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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Soviet Union Strikes Back

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I have been long expecting to see when and how the collapse of the U.S.S.R. will start to fight back. I am not talking just about Russia. It is clear to me that a modernized version of the Soviet Union — on a lesser scale, with a more rational economic approach — is already in place.

In fact, judging by the latest G-7 meeting in Genoa and its telling silence on issues like atrocities in Chechnya, this group of politicians seems to have understood precisely what looks like clear fact to me, an insider.

Would you expect, say, Richard Nixon to talk democracy with his ABM Treaty pal Leonid Brezhnev? Sure, you would not. You would expect them to talk security-related problems, leaving the chat on humanitarian issues to journalists and human rights activists.

Serious people talk serious stuff. And so they did in Genoa, as well as the following week in Moscow. But forget about Russia, as the G-7 did. The collapse of the Soviet Union 10 years ago is fighting back on a much larger scale, taking the forms of noisy and violent protests in the wealthiest countries on the globe.

Seattle, then Davos, then Prague, then Davos again, then Goeteborg and, lately, Genoa. I have probably missed a couple of cities where anti-globalization protests happened over the last two years. The first protests looked like attacks from the fans who like to bloody each other's faces at soccer games.

No longer. Genoa ended with one man dead and hundreds wounded.

And world leaders — the runners of their respected global powers — had no place on Earth to sleep but in shaky, although luxury, boats' beds. No, I do not bother to care whether they slept comfortably or not. I just think it is a joke that leaders of the eight nations got to talk about global ideas with their noble approach — the well-being of tomorrow's world (sic!) — protected from that world by a myriad of policemen and specially erected walls.

Obviously, Genoa demonstrated that the beginning of the new century does not project an upcoming paradise.

However, it was doomed to happen. The aftereffect of the collapse of the Soviet Union as a world superpower, along with the defeat of the millennium-long illusion of communism, is coming forward now.

Some analysts tend to compare the current anti-globalist protests to those conducted by their fathers back in the '60s. I do not think the comparison is a proper one.

After all, the hippie movement back then was more an individualistic protest of the elite kids in university compounds.

Those who marched in Genoa, or earlier on in Goeteburg are of a different breed. They are not college kids, and they do not fight against their wealthy upbringings for the right to smoke dope and live in rubbish. Also, unlike those of the sixties, they do not fight for the brighter life of their less lucky compatriots; no, they fight for themselves and their own right to have jobs and live well.

The sole existence of the Soviet Union with its unanimous welfare-state and world-wide propaganda of a country where ordinary people were on top somehow absorbed the extreme leftist ideas back in seventies and eighties.

The endless cash flow from the U.S.S.R.'s Gosbank into the pockets of the Communist parties across the globe did the job as well.

Those parties managed to channel leftist ideas into a formal framework that was the best protection from the mass and violent streets riots. In fact, Italian and French communist parties were the biggest recipients of Soviet money.

But those times gone for good. Formal channels of the leftist ideas no longer exist. Thus, they are back on the streets.

Surely, those who marched in Genoa are highly unlikely to know anything about the gulag and the kind of misery life in the U.S.S.R. was. But even if someone would dare to explain, it won't change a thing. All they want is not to be on the loser's side.

The snobby behavior of the G-7 leaders, with their minimal respect for humanitarian issues and overstatement of economic and security ones, gives just more proof to those who feel like losers.

Yevgenia Albats is a freelance journalist based in Moscow.