Big Brother: The Soviet Union and Soviet Europe

Big Brother: The Soviet Union and Soviet Europe

Big Brother: The Soviet Union and Soviet Europe

Big Brother: The Soviet Union and Soviet Europe

Excerpt

In 1871 the publication of a book entitled Russia and Europe caused a great stir in Russia. According to its author, Danilevski, the history of human societies was made up of successive periods of dominance by different "historic cultural types." After the periods of Roman and Germanic dominance, he foresaw the imminent approach of Slavic dominance. In the Slavic world, during the historic era of its dominance, the supreme ideal would be Slavism, which would prevail over all human aspirations: freedom, nationalist feelings, education, science, and so on. Slavism would give coherence and meaning to these diverse ideas. The Panslavism that was so brilliantly expounded in the book left one question open: What would be the best form of relations among the peoples of the Slavic world? Would that world be dominated by Russia? Or would it be a world in which all the peoples would be fraternal and equal?

The name of Danilevski has been almost entirely forgotten. But toward the end of our century his book has taken on a strangely prophetic cast. Two world wars and two series of revolutions have given birth to the Slavic dominance that he predicted, even though the idea that unifies that world is foreign to Danilevski's Slavism. The borders of the Slavic world are, however, practically the same as those described by the visionary. Europe is divided in two, cut by a visible line, punctuated by walls, barbed wire, and border posts, running from the Baltic to the Adriatic.

What is this communist Europe, now four decades old, but the modern variant, concealed by the trappings of Marxist ideology, of the dream of dominance of Nicholas I, the "policeman of Europe," or of the political and cultural dream of the disciples of Panslavism? Is it a Russian Empire more extensive than ever before or a fraternal community of an unprecedented variety?

To these questions, the answer of the USSR, the mainspring of this new Europe, is clear; it gives legitimacy to "Europe from the Baltic to the Adriatic." This is a revolutionary legitimacy, since the "European socialist . . .

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