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“Conversion of Russia” Update:

Putin Installing Modernized Stalinism,
Says Sakharov’s Widow

by Christopher A. Ferrara

These are dark days for Russia. And dark days for the dupes of Fatima revisionism, who seem to have forgotten all about the conversion of Russia promised by the Mother of God.

Day after day the secular press reports on the growing evidence of Russia’s “return” to authoritarian rule (which in fact never really went away). I recently came across an article in the Electronic Telegraph which warned of the trend more than a year ago: “Russia’s acting president, Vladimir Putin, was overseeing a ‘modernized Stalinism’, human rights activists said yesterday.” (March 2, 2000 report)

The Telegraph piece quotes an interview with Yelena Bonner, widow of the Soviet dissident physicist Andrei Sakharov. According to Bonner: “Under Putin, a new stage in the introduction of modernized Stalinism has begun. Authoritarianism is growing harsher, society is being militarized, the military budget is increasing.” No less than Kovalyov, the former “human rights envoy” for Boris Yeltsin, put it this way: “I am pessimistic about the political direction Putin and his team intend to take the country. Putin is a KGB operative, which means he is a tactician, not a strategist. He looks ahead just two or three days.”

Both Bonner and Kovalyov were deadly accurate in their prognosis last year, when the Telegraph reported that “they both feared increased state control over the media …” Since then, as we know, Putin’s Kremlin has overseen the state takeover of independent television stations and the surveillance of news reporters noted by William Safire of the New York Times. At the time of the Telegraph story, Bonner cited the case of Radio Liberty journalist Andrei Babitsky, who was “arrested by federal forces in Chechnya in January after his articles from behind the rebel lines enraged the Kremlin.” Bonner further complained that “The mass media pour filth upon all serious opponents of the Kremlin and barely let their voices be heard. Falsification of vote counts has flourished.”

Bonner and Kovalyov called upon the “democratic world” to “reassess its relationship with Russia” and they “blamed the West’s indulgence of Russia during the Yeltsin years despite the ‘anti-democratic and essentially criminal actions of his administration’.” Bonner warned that “under the present government our country can expect, in the foreseeable future, destructive upheavals that could affect surrounding countries as well.”

Bonner also drew some interesting parallels between “converted” Russia and Stalinist Russia: “about a third of the population worked for either nothing or symbolic wages during the Stalin era. In modern Russia two thirds of the population are on the verge of poverty. The health care system is worse today than it was in the Fifties. Stalin murdered about 20 million people, while in today’s Russia the population is falling by a million people a year.” (Actually, that estimate is very conservative. It is more like 50 million.)

None of these facts seem to have penetrated the consciousness of the Fatima revisionists. They continue to dwell in a kind of parallel universe of their own devising, wherein Russia was consecrated to the Immaculate Heart 17 years ago and has been undergoing a miraculous conversion ever since. And they continue to attack those (first and foremost among them, Father Nicholas Gruner) who insist upon living in this world — the world in which it is manifest that there has been no consecration of Russia; the world in which even unbelievers can see that death and decay, not conversion and renewal, are the lot of Russia today.