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PostPutin, Xi, and The Construction of History (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 12/28/21 7:39 am)
Commenting on the excellent post of Francisco Wong-Díaz (December 27th), our esteemed moderator very wisely asked about the destruction of monuments in the US: "But does this have to take the form of erasing [the nation's] history--or more precisely the history of its history?"
It is commonly agreed that the victors write history and John E notes the logical consequence when the victors happen to change.
For instance, following the never-ending debate on the Spanish Civil War, we can see that now the old victors are the current losers. Therefore a new history is written. Against the version of the new victors, the wise observations of José Ignacio Soler are just words in the wind.
The Woke phenomenon and all the other similar manifestations may be considered the last efforts of the Marxist-Leninists to gain control of the political scene with new tactics. They are masters of using hate but they are accusing their adversary of making "hate speeches" to silence them. In Italy, it is a story that I have witnessed for 76 years.
Rewriting history is common everywhere, and when it is not completely rewritten, facts that may not completely confirm the "mainstream history" of Good (victors) against Evil (losers) are not published. Good against Evil also indicates "us" against "them."
No country is immune from such distortions of the truth, and even the best rational men/women are compelled to follow such a policy.
At present in the world, we have two leaders who in spite of all their faults are trying to present the history of their countries as a continuous development, stressing the good (and not the bad) that happened in the past even if the present rulers are following a completely different political view.
Putin has done an excellent job of evaluating the achievement of the USSR in spite of all its crimes. He has united most of the Russian people with the tale of the Patriotic War (WWII) and the way in which it was won thanks to the previous achievements of the USSR. He is trying to show a continuation of Mother Russia through the Soviets, the Imperial Tsars, the Third Rome, The Rus' of Kiev, etc.
Xi Jinping at the same time is building a new "Celestial Empire" as a continuation of a history stretching over millennia.
Unlike Ukraine, which praises the fight of Bandera and the 14th Waffen-Grenadier Division of the SS "Galicien," Putin does not mention the 30th Waffen-Grenadier Division der SS "Weissruthenien," or the Vlasov Liberation Army (ROA). He also omits the Caucasians, Cossacks (fighting also in the Northeast of Italy against Titoists) and Tatars who valiantly fought for the Axis and later, after their surrender, were condemned to death by the Americans and British who handed them to the vengeful Stalin.
By the way, the Baltic states remember with open ceremonies their Waffen SS divisions too but maybe this is another story.
JE comments: The examples of Putin and Xi show that nationalism is a stronger ideology than "ideology" itself. Celebrating an imperial past is also the easiest path of self-aggrandizement for the current emperor.
On another topic, how is "wokeism" a final gasp of the Marxists-Leninists? They (Marxist-Leninists) had no interest in identity politics of any type beyond social class. Ironically, the "woke" folks care almost nothing about class, in favor of race, gender, sexual identity, and the like.