Experimentul sovietic


Queen of Sorrow


The tragic queen of Russian poetry, Anna Andreyevna Akhmatova, was born on June 23, 1889. She died on March 5, 1966, 11 years after Stalin. In 1946, Stalin’s ideological henchman, Andrey Zhdanov, carried out his master’s order and denounced her poetry as “decadent” and called her “half nun, halh harlot.” Her first husband, poet Nikolay Gumilyov, was executed as a “counter-revolutionary” under Lenin. Their son, Lev, spent years in the Gulag. In her celebrated poem “Lot’s Wife,” Akhmatova uses a biblical reference to the story of Lot’s wife (who goes unnamed in the Bible), a woman given the chance to escape her home as it is destroyed by God, but who makes a fatal sacrifice to look back at her city one, final time.

The just man followed then his angel guide

Where he strode on the black highway, hulking and bright;

But a wild grief in his wife’s bosom cried,

Look back, it is not too late for a last sight

Of the red towers of your native Sodom, the square

Where once you sang, the gardens you shall mourn,

And the tall house with empty windows where

You loved your husband and your babes were born.

She turned, and looking on the bitter view

Her eyes were welded shut by mortal pain;

Into transparent salt her body grew,

And her quick feet were rooted in the plain.

Who would waste tears upon her? Is she not

The least of our losses, this unhappy wife?

Yet in my heart she will not be forgot

Who, for a single glance, gave up her life.

—Translated from the Russian by Richard Wilbur

Timely lessons of the past century


“Official history has always been the history of great murderers, and it is not only today that Cain is killing Abel. But it is only today that Cain is killing Abel in the name of logic and then claiming the ribbon of the Legion of Honor.” (Albert Camus, quotation retrieved in the Bertram Wolfe Collection, Hoover Institution Archives, July 2017)

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A avut, are si va avea dreptate…


A century after the Bolshevik revolution: Raymond Aron was, as Allan Bloom wrote shortly after the philosopher’s death in 1983, “the man who for fifty years . . . had been right about the political alternatives actually available to us. . . . [H]e was right about Hitler, right about Stalin, and right that our Western regimes, with all their flaws, are the best and only hope of mankind.”

Basta with Lenin!


In order to calm the crowd outside, the portrait of Lenin is rapidly being removed from the council room of the city hall by a freedom fighter. Gyor, Hungary. October-November, 1956. © Erich Lessing | Magnum Photos


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These images made Mátyás Rákosi’s peers, the other little Stalins, all those butchers of their nations named Gheorghiu-Dej, Novotny, Hoxha, Ulbricht, Zhivkov, but also Khrushchev and Mao, tremble. Neither were Gomulka and Tito happy with the spontaneous outburst of mass revolt against tyranny. Leninists have always resented and abhorred stikhiinost. Moreoever, for all of them the crucial role played by students and intellectuals in the revolution was intolerable. According to historian Lars Lih, the Russian term stikhiinost contains the meaning of the English “spontaneity” combined with a sense of an elemental force…

Image: October-November 1956. Budapest. On Vaci Road was the Soviet Cultural shop, members of the insurrection looted it and destroyed the propaganda material. Photo by Erich Lessing (Magnum)


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O grotescă minciună


Pentru Cornel Nistorescu, Himmler-ul României lui Ceausescu a fost “un general luminat”. Luminat va fi fost și mareșalul NKVD Lavrenti Pavlovici Beria. Luminat o fi fost și Iuri Vladimirovici Andropov, odiosul hărțuitor al celor care luptau pentru respectarea drepturilor omului in URSS. Tot in corul negaționist cântă serenade răposatului megasecurist și Adrian Nastase: “A murit generalul Iulian Vlad, una din figurile cele mai interesante, dar și cele mai discrete, din peisajul public romanesc. L-am respectat și am respectat eforturile pe care le-a făcut pentru a tempera situatia din țară inainte de ’89 și de a asigura apărarea intereselor țarii la incheierea Războiului Rece”. Chestiunea aceasta cu “interesele țării” este o perfidă capcană, de fapt o grotescă minciună. Niciun interes național nu cerea să susții din răsputeri dictatura dementă a cuplului Ceausescu. Niciun interes național nu impunea represiunea din noiembrie 1987 de la Brașov. Niciun interes național nu justifica asasinarea lui Gheorghe Ursu, arestările de disidenți, prigonirea Doinei Cornea. Dimpotrivă!

O datorie de onoare


Ca fost președinte al Comisiei Prezidențiale pentru Analiza Dictaturii Comuniste din România, afirm cu maximă responsabilitate academică și morală că niciodată, dar absolut niciodată, Securitatea nu a fost o instituție patriotică. A fost o organizație criminală din clipa inființării și până la sfârșit (dacă sfârșit este cuvântul potrivit). Dedic acest text memoriei lui Constantin Ticu Dumitrescu (1928–2008), președintele AFDPR și membru al Comisiei Prezidențiale.

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Mânia și greața


Chiar dacă aș avea nervi de oțel și tot n-aș putea citi fără un sentiment de abisal, nevrozant dezgust despre “patriotismul” securistului en titre care a fost Iulian Vlad. Marx a scris cândva că omenirea se desparte de trecutul ei râzând. In cazul de față, ne despărțim cu o infinită, irepresibilă și pe deplin justificată mânie in raport cu un criminal și cu apologeții săi. Dublată de o apăsătoare și cât se poate de legitimă greață…

Totalitarian brotherhood in action…


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September 17, 1939: Every word in Vyacheslav Molotov’s infamous speech on that day was a shameless, blatant, egregious lie: “Events arising out of the Polish-German War have revealed the internal insolvency and obvious impotence of the Polish state. Polish ruling circles have suffered bankruptcy… Warsaw as the capital of the Polish state no longer exists. No one knows the whereabouts of the Polish Government. The population of Poland have been abandoned by their ill-starred leaders to their fate. The Polish State and its Government have virtually ceased to exist. In view of this state of affairs, treaties concluded between the Soviet Union and Poland have ceased to operate. A situation has arisen in Poland which demands of the Soviet Government special concern for the security of its State. Poland has become a fertile field for any accidental and unexpected contingency that may create a menace for the Soviet Union…Nor can it be demanded of the Soviet Government that it remain indifferent to the fate of its Blood Brothers, the Ukrainians and White Russians inhabiting Poland, who even formerly were nations without rights and who now have been utterly abandoned to their fate. The Soviet Government deems it its sacred duty to extend the hand of assistance to its brother Ukrainians and White Russians inhabiting Poland.” Extracts from Molotov’s broadcast speech on the Soviet invasion of Poland (17 September 1939) Mirovoe Khoziaistvo, 1939, 9, p. 13. In Soviet Documents on Foreign Policy. Volume I: 1917-1941. Jane Tabrisky Degras (ed.) 1953, Oxford University Press. Pages 374-5