Russia began its self-isolation a hundred years ago

30 November 2022, 04:54 PM

For those who disagreed, there were executions in Stalin's time. In Brezhnev's, there were psychiatric hospitals. In Putin's time, there are cruise missiles. Everything for Russia to remain further isolated from progress and civilization.

In February 1938, in accordance with the verdict of a "troika," theoretical physicist Matvey Bronstein was shot. He was only thirty-two. Six months earlier, in August 1937, he was arrested in Kyiv, where the young scientist had come from Leningrad on vacation. He came home, but to his small homeland – he was born in Vinnytsia, so there is every reason to call Bronstein a Ukrainian scientist. Our countryman is known for the first works in the USSR on the quantum theory of gravity. He also knew several foreign languages, including Japanese, and translated works of Ukrainian poets into Russian.

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Those who know Soviet history do not need to have it explained to them why any person could be shot during the times known as the Great Terror during the life of Joseph Stalin. However, the case of the physicist Matvey Bronstein is special. He, like hundreds of thousands of similar victims, was accused of anti-Soviet activities and designated as an "enemy of the people." The physicist was killed for his literary creativity. The reason for his arrest was his novel The Inventors of the Radiotelegraph – not a published book, only a manuscript. Bronstein refused to make the editorial changes requested by the publisher. And so the publisher denounced him.

The elements of the crime were as follows. The author categorically refused to name the Russian Alexander Popov as the inventor of the radio, rather than the Italian Guglielmo Marconi, who was, in fact, the real one – what all of Europe and the entire civilized world knew and still knows. However, Bronstein, at the request of the editor of the Russian Soviet publishing house, had to write that Marconi stole the invention from Popov. When the scientist asked why he had to do this, he was told that it was patriotic. Unable to resist, Bronstein called this ‘patriotism’ fascist. He would pay for this with his life.

At least three generations born in the USSR, which was created by Bolshevik Russia through military aggression and subsequent occupation, heard, knew and sincerely believed that the radio was invented by the ethnic Russian Popov. And the locomotive also came from Russians, namely the Cherepanov brothers, though it was in fact invented by the British inventor George Stephenson. Even without holding sentiments towards tsarist Russia, it is clear to see that before the Bolshevik coup in October 1917, attribution of foreign glory and appropriation of Western achievements was not practiced and was not an integral part of state policy. The tsarist state also didn’t function according to law, but at the very least people were not executed for refusing to attribute other people's achievements to Russia and Russians.

On the contrary, a critical attitude to Russia's role in the development of progress in all areas was allowed. The most famous example is Nikolai Leskov's fairy tale The Lefthander. According to the story, an illiterate village blacksmith shod an English mechanical flea. That is, he surpassed foreigners in terms of skill. However, his filigree tinkering ends up ruining the toy, because the flea cannot dance as before now that it has been shod. Subsequently, Lefty is given a tour of Europe, but upon his return, ends up thrown in a lunatic asylum. This is because Lefty had told Russian military commanders to stop their men from cleaning their guns with brick chips, which they don’t do in England, as it makes the makes weapons unsuitable for war.

Thus, even in this and other stories invented under the Tsars, Russia and the Russians became not the movers rather destroyers of progress. The Russian Empire was secondary in everything, hampered in its development and, against the background of the export of Russian ballet to Europe, remained a huge state of illiterate poverty. The Bolsheviks began to correct the situation and after their final victory (read: the crushing of their closest neighbors) first proclaimed the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics (USSR), and almost immediately afterward announced an educational program (for the elimination of illiteracy).

Our count of years of Russian self-isolation rightly begins from the 1920s, thus meaning a hundred years of it. This first of all means informational, cultural, scientific, and educational self-isolation. After all, the USSR’s first head of state, Leon Trotsky (the sick paralyzed leader, Comrade Lenin, was removed from power, making merely him a symbol), followed by Joseph Stalin (who won the party struggle) taught the population to read and write by order from the Kremlin. Then they controlled what was written and allowed people to read only what was needed for propaganda, thereby stunning and deceiving millions. It was driven into the consciousness Soviet subjects that Russia is the head of everything, the creator of everything, that the whole world came from Russia, and that Russia invented everything in the world. In particular, railways, airplanes, locomotives, radio, and later television. Since the second half of the 20th century, Russia began to use this manipulation and still uses it as its most effective propaganda tool.

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Information isolation was necessary so that the population could not expose the regime’s lie.

Therefore, a generation of Soviet children grew up on the fairy tales of Pushkin, Tolstoy's Golden Key, Chukovsky's Doctor Aibolite and Volkov's The Wizard of the Emerald City, all while having no idea about the original sources: the fables of Lafontaine, The Adventures of Pinocchio, Doctor Dolittle, and The Wizard of Oz. The more mature a Soviet citizen became, the more often he had to use only Soviet theses, developments, and practices in various fields of activity. Moreover, the achievements of representatives of other peoples, say, Ukrainians, Jews, or Georgians were immediately designated as Russian.

These practices were inherited by the Russian Federation and even further developed. Information isolation, together with aggressive propaganda, has led to the fact that there is nothing useful for Russian citizens outside of Russia. Remember how the late Russian satirist Mikhail Zadornov devalued the West and, above all, America. The phrase “Americans are stupid” was his calling card and found a grateful response from millions of Russians. Indeed, well, what can they come up with outside of Russia – a state whose achievements are used by the whole world? After all, a steam locomotive, an airplane, a car, radio, television, cinema, ballet, and even rock music were either invented or qualitatively developed in Russia.

For those who do not agree, in Stalin's times there were executions. In Brezhnev's, there were psychiatric hospitals. In Putin's time, there are cruise missiles and nuclear weapons. Everything to keep Russia isolated from progress, culture, and civilization in the future. Indeed, the Russians have been successful in this for at least a hundred years. And they rage when someone doesn't want to be dragged along. Of course, this first and foremost refers to Ukrainians.

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