Thursday, November 12, 2009

Seumas Milne on the lessons- and consequences- of 1989


1989 unleashed across the region and then the former Soviet Union free-market shock therapy, mass robbery as privatisation, vast increases in inequality, and poverty and joblessness for tens of millions. Reunification in Germany in fact meant annexation, the takeover and closure of most of its industry, a political purge of more than a million teachers and other white-collar workers, a loss of women's rights, closure of free nurseries and mass unemployment……..

The western failure to recognise the shocking price paid by many east Europeans for a highly qualified freedom – the Economist this week dismissed them as "the old, the timid, the dim" – is only exceeded by the refusal to acknowledge that the communist system had benefits as well as obvious costs…….

Der Spiegel this year found that 57% of eastern Germans believed the GDR had "more good sides than bad sides", and even younger people rejected the idea that the state had been a dictatorship. Just as only one in five Hungarians believes that the country has changed for the better since 1989, only 11% of Bulgarians think ordinary people have benefited from the changes and most Russians and Ukrainians regret the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

This two-sided, Janus-like nature of 1989 is also reflected in its global and ideological impact. It kicked off the process that led to the end of the cold war. But by removing the world's only other superpower from the global stage, it also destroyed the constraints on US global power and paved the way for wars from the Gulf and Yugoslavia to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.


You can read the rest of Seumas Milne's brilliant piece here.And what a bunch of obnoxious patronising wallies the folk at The Economist are, branding 89% of Bulgarians and 80% of Hungarians 'old, timid and dim' for not sharing their enthusiasm for neoliberal capitalism.

2 comments:

jack said...

The collapse of the USSR also lead the way for organised crime or what Paul Klebnikov called Gangster capitalism to be incorporated into the main stream economy.

Here the most famous gangster capitalist Boris Berezovsky the main subject of Klebnikovs book who is given centre stage in the Guardian, Channel 4 and every other western mass media TV and newspaper outlet which shows how corrupt and free our media is. Not a peep of criticism towards Berezovsky when Klebnikov was machine gunned down and killed in Moscow reportedly writing a book about Berezovsky murdering a media magnate to control his media outlets.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/apr/13/topstories3.russia

Robert I. Friedman in his book Red Mafia: How the Russian Mob Has Invaded America describes how the most powerful mobster has created an organised crime empire more powerful than some European countries.

“The CIA considers him a "grave threat" to global security and the "world's most
dangerous man"

He has created a massive, global communications network and employs hundreds of Ph.D.s in computer science, physics and economics to run his massive financial empire. He has penetrated every stock exchange in the world and controls much of the trading therein.
He was also the mastermind of the largest money-laundering scheme in U.S. history, "washing" $7 billion through the Bank of New York, which is a major branch of the Federal Reserve and his bank of choice. His name is Semion Mogilevich, born in 1946.
Basing his first operations in Israel, where he fleeced Jewish refugees from Russia, Mogilevich acquired Hungarian citizenship after making the comment that the biggest problem with Israel is that there are "too many Jews there."
However, he single-handedly controls the brothels in Israel, where Ukrainian and
Russian girls are forced into sexual slavery. This is legal in Israel if the girls are non-Jews. The name of Mogilevich has been left out of every report on the phenomenon in Israel, Ukraine or the United States.
Mogilevich also controls the vodka trade in Russia and Central Europe.
Most ominously, Mogilevich has bought Hungary's armaments industry. In other words, he controls the military equipment being manufactured in Hungary. He has his own army, artillery, mechanized infantry, antiaircraft guns and missiles of all types. NATO has said that he is a "threat to the stability of Europe," though his name remains little known. This mobster is militarily more powerful than many European countries. He has nuclear weapons from the former Warsaw Pact countries and is presently trading with various governments and providing them with nuclear technology. He has agents in the intelligence agencies of all European countries, which means that he may never be prosecuted, for he is made aware of any pending investigation into his activities, which quickly gets quashed.

German television reported that the German intelligence service, the BND, had entered into secret negotiations with Mogilevich whereby the latter would supply
information on his rivals in Russia. He has a similar arrangement with French
intelligence. He has close connections to the Mossad, which destroyed his criminal file (Friedman, 245-247). Therefore he is immune to prosecution and travels freely. He controls the black market from Central Europe to Russia. He has a Rockefeller connection as well, as his main economics advisor, Igor Fisherman was a consultant to Chase Manhattan Bank. Friedman writes, concerning the Fed and its relations to Mogilevich: "While the bank has not been charged with any wrongdoing, some investigators believe that the money laundering could not have taken place unless senior bank officials were bought off or otherwise involved" (259).”

Anonymous said...

For an article on a similar theme, see
http://www.historyandpolicy.org/opinion/opinion_18.html