With Yeltsin Dead, the Media Confused on Legacy
Consider the lauded tributes raining down on this man from every corner of the world (the Americas and Europe for the MSMs purposes). That he played a decisive role in “beating Communism” is beyond dispute, nor is the “fact” that this was one of the best things to ever happen to the world. Except in all the glad-handing, someone forgot to ask the Russians what they thought.
In the West we were taught to view things in terms of freedom and democracy, good and evil. Yeltsin turned an evil empire into a capitalist paradise, which made it free. He was elected after the most shameful spectacles of a bought-off election every seen in the world, which made him democratic.
But for the people living in Russia, who knew the questions were never so simple and of a matter of literal life and death, a 3% approval greeted his departure from politics. I can not find an article that states this fact, nor mentions the way Russians themselves are greeting this event. Since we did not care while his unpopular policies were being rammed down Russia's throat (with Bill Clinton and the West's moral assistance), it is fitting we should care less today.
Here is a man who presided over an unprecedented giveaway of a nation’s resources to a tiny elite, who bought up oil and mineral reserves at bargain basement prices and made themselves fabulously rich. Russia endured massive corruption, the rise of a Russian style of organized crime, rapid increases in alcoholism, poverty and disease at the same time public health went to the birds. Day by day the nation sunk lower into the abyss of irrelevance and mockery as their drunken President could barely show his face in public. At the end of his reign, the nation of Russia had lost nearly 2 million of its citizens to early deaths and a pointless, political war in Chechnya that would constitute a crime against humanity if it had happened anywhere else in the world.
Even if one believes that condemning millions to lives of poverty and misery was worth it for the “greater good” of freedom and democracy, they would have to be blind to give kudos on those scores. As the otherwise glowing obit in the Independent UK says,
“Contrary to the myth that some have cultivated, he was not a democrat as most people would understand the word, nor was he a principled proponent of free speech or the free market. Nor, though, was he the drunken exhibitionist of the televised clips that were aired time and again last night."
I think Mikhail Gorbachev said it best:
"I express the very deepest condolences to the family of the deceased, on whose shoulders rest major events for the good of the country and serious mistakes. A tragic fate."
Labels: yeltsin death media