The independent London newspaper

Back to the Cold War as Russia rises again

20 March, 2017

• THE Cold War never seems to end, except for a while when Yeltsin took over the post-Soviet Union and proceeded to enrich his family and his cronies by stealing state assets and inviting the West into the carve-up.

Then Putin put an end to that and, with Russia asserting itself again as a world power, the Cold War is with us again. Various authors now try to re-write Soviet history.

Their wishful-thinking, they hope, will criminalise forever the old Soviets. Such is a book by Victor Sebestyen, Lenin the Dictator: An Intimate Portrait, reviewed by Gerald Isaaman (Lenin: lying in state, March 10).

The early Soviet Union was a revolution against the tsars and their over-the-top lifestyle while millions suffered and were being used as cannon fodder in World War I. Like it or lump it, the Lenin/Stalin period made Russia an industrial power and without it it would never have defeated Nazism.

Its social policies of a free health service, equality for women and a job for all forced the US to fund a defeated Germany and Japan in case people voted for a similar society. The Soviet period forced Britain to bring in an NHS and social benefits for similar reasons. Now, with the Soviets gone they are trying to dismantle the NHS and privatise every public body still in existence.

Who will research and write a book on the British Empire where the sun never set (and the blood never dried). How many died during those centuries of colonialism?

Lulot Gardens, N19


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