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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hostile Zyuganov Revealed

Being a journalist is not always as much fun it is made out to be. I have just been reading Gennady Zyuganov's book of essays "Over the Horizon."


The blurb inside the front cover says that the book is intended for a "wide circle of readers." Never has the stock phrase been more misleading. Inside Russia, it will appeal only to those who share Zyuganov's way of thinking already. And it will never be translated into English for two reasons.


For one thing it reveals that underneath the pragmatic exterior of "Zyuganov the bankers' friend" there is a dyed-in-the-wool Russian nationalist with a strong hostility to the West. And it is written in the kind of brain-curdling Russian that cannot be rendered into any other language (nor into normal Russian for that matter).


On the very first page, the author launches into a passage that gives you some idea of his thinking as well as his mind-defying prose: "The shocks, connected to the breakup of the U.S.S.R., the end of the "bipolar" world, the current humiliation of Russia and its growing determination to return to its historically inherited path of national-state development bear witness to the fact that a time of serious redistribution of the geopolitical balance of forces and a change in the cultural-world-view vector of the epoch is not far off."


The central thesis is all there in a nutshell -- the West has tried to subdue Russia and impose its own cultural hegemony on it, but the effort is doomed and the 21st century will see the resurgence of Russia as a velikaya derzhava, a great power.


It follows naturally that the central ideological charge against the administration of Boris Yeltsin is that it has made Russia a colony of the West. Zyuganov fully endorses the view held in its most virulent form by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, that the West deliberately encouraged perestroika and employed a policy of "divide and rule" in order to destroy the Soviet Union and keep Russia impoverished and enslaved.


"Today, three years after this crime [he is referring to the Belovezhskaya Pushcha agreement to dissolve the Soviet Union] we can confidently say: The U.S.A. has done and from henceforth is doing everything to complicate (and if possible destroy) the processes of Russian national state regeneration," Zyuganov writes. As a footnote -- the book was published about the same time as Zyuganov spoke to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and made sweet sounds towards the west. Zyuganov places himself within a tradition inside the Soviet Communist Party that was fiercely inward-looking and not interested in world revolution.


More important than Marxism-Leninism as such was the party's role in mobilizing the people and rebuilding a "great power" that was the successor to the Russian empire. The October Revolution was therefore a leap forward, but not a complete break with the past.


So Zyuganov is able to talk about "humiliation in the Crimean War" in the same breath as ideological confrontation of the Cold War, because both were conflicts being fought by essentially one and the same state.


This explains Zyuganov's list of Communist Party villains. The first is Trotsky. At least this, I imagine, is whom he is talking about when he refers to the "ideological russophobia of the radical cosmopolitan party wing." I don't think I will be alone in detecting a dash of anti-Semitism here.


The next is Nikita Khrushchev, whose lack of strong ideology "deformed" the party. Maybe there is a discontent here with Khrushchev's doctrine of "peaceful coexistence" with the West.


The last and most hated figure is Mikhail Gorbachev, the author of perestroika, glasnost and the "common European home." Zyuganov is proud to declare that his party has been cleansed of "Gorbachevite blasphemers."


The ghost at this particular feast is of course Stalin. Zyuganov does not openly praise the generalissimo. But he argues that Stalin did re-create Russia as a "great power" and deserves credit for this: "Without entering into assessments of Stalin, I have to confess that he, as no one else did, understood the need for a conceptual renewal within the frame of a new geopolitical form -- the U.S.S.R."


The ideology being articulated here has been reiterated in Zyuganov's recent interviews to Newsweek and Der Spiegel. This is the ideological underpinning beneath the pragmatism and the bonhomie.


Zyuganov earnestly desires to liberate Russia from the Western yoke and re-create it as a military superpower. Policy makers, take note.