Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Robert Buchar, an associate professor and author of the Cinematography Program at Columbia College in Chicago. A political refugee from former Czechoslovakia, he is the producer of the documentary, Velvet Hangover, which is about Czech New Wave filmmakers, how they survived the period of “normalization” and their reflections on the so-called Velvet Revolution of 1989. He is the author of the new book, And Reality be Damned… Undoing America: What The Media Didn’t Tell You About the End of the Cold War and Fall of Communism in Europe. The book is based on a documentary feature he is currently working on, The Collapse of Communism: The Untold Story.
FP: Robert Buchar, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
You have some quite startling things to say about the fall, or lack thereof, of the Soviet Empire in the period 1989-1991. What is it that we don’t know about the “collapse of communism” as it has been described to us in the media?
Nina Karsov recently informed us, here at Frontpage Interview, of many troubling facts connected to The Triumph of Soviet Deception. Please also comment on her interview and give us your own angle.
Buchar: Thank you for the opportunity to be here.
The great political upheaval of the late 20th century—the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the collapse of the Soviet Union—is generally regarded as the spontaneous product of long-accumulating social and economic pressures. That is the official story, which was hammered into our heads by the western media. If you try suggesting that this is not the case, the media will not take you seriously and even refuse to discuss what you are trying to say. It is a taboo topic. But the ample of evidence suggests otherwise.
During the final phase of the Cold War, the Soviet Union, under its dogmatic and visibly senile party bosses, was sinking into near-bankruptcy. Yuri Andropov, Chairman of the KGB—the only organization with both a full knowledge of the state of the economy and a mastery of strategic decisions—came to the conclusion that there was no cure for the grave illness of the communist system. To preserve the wealth that threatened to slip out of the leaders’ hands, he masterminded a nearly unthinkable program—throwing into the fire Moscow’s rule over the Eastern European bloc—and, as it turned out, the ruling party of the USSR itself. Though Andropov died in 1984, the signs of his hand in the events that followed remain visible, as well as the role of his handpicked successor, Mikhail Gorbachev. Witnesses in my book testify that what appeared to be a spontaneous freedom movement in 1989 was in fact a coup d’état orchestrated from Moscow—in the offices of the Russian KGB. Americans and Europeans no longer remember the past and don’t realize that history is now repeating itself.
Nina Karsov, in the interview with you, rightly quoted Jozef Mackiewicz referring to Western democracies as “deaf and blind men.” Western democracies never understood the Soviet system as such. The idea of deception as the foundation of foreign policy doesn’t fit into our way of thinking. Westerners can hardly comprehend a pursuit without material benefit, with strictly ideological goals based on a policy of conspiracy against other states. And that is what this is all about. We had quite a few predecessors of Perestoika in the past. We had the economic deception in the 1920s, deception of peaceful coexistence, and the ‘détente’ under the Brezhnev regime.
Deception is an essential part of communist ideology. It is a central part of communism and it will continue to be like this. As Nina rightly pointed out, “it would be hard to believe that the wolf has become a vegetarian.” Communism is indeed totalitarian and was never interested in any compromise. So, the “end of communism” proclaimed by the West is a myth. And now we can see the resurgence of communism with the help of the Western right. Instead of punishing the communists for their crimes, the Western right has extended them a hand, like a sign of apology for defeating them. As Olavo de Carvalho nicely pointed out in the interview with Alex Newman for The New American magazine, “This absurd surrender of the winners was also stimulated by powerful globalist circles, whose interest in establishing worldwide bureaucratic controls converges with the objectives of communism.”
Nina Karsov made a very important point at the end of your interview, pointing out the incremental, but rapid erosion of our own liberties here in the West, the increase of state powers over the individual, and she raised the question of whether we are approaching the victory of authoritarian and totalitarian power, under which collective thinking, uniformity and conformity will dominate. I lived in that system for thirty years before defecting to the United States. It never crossed my mind that it will catch up with me eventually. So I may say, no thank you, I have been there. I am not interested. Nina is absolutely right, people don’t see the essence of communism as a world mission. The majority of people in the West can’t even define communism. Unfortunately, they just have no idea.
FP: How come our government still doesn’t get it? Is it sort of a strategy of intentional blindness or just plain blindness? Or is there something else in play we don’t know?
Buchar: Obviously there is a lot of we don’t know and probably we will never know. We can only look at facts available and come up with our own conclusions. It is obvious that international finance is pushing hard for the New World Order, a sort of global management, perhaps as Zbigniew Brzezinski talks about. In his book The Grand Chessboardhe suggests that the United States, in the near future, must cease to be the superpower and that this will lead to the creation of a new global system of government where politics will be replaced by new global management. Let me quote, for lack of better words, Olavo de Carvalho here again: “What we have is a gigantic symbiosis of all globalist and statist forces around the world. Meta-capitalists are natural allies of the communists.” The communist movement evolved, perfected to deal with dissidences, using them as instruments to adapt to local situations. It can’t get any more scary, I guess. As far as our politicians go, yes, I think we can call it the political blindness from which no meaningful strategy can arise. Unless, of course, their strategy really is global management. I am glad I am so old.
FP: What would be the consequences of admitting that the “collapse of communism” in Europe was part of a KGB plan to expand its global influence? Or is the public by now “massaged” enough not to care after all?
Buchar: The Western public is well massaged by media and “proper” education to the point they can’t comprehend what is going on and in a large part they don’t care anyway. The young generation of Americans today has no knowledge of history and can’t put in the perspective what is going on today because they have no idea what happened in the past. The people living in the former Soviet Block countries have a different experience, but experiencing the situation from “inside” makes them unable to see the big picture. A few individuals who are aware of what is going on and are concerned about it can’t avert the trend. And after all, their governments don’t even care what they think and say anymore. The new system was set up the way that nobody can change anything. Elections can be easily manipulated and the outcomes will be always the same no matter what party wins. It’s hard to imagine what will be the consequences of revealing what really happen back in 1980’s. I believe it can never be officially accepted. Not in my lifetime.
FP: With Obama in power, do you think we are inevitably heading toward socialism in the USA? What are the chances, in your view, in terms of how things are going, that socialism may finally rule the world? If yes, who can legitimately claim credit for it?
Buchar: You know, as serious as it is, from my perspective, it’s almost funny. I feel like experiencing an amazing déjàvu. It started with the Clinton administration and now it’s picking up the speed. Many things I see happening I remember from my previous life in communist Czechoslovakia. In politics, academia, media… it looks to me like the current government is following the old textbook written in Moscow in the last century when the Soviets were taking over the Eastern Europe. But, of course, people here don’t know anything about it. Politicians and the media perfected the process of indoctrination. Deception got very sophisticated. Masses without any knowledge of history in today “now-culture” can be manipulated on a daily basis. A recent Rasmussen poll asked a simple question, “Which is a better system—capitalism or socialism?” Only 53% of American adults said capitalism. Even the same question was asked young adults under 30, 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided.
Obviously, the scale is tipping off. Decades of intensive Soviet deception are finally paying off. We have a young generation now without any idealism and values. In this conformist society, people just follow the orders. It’s all about manipulation. The direct control is not efficient anymore; influence instead is a much better tool.
From The Economist Intelligence Unit (Democracy Index 2011):
Erosion of democracy in Europe
Global backsliding in democracy has been evident for some time and strengthened in the wake of the 2008-09 global economic crisis. Between 2006 and 2008 there was stagnation; between 2008 and 2010 there was regression across the world. In 2011 the decline was concentrated in Europe.
Seven countries in western Europe had a decline in their democracy score in 2011; none had
an increase. The main reason has been the erosion of sovereignty and democratic accountability
associated with the effects of and responses to the euro zone crisis (five of the countries that
experienced a decline in their scores are members of the euro zone--Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ireland).
Most dramatically, in two countries (Greece and Italy) democratically elected leaders have
been replaced by technocrats. The near-term political outlook for Europe is disturbing. The European project is under serious threat and disputes within the EU are ever sharper. Harsh austerity, a new recession in 2012, high unemployment and little sign of renewed growth will test the resilience of Europe’s political institutions.
Attitudes to democracy
The 2008-09 global economic crisis has had a
disproportionately negative impact on eastern
Europe compared with other emerging markets,
such as developing Asia and Latin America. But it is
not only in terms of national output that the crisis
has left its mark on the region. It also seems to have
reinforced a pre-existing mood of disappointment
with the experience and results of the 20-year
transition (Hoey 2011). A number of post-crisis
surveys and reports point to a further decline in life
satisfaction, support for markets and democracy and
trust in institutions.
The Eurobarometer reports published between
May 2008 and August 2011 reveal changes in public
opinion in all 27 member states and in the five
candidate countries (Croatia, Iceland, Macedonia,
Montenegro and Turkey) since the start of the crisis.
Similar trends were revealed by Gallup polls taken
before and after the crisis (2006 and 2009), and also
by the Life in Transition Surveys (LiTS) carried out
jointly by the European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development (EBRD) and the World Bank in 2006 and
The most striking findings of the LiTS 2010 was
the decline in support for democracy in central
Europe and the Balkans. In 11 transition countries,
50% of respondents or fewer express a preference
for democracy, with support being lowest in Serbia,
Latvia, Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Bosnia &
Hercegovina (BiH). The widespread disenchantment
with democracy in the region, especially in the richer
economies, does not necessarily reflect a hankering
for authoritarianism or a return to the communist
past. Rather, it seems to reflect the exhaustion
of contemporary political systems and a general
unfocused disillusion, apathy and disengagement.
It is with much concern that we look at the survey results of the Economist Intelligence Unit and the interview from Frontpage.
We need to ask how Democracy has arrived at this point, and even consider the direction it is headed.
It appears that through several approaches, Democracy has been hijacked by authoritarian philosophies and the degrees of freedom we have enjoyed in much of the Western World are gradually being repressed.
Two of the approaches appear to be:
A) the entitlement propaganda that is taught in schools, on television and in the home. This view is reflected in the taxation system that focused on revenue generation from taxes on income and consequently a redistribution to those governments deem worthy.
This is a far different from revenue generation from days gone by when tariffs were the primary form of government income.
B) the creation of a central bank, fractional reserve banking system and fiat currency. The goal of a fiat system was alleged to create "a flexible" currency to permit monetary authorities to respond with stimulus when the economy was weak.
This has worked far too well.
The creation of fiat dollars and a government bond market fuels growth in the size of government to unprecedented levels.
Consider first the purchasing power of the Dollar or Yen or Euro or Rand.
Do any of these currencies have the same purchasing power as they did 5 or 10 years ago?
Due to inflation created by central banks and governments, each of these fiat currencies lost a substantial amount of purchasing power.
Another question that follows - what is the goal of inflation?
If we view history, we can see that it has become a tax on the lower, middle and upper middle classes.
Inflation has transferred wealth from these classes to the very wealthy and has transferred power and influence to governments, particularly on the national level.
Consider that in the 1960s and early 1970s it only took one wager earner in a family to "make a living". Today, in the western nations I am familiar with, it takes two wage earners per family to eke out a living.
Consider the following two charts showing the growth in size of government from 1947 to 2010 in the United States:
So in 1947 a citizen had to work from January 1st to March 19th to pay his share of taxes.
In 2010, the same citizen had to work from January 1st to July 5th .
How has all this "progress" improved our civil liberties?