Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Discrediting Democracy -- or Russia Redux (aka "Storming the White House")

Yeltsin's troops on the lawn of the Russian White House -- the Congress of People's Deputies building -- in Moscow after successfully bombarding it and the People's Deputies inside. October, 1993

In Russia they still officially refer to the attack on their White House -- the Congress of People's Deputies building in Moscow in 1993 -- as a "defense of democracy." Of course, this is Orwellian double think on many levels.

In fact, it was yet another in a string of coups that had taken place in Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In this one, Boris Yeltsin, Inebriate Mayor of Moscow, decreed and crushed defiance. Let Misha's Russia Blog tell the tale:

Keep in mind that the last time Russia embraced "liberal free-market reforms" it was done at the point of a gun, albeit a Russian gun, during Yeltsin's so-called capitalist "shock therapy." Recall that the Russian Federation had a written constitution and an effective and democratically elected parliament after the dissolution of the USSR. Prior to October 1993 that freely elected Russian parliament actually constituted an effective check on the power of the Russian president.

In the summer of 1993 the Russian parliamentary deputies adamantly refused to pass Yeltsin's capitalist "shock therapy" program, then being urged on Yeltsin by the U.S. and other capitalist powers. Instead the parliament even began proceedings to impeach Yeltsin. After several weeks of deadlock between Yeltsin and the parliament, with growing street protests, Yeltsin issued a "decree" dissolving the Russian parliament on September 21, 1993. Yeltsin's decree was in direct contradiction with the articles of the Russian constitution.(1) The mounting crises lead to widespread anti-Yeltsin protests and violence on the streets of Russian cities.

Yeltsin then ordered parliamentarians to vacate the White House (the Russian Parliament building). When they refused Yeltsin promptly ordered the Russian army to besiege and storm the parliament. Hundreds of Russians came to the scene to form a human shield around the parliament building. On October 4, 1993, tank rounds were fired at point blank range into the Parliament building and then it was stormed by armed troops. Hundreds died in the violence that ensued. The government officially declared that 187 people had been killed and 437 wounded. However eye witnesses put the real number much higher.(2) There was not a word of protest over these manifestly undemocratic and violent actions from the U.S. Clinton Administration, because Yeltsin was doing what the U.S. wanted him to do.(3)

Having destroyed the opposition (literally) Yeltsin then proceeded to re-write the Russian constitution more to his liking, giving the president the power to virtually rule Russia by decree, and the power to finally ram his Western-authored "shock therapy" down the throats of an unwilling Russian population.

Yeltsin's shock therapy program subsequently saw Russia's GDP rapidly decline by some 50% from the level that had been achieved during the final years of the Soviet Union(4), as inflation spiraled out of control. Over the next decade Russia suffered a massive decline in living standards as well as the virtual collapse of Russian society and culture. Virtually every statistical indicator of social well being showed the depth of the destruction of Russian society, from the collapse of health care and the rise of long-banished diseases to the collapse of education and spiraling crime, alcoholism and drug abuse. During this period major international criminal gangs became entrenched in Russia including those specializing in the trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and children.

Now this unprecedented social and humanitarian catastrophe took place even as a handful of corrupt "oligarchs" became fabulously wealthy and powerful by leveraging their newfound control over state assets that only yesterday belonged to the people.(5) Almost all the hundreds of billions pocketed by the oligarchs, especially from the sale of Russia's rich natural resources, was spirited out of Russia and into secret offshore bank accounts, tax free.

Yes. Well.

This "shock therapy" worked so well on the Former Soviet Union, plutocrats and oligarchs everywhere took notice. How could they not?

If they want to have their way, they realized, it was up to them to discredit and demonize democracy in every conceivable way, and if the die-hards wouldn't yield, then use force.

Sure enough. It works. Hahahahahahah!

Tom Ferguson over at Real News Network makes the point that the current paralysis of our own 'representative democracy' is yet another way to discredit democracy here in the United States.

"In American Politics, every day is Turkey Day."

The point being made is that the institution of Congress doesn't "work." Well, we know that. We should have recognized that simple fact a long time ago, but it's only recently that very many Americans have woken up from their Take and Bake dream. We're going to hell in a handbasket, and Congress has been greasing the skid. Happily.

We're seeing the results of discrediting democracy in Europe right now. The alarmists are certainly out in force, but there is a point to their alarm.

Here's a take on the Next Big Thing(?) from a writer at CNN:

Europe's next nightmare: Right-wing extremism

Of course.

And then there is Spain

And Portugal



Don't forget Ireland


Basically, the plutocrats and oligarchs have been going all around the world undermining and extinguishing democracies one by one and in batches whenever they get the chance and the auguries say proceed.

They cut their teeth on the Soviet Union.

Our turn is not far away. Actually, the preliminary festivities have been under way for many years, at least since the Impeachment Circus of 1998.

The plutocrats and oligarchs will not be denied. This is why there is a global revolution; it's a necessity.


  1. I keep expecting Obama to be unceremoniously bounced out in favor of, say, Larry Summers, to handle the current unpleasantness.
    Those richies are tired of waiting, as you've noticed, for their tainted election money to do its work.
    Ask the Spaniards and the Greeks.

  2. Thing is, Obama is a banker's grandson, and he's cheerfully doing the bankster's bidding. If he stumbles in his task, of course they will replace him, but for now, he's doing just fine.

    So far, he's still able to "manage the masses" for them, too.

    Tired of waiting, indeed.

    What I've been reading about Spain and Portugal -- especially -- is that the victories of the Rightists actually help the Indignados. Protest hasn't stopped. If anything, it's gotten stronger.

    The situation in Greece and Italy is explosive.

    How many divisions do the German and French banks command again? They're gonna need them.