Europe should embrace a new Russia that has ditched the nightmare of Leninism
YOUR editorial, Taming the Russian bear (The Herald, March 3), is characteristically intelligent and illuminating. However, I believe it stops short of drawing the logical conclusions to its own political hypothesis. It is, indeed, high time that the EU renegotiated its relationship with the bullying Russian bear, but this renegotiation should be radical and innovative.
For a start, the nonsense of Nato missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic should be ditched forthwith. These missiles sites are allegedly designed to protect against rogue states such as North Korea and Iran. But America already has huge bases in South Korea; and it is physically not possible to get nearer North Korea than South Korea. Any missiles launched by North Korea can, therefore, be destroyed from South Korea. Likewise, Turkey is a lot nearer to Iran than Poland, and the US already has substantial bases in Turkey.
These proposed new bases can only be seen as a replay of the old policies of the Cold War-era bipolar world, and as a crude and obvious threat against Russia. Europe should reject them immediately.
By a firm use of carrot and stick, Russia should be encouraged along the path to democracy, and reintegrated with Europe.
Russia belongs in Europe. Her literature and art are incomprehensible in other than the European context. We have a thousand years of shared Christianity; Russia’s glorious Orthodox traditions are, indeed, our “other lung”, as the Pope has said, a rich and vital part of European culture. Ukraine and Georgia are both anxious to join the EU. This should be encouraged, with a view to Russia also eventually joining. This would be in her interests; it is unlikely that the US would target a EU member state with nuclear weapons.
Lenin’s body has been removed from the mausoleum in the Red Square; it is apparently undergoing its periodic reloading with sundry chemicals and preservatives. Let’s hope this time they have the sense to give it a decent burial, and get rid of this grim monument from the Kremlin. This egoistical thug was the first of the great European totalitarian dictators, a disaster for Russia and the world. He is the one man who singlehandedly did more to disgrace and discredit socialism than any other.
Recent declassified material from the archives of the Soviet Union make it clear that the old leftist “Stalin distorted the original benign policies of Lenin” line is utter nonsense. He was every bit as bad as Stalin. As Vladimir Bukovsky observed, Lenin typically killed as many people in a day as the Inquisi- tion killed in all the centuries of its existence. In 1918, the Cheka under Felix Dzerzhinsky executed more than 3000 Orthodox clergymen of all ranks. Some were drowned in iceholes, or were poured over with cold water in winter until they turned to ice-pillars. In an order dated May 1, 1919, Lenin wrote: “It is necessary to finish with the priests and religion as quickly as possible. Priests should be arrested as counter-revolutionaries and saboteurs; they should be shot mercilessly and everywhere. And as many of them as possible. The churches are subject to closure. The buildings of the churches should be sealed and turned into warehouses.”
The Leninist nightmare is over. Orthodox Russia lives on. It is time for the healing of wounds. Russia must come back to our common European home. Brian Quail, 2 Hyndland Avenue, Glasgow.