2. Dangerous “new” thinking
*TREAT US WORSE!
Skala: For us, the last elections to parliament can in no way be called a success. We obtained the worst results since 1921! Our Communist Party never had a result of less than 10%. Prior to this, the weakest result ever was 10.6% in 1929. Of course, this means that all of our political work deserves a low evaluation.
This result was compounded for us by the fact that around 60% of votes in the elections were made up by so-called protest votes. Those parties that have been in power stably since 1990 have lost, you could say, everything. Some of them struggled to break the 5% threshold allowing them to enter parliament.
The former leaders of the Civil Democratic Party and Social Democratic Party won even less than us communists. The Social Democrats slipped from being the ruling party to claiming only 7.3%!
What are the reasons for this? People who have been obscenely mistreated by capitalism have lost protection and hope in left forces for bettering their standing. This is a very serious warning for us. Communists should first and foremost think about how to pursue policies henceforth and what changes should be introduced into the content and methods of our work.
Gegalchiy: So have populists become the main competitors for communist parties? And now communists must either become populists or find completely new approaches to reforming society and addressing voters’ needs?
Skala: Right. But I would add one more remark. The leaders of the left, including communists, are engaged in a kind of self-justification. They say: “But we cannot be like those populists!” Thus, they wash their hands and say we shouldn’t touch such slippery topics.
But we need just the opposite – a proactive approach. We should seize the initiative and pursue the most radical politics, and propose more interesting and attractive responses to the most pressing issues of our time if we are not to become victims of populist demagoguery.
Popov: How dangerous for Europe’s future is the militarization of the continent, i.e., the deployment of American nuclear weapons in a number of European countries, the deployment of new US military units, and the establishment of additional NATO units near Russia’s borders?
Skala: This is a very dangerous trend. Of course, we in the Czech Republic should actively fight against those forces supporting such state policy. We should clarify that we have nothing to gain from, for example, deploying Czech forces near Russia’s borders in the Baltic states. For us this means only costs and enormous risk. It is clear that if we reach the point of some kind of conflict, then Prague would be closer to it than Berlin, Paris, or London.
What’s more, all of this is due to the European Union’s economic sanctions and Russia’s counter-sanctions, which in no way help the Czech economy or improve our socio-economic situation. The campaign being waged against everything Russian in the spirit of the height of the cold War is absolutely insane.
It is reaching the point that, for example, anyone who criticizes the European Union is declared an agent of the Kremlin or FSB, and so on. This is all nonsense, of course, and no one has any evidence for such accusations. But in this atmosphere of the New Cold War, the left forces that don’t support such policies become victims. They are ostracized, scandalized, made into enemies, and attempts are made to exclude them from the political life of their countries, from governance. In the Czech Republic, for example, a list has been published of 40 sites accused of being the “Kremlin’s hand.”
Popov: Could Ukraine fulfill the role of a training ground for a clash between NATO and Russia? How can the situation in Ukraine be resolved?
Skala: Today I read an interesting article by our, or rather Slovak dissident in the best sense of the word, who said that if there will be a third Maidan – towards which it indeed looks like things are heading – then it would be in one way or another a protest against American policy.
Today, the people who are crying out are the same “volunteers” who overthrew Yanukovych – the very same group. Objectively, they are protesting against corruption, against the low standards of living endured by the majority of Ukrainians. Even compared to how things were a few years ago, living standards have drastically deteriorated. And this process is ongoing.
The paradox is that the people talking about this in the name of the millions of suffering Ukrainians are those who until only recently served Poroshenko, Yarosh, and other Russophobes responsible for turning the country into a launchpad for squeezing Russia. What a crazy household…
I fear that there have not yet formed any representative or influential forces in Ukraine which could fight back against this nationalist demagogy and pro-American policies. Thus, the situation resembles what happened in the 1930’s in Germany.
And there is the threat that the worse the situation becomes, the sooner people will once again become victims of those Nazis who associate themselves with Bandera, the Hitlerites, and fascist symbols and ideology. This is a very dangerous trajectory.
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TagsCenter’s esteemed Russian colleagues Dr. Eduard Popov (Fort Russ guest analyst Dr. Josef Skala Europe Center for Public and Information Cooperation) and Alexander Gegalchiy (International Russian Award Foundation) exclusive interview facing the “post-socialist” left ideology and communications In August 2016 Jafe Arnold NATO expansion number of pressing topics ranging from the challenges the Center for Syncretic Studies the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia’s deputy chairman to “populism”
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