Thursday, October 1, 2009

Interview With Professor Yuriy Malikov, Part Two

This is the second and final part of an interview with esteemed Professor Yuriy Malikov. In this half, Dr. Malikov answers questions regarding the Cold War, U.S. relations with Russia, and 20th century dictators.

Did you think the Cold War was going to end when it did, or did it come as a surprise to you?

Did it really end? NATO, the most powerful mechanism of the Cold War, still exists. More than that, it significantly increased its membership. US military bases still encircle Russia . Do a simple Google search on American military bases and you will see that the Cold War continues. And when did you hear anything good about Russia in American mass media? America needs an enemy.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, US politicians tried to appoint China as America ’s arch enemy. Do you remember this hysterical reaction to the Chinese downing of the American spy plane in 2000? Fortunately for the Chinese, the American economy is too dependent on them to start a new crusade. The War on Terror cannot last long. On the other hand, Russia in this respect is not much different. It also needs to have an external enemy. Georgia and Ukraine are not more serious threats to Russia than Iran or North Korea are to the US . So, we will find each other again. “Enemies studies” positions in US colleges will again be filled with Russianists, rather than with specialists on the Middle East .

Where do you see Russian-U.S. Relations going in the next few years? Do you believe that our two nations can come together as true friends and allies, or will we still see each other as semi-rivals?

I think I have already answered this question. Unfortunately, Americans will “all be Georgians,” and Russians will “all be Venezuelans.” As a Russian proverb says: “Two bears will not fit in one lair.”

Adolf Hitler was a dictator that committed mass genocide, killed millions of innocent people, and started World War II. Joseph Stalin killed thousands of his own people and purged his government, military, and civilian population mercilessly. In your opinion, who was worse person of the two?

Many politicians kill people. How many people did George W. Bush get killed in Iraq and Afghanistan – both the natives of these countries and American soldiers? It sounds cynical, but killing in itself does not place leaders of a nation into the category of a tyrant.

What matters then to characterize a historical figure? Probably the results and the logic of his or her actions. Stalin, like Hitler, committed numerous atrocities. Without justifying these atrocities, in the case of Stalin, I can explain the logic of his actions and their aims. Military purges started after Stalin learned of the suppressed military coup in Japan . Rapid collectivization and industrialization in the Soviet Union could not be accomplished without human sacrifices. Cruel methods used against its own population during WWII made Soviet soldiers fear the enemy less than their own authorities. Stalin was cruel, but logical, and the ultimate purpose of his policies was achieved. The Soviet Union became one of the leading industrial countries, built a powerful army, and won WWII. I can always explain all Stalin’s actions (without approving them). Hitler, on the contrary, is beyond my understanding. I can explain gulags, but I cannot explain the Holocaust.

Thank you to Dr. Malikov for agreeing to the interview, it was fun to do it. You can also find the first half of the interview here.

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1 comment:

Matthew Avitabile said...

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