New Old Russia

When I was in high-school I read lots of Robert A. Heinlein. The stories were very “good guy versus bad guys”, with the help of a lady who was much smarter that the good guy and knew the real score.

Great stuff and a collection of his was updated in 1980 to include new material and updates. That collection was called “Expanded Universe“. It’s a great look into what people thought in the 40’s through the 60’s. R.A.H. was a great American patriot, never trusted Communists, and would work hard to put the science into science fiction.

Buy the book or go to the library. Read the short story “Pravda” Means “Truth”. Now go to the New York Times online article titled “Youth Groups Created by Kremlin Serve Putin’s Cause“. Here is an excerpt from the begining of the article.

“Tell me, what achievements of Putin’s policy can you name?” she asked, referring to Russia’s president since 2000, Vladimir V. Putin.

“Well, it’s the stabilization in the economy,” the girl answered. “Pensions were raised.”

“And what’s in Chechnya?” Ms. Kuliyeva asked, probing her knowledge of a separatist conflict that has killed tens of thousands and, although largely won by Russia’s federal forces and Chechen loyalists, continues.

“In Chechnya, it’s that it is considered a part of Russia,” the girl responded.

“Is this war still going on there?”

“No, everything is quiet.”

It’s a scary read. In the short story of the Heinlein’s trip to Russia “Pravda” Means “Truth” they visit a class and see some school kids with their guide. This is the text I typed from the book (page 414 on my copy).

Our guide translated nothing so, superficially, it was the sort of beguiling performance one sees in any American kindergarten.

However, my wife understands Russian:

The poem recounted the life of Lenin.

The prose recitation concerned the Seven-Year Plan.

The group singing was about how “we must protect our Revolution.”

These tots were no older than six.

That is how it is done. Starting at the cradle, never let them hear anything but the official version. Thus “pravda” becomes “truth” to the Russian children.

The Heinlein’s trip was in 1960 when the U-2 spy plane made an unscheduled landing. At that time Khrushchev was in charge. Apparently Putin and his pals know full well that the old tricks really do work best

I’m not sure if the tag Just Stupid should really be replaced with Just Scary.