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The European Left Attempts to Re-Write History

by coldwarrior ( 51 Comments › )
Filed under Cold War, History, Open thread, Russia, Socialism at April 3rd, 2011 - 2:00 pm

 

Last week in London history was re-writen by the European Left. It was a celebration of Gorbachev’s 80th birthday., the theme was “Mikhail Gorbachev: The Man Who Changed the World.” This event was held in London, as Mr Gorbachev is very unpopular in his home country. So unpopular that he very rarely returns there.

 

Gorbachev changed the world, my ass! Excuse my French; the only reason that he was for “perestroika,” “glasnost”, and ”uskoreniye” was that America, led by Ronald Reagan was burying the Soviet Union economically and militarily. The Soviets had to place more and more assets into keeping up with the US that the shelves in the stores were bare, lines were formed from everything from basic foodstuffs to toilet paper to gasoline. Gorbachev knew that the end was near, so he tried to save the Soviet system, yes, read his book, “perestroika,” “glasnost”, and ”uskoreniye” is an attempt to save socialism, not to reform it into democracy and capitalism.

 

The Soviet system was collapsing as a direct result of Reagan’s policies and American Economic and Military might. The Soviets had to reform and pull out of Eastern Europe because they could not afford to keep their armies deployed. The Soviets could not keep pace with the Americans and their house of cards fell apart. I witnessed all of this first hand, yet some in the West forget why Gorbachev had to try some reforms. They conveniently forget that Reagan, Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, NATO, and Star Wars freed Eastern Europe from Soviet domination.  People in the East who lived under the oppression of Communism and the Soviets haven’t forgotten though. Reagan’s memory is held in high regard with the  memory of Pope John Paul II. I traveled all through East Germany and Poland both before and after the Wall fell. The Germans and Poles  weren’t thanking Gorbachev for their freedom, they were thanking Reagan, and in Poland’s case, Reagan and John Paul II.

 

Here is the article from the Moscow Times, even they make fun of this event:

It was a bizarre evening in the Royal Albert Hall.

If you had ever been asked who would attend the 80th birthday celebration for the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, it is unlikely that you would have answered Shirley Bassey, the Scorpions and one of the Spice Girls.

But they and many more stars were in attendance for a birthday party late Wednesday — a concert and an awards ceremony with the grand, almost James Bond title of ”Mikhail Gorbachev: The Man Who Changed the World.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger, conductor Valery Gergiyev, former Polish President Lech Walesa and Israeli President Shimon Peres were among those who joined Gorbachev as well as Mel C — formerly Sporty Spice — as the night moved from cheesy and over-the-top to touching and back again in the blink of an eye.

“I never expected to live until 80, but now I take on the responsibility of living until I am 90,” Gorbachev joked in a short speech at the start of the evening.

The nigh-on four-hour event was hosted by — again, who would have guessed it — actors Sharon Stone and Kevin Spacey, who spoke in front of a neo-classical column decorated with pink curtains.

They tried but failed to do an impression of Academy Awards ceremony hosts, Spacey the joker doing impressions of Bill Clinton and Jack Nicholson but sadly no voices relevant to Gorbachev’s time in office, and Stone the ditzy co-host with a number of dress changes. Hearing both of them continuously mangle various Russian names and concepts added a level of surreality to the event, which was attended by numerous Russians.

Announcing that Andrei Arshavin and Roman Pavlyuchenko — football forwards from Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs, respectively — were in the audience, Spacey mangled their names to unrecognizability and then tried to get laughs with the hoary joke about a ”perestroikas” [pair of strikers] being present.

The evening began with a film showing world figures such as Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa with schmaltzy quotes about changing the world before moving on to Gorbachev drawing applause from the black-tie crowd who had paid up to £100,000 ($160,000) to be at the event.

Aging German rock band the Scorpions sang their song “Wind of Change” about the political changes in Eastern Europe and brought tears to at least one audience member. No tears came when they followed that up with their song “Rock You Like a Hurricane.”

But the fact that the night was taking place in London rather than anywhere in the former Soviet Union underlined the fact that Gorbachev remains a divisive figure in his homeland, where many fault him for changing their world. Not that many at the show appeared to realize that.

There were many tributes to Gorbachev, but the hosts in particular seemed to be bent on just saying the phrase “the man who changed the world” or talking of how Gorbachev had allowed to Russia to become “free and democratic” over and over again.

Some in the audience, and surely Gorbachev himself, who recently chastised Vladimir Putin for backtracking on democracy, may have felt the huge gap between rhetoric and reality on the night.

The total Hollywoodization of Gorbachev’s role came when Russian pop group Khor Turetskogo (the Turetsky Choir) sang the African-American spiritual song, “Go Down, Moses,” only to change the lyrics to ”Gorbachev, Let My People Go.”

This was followed by Mel C singing the famous Nina Simone song “Ain’t Got No/I Got Life.” The singer tweeted before the show that she would be singing the word “boobies” before lots of dignitaries that night.

A few weeks before, at a reception at the British Embassy, he noted, with false modesty perhaps, that he would have preferred to have just “sat in a corner” for his birthday, and that it was his family who was behind the event.

That may explain the eclectic line-up on the night…

Proceeds from the event are set to go to a cancer charity named after Gorbachev’s wife and to Britain’s Macmillan Cancer Support….

 

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51 Responses to “The European Left Attempts to Re-Write History”
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  1. 1 | April 3, 2011 2:33 pm

    Reagan won the Cold war.


  2. huckfunn
    2 | April 3, 2011 2:52 pm

    You’ve got it exactly right. Gorbachev was a communist, simple as that. He happened to be the top turd when the whole hollow shell of the USSR caved. I remember how quickly events moved when the dominoes began falling. Poland, then Czech, Romania and East Germany (I don’t recallthe exact order). I remember when those people were standing on the Wall and the vopos did nothing. I almost hopped on a plane and flew over there. I didn’t think I would see the collapse of the USSR in my lifetime.


  3. Guggi
    3 | April 3, 2011 3:01 pm

    Rodan wrote:

    Reagan won the Cold war.

    And the Catholic Church and Solidarnosc and the fact that the Soviet Union was economically bankrupt (not only b’cause of the arms race, even Khrushchev wrote in the 1950′s that if they go on with that kind of economy they’ll go bankrupt and he was proofed correct) and the fact that they had miscalculated the “peace initiatives” which they had founded and financially supported in the West.


  4. coldwarrior
    4 | April 3, 2011 3:05 pm

    @ Guggi:

    solidarnosc survives the early days ONLY because reagan said in a speech in Milwaukee Wisconsin in 81 or 82(have it on a vhs tape) that the us would go to war over poliand if the soviets invaded and the fact that gen jerizelski did his best to keep the russian’s out

    by 85 the shelves in the soviet union are bare directly because of american arms buildups and technological advances that cause the soviets to pour more and more resources into the military and less into consumer goods.


  5. coldwarrior
    5 | April 3, 2011 3:15 pm

    oddly, the east germans were in no such trouble. the stores were stocked, the people weren’t standing in line…of course, the stasi could come and take you away at any time.


  6. huckfunn
    6 | April 3, 2011 3:19 pm

    @ coldwarrior:
    Who was last president of East Germany? I think they put him on trial but what ever happened to him?


  7. NoThreat2U
    7 | April 3, 2011 3:20 pm

    This is a very interesting post. I remember all of this, believe it or not. And yes, Reagan crushed Old Maphead. To try and give the credit to anyone but Reagan is bullshit. But what do we expect from the European POV.


  8. Guggi
    8 | April 3, 2011 3:23 pm

    coldwarrior wrote:

    solidarnosc survives the early days ONLY because reagan said in a speech in Milwaukee Wisconsin in 81 or 82(have it on a vhs tape) that the us would go to war over poliand if the soviets invaded and the fact that gen jerizelski did his best to keep the russian’s out

    Solidarnosc started with a strike in 1980.

    The problem wasn’t that the military sucked up ressources but the centrally planned economy and mismanagement anda failing agriculture, an inflated bureaucracy and a people who was tired of war (Afghanistan, Africa).

    When the German chancellor Kohl convinced “Gorbi” to turn swords into plowshares he literally ruined the remaining economy. Only in the last second the military stopped it.


  9. lobo91
    9 | April 3, 2011 3:25 pm

    NoThreat2U wrote:

    This is a very interesting post. I remember all of this, believe it or not. And yes, Reagan crushed Old Maphead. To try and give the credit to anyone but Reagan is bullshit. But what do we expect from the European POV.

    It’s not just the Europeans, of course.

    Our own left shares their view.


  10. huckfunn
    10 | April 3, 2011 3:30 pm

    Guggi wrote:

    coldwarrior wrote:

    solidarnosc survives the early days ONLY because reagan said in a speech in Milwaukee Wisconsin in 81 or 82(have it on a vhs tape) that the us would go to war over poliand if the soviets invaded and the fact that gen jerizelski did his best to keep the russian’s out

    Solidarnosc started with a strike in 1980.

    The problem wasn’t that the military sucked up ressources but the centrally planned economy and mismanagement anda failing agriculture, an inflated bureaucracy and a people who was tired of war (Afghanistan, Africa).

    When the German chancellor Kohl convinced “Gorbi” to turn swords into plowshares he literally ruined the remaining economy. Only in the last second the military stopped it.

    As I recall, the ruble had no value anywhere outside of the USSR and was not traded on any capital market in the world. Kinda strange for a “superpower”. The only thing made them a superpower was their nuclear weapons.


  11. Guggi
    11 | April 3, 2011 3:31 pm

    coldwarrior wrote:

    oddly, the east germans were in no such trouble. the stores were stocked, the people weren’t standing in line…of course, the stasi could come and take you away at any time.

    The former DDR was literally bankrupt since the late 1970′s and early 1980′s and only survived on loans from the BRD. What you saw in the shops was only available with foreign exchange. And how did you get foreign exchange ? From your relatives in the BRD. The complete industrial part of the economy was a mess, absolut dated, useless and an environment disaster.


  12. Guggi
    12 | April 3, 2011 3:43 pm

    In 1976 the DDR was unable to import coffee:

    Due to the strong German tradition of drinking coffee, imports of this commodity were important for consumers. A massive rise in coffee prices in 1976-77 led to a quadrupling of the amount of hard currency needed to import coffee. This caused severe financial problems for the GDR, which perennially lacked sufficient hard currency to address imports from the West. As a result, in the summer of 1977 the Politbüro withdrew most cheaper brands of coffee from sale, limited use in restaurants, and effectively withdrew its provision in public offices and state enterprises. In addition, an infamous new type of coffee was introduced, Mischkaffee (mixed coffee), which was 51% coffee and 49% a range of filler including chicory, rye, and sugar beet. Unsurprisingly, the new coffee was generally detested for its comparatively poor flavor, and the whole episode came to be informally known as the “Coffee Crisis.” The crisis passed after 1978 as world coffee prices began to fall again, as well as increased supply through an agreement between the GDR and Vietnam. The episode vividly illustrated the GDR’s structural economic and financial problems.


  13. NoThreat2U
    13 | April 3, 2011 3:45 pm

    @ lobo91:
    Maybe all the leftists should move to Europe.


  14. 14 | April 3, 2011 3:46 pm

    NoThreat2U wrote:

    This is a very interesting post. I remember all of this, believe it or not. And yes, Reagan crushed Old Maphead. To try and give the credit to anyone but Reagan is bullshit. But what do we expect from the European POV.

    Many American Leftists want to credit Gorbachev as well.


  15. 15 | April 3, 2011 3:47 pm

    @ lobo91:

    Yup!


  16. NoThreat2U
    16 | April 3, 2011 3:50 pm

    @ Rodan:
    Even I know better than that, and I am not all that well educated on the situation. But I know what I know. This was all happening when I was in high school. We never made Gorbi out to be the winner. He got his ass handed to him by Reagan.


  17. Guggi
    17 | April 3, 2011 3:51 pm

    NoThreat2U wrote:

    @ lobo91:
    Maybe all the leftists should move to Europe.

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO !!!!!!

    We’ve already enough !!!!!


  18. Eliana
    18 | April 3, 2011 3:52 pm

    @ lobo91:

    It’s not just the Europeans, of course.

    Our own left shares their view.

    Yes, they do -- and so does Israel’s left.


  19. 19 | April 3, 2011 3:53 pm

    @ Rodan:

    Hey, how come the hotlinks wont work for me?


  20. lobo91
    20 | April 3, 2011 3:54 pm

    Guggi wrote:

    NoThreat2U wrote:
    @ lobo91:
    Maybe all the leftists should move to Europe.
    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO !!!!!!
    We’ve already enough !!!!!

    Europe might tip over…


  21. 21 | April 3, 2011 3:54 pm

    @ doriangrey:

    Email M, I wouldn’t know.


  22. Guggi
    22 | April 3, 2011 3:55 pm

    Eliana wrote:

    Yes, they do – and so does Israel’s left.

    But Israel’s left becomes weaker an weaker.


  23. coldwarrior
    23 | April 3, 2011 3:55 pm

    Guggi wrote:

    What you saw in the shops was only available with foreign exchange.

    no, i was talking about the local shops.

    i know the difference between the exchange shops and the local shops, believe me.


  24. 24 | April 3, 2011 3:56 pm

    @ NoThreat2U:

    When I was growing up, I though Gorbachev was a punk and Reagan was the Man. Now I see the Left is rewriting history. They have done this many times.

    Example: The Ottoman Turks were good and Imperial Spain were Nazis. Hitler was a Conservative, Stalin was a good man and Mao was a visionary leader.

    They are experts at this.


  25. NoThreat2U
    25 | April 3, 2011 3:57 pm

    @ Guggi:
    I feel bad ragging on the Euros when you are here, but I gotta call em as I see them. No offense meant to you personally…you are OK in my book. So where do we ship all the leftists to? Muslim utopias maybe?? lol


  26. 26 | April 3, 2011 3:57 pm

    @ Eliana:
    @ lobo91:
    @ doriangrey:

    Check out the Headline, Lindsey Graham wants to restrict anti-Islamic speech.


  27. NoThreat2U
    27 | April 3, 2011 3:58 pm

    doriangrey wrote:

    @ Rodan:
    Hey, how come the hotlinks wont work for me?

    They don’t like you. They told me you were too passive-aggressive ;)


  28. 28 | April 3, 2011 3:58 pm

    NoThreat2U wrote:

    doriangrey wrote:
    @ Rodan:
    Hey, how come the hotlinks wont work for me?
    They don’t like you. They told me you were too passive-aggressive

    Bite my passive-aggressive ass… :grin:


  29. Poteen
    29 | April 3, 2011 3:59 pm

    What Gorby can claim some credit for is shepherding communism out with a whimper instead of a bloody bang.
    The transition from the communist to the drunkist was relatively peaceful IIRC. Not a mass casualty event.
    He saw it was over.


  30. NoThreat2U
    30 | April 3, 2011 3:59 pm

    @ Rodan:
    I was never taught any such things. Reagan was a hero around here. The only thing Old Maphead had in his favor was knowing when to STFU and STFD when Reagan told him to.


  31. NoThreat2U
    31 | April 3, 2011 4:00 pm

    @ doriangrey:
    LMAO*** I just had to throw that dig out there. lol


  32. Eliana
    32 | April 3, 2011 4:00 pm

    @ Guggi:

    But Israel’s left becomes weaker an weaker.

    Yup!

    Israel’s left has no idea what to do about it.

    Reality is visible to most Israelis so they aren’t being fooled by the left anymore.


  33. 33 | April 3, 2011 4:00 pm

    OK, time to go get aggressive on some Corona’s… :razz:


  34. Eliana
    34 | April 3, 2011 4:01 pm

    @ doriangrey:

    Hey, how come the hotlinks wont work for me?

    Please explain what you mean.

    What exactly is happening.

    Thanks.


  35. 35 | April 3, 2011 4:03 pm

    Eliana wrote:

    @ doriangrey:
    Hey, how come the hotlinks wont work for me?
    Please explain what you mean.
    What exactly is happening.
    Thanks.

    First of all, the link to log in wont do anything, so I have to go to the link at the top of the page to log-in, and then when I put all the information in the correct boxes only the refresh button works, the submit button does nothing.


  36. coldwarrior
    36 | April 3, 2011 4:06 pm

    @ Guggi:

    +now that i re-read that, yes the ddr econ was a mess, yes they needed infusions of cash from the west.

    however, the local shops still had basic food items on the shelves and there were no situations like in moscow of totally empty shops with nothing to sell. (the food items werent that great or diverse, but food non the less)

    so, the easties werent standing in lines for basic food as their counterparts in moscow would have to do.

    (just outside of east berlin is the first place i saw canned watermelon)


  37. Eliana
    37 | April 3, 2011 4:07 pm

    @ doriangrey:

    We haven’t changed anything to do with Hot Links in the past several days, as far as I know. We have a change to make but it hasn’t happened yet.

    I’ll check into what’s going on now.

    Thanks for the heads up.


  38. coldwarrior
    38 | April 3, 2011 4:07 pm

    NoThreat2U wrote:

    @ Rodan:
    I was never taught any such things. Reagan was a hero around here. The only thing Old Maphead had in his favor was knowing when to STFU and STFD when Reagan told him to.

    what is always forgotten is that gorbachev’s main goal was to SAVE socialism not get rid of it.

    when the system failed, he quickly dropped the save socialism part and it went down the memory hole.


  39. Guggi
    39 | April 3, 2011 4:26 pm

    coldwarrior wrote:

    no, i was talking about the local shops.

    What you saw was the capital Berlin with a much better supply than the rest of the country. Staple foods were highly subsidized and it was cheaper to feed cattle with bread than with feeding stuff but this worsened the problem. But it wasn’t only food but everyday commodities from clothes to floor tile from gasket to linen. Only Leipzig was better supplied during the trade fair. But when you lived e.g. in Zwickau you had a problem to get goods. Oranges were only available at Christmas (and only tiny, sour one) and 20-years old had never eaten a banana, pineapple and barely some grapes.


  40. Guggi
    40 | April 3, 2011 4:28 pm

    NoThreat2U wrote:

    Muslim utopias maybe??

    That’s a good idea ;-)


  41. coldwarrior
    41 | April 3, 2011 4:31 pm

    @ Guggi:

    i was all over east germany, even out to the polish border and into warsaw on a few trips..i never saw an empty store, there was alwys something on th shelves.

    my point is that the east germans did not have the dire conditions that the russians had by the 82-88 time frame. the east germans had food to eat, ornages and grapes dont count those are luxury items, i am taking about some sort of meats on the shelves and grain for bread and vegetables for vitamins (even if they are canned). basic food was available in eas\t gemany, whereas often there was missing basic food staples in russia.


  42. coldwarrior
    42 | April 3, 2011 4:32 pm

    Guggi wrote:

    Oranges were only available at Christmas (and only tiny, sour one) and 20-years old had never eaten a banana, pineapple and barely some grapes.

    i took it as a personal mission to teach east germans how to eat kiwi fruits.

    it was my calling for a few months.


  43. lobo91
    43 | April 3, 2011 4:39 pm

    I want my global warming back.

    It was 79 degrees yesterday. It’s snowing right now, with a 40 mph wind…


  44. Guggi
    44 | April 3, 2011 4:41 pm

    coldwarrior wrote:

    my point is that the east germans did not have the dire conditions that the russians had by the 82-88 time frame.

    This I can agree but only b’cause of the BRD. In 1983 the conservative politician Franz-Josef Strauss (CSU) arranged a some Billion-D-Mark loan for the bankrupt DDR without the knowledge and against the will of chancellor Kohl (CDU). Without this loan the DDR would have been bankrupt in 1983. This was a hughe scandal in the BRD especially in both conservative parties (CDU/CSU) which were in a coalition.


  45. Guggi
    45 | April 3, 2011 4:43 pm

    lobo91 wrote:

    It was 79 degrees yesterday.

    We had 77 today ;-)


  46. coldwarrior
    46 | April 3, 2011 4:43 pm

    lobo91 wrote:

    I want my global warming back.
    It was 79 degrees yesterday. It’s snowing right now, with a 40 mph wind…

    billions will go without baseball!!!11tyinnings!!!!

    :lol:


  47. Guggi
    47 | April 3, 2011 4:44 pm

    coldwarrior wrote:

    i took it as a personal mission to teach east germans how to eat kiwi fruits.
    it was my calling for a few months.

    ;-)


  48. Guggi
    48 | April 3, 2011 4:45 pm

    coldwarrior wrote:

    what is always forgotten is that gorbachev’s main goal was to SAVE socialism not get rid of it.

    correct !!!


  49. 49 | April 3, 2011 4:52 pm

    @ Guggi:

    Funny how it’s been twisted.


  50. Buckeye Abroad
    50 | April 3, 2011 6:02 pm

    @coldwarrior

    by 85 the shelves in the soviet union are bare directly because of american arms buildups and technological advances that cause the soviets to pour more and more resources into the military and less into consumer goods

    True. I spent sometime in eastern Europe and the stories were worse than what we picked up on in the 80′s. The essentials were bear. Getting permission to buy things like shoes .. when they were in stock. A colleauge of mine in Warsaw told me the Polish solidarity union protests were basically over the essentials (prices rose, but the pay did not) and the whole democracy and freedom issues were tacked on at the end of very long list by some intellectuals.

    oddly, the east germans were in no such trouble. the stores were stocked, the people weren’t standing in line…of course, the stasi could come and take you away at any time.

    A woman once told me her older brother was picked up and held for 6 years by the stasi. She said to this day he does not know why or what charges were against him. They simply released him one day.


  51. Macker
    51 | April 3, 2011 7:53 pm

    huckfunn wrote:

    You’ve got it exactly right. Gorbachev was a communist, simple as that. He happened to be the top turd when the whole hollow shell of the USSR caved. I remember how quickly events moved when the dominoes began falling. Poland, then Czech, Romania and East Germany (I don’t recallthe exact order). I remember when those people were standing on the Wall and the vopos did nothing. I almost hopped on a plane and flew over there. I didn’t think I would see the collapse of the USSR in my lifetime.

    Neither did I.


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