One of the greatest problems with history is that people refuse to pay attention to it. Libraries are full of books which essentially tell us what is going to happen in our society (meaning right now) if we would only read them. History does repeat itself. While it may not be predictable in the sense of modeling, and making definite predictions- see Karl Popper’s Poverty of Historicism, in our day and age we have seen the same events occur over and over, and they will continue to do so. Here I refer to those singular events in history that have affected millions of people at a time, the nationalistic factionalisation of societies with murder, warfare, and destruction as the ultimate outcome, something the modern world cannot escape.

Do we need examples? In the last century alone, in the western world we have “personalities” (I am loath to call them leaders) such as Hitler, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini… Milošević, and now Putin. Those are just the “big names” that everyone should know and be frightened by when put into the context of August, 2022. How many more can we come up with, how many lesser-known dictators, agitators, regional would-be authoritarians followed the model and their own psychopathic, deviant beliefs to commit mass murder, genocide, crimes against humanity? And then there is the rest of the world- Asia, Latin America, Africa, the middle east… not a very pretty picture of humanity when you think about it.

As my perennial example I always use the the Balkans, the Third Balkan War- the fall of Yugoslavia. The “personality” in this case was Slobodan Milošević. As I see it, the turning point came in 1987 with his speech at Kosovo Polje, the battlefield where the Serbs were defeated in 1389. Here he reached far back in time- a common tactic- to successfully create a nationalistic fervor that would destroy Bosnia, tear apart Kosovo and many parts of the Balkans, and cause the death of hundreds of thousands. The damage he caused has never been, and never will be, completely repaired.

The difference between the outcomes of these past events and what the outcome might be today is glaring- in 1945 the allies took control of war-ravaged Europe and rebuilt it. After the siege of Sarajevo ended money, aid, relief came and now Sarajevo, for example, appears to be a thriving European city. The mafia state of Russia invaded the sovereign country of Ukraine, and the United States, most of Europe, and many countries in the world have stepped up in opposition.

But if we, in the United States follow the same path and allow our country to be destroyed by a pathological, megalomaniacal, criminal psychopath- the path we are currently on- no one is going to come and save us. No one will come to help us rebuild- we will be on our own.  We will fall, and since we will not be there to lead the world, the world will follow.

Moving on to a couple of current events.  A car bomb in Russia, not surprising.  Agents provocateurs at work, false flag operations, deceit?  Almost certainly. And immediately the criminal state of Russia has issued a declaration, without a shred of evidence, placing blame on Ukrainian agents, and also implicating Estonia for harboring them. More Russian lies- do not believe a single word that comes from them!

Serbia and Kosovo are next. Talks broke down, of course. Serbia is another… questionable government (see above reference to Third Balkan War.) The governing body of the country does not want peace, reconciliation, prosperity for the people of Europe. Hatred, division, violence, and suffering bring power and money- the goal.

Final thought- read. Read everything, and if you haven’t read them since high school or college, today start with Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here. Revisit Walter Van Tilburg Clark’s The Ox-bow Incident. And of course anything Orwell, Jack London’s Iron Heel, and maybe Lord of the Flies and Clockwork Orange thrown in.

I have mentioned Masha Gessen’s book, The Future is History, in a previous post.  I highly recommend the book if you want to understand modern Russia, and how the current Russian mafia state grew out of the post-communist USSR. Gessen’s book will give you a clear and disturbing understanding of what went on in the background, and how Russia arrived in the present day.

Digging deeper, the word “hypernormalisation” turns up. From the Wikipedia page outlining the movie of the same name, here is the first paragraph of explanation:

The word hypernormalization was coined by Alexei Yurchak, a professor of anthropology who was born in Leningrad and later went to teach in the United States. He introduced the word in his book Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation (2006), which describes paradoxes of Soviet life during the 1970s and 1980s.[3][4] He says that everyone in the Soviet Union knew the system was failing, but no one could imagine an alternative to the status quo, and politicians and citizens alike were resigned to maintaining the pretense of a functioning society.[5] Over time, this delusion became a self-fulfilling prophecy and the fakeness was accepted by everyone as real, an effect that Yurchak termed hypernormalisation.[6]

The bold italics are my own, to emphasise in less than two sentences where the new Russia comes from.  It is a creation, a societal delusion in the 1970’s and 1980’s that was enforced by a feat of advertising and theatre from the 1990’s onward; it is a monumental hoax perpetrated on 150 million people. (And not just on Russia- to be fair we cannot leave out the rest of the world. Having survived Trump’s attempt at creating the same in the U.S.- this time- we are not very far off. The question is, can we survive it again?) As a side note, the documentary Hypernormalisation, begins in New York in 1975, with Donald Trump.

If you have a free two hours, you can watch the BBC documentary on youtube here: Hypernormalisation by Adam Curtis.

For more on one of the minds behind the creation of Putin, and the latest iteration of the Russian delusion, you can read about Vladislav Surkov on wikipedia. To summarise, he (probably) served on the GRU intelligence staff, studied theatre direction, and worked in advertising and public relations for some very influential Russians.  He is credited with creating Putin’s image, he is an expert at doublespeak, and seems to have perfected the mobile truth that characterises the Russia of the past 60 years or so.

A prime example, Surkov is one of those who claims “there is no Ukraine,” and backs it up with fiction, lies, conspiracies, and historical revision, feeding it to a gullible, depressed, confused, and beaten Russian populace.  And thus we arrive at the present day.

A final note on this post- please do not take any of this as the gospel truth. It is information that is available on the internet. Hypernormalisation, the documentary… borders on the conspiratorial… crosses the line in fact, here and there. Take everything with a grain of salt, and do your own digging. My personal philosophy on information I receive- even that which I see with my own eyes- vacillates between “trust but verify” and “never trust anyone.”  Proceed with caution.