The ironies of absolute power were evident in Tsarist Russia. In the 19th century, the Russian philosopher Pyotr Chaadaev said that Russia existed to teach the world how not to live. He was referring to Russia’s contempt for the individual. “Alone in the world,” he wrote in his First Philosophical Letter,”we gave the world nothing and have taken nothing. We have in no way contributed to the progress of human reason and everything that came to us as a result of this progress, we distorted.”
Source: The Collapse of the Soviet Union: 25 Years Later | Frontpage Mag – 12/26/2016.
A little further on —
Satter: Soviet rule was based on lying as a substitute for truth. What mattered was not what was true but what could be made to appear to be true and the criterion for this ersatz truth was whatever was in the interest of the regime.
Against this background, the introduction of genuinely truthful information as a result of Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost could only lead to the destruction of the system. The elements of truth that were introduced as a result of glasnost became part of a delusionary system with which they were totally incompatible. The result was a confrontation over core principles and either the system or the truth had to be destroyed. Fortunately, it was the system that collapsed. In the end, massive falsification was formidable only as long as it was unchallenged. Once the truth was allowed in a limited form, the dykes holding back the reality of the outside world ruptured and the system became part of the past.
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