures such as Hillary Clinton, Alain Delon, President Dimitri Medvedev and Sting.

Pozner has appeared on a wide range of networks, including NBC, CBS, CNN and the BBC. In his long career, he has been a journalist, editor (Soviet Life Magazine and Sputnik Magazine) and TV and radio commentator, covering all major events in Russia.

Pozner has appeared on The Phil Donahue Show and Ted Koppel’s Nightline.

He co-hosted a show with Phil Donahue called Pozner/Donahue. It was the first televised bi-lateral discussion (or “spacebridge”) between audiences in the Soviet Union and the US, carried via satellite.

In 1997, he returned to Moscow as an independent journalist.

Doug Casey’s friend Mark Gould sat down with Pozner in Moscow to help us better understand the relationship between the US and Russia.

 —

International Man: Naturally, Americans have a lot of misconceptions about Russia. The US government and media offer an overly simplistic and unfavorable view of the country.

What does the US government and media get wrong?

Vladimir Pozner: That’s a very difficult question to answer. It’s not only what they get wrong, but what they deliberately say that is not true.

It’s a combination of things.

It’s one thing not to understand another country.

For instance, I was in Japan, and it took me a very long time to begin to understand things because the Japanese do things very differently—not good or bad, just different.

It’s another thing to have a prejudice about another people or another country and to present things in a negative light.

Broadly, the relationship between Russia and the United States has been a difficult one for most of the 20th century, starting with the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. It was very threatening to the United States and to capitalism.

The goal of having a world revolution and having socialism everywhere initiated things like the Red Scare in the United States back in the 1920s.

These things evolved over the years all the way up to the postwar period when you had Joe McCarthy and all of those things.

There was a deep ideological difference between the USSR and the United States, that pretty much, in my opinion, formatted the way people looked at “Russia,” because for most Americans, the USSR and Russia, was exactly the same thing.

Although, the USSR consisted of a lot of other countries that were not Russian at all, like Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, what have you.

So that’s one side of it. The negative attitude over a 70-plus-year period became part of the American outlook.

Then things changed. Suddenly the USSR became a different country. Gorbachev, Glasnost, and Perestroika… we were going to be friends.

Everyone was overjoyed on both sides of the fence. The American side was saying, “Now they’re going to be like us, finally.”

That was the average view.

The view at the top was that Russia had better behave now and do what we tell them to do. They lost the Cold War. They are no longer a superpower, and so they just better do what we tell them and shut up.

That attitude, which wasn’t evident immediately, gradually became more evident. It really broke out with the bombing of Yugoslavia in the late ’90s when Boris Yeltsin—who was supposedly a great friend of America—said, “No, this we will not stand for.”

The problem from that point on was that Russia was no longer willing to follow the American lead. This led to tremendous anger on the part of the American establishment, which was reflected in statements and in the media.

When Vladimir Putin came around, he initially wanted to be a member of the West. He officially proposed that Russia join NATO and that Russia become part of the European Union.

He was officially told, in politer terms, to go do “whatever.“ In fact, he was told that Ukraine and Georgia would become part of NATO well before Russia.

This is official. This isn‘t something that I‘m dreaming up.

Ultimately, in 2007, in Munich, Putin made a famous speech, saying that we no longer agree to be treated like a second-rate nation. We have our global aspirations and interests, and we are going to protect them.

From that point on, Putin became monster number one, and Russia became negative.

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bionic mosquito: Clinton Interferes in Russian Elections

Posted by M. C. on January 18, 2020

RUSSIAN ELECTION INTERFERENCE!!!

This story is so far down the memory hole it has come out the other side.

In his autobiography, Clinton openly acknowledges that strengthening Yeltsin against his domestic opponents was one of his central concerns throughout his presidency.

Clinton is all for democracy except when he is against it, I guess. A characteristic shared by others in his family.

https://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/2017/02/clinton-interferes-in-russian-elections.html

Bionic Mosquito

From an academic paper published by Hamilton College (located, interestingly enough, in Clinton, New York):

Immediately after coming to power, the Clinton administration declared the consolidation of market and democratic institutions in Russia to be a vital American interest. The administration’s central tactic for promoting this outcome was to help Boris Yeltsin remain in power….

…Strobe Talbott, his chief adviser on the former Soviet Union, observes in his memoirs, the president himself quickly became “the U.S. government’s principal Russia hand, and so he remained for the duration of his presidency.”

Pot, meet kettle (translation: Hillary, meet Bill):

President Bill Clinton meddled in Russian affairs in the 1990s and helped Boris Yeltsin get elected to a second term, political analyst Dick Morris told Newsmax TV.

“When I worked for Clinton, Clinton called me and said, ‘I want to get Yeltsin elected as president of Russia against Gennady Zyuganov, who was the communist who was running against him. Putin was Zyuganov’s major backer.

This was not a passive attempt by Clinton; “Dick, can you go do something about this Yeltsin guy; I have some work to do at my desk.” No, Clinton was completely immersed in Yeltsin’s political future:

“It became public that Clinton would meet with me every week. We would review the polling that was being done for Yeltsin that was being done by a colleague of mine, who was sending it to me every week. We, Clinton and I, would go through it and Bill would pick up the hotline and talk to Yeltsin and tell him what commercials to run, where to campaign, what positions to take. He basically became Yeltsin’s political consultant.

Bill was more successful advising Boris that he was at advising Hillary, it seems.

Of course, given that Yeltsin was a very popular figure in Russia, while the meddling might be ethically questionable it really had little influence

… Yeltsin faced growing opposition at home to his efforts to liberalize the economy and enact democratic reforms in Russia.

What? Yeltsin faced opposition at home? Would a Clinton – any Clinton – disallow democracy from running its course? From the academic paper cited above:

[We find]…that the U.S. government during Clinton’s years as president lent support, both material and moral, to Boris Yeltsin for the purpose of keeping him in power—is not open to dispute. …much of this aid was explicitly justified as necessary to help Russia’s president prevail in his intractable power struggle with a hostile legislature.

That doesn’t seem very respectful of representative government, does it?

In the meantime, Clinton initiates a modification to Mt. Rushmore:

…a year and a half into the [Chechnya] conflict, after tens of thousands of civilians had been killed but also just two months before the Russian presidential elections of 1996, Clinton publicly defended Yeltsin by comparing the war to Abraham Lincoln’s efforts to preserve the union.

This is a laugh-riot. Yeltsin killed a few thousand; Lincoln killed over 700,000. There is no comparison. How does this paltry effort get Yeltsin into the club? It seems a very cavalier attitude for Clinton to have taken.

Anyway, whatever happened to “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…”? (Oh, never mind…)

In his autobiography, Clinton openly acknowledges that strengthening Yeltsin against his domestic opponents was one of his central concerns throughout his presidency.

Clinton is all for democracy except when he is against it, I guess. A characteristic shared by others in his family.

Not everyone viewed Clinton’s efforts favorably:

An even more strident critique is offered by Peter Reddaway and Dmitri Glinski, who castigate President Yeltsin for “illegally suspending the constitution and dissolving the Russian parliament,” as well as more generally introducing “an authoritarian police regime.”

Authoritarian police regime? Bill Clinton supported police-state autocrat who suspended the constitution and dissolved parliament?

Moreover, they bemoan [Yeltsin’s] victory in the presidential election of 1996 and suggest that his opponent, the leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) Gennady Zyuganov, would have formed a more representative government.

A more representative government? Sounds more like Putin than Yeltsin.

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has an 83 percent approval rating. …[Some] claim that the poll numbers are manipulated, although most Western polling firms arrive at similar figures.

Obviously those polling firms – both Russian and western – haven’t included in their sampling the Russians living and working within the Washington beltway.

Posted by bionic mosquito

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