The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Most Russians Would Like the USSR Back

This is what happens when you mess up the transition from Communism:

When researchers asked the public if they would like the Soviet Union to be restored, 58 percent replied in the affirmative, with 14 percent saying they considered such project quite realistic at the moment. Forty-four percent view the restoration of the USSR as unfeasible, even though preferable. Thirty-one percent said they would not be happy if events took such a turn, while 10 percent could not give a simple answer to the question.

Of course, much of it is nostalgia by people who have no memory of the USSR, but I still find it interesting that, in some of the countries that were Communist, people would like to go back.  The number in East Germany was 57 percent recently.

I wonder what the number would be in China. The interesting metric is this: Those who stay in their ancestral villagers are happier than those who leave. Pollution is terrible in the new mega-cities and safety is way down. I know many people familiar with China in the 80s who say you could leave your possessions in public, come back hours later and be certain they would be thre.

History never ends. Neither capitalism, nor democracy, nor the current capitalist philosophy of neo-liberalism will be eternal.

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Open Thread (Primaries)


What the Infotech/Telecom Revolution Has Actually Done


  1. Ramona

    well, they can’t get USSR back, but they could get rid of neoliberalism and get a decent socialism project going.

    those billionaires are criminals of the most despicable kind: watching their fellow citizens starve while they stole collective assets.

  2. DMC

    The Chinese, of course still call themselves Communists. What they’d be nostalgic for is the”iron rice bowl” that was the hallmark of Chinese Communism back when there was still a socialist component. I wonder how they keep a straight face about that “workers paradise” stuff or has “Atlas Shrugged” replaced Mao’s little red book?

  3. markfromireland

    Not just nostalgia Ian – the USSR felt to many of its citizens as something that for all its failings was worth being a part of, was something that being a part of was a source of pride. Then came Yeltsin and his American advisers and the corruption, oligarchs, and famine. Millions died both of hunger and of hunger related diseases. Of course they’re nostalgic and this is something that Putin who unlike Yeltsin is a patriot and who appeals to patriotism can and does harness.

  4. batalos

    “but I still find it interesting that in some of the countries that were Communist people would like to go back”

    – thats quite easy… You couldn’t die like a dog near some fence from hunger, malnutrition, cold and so on in the Soviet Union…

  5. batalos

    dirty Communists forced people to have basic needs met… unlike free societies where people r absolutely free 2 die if they happened 2 be loosers

  6. batalos


    Putin is not patriot (unless patriot of himself)…
    He is a part of the Global Right elites (Kissinger, Rockefellers, old Europe aristocracy, like that)

  7. markfromireland

    @ batalos. The overwhelming majority of Russians disagree with you and like the fact that they have a leader whose proud to be a Russian wants it to be strong again and acts accordingly. So let’s see

    On the one hand we have the overwhelming majority of Russians who believe that he like they is a patriot who love his county. On the basis of his actions in getting Russia from a supine wreck to a strong and still rising power they have ample basis for that belief.

    On the other hand we have one guy on the internet who says “Putin is not patriot”

    I’ll go with the the overwhelming majority of Russians believe and say particularly when, like them, I can see the results of his actions. It’s that “reality based” thing dontcherknow.

  8. ralph m

    I got to know a couple of Russian families back in the 90’s, who were still struggling with English and navigating a strange new land and culture.

    In general, they were frank about the limitations of life in the USSR..empty store shelves, lineups for basic necessities, limited earning potential even for educated professionals; but they all agreed the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union was a nightmare for average Russians..and other Soviets..old people without family support left homeless and dying in the streets, suicides, alcohol poisonings etc..

    I was told Moscow had no homeless problem prior to the Fall..which even liberal Canadian cities have, let alone the US and the new capitalist Russia. The only winners in the transition to capitalism in Russia and other former Soviet republics were the top Communist Party officials, who, amazingly enough did a 180 in making the transition from preaching Marxism to extolling capitalist they bought up cheap government assets and industries and became the new class of billionaires.

    So, I’m thinking part of the reminiscing about the Soviet Union may be nostalgia for a less ruthlessly competitive time, and also awareness of the same problem all capitalist countries face today: increasing shares of wealth being confiscated by the wealthy capitalists who run the governments and the economies.

  9. batalos


    “On the one hand we have the overwhelming majority of Russians who believe
    On the other hand we have one guy on the internet who says”

    – millions of flies cant be wrong, yep…

    PR is PR
    As 4 the facts – Russian Federation for the last 25 years was built as a (quite poor) copy of the USA. And the USA is just an arm of the TNC

  10. S Brennan

    On the one hand we have the overwhelming majority of Russians who believe that he like they is a patriot who love his county.

    On the other hand we have one guy on the internet who says “Putin is not patriot”

    On the one hand we have Mark with whom I often disagree, but respect

    On the other hand we have our latest troll.

    Hmmm…tough call…an educated man who tries his best to have honest discourse and an ignorant bore…I’m leaning toward Mark, but perhaps our latest mythical creature can impress me with his next response?

  11. markfromireland

    @ batalos April 22, 2016

    You combine arrogance, stupidity, viciousness, and the wilful equation of millions of Russians with vermin in one comment.

    How efficient of you.

    And no the RF political, legal, and economic structures are not as you pretend a copy of those found in the US. Lengthy experience of the breed has taught me that people like you have a desperate need to pander to your inferiority complexes by pretending that everything is about the USA coupled with whichever particular conspiracy theory it is that you get off on.

    It must be downright horrid for you when reality eventually intrudes.

    Have you considered dropping the TNC shibboleth and taking up the “it’s all the Khazars’ fault” one instead? It’s far more popular amongst those who infest the shallower end of the gene pool so you’d be a lot less lonely.

  12. Synoia

    “This is what happens when you mess up the transition from Communism”

    Possibly true, only if there were, or are, “un-messed up” destinations to the transition.

    I’m not stating the transition was not messed up. I’m wondering about a description of a better alternative, if there is one.

    I can offer one suggestion, probably not perfect: the UK under socialism in the ’40s through the ’70s. That expired under Thatcher.

  13. Ché Pasa

    Interesting. Ever since the breakup of the Soviet empire and the collapse of the Soviet Union, significant percentages of those who used to live under the Soviet version of communism said they were better off before the Fall and they wanted at least some aspects of the way things used to be to be restored.

    Sometimes those who felt this way were a majority — but they were often dismissed as nostalgiacs and dead-enders with no future, “losers” in the parlance of their overlords.

    In another life, I interviewed a number of immigrants from the Former Soviet Union, and it was striking to me how much the older people expressed their admiration for what was now lost, even to the point of “loving” Stalin (mostly for winning the War), and how little regard the young had for what the Soviet Union once had been.

    One of the strongest complaints the young had was that the Soviet Union was dull.

    Boring. Too rigid. Too safe.

    To the old folks, the stability, dullness, and safety they felt in the Soviet Union were good things, desirable and necessary for a decent life. They didn’t feel they had those things in the United States. They were frightened that something bad would happen to them. They feared being thrown out of their modest apartments for any reason or no reason or that they wouldn’t have enough to eat because the price of food was out of their reach. They felt they had to depend on the good will of the young people who had jobs and at least some money, and they felt bad about it. Of course they depended on the young to translate for them.

    On the other hand, the young immigrants had plenty of criticism of the United States, too, particularly of the poor education system (yes, they noticed) and the requirement to spend so much money on things that were either provided as part of the Soviet system (healthcare, for example) or weren’t necessary (like cars and all their attendant expenses) because public transportation was so good.

    They didn’t miss the authoritarianism, domestic surveillance, restrictions on movement, and over bureaucratization of the Soviet era, but some saw a lot of that creeping into American culture and being accepted almost without question. (This was 2000-2003)

    Putin so far has been able to bridge the admiration for what once was and deal with the criticism of the present state of the RF. He’s an activist in the sense that he isn’t satisfied with the way things are and appears to be pushing for a better future. So it’s no wonder he’s wildly popular.

  14. Only someone who bought the Cold War BS can be surprised that Russians would wish to return to the USSR. By 1970, USSR was being politically emulated on some level by at least half the world’s population. When there were international athletic events, the USSR and it allies won damn near everything. Their military hardware was world-class—something that had been true since at least the T-34 tank. The Kalishnakov was such a symbol of third-world liberation movements, it was once sewn into a national flag. The schools were astonishingly good—including massive support for arts and science education.

    Yes, there were shortages of consumer goods, but considering the damage the Nazis had inflicted on USSR, everyone understood why. And no one starved.

    Compared to that, the Russia designed by the neoliberals from Harvard was a pathetic embarrassment. And yes, elite western economic advice DID produce starvation in the streets of Moscow.

  15. V. Arnold

    jonathan larson
    April 23, 2016
    Only someone who bought the Cold War BS can be surprised that Russians would wish to return to the USSR.
    Yep, pretty much agree with your post. The western media propaganda storm didn’t start with Pres. Putin. Most USians are victims of that machine; robbed (willingly) of genuine knowledge of the world around them. Provincial to a fault…

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