The latest issue of Foreign Affairs contains a fascinating collection of analysis and commentary. Taken from the journal’s archives, the collection reads like a first-hand account of the unfolding of the last 90 years. The apt title of the collection is “How We Got Here”; the aim is to “tell the story of the ideological battles of the past century and the emergence of the modern order.” The first articles in the collection are on Lenin, from the perspective of two thinkers (Harold Laski and Victor Chernov) who themselves were writing in the 1920s.
The question of “how we got here” arose more sharply when I read the following report yesterday on Gazeta.Ru:
“Three gay-rights activists were detained on Friday night, having conducted a flash-mob in Red Square, at Lenin’s Tomb. The three activists opened placards with slogans supporting the rights of gays and lesbians….”
The cognitive dissonance for me, is the linking of “flash-mob” with “in Red Square, at Lenin’s Tomb.” Having spent childhood and young adulthood carrying pictures in my head of Soviet power and control, and hearing about all the tight restrictions on information and expression, I do wonder: How did we get from 5-Year Plans to flash-mobs? Of course we know that the Soviet Union dissolved, and the Berlin Wall came down. At that level, how we got here is well-known. The fascinating part, however, is trying to figure out why: which big ideas and grand schemes were true and wise; and which of them were false and brutal.
В Москве задержаны три активиста гей-движения, проводившие флэшмоб у мавзолея Ленина. В Москве на Красной площади в ночь на пятницу были задержаны три активиста гей-движения, которые развернули у мавзолея Ленина плакаты с лозунгами защиты прав геев и лесбиянок, сообщил «Интерфаксу» источник в правоохранительных органах.