The Evening

That night Cass was alone in her Dacha room, watching English Russia Today on her iPad. She knew it was mainly propaganda, but sometimes she liked to go down the rabbit hole. “We all suffer from the same disease,” Cass muttered to herself.

She was always amused at the beautiful presenters sneered delivery of the reports on the West. The gist was, “You think that you are so ethical, but look what you have done. Look you are just as bad as us.”

It upset Cass that the propogandists felt that this was the only way to get at the West. She wondered whether they appreciated that this kind of broadcast showed more of their insecurities and weaknesses than their strengths. Like the weird clever kid in the play ground, who desperately wanted to play but always had to make the other kids feel shit about themselves.

There were faults in The West, there was no denying. There were problems with nationalists, corruption and money laundering and sadly there always would be. Greed, poor management and scapegoating happen in every culture. However rather than ignore the injustice, in the West was reported relatively freely.

Cass wished Russia would have the confidence to extol its greatness rather than its similar poor performance to the West. The West was to blame for this inferiority complex. The Cold War stopped because of Soviet economic collapse, not because of any great victory of Capitalism and the Freeworld.

Cass always thought there was dangerous hubris in this Western Perspective. Poor economic management could happen anywhere. The East Nostalgia for the Soviet System was ever present, even in young people who had never known communism and the Cold War. There were older people who still remember life under Communism being easier.   They had secure jobs, homes, health care and food. Fur coats and sticky sweet Crimean champagne really had no meaning when these things are wrenched away from you.

The few had benefited from the collapse of the Iron Curtain, but the majority had not seen much change. In fact the majority’s sense of stability was much worse. This is why it was important to scapegoat the West. Politically Russians had seen no change. Boyar, Chekist, NKVD, FSB were all the same meat, just different gravy. Tsars, Dictators and Presidents were carbon copies of the Immaculate Russian Strong Man. Rip down the old statues and put up new ones. Just make sure you put on a good show and keep on fooling the majority. Above all hold onto power, because they knew all to well what happened to the last guy who was in charge.

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19 thoughts on “The Evening

  1. I’ve always been a student of history, and have spent a lot of time looking into the sources of the ideas that are the core of what the “West” is. Most go directly back to Ancient Greece. It’s always seemed to me that Russia has never been fully on board with those ideas that form the basis of individual freedom and democracy (even though it’s pretty screwed up a lot here. And, everyone’s a product of centuries of history and culture. ). But, I don’t know a lot about Russia’s history. Is my impression at all correct that Russia, and Russian thought, is neither West nor East, but if there’s a bias, it’s more Eastern? More tuned to absolute rule, than to the assumptions of liberal democracies?

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    • Hi thank you for reading. I think the crux of the issue is back in its very foundations, when Russia first pushed to the Greece ideal, it was invaded by the Mongols. This left an everlasting scar on the ruling elite and the idea of power and control. It ensured that the power play would always be more Oriental than Occidental. The geographical size also causes this issue. How to rule and control a land mass that vast with such a diverse amount of people, cultures and competing ideas? China has similar issues. Both rule with an iron fist, which, even though it is cruel, it is considered by a large amount of the populous as fair. Everyone is subject to it and is a simple message to make sure that everyone works in the same direction. I personally do not agree with this way of ruling, but I think it is better to explore the reasons behind the situation.

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      • Good point. Thanks for taking the time to respond. I have read quite a bit about the Mongols, and know that period left a deep and lasting mark. But Europe and Asia both have a long tradition of authoritarian rule, too. The ideals of individual freedoms and self-rule are pretty late traditions, despite the Greeks, and in spite of the Renaissance and Enlightenment in the west. (The Byzantines were anything but democratic, and they were the inheritors of the Greek culture, more or less. They were more like an Eastern-Asian/ imperial satrapy than a Western Greco-Roman culture.

        With all it’s warts and sins and contradictions, the US still struggles to maintain republican (small ‘r’) principles, despite turning into a global empire. We’re not that good at the latter.

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      • Democracy is the best we have got, however imperfect (Brexit vote – US beware flirting with Trump). I do not think most US interventions had an imperialistic intention. Most of it is to stop people being bloody awful to other people. World Police with an impossible job and some vested interests (and which country hasn’t got those) may be, but the label of US Imperialism is unfair.

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      • I tend to agree with you, for the most part. But… oh, we have our share of imperialists, the sleazy little preppy bastards. :-). They tend to cloak their ambitions in high-minded words, but what imperialist has not done that, including Ancient Rome and Persia and Napoleon’s France? Ideas are a force multiplier.

        But I’ve been having this disturbing thought lately. The Spanish Civil War is seen as a warm-up rehearsal for WWII. There was the same tone of evangelical zeal on both sides and the sense of a fight between Good and Evil. Sounds like today, except the expansionists are coming from the Islamic world. Do you suppose these times are a corollary to the 1930s in Spain? (with all the necessary caveats about different forces and factors, etc. But I’m talking about the view from 30,000 feet. )

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  2. 🙂 Got it. BTW, I’ve been skimming the book excerpts you have on the site. You’ve done a lot, and what I saw flowed well, the characters were interesting, and there was lots of dialogue to move the reader along. Cass’ personality shines through, and I’d want to spend time with her, for sure. And, yes, I spent the most time in “The Party.” Maybe that colored my thoughts a bit about her!

    But I’m jealous, too. I’ve stalled out on mine. A book. I still like the characters, but have lost faith in the plot. It feels like a million others. The blog is therapy to work out some of the ‘stuff’, figure out how the medium works, practice writing and get the immediate feedback and affirmation I, apparently, crave. (That’s a recent revelation.) LOL. But that damed book is alway there, waiting. I just have to keep the characters working in a new story. 🙂

    (Nice job on the book all the way through. I am serious. I liked it. I won’t try to encourage you, as I hate it when people do that to me. They mean well. But I know I’ve got to do this myself.)

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  3. Don’t give up (I gave up for about six months but my character’s voices would not leave me alone). I will be looking at your book too. Some of the filth in my book does make narrative sense in relation to Julian and trust, but sometimes it is just fun to write.

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  4. Well, it’s probably all going to change. It’s got terrorism as a main element, and I’m getting tired of that whole topic. So, I won’t hold you to it. You can search for “Running Girl”, that may dig it out of the blog database.

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