By Vitaly Portnikov, Ukrainian journalist, political analyst
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
There are eras of great achievements and eras of great repudiations. But in Russia this is the era of the great reversal. The VVC [Moscow’s Russian Exhibition Center] will soon return to its Soviet name VDNKH -“Exhibition of People’s Economics Achievements” – it does not matter that the people’s economy is long gone, and that all the economy has left are Gazprom with Rosneft, as well as Abramovich and the Rotenberg brothers; they just need the exhibition back. The news agency ITAR-TASS will again become the Soviet TASS – why scare people off with an obscure combination of letters during times of propaganda frenzy? Really, what can an ITAR statement declare, anyway? Nothing, of course. Only TASS! [i.e. the old Cold War declarations–”TASS reports!”]. TASS is authorized to declare that we need a limited peacekeeping contingent. That’s what Russians are ordered to call the army now.
In case anyone forgot, that’s what it was called in the good old days of VDNKH and TASS. For instance, there were no Soviet troops in Afghanistan – just a limited contingent to help the Afghani deal with themselves. VDNKH and TASS just can’t exist without a limited contingent: they are a crowning achievement of any authoritarian regime and provide a limitless opportunity for brazen statements.
The essence of authoritarianism is the right to kill with impunity for the greater good. Occupiers, terrorists, sadists, and thugs – these don’t exist in Russia. They exist in the West and are among its henchmen. Its is they who invaded with their armed gangs to stop Saddam Hussein from treating the ungrateful terrorists with napalm. It is they who tortured to death the all-time hero Slobodan Milosevic at their bourgeois court. But here [Russia] we have a limited contingent and the people’s courts. Like the one that killed Magnitsky.
Therefore, this itching desire to enter somewhere with a limited contingent is perfectly understandable: without it you just can’t get an orgasm and you can’t proclaim the Soviet Union. And you have to reach that orgasm without partners–who have fled from the VDNKH and TASS as if they were a plague–so don’t get used to that, we will be able to do everything ourselves, and even better. You just enter your limited contingent, and then lay back in your chairs and watch as the whole world demands we withdraw. But we won’t withdraw! Or, we will pull out when we want to! Or we won’t want to, ever!
It did come to that: having to pull out of Afghanistan and without any special request because it was getting really awkward–but that’s forgotten in Russia forever. Then again, what kind of a country was it really? What kind of people? What kind of leaders? Morons! Gorbachev was a CIA agent! But now everything is real, our armor is strong, our peacekeeping tanks are fast, and our people are full of courage again, although they do cry in front of their TVs, learning about the loss of their hard-earned billions. But that’s ok–we’ll reward them with estates in Ukraine in return!
Now that a limited contingent has gone to Ukraine first, again perfectly understandable, that’s how secret it was! Who would rejoice at such a contingent in the Arctic? Who would greet it there? What about the reindeer! Or maybe next the moon that Deputy Prime-Minister Rogozin so generously promised the Russians? The External Intelligence Service, however, believes there’s no one there.
And Ukraine? … Steppes, fields, mines and most importantly, the most remarkable thing, – “Khokhols!” Think about it: anyone who makes decisions in Russia today, say, a youthful middle-aged man, has certainly suffered from a khokhol-sergeant in the army, then interviewed at a higher educational institution by some high-ranking Checkist [former NKVD officer], whose southern lilting accent annoyed him, a born Russian, yet he had to click his heels and be a yes-man to everyone. These people, of course, anti-Semites, but they didn’t meet with Jews very often–in their time Jews came to the KGB HQ at Lubyanka either for interrogation or to give a concert. Now the “khokhols” whose Dnipropetrovsk mafia infiltrated the KGB leadership–they were even more hated than the Ukrainian priests who were monopolized by the Moscow Patriarchy, and were despised by their Russian colleagues. And now you come to them, not some weird Afghani, on a limited contingent tank. Remember me, comrade sergeant? Now I’m in charge of that country and I’m gonna blow everything up here to bits. I’ve even got a mandate from Valya Matvienko the senate chairwoman – remember her, she studied here, quite a remarkable “khokhol” girl.
Here, not even an orgasm of any kind is needed, and that feels good. They have already done this once to the Georgians, avenging them for Stalin’s accent that still rings through the Kremlin’s halls, recalling the heights to which they’d like to soar but can’t reach as high in the 21st century. But eaglets, to their credit, learn to fly. After all, Ukrainians are just target practice. If this little limited contingent works, then as is customary, they’ll finally get to take charge all on their own.