Malignant Narcissistic Process Distilled

Having approached this topic quite a few times over the years, I’m loath to either repeat myself after this or in the way of academics elaborate and make a career on top of a kernel of bullet points or terms of art. Here is how I believe a malign narcissism develops and then extends into the feudal-medieval aspects of power and greater political life and, ultimately, cultural and civilizational tragedy–and let’s be done with that.

Narcissistic Mortification: experiences of humiliation or shame to the extent that the identity and self feel damaged, impotent, and small. The discomfort–for what it is to do to the person–may be considered remarkable.

Covering/Splitting: “Covering” refers to the hiding of the damaged self and the packing away of an awful experience; “splitting” refers to the creation of an heroic undamaged self to be both asserted and defended at all costs. With “MaligNarcs”–expressed through authoritarian, dictating, and sociopathic manipulation–the appreciation or recognition and respect for normal boundaries and limits fade before the objectives of the self in hiding damage and asserting extraordinary power.

Control of the Experiences and Perceptions of Others: most well known: “gaslighting”. However, add deceptions and lies without ends or limits. Whatever works . . . works.

Messianic Delusions of Grandeur: Although the “MaligNarc” creates the chaos–no different from the fireman who sets the fire, so he may show up and put it out as a hero–the vision is to stand astride the same heroically saving his class, creed, gender, race, and religion from all who would diminish any part.

Unlimited Narcissistic Supply: adoration and love unlimited.

Whether you recognize all or part of the above from personal or political life, take the experience into account and put it to use. In effect–bully in the family; the butcher of his own state–the monster has been found out and has no place to hide.

For a pejorative, “MaligNarc” suits.

–33–

A Few Keys Related to ‘East-West Rivalry’

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As a blogger drifting along the contours of institutions and media concerned with defense and national security, I’ve encountered two primary challenges: how to condense, distill, and package strong material for public overview and impact; and, sigh, how to give the “pebble” sufficient weight to get a firm small wave bouncing back and force across the Internet pond.

Without further ado . . . .

.Felix Dzerzhinsky, born September 11, 1877
.Dawisha (RIP) Soviet Nomenklatura Mid-1980s Transition Plan for the Distribution of State Assets
.Nekrasov’s documentary
.Zawahiri in Russia, ’96-7
.Satter On The Moscow Apartment Bombings
.9/11 Reflexive Control->New Nationalism EU/NATO
.Sustained Active Measures | Russian Mafia State | Syrian Barbarism | Trump Ascendancy
.Ukraine, 2014 Crimean Annexation, Invasion 2022

*Section mentioned in “Russia Full Tonto Kleptocracy, Mafia, and Terrorist State” (BackChannels, June 28, 2022) and lightly edited for presentation in this post.

Do you see what I see?

Of course not.

You haven’t been on my specific poli-sci/poli-psy/poli-spy tour, but the clues in events and personalities don’t reside only my mind: they are all here on the web. My guess: the knowledgeable, say at GCHQ or NSA, have already put them together (well, those cats have got to have better resources and more interesting conversations), but the ordinary public appears to me to be struggling with what has happened–and with what may be happening if it doesn’t come to grips with a strong true representation of cultural and political reality.

Premise-Thirty Years Revenge for ’89 and ’91

I believe Bolshevik criminal elements within the Soviet KGB wasted little time prying their way back into power and prestige sufficient to bend the Russian Federation’s democracy and justice to their own will and for their own ends (ref.: Nekrasov documentary on Litvinenko, Rebellion: The Litvinenko Case AKA Poisoned by Polonium: The Litvinenko File).

In addition to focusing on self-enrichment and power, the cohort appears to have been bent on vengeance for the Soviet Army’s defeat in Afghanistan in 1989 and the dissolving of the Soviet Union itself at noon on December 25, 1991, an implication drawn by the manner of Vladimir Putin’s ascent to Russia’s presidency, his legendary affection for Felix Dzerzhinsky, Joseph Stalin, and Soviet Era Russia, and the inadequacy expressed through his “malignant narcissism” (see “Liar, Thief, and Tyrant”, February 20, 2022, on this blog) and related devotion to supporting his own Russian messianic heroic image through artifice (because that’s all he really has). The emperor may have no clothes but neither Russians nor the west are dwelling on that as he has Russia focused on his greatness (or else!) and everyone else his destructive threat.

Moscow’s Development of the East-West Rivalry Narrative

I believe conventional western financial and political leadership took the familiar tack of wanting to help the defeated get back on its feet through the extension of capital, the hand of cooperation, and patient tolerance or understanding for the Russian travail that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. Only at the turning point of the Syrian Civil War (2011) did western detente return to play–and then containment. Today, for having accepted the position of responding to Russia’s initiatives and rollout of its own and quite evil narrative arc, EU/NATO have found themselves in various ways somewhat compromised; a little incoherent about corruption, legacy, power, and realpolitik in each state’s own way (for related review, have a look at authoritarianism or nationalism in Hungary, Italy, Poland, Turkey, and the United States) ; and finally brought to face once again a most dangerous confrontation with Moscow and its criminal Soviet-post-Soviet character now on full display in the ethnic cleansing and “rubbling” of Ukraine.

Perhaps Washington thought it progress to have worked on the “War on Terror” with Moscow, but in the end, the Pentagon and State Department found the Taliban kept in business by Russian arms and materiel–and both would leave Afghanistan with the Taliban guarding Russia’s embassy in Kabul.

Avarice, Inferiority, and Greed–Russia and Trump

Russia and Russia’s leadership may have a “special” narcissism and enormous compensating vanity, but I am certain that among nations and their full collection of political experiments that it has no “special truth”, for at every opportunity, Moscow has supported criminals, dictators, fanatics, and terrorists–and it has through its Active Measures and destabilization operations put to work similar elements in its targets.

The poster displayed in this tweet appears to have been a gesture of support from within Russia following Trump’s 2016 election win. One may take it as a comment on the medieval mentality and related methods popular with both leaders and their respective followers.

Donald John Trump as Malignant Narcissist

The steps and terms-of-art I’ve picked up in relation to “Malignant Narcissism” have been these, and while practically self-explanatory, academics and analysts have spent serious verbiage on each. I’ll step in most informally to convey the gist.

Narcissistic Mortification: experiences of humiliation or shame to the extent that the identity and self feel damaged, impotent, and small. The discomfort–for what it is to do to the person–may be considered remarkable.

Covering/Splitting: “Covering” refers to the hiding of the damaged self and the packing away of an awful experience; “splitting” refers to the creation of an heroic undamaged self to be both asserted and defended at all costs. With “MaligNarcs”–expressed through authoritarian, dictating, and sociopathic manipulation–the appreciation or recognition and respect for normal boundaries and limits fade before the objectives of the self in hiding damage and asserting extraordinary power.

Control of the Experiences and Perceptions of Others: most well known: “gaslighting”. However, add deceptions and lies without ends or limits. Whatever works . . . works.

Messianic Delusions of Grandeur: Although the MaligNarc creates the chaos–no different from the fireman who sets the fire, so he may show up and put it out as a hero–the vision is to stand astride the same heroically saving his class, creed, gender, race, and religion from all who would diminish any part.

Unlimited Narcissistic Supply: adoration and love unlimited.

The best example I’ve read and repeatedly distributed in relation to Vladimir Putin has been David Satter’s investigation in the National Review — “The Unsolved Mystery Behind the Act of Terror That Brought Putin to Power” (August 17, 2016). For Donald John Trump, one may explore the web for “Trump, Malignant Narcissist” and find the long list of both learned and light psychobabble. Here’s a passage just plucked off the web:

According to psychologist John Gartner, Trump clearly exhibits four key symptoms of malignant narcissism — the “most destructive” personality type — including paranoia, narcissism, antisocial personality disorder and sadism. “

This type of leader pops up all throughout history, and they’re always extraordinarily disruptive,” Gartner told AFP, noting that the same label has been applied to Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini.

“What is so strange is that we’re not used to seeing this type of leader in America.”

Raynaldy, Romain. “Psychologist-backed documentary labels Trump ‘malignant narcissist’.” The Jakarta Post, September 1, 2020.

You can tell the condition’s gotten really bad when it expresses as the “Paranoid Delusional Narcissistic Reflection of Motivation“, which has been myself just calling it as I’ve seen it.


PBS, June 28, 2022.

And for political theater . . .

That’s a mob–or it was a mob, a heavily armed one too.

Medieval leaders love mobs, also secret gangs, behind-the-curtain deals with other “nobility”, dumb but loyal armies, and the idea above all of being as if gods, blessed by religious power, and free to define the law of the lawless land–and in Russia’s absolute “patrimonial authoritarianism”, apparently free to treat persons and property as alike and to destroy either at will and with impunity.

Modern leaders do all they can to minimize and eliminate that mentality from their districts, regions, and states, for the modern world in every facet relies on complex cooperation and the integration of large systems. It may help if they’re devoted to the health and well being of their respective constituencies and not solely the representatives of one patrician class or another.

Thematic on this blog has been “Medieval v Modern”, and, of course, it or I, or the same 🙂 , has posed the question, “In which world do you wish to live? Medieval? Or Modern?”

As the European Union and NATO see more clearly what Moscow has “accomplished” with its barbarous medieval ambitions (or delusions) over the past 30 years of support for the post-Soviet but still Soviet spheres of control and influence–and, finally, in the so-far “ethnic cleansing” of Ukraine–both will have to determine to take apart the Putin’s Olde Regime and nurture in its place a modern Russia that Russians too (as it dawns on them what has been and is being done to them and their children) might appreciate and embrace. In this passage where every day is agony for Ukrainians and an eternity for diplomats and politicians, that day’s on a seemingly far horizon, but it’s there and will become more visible with time. So-called “leaders” like Putin and Trump have made themselves impossibly archaic and in cultural, ethical, and moral terms, if not financial (yet), bankrupt.

Truth be known: neither Putin nor Trump has anything–apart from a little money or laundering service–to offer anyone.

–33–

Russia Full Tonto Kleptocracy, Mafia, and Terrorist State

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“Full Tonto”?

Criminally insane, mad, off the rails, and in the manner of the Malignant Narcissist and Thug in Charge, Russia has lost all sense of boundaries and limits. Putin’s Russian Circle of Thieves has taken from the Russian People their dignity, economy, freedom, and security; it has marched into battle enslaved conscripts and either criminal or leveraged (both) officers.

I’ve made the case on this blog that the “end of the Cold War” became in its underlying reality a struggle for revenge on the west for the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan (shorthand: “’89”) and the dissolving of the Soviet Union in bankruptcy (“’91”). We are now about 30 years out (1992-2022) from Vladimir Putin’s most traumatic political memory (the fall of the SU) and very near direct war against what has become a politically absolute, criminal, and rogue state held in the grip of real mafia and political thugs.

How Close the Prospect of War with Russia?

How Free are the Russian People Under Putin?

Might There Be Some Practical Motivation for Russia’s Conquest by the Destruction of Ukraine?

Amelin, Anatoliy, Andrian Prokip, and Andreas Umland. “The Forgotten Potential of Ukraine’s Energy Reserves.” Harvard International Review, October 10, 2020.

Excluding Russia’s gas reserves in Asia, Ukraine today holds the second biggest known gas reserves in Europe. As of late 2019, known Ukrainian reserves amounted to 1.09 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, second only to Norway’s known resources of 1.53 trillion cubic meters. Yet, these enormous reserves of energy remain largely untapped. Today, Ukraine has a low annual reserve usage rate of about 2 percent. Moreover, more active exploration may yield previously undiscovered gas fields, which would further increase the overall volume of Ukraine’s deposits.

A Note on the End of the Cold War and Russia’s Persistent Imperial Vanity

I’ve no idea what CIA, GHCQ, NSA, et al. have been doing, but I’ve cause to believe I’ve both found and uncovered The Dots, fuzzy and large though they may be. Here they are:

.Felix Dzerzhinsky, born September 11, 1877
.Dawisha (RIP) Soviet Nomenklatura Transition Plan
.Nekrasov’s documentary
.Zawahiri in Russia, ’96-7
.Satter on Moscow Apartment Bombings
.9/11 Reflexive Control->New Nationalism EU/NATO
.Sustained Active Measures | Russian Mafia State | Syrian Barbarism | Trump Ascendancy
.Ukraine, 2014 Crimean Annexation, Invasion 2022

Circumstantial? Coincidental? Disconnected?

I don’t think so.

I suspect one or more Soviet Era KGB found themselves driving cabs early in 1992 and determined to get themselves back into business inside the state (watch Nekrasov’s documentary).

Motivating Zawahiri to team up with Osama Bin Laden to work on fireworks for 9/11?

Addressing Islamic Extremism (and Osama Bin Laden) may have been something Moscow and Washington thought they might work on together.

Wishing not to repeat myself nor dull the reading with definitions (“Active Measures”, “Destabilization Operations”, “Hybrid Warfare”, etc.), it may do to stop here but with the observation that Russia’s barbaric behavior in Syria starting in 2011 may have also set the stage not only for the invasion of Ukraine but added emphasis to its various nuclear-related civilizational, existential, and political threats: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has no conscience.

Regarding the term “Mafia State” as applied to Russia

Galeotti, Mark. “Gangster’s paradise: how organised crime took over Russia.” The Guardian, March 23, 2018.


McIlvenna-Davis, Dylan. “Gangs and Gulags: How Vladimir Putin Utilizes Organized Crime to Power his Mafia State.” Berkeley Political Review, December 16, 2019.

These newly established enforcers formed the seedy underbelly of Russian society that expanded upon the collapse of the U.S.S.R. and the move towards free-market practices. Since his rise, Vladimir Putin has incentivized gangsters to do his bidding in a new way. Rather than overt collusion, the Russian government, as ABC puts it, “make[s] its views known” and allows gangs to operate within the guidelines set forward by Putin.

As the European Council on Foreign Relations notes, more and more crime networks tangentially linked to Russian actors have appeared all over Europe. Multiple politically convenient assassinations or assassination attempts have been made on anti-Russia figures by gang members who have been accused of being Russian assets. The Russian government, via the Russian mafia, has dabbled in ventures ranging from hacking to money laundering.


Nevzlin, Leonid. “The Result of 20 Years of Putin: Russia as a Mafia State.” Institute of Modern Russia, January 24, 2020.


The west handled the “end of the Cold War” as if the key elements in “east-west rivalry” had been resolved and returns to the previous state of affairs could be dulled through cooperation, peace, and prosperity.

As much has proven over time an horrendous goof however noble the intents.

*

Regarding Russia’s “help” with the “War on Terror”: Rowlett, Justin. “Russia ‘arming the Afghan Taliban’, says US.” BBC, March 23, 2018; Maynes, Charles. “The Russian Embassy in Kabul Is Now Under Protection of the Taliban.” NPR, August 16, 2021.

*

The West–EU/NATO–has been “played” by Moscow.

Putin & Co.’s Russia presents as nothing less than a most barbaric, criminal, and self-centered enterprise bent, enthralled, and maddened by its own destructive capability, narcissistic paranoia (see “Paranoid Delusional Narcissistic Reflection of Motivation”) and grandiose messianic delusions.


Posted by Fantasy & World Music by the Fiechters, January 23, 2016; on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01BBELZFC .

This with Russia’s criminal political enterprise persistent through Putin more from the Bolshevik camp than the Romanov will end in Russia internally–or from without but with consideration for The Russians en masse and for the world’s Modern International Standards in cultural comportment, development, integration, law, technology, and trade, all of which Putin & Co. have chosen to degrade and destroy without putting up anything at all that could be called Good.

–33–

FTAC: Russia’s One Big Step Backward-Why Ukraine Must Prevail to the Four Compass Points of Its Pre-Crimean Annexation

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Macron fears a nuclear exchange with a deranged Putin, but compromise anywhere along Ukraine’s writ will not damp that possibility. Putin’s criminal narcissistic psychopathy has been such as to compel ever greater distancing from the “narcissistic mortification” that derailed him on to a false heroic course in the first place. The only western solution for him and his codependents will be to reverse the tide in its entirety and get the demilitarized zone on the Russian side of the fence. In no way has Ukraine been at fault in relation to Russia’s aggression and barbaric caste. Putin, whatever demonic fantasia he may have as regards his own medieval revanche and resurgent and thug-reliant absolutism, may have just made himself Russia’s Last Emperor, Rus, and Varangian. Even Ukraine’s modern Russian-speaking citizens hate the onslaught driven by his delusional derangement.

I wrote that comment two hours ago here:

Times Radio, June 5, 2022.

Russia’s despotic President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has escalated his real black politik to threatening the world’s food supply and nuclear security, and to think that encouraging him with a small morsel of eastern or southern Ukraine will appease either him or the weak men fully inveigled in his criminal madness should seem to the cool headed among political analysts and politicians worldwide irredeemably delusional. “Vovo” has succeeded primarily in making himself Russia’s Last Emperor, Rus, and Varangian, and beyond that, he has ruined Russia’s character, credibility, integrity, and reliability as a modern and responsible.

I had heard in the high school classroom of the 1970s that Russia’s history had long involved “taking one step backward before taking two steps forward.”

Although I lack the scholarship for filling out that statement with examples from the 10th Century to this day, I would suggest that Putin’s Feudal-Medieval Revanche has accomplished nothing for ordinary Russians and post-Soviet neighbors (viewed by Putin as still client states or satellites in a cooked-up Russian “Near Abroad”) but to associate the obscenity of breathtaking corruption with wealth (as with Ukraine’s former bullying political mafioso Viktor Yanukovych) while otherwise crawling along, if at all, with modern economic development and law. In place of Russia’s cooperation, friendship, and trade in the international sphere, Putin has through his actions and words put on full display his own brand of barbarism, enslavement (of Russian soldiers, no less), ethnic cleansing, and the crudest leveraging having to do not only with basic energy and food resources but with the pride and spine of greater leaders whose accomplishments he may never hope to achieve.

Putin has ruined himself, his image, and his stature in history while Russians left behind have paid the price for his ambitions and crimes internally–and they will pay a price too for his crimes at war, but with one caveat: Ukraine and the rest of the world need the healthier, modern, and much higher integrity state that a post-Putin & Company Russia needs must become.

Related Online

Faulconbridge, Guy. “Putin warns United States against supplying Ukraine longer range missiles.” Reuters, June 5, 2022.

Of course there’s much else related online, but at this point, the actively engaged may noodle through the news and opinion themselves. While I may return to bibliography, I wonder if with short opinions whether a need for it remains. With some posts–and some unwieldy writing–the scope of coverage has required reference as dots for connections. Here where Putin has brazenly and stupidly fashioned a gambit that comes to “Step up, step down, or step back–or else!” neither experience, knowledge, prudence, nor wisdom counsel appeasement.

–33–

A Note on the Demise of the Medieval Rus

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The Rus warlords Oleg of Novgorod and Sviatoslav I of Kiev launched several wars against the Khazar khaganate, often with Byzantine connivance. The Schechter Letter relates the story of a campaign against Khazaria by HLGW (Oleg) around 941 (in which Oleg was defeated by the Khazar general Pesakh; this calls into question the timeline of the Primary Chronicle and other related works on the history of the Eastern Slavs.

Sviatoslav finally succeeded in destroying Khazar imperial power in the 960s. The Khazar fortresses of Sarkel and Tamatarkha fell to the Rus in 965, with the capital city of Atil following circa 967 or 969. A visitor to Atil wrote soon after the sacking of the city: “The Rus attacked, and no grape or raisin remained, not a leaf on a branch.”

McGill Wikispedia. “Khazars: Rise of the Rus”. n.d.

5/8/2022

5/9/2022

Putin’s delusional accusations regarding Nazism in Ukraine better fit description as the “Paranoid Delusional Narcissistic Reflection of Motivation” than any dominant or significant political stance held in modern Ukraine, and the same may better inform Russians and the residents of EU/NATO of the character of his insanity than any truth about international affairs.

While The Great Paranoid Leader confuses and inverts reality–Putin’s the fascist blood-and-soil nationalist even while wearing his anti-fascist St. George’s ribbon today–and bluffs with the same convincing act that stalled the mob foaming around KGB headquarters in East Germany (ref. para. 4) at the fall of the German Democratic Republic (December 1989), he can do nothing either to alter past or present realities (as more accurately and truthfully conveyed and apprehended in the Open Information Space of the democratic open societies of the west) or now his own declining and ignominious image before the world. The development of a partially criminal and fraudulent KGB in the mid-early 1990s has in Ukraine finally reached NATO’s western-leaning Ukrainian buffer, a state once controlled in its corruption by Moscow. As Ukraine engaged Putin’s bombarding and invading forces to push them back and safely beyond its own sovereign writ, one may only wish Russia’s dictator would develop conscience, insight, integrity, and guilt.

As the murderous fraud Putin has been, he has no possession of good character and cannot purchase any authentic nobility. Deep down, I suspect he knows as much himself, and it is that (along with the narcissist’s early “Narcissistic Mortification“) that makes him so touchy as well as dangerous and errant.

One may hope that modern Russians when more fully and accurately informed en masse will finally part ways with their distant medieval and barbaric forbears.

Related Online

Amelin, Anatoliy, Andrian Prokip, Andreas Umland. “The Forgotten Potential of Ukraine’s Energy Reserves.” Harvard International Review, October 10, 2020.

Bubola, Emma. “‘A Frightening Repeat’: Ukrainian World War II Survivors Face Conflict Again.” The New York Times, March 24-25, 2022.

Dixon, Robyn and Mary Ilyushina. “On Victory Day, Putin defends war on Ukraine as fight against ‘Nazis’.” The Washington Post, May 9, 2022.

Furlong, Ray. “Showdown In Dresden: The Stasi Occupation And The Putin Myth.” RFE/RL, December 2, 2019.

Jankowicz, Mia. “Captured Russians said their leaders lied about the plan to invade Ukraine, leaving them unprepared for fierce resistance.” Business Insider, March 7, 2022.

Kellogg, Michael. The Russian Roots of Nazism: White Émigrés and the Making of National Socialism, 1917–1945. (New Studies in European History.) New York: Cambridge University Press. 2005.

Kuzio, Taras. “How Putin’s Russia embraced fascism while preaching anti-fascism.” Ukraine Alert, Atlantic Council, April 17, 2022.

Motyl, Alexander. “Yes, Putin and Russia are fascist–A political scientist shows how they meet the textbook definition.” The Conversation, March 30, 2022.

Nekrasov, Andrei and Olga Konskaya. “Rebellion: The Litvinenko Case” also titled, “Poisoned by Polonium: The Litvinenko File”. 2007.

Oppenheim, James S. “Paranoid Delusional Narcissistic Reflection of Motivation.” BackChannels.

Prentice, Alessandra. “Ukrainians fear fiercer assault as Russia marks Soviet WW2 victory.” Reuters, May 9, 2022.

Ruane, Michael E. “Kyiv was surrounded in 1941 as the Nazis closed in. The Russian army defended the city.” The Washington Post, March 4, 2022.

Satter, David. “The Unsolved Mystery Behind the Act of Terror That Brought Putin to Power.” National Review, August 17, 2016.

Snyder, Timothy. “Germans must remember the truth about Ukraine–for their own sake.” Eurozine, July 7, 2017.

Stanley, Jason and Eliyahu Stern. “Putin’s Fascism.” Tablet, March 20, 2022.

The White House. “G7 Leaders’ Statement.” May 8, 2022.

Walker, Shaun. “How the Soviet Union’s Fall Pushed Putin to Try and Recapture Russia’s Global Importance.” History.com, February 28, 2022.

Walker, Shaun. “Putin uses Victory Day speech to rehash list of grievances against west.” The Guardian, May 9, 2022.

Wikipedia. “Narcissistic Mortification”.

Wikipedia. “Ukrainian collaboration with Nazi Germany”.

Wikipedia. “War crimes in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine”.


9/24/2008


3/10/2022
4/3/2022


5/9/2022

–33–

Victims of the German Democratic Republic: Brief Reflection on Germany’s Forgotten Internal Immigrants

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Deutsch: Deckblatt der MfS-Richtlinie Nr. 1/76 zur Entwicklung und Bearbeitung Operativer Vorgänge
Date, 1 January 1976, Source: BStU, GVS MfS 008-100/76; Author: Ministerium für Staatssicherheit der DDR | “Cover sheet of the MfS Guideline No. 1/76 for the development and processing of operational processes”; Ministry for State Security DDR. Online Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zersetzung .

***

Decomposition (Zersetzung): ” . . . hidden psychological destruction of dissidents . . . .”

***

Persons of Interest in Relation to this Post: Evelyn Zupke; Hans D. Ripperger; Kristina Olney; Michelle Bachelet; Mike Mutterlose (URL’s language is German).

Cause: Aid and Compensation for the harms and indignities imposed on those trapped within the Soviet-controlled German Democratic Republic and subject to enslavement and punishment at the hands of the state’s secret police, the Stasi (Ministerium für Staatsicherheit).

Related: The 1619 Project

We mere humans just don’t own time. For atheists, time is just a fact of life.

We do, again, and each as representative of Homo Sapiens sapiens, and for better or worse, own our memories.

It has been our species’ great misfortune to find always some portion of our numbers made to suffer at the hands of others.

Forget “God, Nature, and the Universe”. The earthquake, hurricane, tsunami, and volcano would seem possessed of physics and entirely dispossessed of conscience except that some of us believe that in the presence of one or the other, divine providence destroyed our lives or saved them.

Degradation, dehumanization, enslavement, subjugation, subjection, and other such evils–those are different, and in the history of our species, one sees the chains and whips changing hands by turns, and, sigh, we may feel ourselves lucky if wielding the whip . . . but then nothing lasts beyond bearing except a number of nefarious processes that we perhaps have not wrestled sufficiently into the past. So here we may acknowledge that we don’t get to erase our bad memories; we don’t get to retrieve the dead; we may or may not have some revenge on our tormentors–and if it was ourselves that held the keys and snapped the whips, our day–we know it secretly–has come–or will.

I believe it in the tendency of our species to develop awareness, compassion, conscience, consciousness, empathy, greater integrity and reason, and at the end of every dastardly era, great human sensibility and wisdom.

I was asked not long ago to help promote the cause of the internally displaced in place of the once Soviet-controlled and Communist German Democratic Republic.

Imagine, if you will, going to sleep in one dismal but predictable awful cultural, legal, political, and social circumstance and waking the next day without a country–and afterward a “democratic open society of the west” that prides itself on compassion but hasn’t much in place for you–and then years later when it does . . . you’re no more important in it than you were in the other place.

Perhaps one’s personal circumstance has become more bearable , the powers that be more polite, and amends for the insufferable past made with good will whether or not sufficient to quells bad memories and the residuals in nightmares.

*

I have found in overview–remember my analytical discipline: collect, select, and opine–that East Germany’s internal migrants, all of whom went to sleep in one place in time and woke up in another entirely–have not been overlooked but perhaps underserved in the regions of cultural and economic development. In the Soviet way, they had been locked down in time, suffocated, surveilled, deprived of normal human political and social processes, and subject to deliberate state-driven control, diminishment, and, ultimately, erasure.

How would even the most benevolent of modern societies “compensate” for that experience?

Well . . . there is today the business of living well enough to create and enjoy better memories in freedom and with at least a modicum of privacy (although the “modern” appear to have some new horrors on the horizon, e.g., massive intrusion via data sifting) as well as dignity and security.

*

Now and then, I haul out Qualities of Living (QOLs) a conceptual alternative to thinking about power as an expression of grandiose narcissistic ambition with accompanying control and influence ascribed to a potentate absolute or constitutional. What if power were more often the power to bring extraordinary improvement to geopolitical space in the many dimensions to be appreciated by the inhabitants of a given space?

*

After 1990 “the whole software of life changed” for east Germans, says Markus Kerber, a bigwig at the interior ministry. Short-term pain was inevitable. Average labour productivity in the east was 30% of that in the west. Kohl’s decision to exchange Ostmarks at a 1:1 rate for Deutschmarks made swathes of firms uncompetitive overnight. Those that survived struggled with the western rules they had to import wholesale. By one estimate, 80% of east Germans at some point found themselves out of work.

Perhaps the Treuhand could have proceeded more gently, some argue today.

“Germans still don’t agree on what reunification meant: Discontent may even be growing.” The Economist, November 2, 2019.

*

Cultural and economic adjustment, development, inclusion with some foresight and vision may turn out the key that will finally fix the past in the past where it needs to be. In this day, however, quite a number of cultures, groups, and just plain people have taken up the causes of yesterday, exhumed and tallied abuses, ranted high and low for justice, but the best all may do is not relive what’s gone and take pains–whatever it was–not to see it happen again.

Bailey, Charlotte. “The Lingering Trauma of Stasi Surveillance.” The Atlantic, November 9, 2019.

Binder, David. “Erich Mielke, Powerful Head of Stasi, East Germany’s Vast Spy Network, Dies at 92.” The New York Times, May 26, 2000.

Chapple, Amos. “The Secret Lives of the Stasi: Chilling photos uncovered by a German artist reveal the Stasi’s methods to monitor and terrorize their citizens.” RFE/RL, December 12, 2018.

Connolly, Kate. “German reunification 25 years on: how different are east and west really.” The Guardian, October 2, 2015.

Crypto Museum. “Minesterium fur Staatssicherheit – MfS”.

“Germans still don’t agree on what reunification meant: Discontent may even be growing.” The Economist, November 2, 2019.

Hertzberg, Max. “Stasi Tactics – Zersetzung.” Max Hertzberg: Spies, crime and hopepunk, November 28, 2021.

Holden, Stephen. “Behind Closed Doors in Both Berlins.” The New York Times, November 6, 2014.

Iannetta, Massimo and Nina Toussaint, Dirs. “The Decomposition of the Soul.” Documentary, 82 minutes, 2002.

Ivanova, Irina. “The Decomposition of the Soul.” Review. Indypendent, February 6, 2007.

Münz, Rainer and Ralf E. Ulrich. “Changing Patterns of Immigration to Germany, 1945-1997.” Research & Seminars, University of California-Davis, Center for German and European Studies, 1998. Alternative Reference: https://www.worldcat.org/title/changing-patterns-of-migration-to-germany-1945-1997/oclc/40780392 .

Oltermann, Philip. “‘I’ve been shafted twice’: Stasi victims and their quest for compensation.” The Guardian, November 6, 2019.

Rennell, Tony. “Stasi’s ‘no touch’ torture: It was the East German secret police’s most terrifying weapon – gaslighting mind games that drove its own citizens mad . . . and the lessons for today’s social media generation couldn’t be more stark.” Daily Mail, June 8-9, 2021.

Schultheis, Emily. “As Germany’s secret-police archive shutters, reckoning for its victims continues.” National Geographic, August 5, 2021.

Spiekermann, Uwe. “The Stasi at Home and Abroad: Domestic Order and Foreign Intelligence.” Bulletin of the German Historical Institute, Supplement 9, 2014.

Stasi Documents Archive. “Introduction – Ministry for State Security”.

Stuchbery, Michael. “Why Germany will never forget the Stasi era of mass surveillance.” The Local, February 8, 2019.

Suarez, Hannah. “Stasi Museum–Germans spying on Germans, psychological warfare (Zersetzung)”. 21st Century Expat | Digital Nomad, December 7, 2019.

The Local. “Putin’s Stasi ID card found in Dresden archive.” December 11, 2018.

Wikipedia: “East German Round Table”; German reunification; German Unity Day; “Matthias Platzeck”; “Otto von Habsburg”; “Pan-European Picnic”; “Peaceful Revolution AKA Die Wende”; “Stasi”; “Stasi Records Agency”; “Zersetzung”.

Wilson, Katie. “Five films that shaped the GDR’s legacy–and what east Germans think of them today.” The Local: Germany’s News in English, September 25, 2019.


In the 1970s the MfS changed its secret police activities and began increasingly to use “softer” methods. The GDR leadership did not want to compromise its attempts to gain international recognition: persecution and repression were to be concealed. The MfS now focused more on preventive surveillance and so-called “psychic demolition”. It used manipulation and targeted rumours in its attempts to systematically intimidate individuals or groups, to ruin their reputations, isolate or criminalize them. Friendships were destroyed, and professional careers ruined without the victims even realizing why.

However, the change in methods did not lead to any let-up in the repressive pressure exerted by the MfS. And the aim also remained the same: to prevent the development of non-conformist or dissident ideas and behaviour.

Stasi Documents Archive. “Introduction – Ministry for State Security”.

The rest of the group agreed that the destruction of trust was one of the most painful legacies of their experiences in the GDR. The dense informer network meant that everyone spied on one another. Many did not find out who had informed on them until decades later, when they requested their Stasi file.

Bailey, Charlotte. “The Lingering Trauma of Stasi Surveillance.” The Atlantic, November 9, 2019.

So in the 1970s, the masterminds at Stasi School — formally known as the College of Legal Studies — decided on a new, more subtle tactic of repression, a way of stamping out rebellion without the overt use of force.

Instead of pounding their suspects into submission, they would send them mad. And so began the policy of Zersetzung.

The word meant disintegration or corrosion or decomposition. Today we would call it ‘gaslighting’ — playing with someone’s mind and self-worth until any resistance crumbles and he or she becomes either compliant or apathetic.

Rennell, Tony. “Stasi’s ‘no touch’ torture: It was the East German secret police’s most terrifying weapon – gaslighting mind games that drove its own citizens mad . . . and the lessons for today’s social media generation couldn’t be more stark.” Daily Mail, June 8-9, 2021.

Six phases of postwar immigration to Germany can be distinguished (see table 2; see also Martin 1991; Münz and Ulrich 1993; Rudolph 1994; Seifert 1995). The first phase was dominated by the immigration of Germans: expellees, citizens of the GDR, other ethnic Germans

Münz, Rainer and Ralf E. Ulrich. “Changing Patterns of Immigration to Germany, 1945-1997.” Research & Seminars, University of California-Davis, Center for German and European Studies, 1998. Alternative Reference: https://www.worldcat.org/title/changing-patterns-of-migration-to-germany-1945-1997/oclc/40780392 .

Posted to YouTube August 18, 2009.

Born into poverty in pre-World War I Berlin, Mr. Mielke joined the Communist youth movement at age 15, and his career epitomized the grimness of Communist rule in East Germany, where assassination, kidnapping, execution, denunciation and intimidation were used to achieve and maintain power under the long, menacing shadow of the Soviet Union.

Mr. Mielke and the ministry for state security kept the 16.5 million people of East Germany obedient to Communism and repressed dissent for more than 30 years. Not only did the ministry pursue an effective campaign against those it regarded as enemies of the state, but its army of 90,000 agents and 260,000 informers finally turned East Germany into a country that spied on itself.

Binder, David. “Erich Mielke, Powerful Head of Stasi, East Germany’s Vast Spy Network, Dies at 92.” The New York Times, May 26, 2000.

Posted by Movie Coverage to YouTube September 17, 2012. URL play-dot-google-dot-com has a version with English subtitles. It’s a fine movie.

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Is “living well” the best revenge?

I don’t know, but both alone and in community we most naturally make ourselves comfortable and secure if, when, and where we can. “Living well” with agency, autonomy, dignity, efficacy, freedom, inclusion beats all of the alternatives, and living well with some thoughtful planning for ourselves, our own, and others . . . I would call that repair and profound improvement.


Addendum: Related Online and Worth the Visit

Verhulst, Dominic. “HOHENSCHÖNHAUSEN: State Security Prison – Former East Berlin – DDR”. Photography.

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FTAC: Big Picture Made Small: Moscow’s Narrative Arc from the End of the Cold War

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A friend on the social network tagged me on the matter of Marine Le Pen as a friend of Putin. Forthwith my answer –>


Regarding Marine Le Pen – https://www.politico.com/news/2022/04/08/white-house-putin-paris-00024054 – she’s a problem for the western alliance.

After the dissolving of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, some KGB elite found themselves driving cabs, i.e., out on the streets, stripped of power and privilege. It didn’t take long for part of that set to determine to regenerate themselves, perhaps through their former networks (I’m mythologizing but keeping to milestones in the greater narrative arc), and set about taking revenge against the west.

1994 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budapest_Memorandum_on_Security_Assurances Ukraine gave up its Moscow-controlled nuclear warhead inventory in exchange for promises that it would never be invaded (by Russia, among others).

1996/7 – https://www.businessinsider.com/exploring-al-qaedas-murky-connection-to-russian-intelligence-2014-6 – Ayman al Zawahiri spent his winter in the company of the KGB.

1999 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_apartment_bombings; https://www.nationalreview.com/2016/08/vladimir-putin-1999-russian-apartment-house-bombings-was-putin-responsible/ .

2000 – http://edition.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/europe/03/27/russia.elex/index.html – Putin’s election results.

9/11/2001 – I would call the event a Russian “Reflexive Control” operation by proxy against NATO. Whatever the truth of the matter, it provoked the proud flesh of a wounded west into a far rightward motion, i.e., the “New Nationalism”. In France, and with Putin’s blessing, Marine Le Pen picked up on the pride.

I’ll add another one or two touchstones here.

2011 – the Arab Spring and desertification lead to protests in Syria against a callous regime quick to respond with violence to any challenge of its authority. The same had also a mighty lever in enjoining the “War on Terror” against any enemy it wish to call a terrorist. Spillover: mass migration -> NATO, starting with Turkey, the same became a stimulus for greater nationalism accompanied by xenophobia. Most affected: Hungary, Italy, Poland, and the United States.

2016 – America caught the DTs –>

In the listing of years as the perhaps KGB penchant for clever aggression, the whole has gone with the “ones” — 1991; 2001; 2011; and if the invasion of Ukraine had been squeezed in right, 2021.

Putin’s Russia has been cooking on all of the medieval burners, numerology somewhat included, and, indeed, NATO has now to catch up with the array of conditions and threats fashioned by Moscow since the end of the Cold War, and Moscow, representing the Russian “Mafia State”, has some advantages given European and North American appetites for every illicit good and service moving around the planet. It and its buddies among dictators and thugs view the west both as turned toward nationalism (sadly true in part) and morally degenerate — but in Ukraine it has drawn a response remarkably different from what it had imagined. The key to that has been its criminality and barbarism. The cruelty displayed over time and across the post-Soviet Russian space of interest has been effective as regards inspiring hate for everything associated with Moscow. Whether the New Nationalists, Le Pen included, view themselves as part of the problem in light of Putin’s behavior, we shall see. One thing they won’t want will be domination by the Stalinist Russian.


Published to YouTube on March 24, 2017.

Published to YouTube February 27, 2022.

Felix Dzerzhinsky’s Birthday: September 11, 1877.

The Moscow Times. “Putin Renames Police Unit After Bloody Cheka Founder Dzerzhinsky.” September 23, 2014.

Regarding the Soviet’s own mid-1980s plans for dissolving itself, I recommend Dawisha, Karen. Putin’s Kleptocracy. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014.

Also helpful but may need the reader’s own web sleuthing to find the DVD: Andrei Nekrasov and Olga Konskaya’s video, Rebellion: The Litvinenko Case (the URL is active at the time of publishing this post), a documentary assembled among the living, including the FSB detective Litvinenko who rebelled at the agency’s takeover by criminals. For the middle of the post-Cold War narrative and it’s most notable moment, YouTube hosts this short feature from ABC13 Houston: “Remembering 9/11 | Archive Footage We Will Never Forget” (posted to YouTube September 11, 2018).

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A Note on Russia’s Criminal President and the Long Effort to Destroy Western Political Coherence, Cohesion, and Will

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Karen Dawisha -> Andrei Nekrasov and Olga Konskaya’s “Rebellion: The Litvinenko Case” -> David Satter’s “The Unsolved Mystery Behind the Act of Terror That Brought Putin to Power” -> Anna Politkovskaya’s A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya -> John Schindler’s “Exploring Al Qaeda’s Murky Connection to Russian Intelligence” -> 9/11 : Reflexive Control -> New Nationalism — in Wikipedia, “Neo-Nationalism” — in EU/NATO and its effects in Great Britain (BREXIT), Hungary (Orban), Italy (Far Right), Poland, Turkey (Erdogan’s feudal revanche), United States (Trump).

Why?

Karen Dawisha detailed how the Soviet nomenklatura prepared in the mid-1980s for the demise of their state and what would have been their fall from grace but for plans to capture the state’s assets for themselves.

Mission accomplished.

Husband and wife Andrew Nekrasov and Olga Konskaya documented in part how former KGB driving cabs determined to return to their former status in power as politically criminal agents with the master who seems today busy with trying to steal back a state that had gotten rid of its Moscow puppet. Once again, Moscow’s premier secret police–from Okhrana to Cheka to FSB–have succeeded in destroying goodness and justice in Russia (the west may be only waiting for the Russians to figure out how they have been themselves once again enslaved).

David Satter has made a mission of convincing the world that Putin’s ascent to power was predicated by the KGB’s false flag bombing of apartment buildings over which the fingers would point toward Chechen Rebels. Given the Kremlin’s penchant for absurd lies, barbaric acts elsewhere, and dramatic political theater and reputation for Orwellian perceptual control across time, I’ve been convinced.

Anna Politkovskaya reported directly on the brutalizing of Chechen villages to drive men and boys into the camps of experienced Chechen terrorists while sustaining an Islamist warlord in power.

According to John Schindler, the KGB had terrorist Ayman al Zawahiri of hijacker coordination fame as a guest over the winter of 1996-7, which makes sense of a timeline that fits with the KGB’s “recovery” of its less savory powers a little earlier in the mid-1990s (do watch the Nekrasov documentary for what happened in the gap between the “end of the Cold War” and the launching of revenge for the Soviet loss in Afghanistan and subsequent bankruptcy).

Aside, those fond of serial coincidences may enjoy looking up Felix Dzerzhinsky’s birthday and taking into the consideration the role of “1” in the dissolving of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, the September 11 attack on the United States in 2001, the start of civil war in Syria in 2011, predicated in part on fighting “The Terrorists” (together with the west), and now the Russian Invasion of Ukraine here in 2021.

Hey, wait a minute!

Lol.

(“Excess of sorrow laughs. Excess of joy weeps”).

Motivating terrorists to blow up the World Trade Center while working with western security to eliminate terrorism . . . that’s pretty slick, but it fits with the temperament of the damned that have also sustained the Middle East Conflict and countless other “frozen conflicts”– as well as dictatorships — worldwide, and it also helps answer the question as to why the west has bent backward so often for so long in the interest of sustained peace beneath the black cloud of mutually assured nuclear destruction.

To this point, the west (again, Zawahiri, KGB, from 1996, it’s easy to see) has been repeatedly bitten by Islamic Terrorism, albeit less lately than in previous decades, and thereby encouraged to stand up for its own cultures — and Christian or secular governments — while treated to waves of migrations motivated by once Soviet-backed conflicts, crime-related violence (at the transnational level), and economic despair (note: although desertification in the presence of global warming has had nefarious political effects, including motivating appeals to despots for relief).

When Obama offered the “reset”, the decision point to join the west over Syria’s agricultural woes — and later to the United States said, “don’t forget who you are” — as well as the stern warning to Putin not to return to the “KGB Playbook” . . . it was already too late (really: have a look at 2016’s Putin-Trump billboard in Russia – or the old “laundromat” story – or the real estate stories).

So here we are with a monster dredged from fascist, feudal, and medieval quarters that now razes with blunt force and fire a modern state aspiring to a democratic, free, honorable, and peaceful future. While we have done more than stand by and watch–we have been responding to our more stranded neighbor–we haven’t faced the full criminal scope of the Russian President’s magical narcissistic beliefs and his related and wholly destructive behavior. Deluded and drunk in power, President Putin lies to himself and to Russia, and yet no one will either dare interfere with his course, and, quite possibly, no one knows how.

Have conditions in the west to become “existential” to do as Ukraine has been doing?

UATV English, March 21, 2022.

Live at posting.

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