In times of the Internet, historical memory shrinks. Who remembers today that for almost half a century the United States of America represented the realm of enlightenment, truth and progress, while the other side of the Iron Curtain was ruled by arbitrariness, gulags and politically decreed lies? This contrast was inflated by mutual propaganda, certainly, but forced labor camps and those millions of people Stalin had sent to their deaths were bitter reality. There was so little doubt concerning this gruesome past that Solzhenitsyn’s accusations were read worldwide, that is even in Russia. When Gorbachev finally dared to say the truth, the collapse of the regime was inevitable.
It is probably due to our biological origin as primates that our most intense feelings are so often associated with triumph over enemies. The Iliad is a hero song, where the bloodiest victories are celebrated with the utmost effort of poetical inspiration. No wonder, then, that the new Russian Czar invites his countrymen to indulge in these atavistic intoxication. More and more often, one can hear from his mouth how heroic the Russian people had fought against fascism and finally overcome it. Continue reading Hannah Arendt versus Vladimir Putin