Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ra Ra Ras Putin

The superstitious are ruled by the church.
The ignorant are ruled by the state.

And the fearful are ruled by the mob.

- wise words from Manly P. Hall.

Those three statements above have been proven time and time again.

As such "Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it" is one of my favourites, but it is only relative, assuming first that the person even has knowledge of that history.

So what if you're not even knowledgeable at all of history? Well, then the three statements will apply to you.

I'd sure like to educate Canadian youth today about Canadian political history, the corruption, the unfairness, and hypocricy since confederation. I'd like to educate some Americans on their own history. Brits too. Heck, it applies everywhere.

What's common is the lack of historical knowledge about one's own country, nevermind others.

And this is very dangerous.

But in looking at world history, there is a consistent pattern by power hungry political leaders in their quest to take control over people and a nation. They usually start small but rise quickly due to a vacuum of power resulting from a calamity, down-turn, or national depression. Then apply the tried and true formula.

Start with an identified enemy--that being a religion, a region, a country, a party, a race, and "prove" how that everything is their fault. Heck, if you're so inclined, silence any protesters and nay-sayers with force, if not remove them altogether. Act like you're telling the whole truth with much grandstanding and fanfare and spout out rhetoric with words like "strong", "peace", "order", "future", "one people". And if you're smart enough, stage a mock rebellion, or better yet, secretly control an actual rebellion or planned terrorism, and show just how mighty you are. Only you can provide the strength, the security, "the peace, order and good government" because you know they're ignorant and don't know any better.

So "build it and they will come!"

Ah, you've heard about this all before in history and are able to provide at least five examples, yes? ... At least I hope you have.

So where does this all lead?

Vlad Putin has been the Russian President for 8 years. He's leading the campaign for his party to win parliament. He's pretty popular. He's done a lot of things. He's also done a lot of things we don't know.

The young Russian energy apparent in Vladimir Putin's parliamentary run is very high. But what do they know of Vlad's history in the KGB or even when Russia was communist and ruled by ruthless dictators? Do they know he just went and had Russia claim the North Pole? Do they know how much force he's used to silence peaceful protesters (see right).

Are they ignorant of these things and history in general?

Do they fear "the west"?

You be the judge...

"Nothing is predetermined at all," a grim-faced Putin said. "Stability and peace on our land have not fallen from the skies; they haven't yet become absolutely, automatically secured."

Addressing about 5,000 backers at the rally, which blended elements of a Soviet-era Communist Party congress with the raucous enthusiasm of an American political convention, Putin suggested his political opponents are working for Russia's Western adversaries.

"Regrettably, there are those inside the country who feed off foreign embassies like jackals and count on support of foreign funds and governments, and not their own people," Putin said.

He accused unidentified Russians of planning mass street protests, like those that helped usher in pro-Western governments in the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Ukraine in 2003 and 2004.

"Now, they're going to take to the streets. They have learned from Western experts and have received some training in neighboring (ex- Soviet) republics. And now they are going to stage provocations here," he said.

Putin seemed to refer to anti-Kremlin demonstrations planned for this weekend in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Police have used force to break up several marches and demonstrations, beating and detaining dozens of protesters.

Putin, whose nearly eight years in power coincided with rising energy prices, has repeatedly charged that the West wants Russia weak and compliant.

"Those who confront us don't want our plan to succeed," he said. "They have different plans for Russia. They need a weak and ill state, they need a disoriented and divided society in order to do their deeds behind its back."

Without naming names, Putin railed against his liberal, pro-business and Communist opponents, raising the specter of the economic and political uncertainty that preceded and followed the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

"If these gentlemen come back to power, they will again cheat people and fill their pockets," he said. "They want to restore an oligarchic regime, based on corruption and lies."

After his speech, the normally reserved president plunged into the crowd, shaking hands and kissing a woman. The crowd, consisting mainly of young people, responded with chants of "Russia! Putin!" Some blew horns and jumped in excitement.

With the election nearing, Putin has made a string of appearances at carefully staged events where speakers have emphasized his indispensability as a leader.

The campaign has drawn heavily on imagery from the Soviet and czarist eras, periods that still evoke feelings of pride in Russians despite their history of bloodshed and oppression.

But there is also an effort to appeal to a new generation of Russians with few memories of the country's past struggles. The scenes in the grandstand at Wednesday's rally sometimes resembled those of a rowdy soccer game.

Nostalgic Soviet-era bands mixed on stage with young performers, including a girl group in miniskirts who sang "I want someone like Putin."

Elderly women wore blue United Russia T-shirts. A young man had "Russia" painted on his shaved head, and a woman sported "Putin" written by lipstick on her cheek. Many had faces painted with bands of white, blue and red—the colors of the national flag and the United Russia party.

The speech seemed intended to transfer some of Putin's popularity to United Russia, which controls parliament but stirs few passions among voters.

Have a visit to PutinWatcher.

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