Good ol’ Brezhnev

Liberal America realizes in horror that Trump’s USA is, in many cases, similar or even worse then the darkest days of the Soviet Union. But things might have always been this way.

Aris Chatzistefanou

“I live in Trump’s Soviet Union”, wrote the Jewish author of Russian descent, Gary Shteyngart, a few days after the election of the new American president.
“Social media in the era of Trump is essentially Leningrad, 1979”, he continued referring to the derogative way hardcore Trump fans treat the Jews.

Shteyngart, who moved from USSR to the United States with his family, was among the first that saw a connection between Trump and the Soviet union. But he is not alone.
“Hundreds of thousands of people like me abandoned their countries, which were controlled by authoritarian opportunists like Donald Trump”, said Mikhail Baryshnikov during the same period.
But when the 45th president officially took office, even the toughest critics of the USSR seemed to look back nostalgically on some of the Moscow’s leaders.

The public radio station PRI, recently searched for Nikita Khrushchev’s grand daughter who states that she panics every time she hears Trump uses the phrase “enemy of the people”.
As Nikita Khrushchev explains this phrase was originally used by Trotsky and Lenin, but during Stalin’s years it transformed into a political tool… paving the way to Gulags.

She also wonders how this phrase can even be heard today at White House’s podium, when even her great grandfather had requested for this word not to be used at USSR after Stalin’s death.

In an even harsher tone, Russian academic Michael Losel wrote the following at New Yorker magazine a few days ago: “Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko, Gorbachev not one of them—not even the voiceless and half-dead Chernenko or the incoherent and ultimately loony Brezhnev—would have humiliated himself quite as deeply and comprehensively, to the same degree of perfectly unbidden self-revelation, as the new U.S. President did with utmost naturalness during the afternoon of February 16th, in full view of tens of millions of people across the globe, in the course of a seventy-seven-minute emotional striptease performed under the thin disguise of an impromptu White House press conference”.

Some of the most well known anti-regime refugees of USSR agree that today’s USA is in many cases similar or even worse than the country they left behind.
But it would take an orange haired, TV star, billionaire for the Americans and the West to notice the similarities between USA and some of the Soviet Union’s darkest aspects.

I grew up in a dystopia—will I have to die in one, too?
Gary Shteyngart, American Author born in Leningrad.

A few years earlier, analyst Adam Gkopnik calculated and wrote at “New Yorker” that there are more people under “correctional custody” than there were at Stalin’s gulag archipelago – Today one in four prisoners worldwide is held in an American prison.

Referring to the capabilities of the electronic surveillance of American citizens, former Stasi official Wolfgang Schmidt stated that “for us, this would be a dream coming true”. “KGB, Stasi and Gestapo would love it” former high placed NSA official William Binney added.

Decades earlier, Noam Chomsky had explained that the comparison between USA and USSR’s tyrannical regime will never be accurate unless we realize that Washington exercised the same amount of control over the countries of Latin American as Moscow did to the countries of the Eastern Bloc.

“In Poland, Czechoslovakia or any other place under the influence of USSR dissidents had it bad”, Chomsky explained adding that “however they never expected to have the same fate as the Jesuit intellectuals of Latin America who had their brains blown out by elite military units, trained and commanded by the United States.

And if we add to all that the recent cases of execution and torture that are not performed by agents anymore but the American State itself, justice’s scale weights dangerously against USA.

But, if the dark side of America is similar or even exceeds that barbarity of USSR, what does USA has to offer to even the scale of human civilization? Free universal health and education systems? Provision of housing or almost zero unemployment?
Collecting the worst aspects of the two worlds is not that great of an achievement.

Translation: Panos Chatzistefanou

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