Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Posts Tagged ‘Russia


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There are many complaints (some by me) about the low quality of recent TV series, how infected with wokeness they are, whatnot. Well, maybe we should make that recent English-language* TV series: I have just finished watching an 8-part Russian Trotsky biopic, which is absolutely brilliant in terms of acting, cinematography, scripting, whatnot. There is some gratuitous sex, but nothing is perfect. There is no Leftist agenda pushing, no horrendous miscasting, no bullshit—except maybe the surprisingly strong Russian of various Mexicans and other non-Russians. Well, there was an epidemic and some minor mask-wearing, but as this, the Spanish Flu, was something real both in terms of historicity and of threat level, there is no reason to be critical.

*The Brits are even worse than the Yankees. I would not be the slightest bit surprised to see a biopic of the recently dead QE II have her portrayed by someone Black, transgender, or otherwise utterly inappropriate for the part. (Writing “inappropriate”, I suddenly see Sacha Baron Cohen as a drag-queen Queen flash before my eyes. The image is very disturbing.)

While I am not well-read enough on Trotsky to judge the historical accuracy in detail, the series does provide a portrait of the disturbing evils of the Russian Communist/Bolshevik movement that is certainly accurate in the main. (Cf. e.g. “The Black Book of Communism”.) Here it poses a great learning opportunity for many modern Westerners, who fail to understand that Communism is as bad as or worse than Nazism was. Here we see the true face of Communism, maybe Leftism in general.

Trotsky, himself, is depicted as a monster—evil in a manner far more scary than, say, Darth Vader. More importantly, the series shows how evil wins when evil acts are done in the name of good, when the end is allowed to justify the means, and when individuals are denied any value in their own right, being reduced to tools for the Cause or, as so often today, to mere pawns for a chess-playing pseudo-elite—all problems that are ever recurring with the Left and all problems that I have written about in the past.*

*A particularly interesting example is the death penalty, used by the Tsars, abolished by the revolution (which was claimed as “a triumph of the revolution”, or similar, by one speaker), and then re-instated on the instigation of Trotsky in order, at least ostensibly, to protect the same revolution. (Notably, a death penalty intended less for true criminals and more for political enemies. Kangaroo courts and summary executions followed in the same episode.) The pigs do walk on two legs.

Then we have the issue that merely winning is not enough: The Bolsheviks might have won (over the Mensheviks, over the “Whites”, over the Tsar, over the whatnot), but they were unable to actually build the paradise that they had promised. From another point of view, Trotsky (at least as depicted here) might have temporarily won over Lenin and Stalin, but he was not able to hang on to his victory.

Particularly interesting are the strong signs of anti-Semitism* shown even by many Communists. As I have noted repeatedly in my texts on Nazis, e.g. in [1], there is nothing specifically Nazi, let alone Rightwing,** about anti-Semitism.

*Trotsky, originally Bronstein, was a Jew. Anti-Semitic sentiment is also displayed against his father (severely beaten) and children.

**But the Nazis, of course, were Leftwing.

However, the series is not limited to political aspects. Issues around family, how high or low family is prioritized, and how different opinions and whatnots within families are handled are particularly important. A symbolic scene shows Trotsky returning home in triumph after the successful revolution, which he prioritized above an early return to visit his son, who was severely ill with the Spanish Flu. He approaches a bedroom filled with family—and his other son closes the doors in his face, literally and metaphorically excluding him from the family union. Similar issues apply to friendships and other relationships within the series.

As an aside, I recently wrote:

Do not be fooled by the apparent “for children” nature of “Animal Farm”, however, as its main benefits come from allegory that few children can understand. Indeed, I remember being disappointed by the lack of a happy ending after my own first reading, as a child—why did not Snowball come back and right all wrongs? (As an adult, I see how a happy ending would have ruined the point of the book; and I realize that, while Napoleon was a proven bad guy, Snowball had never truly proven himself to be a good guy, implying that the effects of his hypothetical comeback were uncertain.)

Snowball corresponds to Trotsky, in the typical interpretation of “Animal Farm”, and if the real life Trotsky was anything like the screen version, then it might have been for the best that Snowball did not come back.


Written by michaeleriksson

September 13, 2022 at 2:46 pm

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Addenda to earlier texts

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Two addenda:

In [1], I speak of a fetus being connected to the mother by the umbilical cord. Strictly speaking, the umbilical cord connects fetus and placenta, with the placenta having an interface (or whatever term might be used) to the mother. In my case, I spoke without thinking the situation through; in the case of some others, there might be a genuine belief in the umbilical cord as a direct physical connection, similar to how the esophagus (and many other “pipes” and “cables” in the human body) is firmly attached at both ends,* and unlike how a pipe in a plumbing installation or an electric cable typically will be detachable on one or both ends. If so, it would go some way to explain the discussed misconception of the fetus as an actual part of the mother’s body. (Maybe, in that only the severing of the umbilical cord would create a physical separation, like the surgical separation of two Siamese twins. See excursion.)

*Indeed, with an eye at developmental history, the esophagus might be seen as part of a single long piece of plumbing, from mouth to anus, with a mere differentiation in role along the way. However, this does not affect the analogy.

In [2], I note that the West shut down access to Russian news-media over the Ukraine situation, with the implication of a wish to censor Russian war reporting and Russian perspectives on the war. There might, however, be something else behind it: I have visited the German web-edition of RT once or twice a week since the blockade began,*/** and have noted a considerable amount of non-war news and opinion contrary to what the German government likes to see. This includes critical takes on the German handling of COVID and on German energy policies. Maybe, the true reason is a wish to silence external critics of the German and other Western regimes? That the likes of RT might have broken through the one-sided, one-voiced, partisan messaging with an alternative take? (The war was then only a welcome excuse for the shutdown.)

*There are replacements sites and I use the tor network for most of my surfing, which makes the blockade easy to circumvent. I will not mention an explicit site, to avoid any anti-democratic or anti-rechtsstaatliche repercussions; however, finding one over an Internet search is likely easy.

**As I noted in some earlier text, the very fact of the blockade made me curious—Streisand effect.

Excursion on Siamese twins:
Siamese twins provide two other angles of attack against the “my body, my choice” idiocy. Firstly, even Siamese twins are typically* two adjoined bodies—not one shared body. Sometimes, the join might be extensive; sometimes, small and shallow. Sometimes, the one twin might depend on organs from the other; sometimes, they are independent. Even should umbilical-cord-is-a-fix-connection thinking be correct, it would be absurd to speak of the fetus as part of the mother, as, by implication, the one Siamese twin would a fortiori be part of the other.** Secondly, by applying “my body, my choice”, we could have situations like one twin committing suicide and taking the other, still wanting to live, with him.

*Maybe, always. I would need to research this more in depth. If, for instance, they are separate from the hips up, but have only one pair of legs and whatnots, is the lower body strictly shared—or is it more accurately viewed as belonging to one of the twins, with the other being legless and adjoined? In contrast, two fully formed bodies that just happen to stick together at the hips is clearly different from each other.

**With another complication of who is the “true” person and who the mere part.

Written by michaeleriksson

May 24, 2022 at 3:11 am

Odd reactions around Putin and Russia / Problems with cancellations, freedom of speech, etc.

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That Putin tries to silence dissent within Russia is not unexpected, but what goes on in the West is not much better. Unfortunately, it is not very unexpected either, in light of the many demonstrations of anti-intellectualism, intolerance, pathological virtue signalling, and whatnot that I have seen in the last ten years or so—especially, during the COVID-propaganda storm and the success of far-Left hate groups during the last few years.

Today, I am met with the claim that Tchaikovsky is due a good canceling over being Russian. Let us see: He died in 1893, lived in Tsarist Russia, and never spoke in favor of Putin or his invasion. How could he? Putin was not even born when Tchaikovsky died. Indeed, no-one now living had been born by then. Considering both the replacement of the Tsar with a (nominally) democratic government and the intervening Soviet era, it can be disputed whether he even was a citizen of the same country as the current Russians. To boot, his music was sometimes criticized for being too European and not Russian enough. (Indeed, while classical music often show strong traces of its origins, it is inherently something internationally enjoyable and transcending national borders. I, e.g., greatly enjoy his music, despite being Swedish and despite Russia and/or the Soviet Union being our Great Military Threat since the days of Charles XII and Peter the Great, some three hundred years ago.)

Why then? Ethnic reasons? Pathological hatred of everything Russian? A need to stomp out everything even remotely Putin-related, in the style of “Nineteen Eighty-Four”? A sick and twisted virtue signalling to prove that “I am even more anti-Putin than you!”?

Other events include currently living Russians (or even White Russians) being fired or prevented from participating at sports events* merely for being of the “wrong” nationality. In some cases, a firing has followed because someone has not denounced Putin and/or Russia sufficiently sharply, which is highly troublesome. The step from here to someone like yours truly being banned/canceled/fired/whatnot for not condemning Sweden’s approach to COVID is not that large.**

*Not to be confused with the already existing complications around doping and mass bans of athletes who have not tested positive but happen to be Russian.

**I note that I, on the contrary, support Sweden’s take—but not because I am a Swede. Instead, I actually care about science, freedom of speech, the rights of the individual, etc., which cannot be said for a great many others, including Merkel, Biden, Trudeau, and Fauci, who deserve their own condemnation.

Companies like Netflix have canceled (or are in the processes of canceling) services in Russia. I can see the point behind various sanctions (or a “get out while we can” attitude) in some fields, but with e.g. Netflix those being hurt are the regular Russian civilians—many of whom oppose the invasion. Putin? Not so much. True, maybe such measures can increase internal dissent and make things harder for Putin domestically; however, they might equally antagonize the civilians against the West and increase Putin’s support. If in doubt, attacking civilians, even through cutting off entertainment, is highly ethically dubious, and shows an attitude that differs in quantity, not quality, from that of a WWII bomber of civilians. Then there are questions like potential breaches of contracts.

Or consider the current Chelsea debacle: In an act of cutting of their own nose to spite the enemy’s face, the Brits are punishing the club because it has a Russian oligarch as owner. Indeed, it appears that oligarchs are currently treated as outright criminals, with no court judgment or, even, a formal legal charge. Maybe, they all are close friends of Putin, standing by to pour Western money into the Russian war chest. Then, maybe they are not. What happened to due process? Take note: the U.K. is not at war with Russia. (Barring some last minute development, which would have taken place after these measures were installed.) Even if they were, would it actually be a crime? Where will the border be for other transgressions, like contradicting the government or donating to Canadian protesters?

At least Germany, maybe the EU as a whole, is trying to block Russian news, including RT, with motivations in the “prevent Putin from spreading his lies” family. But how is that better than what Putin might do with Western news sources in Russia? How would any lies by Putin be worse than the many lies told by Western media, e.g. around COVID or to spread Leftist hate and reality distortion? How can we regular persons make up our mind on what is or is not truth, when we are only allowed to hear one side of the story? Most importantly, with what bloody right do these twerps presume to dictate what news sources I visit or do not visit?!?!

To this, I note (a) that I have pushed the need to look at different takes of various issues, hear both sides of the story, etc., for more than ten years, (b) that I have to date never had any contact with RT, but am now very curious,* (c) have seen enough from other sources to know that there are two sides to this story, (d) journalistic ethics (nowadays near absent) would dictate a sufficiently balanced telling that we can make up our own minds. (The result might very well be the conclusion that “Putin is evil”. The point is not the conclusion but the opportunity to make up one’s own mind, instead of having to uncritically accept, even a correct, opinion that someone else shoves down our throats.)

*Note issues like the “Streisand effect”—chances are that such bans backfire.

All in all, recent events have told me more about Western politicians and whatnot than about Putin. Well, except that I already had a pretty fair idea after the last few years.

Written by michaeleriksson

March 10, 2022 at 9:21 pm