Is Totalitarianism Making a Comeback? - DW Documentary


Video from DW Documentary


"Thirty years after the collapse of the USSR, the martial rhetoric and other trappings of the "strong men" of the totalitarian era are making a comeback. Why? The film's director Ivo Briedis and the journalist Rita Ruduša were both born in the Soviet Union. Together, they embark on a journey to explore the phenomenon of HOMO SOVIETICUS. They want to know if a totalitarian mindset can still be found in countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union. The thinker Alexander Zinoviev defined as Homo Sovieticus as a person who is, at their core, an opportunist. They do not rebel against their leadership, and want to take as little individual responsibility as possible. Did these characteristics develop specifically as a result of growing up in the Soviet Union, or can they develop in any society? To find out, they speak with people who lived under the Soviet regime, as well as with members of the first post-Soviet generation." from video introduction.


"...October 25 marked the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution that brought down Tsarist Russia and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. It emerged as an industrial and military powerhouse that dominated half the world and controlled much of the Eurasian landmass for seven decades. Vladimir Putin called its collapse in 1991 “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century”. It seems that in the light of the coming elections, this anniversary has not received much focus, but the legacy of the Soviet Union merits attention. In the seventies, Alexander Zinoviev coined the term ‘Homo Sovieticus’ to describe inhabitants of this past nation. Many of its traits have an enduring legacy..." from the article: The Legacy of Homo Sovieticus


"...Certainly, Communism kills the body, in contrast to Americanism which kills the soul, but even the worst type of intellectual ‘soft-killing’ in the postmodern American system seems to the masses to be preferable to physical maltreatment or a violent communist death...


The more closely one studies American ideology, the better one can understand its relationship with other political beliefs, be they of a secular or religious nature. At first sight it may seem preposterous to draw parallels between Communism and Americanism, between Homo americanus and Homo sovieticus. Americanism, after all, in the second part of the twentieth century, drew a solid part of its world legitimacy from its firm anticommunist beliefs. Anticommunism was part and parcel of American foreign policy and hatred of Communism constituted a strong arsenal among American conservative elites and the great majority of American citizens. One could ridicule Americanism and its moralistic escapades regarding the real or alleged ‘red scare’, yet the fact remains that had it not been for America, had it not been for the massive American investment in the policy of containment, Communism, through its chief motor, the Soviet Union, would likely have become a reality of life for many people on earth. Surely, under such a scenario Communism under Soviet hegemony would be less sympathetic to consumerism and permissiveness, and less attractive to Third World immigration. Most likely the lifestyle of Americans and Europeans would be less individualistic and their personal values would remain more conservative. Yet it is hard to deny that the drabness of Communism and the machinery of its incarceration system would have left deadly traces on millions of its citizens.


Communism kills the body, in contrast to Americanism which kills the soul, but even the worst type of intellectual ‘soft-killing’ in the postmodern American system seems to the masses to be preferable to physical maltreatment or a violent communist death.

Therefore, ‘warm death’ in the entertainment-infested ideology of Americanism seems to be more attractive for the masses worldwide, regardless of its fatal consequences for the cultural and racial memory of every people on earth. Americanism, as a major promoter of ‘fun ideology’ has had no problems in disarming its opponents. Moreover, Americanism has had no difficulty in creating consensus if not outright complacency in postmodern world citizens, something unheard of in Communism. Its avoidance of physical terror, as well as its recurrence to therapeutic social programs, helped it secure lasting longevity. It is undeniable that the vast majority of people, had they been given a choice between Communism and Americanism, would have opted for the latter. European conservative critics of Americanism often forget that fact – firstly, because many never lived under Communism, and secondly because, most unhappily, the genocidal legacy of communist regimes has not been graphically depicted by the world media in the same proportions as has the legacy of fascism. There are, of course, citizens in every system who are born rebels and who do not easily fall into the dualistic trap of ‘the good America vs. the bad Soviet Union’ — or its contrary — but who rather search for a third social and political option. Yet in any given generation these individuals and heretics can be literally counted on the fingers of one hand. Certainly, Communism kills the body, in contrast to Americanism which kills the soul, but even the worst type of intellectual ‘soft-killing’ in the postmodern American system seems to the masses to be preferable to physical maltreatment or a violent communist death..." from the article: Twin Brothers: Homo Sovieticus and Homo Americanus

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