Music for useful idiots’ ears

This statue features prominently throughout the song

These days I use this Leninist term to describe British fans of Putin’s kleptofascist junta. Broadly they fall into two distinct, although often overlapping, categories.

First, there are congenital idiots, the kind of people who’ll support anything or anyone for the flimsiest of reasons. Second, there are those who do possess mental faculties, but have them overridden by fanaticism and ignorance.

The ignoramuses simply don’t know the facts of Putin’s regime; the fanatics know them, but don’t let factual truth interfere with their innermost convictions. Those in the first group and both sub-groups of the second are beyond salvation.

Trying to make any of those congenital or self-made idiots change their mind is a losing proposition, and God knows I’ve tried. But those who are neither stupid nor fanatical will learn everything they need to know from this one video that has gone viral in Russia:

Duma Deputy (MP) Anna Kuvychko leads a choir of children, some as young as five or six, all clad in military uniforms, in a rousing rendition of a frankly fascist song ‘Uncle Vova, We’re With You’.

‘Vova’ is a popular Russian diminutive for Vladimir, and the intercut sequences of Putin at his most martial leave no doubt as to which Uncle Vova the tots are with.

In one frame, Putin shares with us his youthful experience as what he proudly describes as a ‘common Petersburg thug’: “If a fight is unavoidable, strike first.” These are words the children are taught to live by: strike first if a fight is unavoidable, or even if it isn’t.

The refrain of their song is suitably patriotic: “If only there were peace on the land from the northern seas to the southern borders; from Kuril Islands to the Baltic shores. But if the supreme commander calls us into the last battle, Uncle Vova, we’re with you.”

A reference to the last battle evokes all sorts of lovely things, especially since, as a polyglot friend has kindly informed me, the SS were known as Endzeitkämpfer, ‘soldiers of the last days’. Not an intended parallel, I’m sure; just a case of great minds thinking alike.

Any battle, last, first or intermediate, must have a clearly defined enemy, and the children do the honours with both directness and subtlety. “We,” goes the song, “have had it up to here with ‘the hegemone’”. Since that term is used in the Russian press interchangeably with the United States, the reference couldn’t be clearer.

The geographical parameters of the desired area of peace are also quite interesting. The poor children go on to specify that they’ll fight to preserve for future generations Sebastopol and the Crimea, thus endorsing Putin’s aggression.

They also reaffirm their commitment to keeping their atoll out of samurai hands – that’s a reference to Kuril Islands to which Japan has a valid claim. I’m not sure to what extent the term ‘samurai’ applies to today’s power structure in Japan, but the tots don’t care. If the last battle involves the samurai, the little ones are ready.

Then things get really worrying. The children’s patriotism, so commendable to our useful idiots, extends to recovering for Russia “the capital of amber”.

Amber in the Soviet Union came from the Baltic republics, which today are Nato members. Returning those amber-rich areas to the fold may spell a serious conflict, but the babes are with Uncle Vova no matter what.

Some doubt that Nato would be prepared to go to war over Putin’s land-grab in the Baltics. However, there’s no doubt America will fight if the tots follow Uncle Vova on a conquest of one of the 50 states. The children are undeterred though: we’ll get Alaska back, they sing with youthful gusto.

To establish historical continuity, the choir then explains that “our army and our navy are our loyal friends”. This is a paraphrase of Alexander III’s statement that “Russia has only two allies: her army and her navy”. And fair enough, these are still Russia’s only allies, apart from Venezuela, Iran, Assad’s Syria and our own useful idiots.

The reference to Alexander III isn’t accidental. He’s touted as the last strong Russian tsar and therefore a more appropriate role model for Putin than that wimp Nicholas II. Stalin is even better, and he’s being put on many a pedestal (and even a few icons) in Russia, but Alexander (who, incidentally, died of alcoholism at age 49) communicates the same message without creating premature excitement.

To emphasise that, the other day Uncle Vova unveiled a giant statue of Alexander III in Yalta. The plinth ignorantly credits the strong tsar with the achievements of Mendeleyev and Dostoyevsky, both of whom, alas, worked during the previous reign. But hey, never mind the facts, feel the sentiment.

Now imagine if you can a similar performance in England. A Tory MP, say Andrea Leadsom, leads a choir of children wearing monkey suits in a rendition of the song ‘Auntie Theresa, We’re With You’. The song reiterates the children’s desire to return to Britain the land of silk and spices, the capital of diamonds and the American states on the Atlantic Seaboard.

The footage is livened up by sequences of Theresa May climbing into a tank, riding a steed bare-chested, advising earnestly to strike first if a fight is unavoidable, and claiming that the army and the Royal Navy are our sole allies.

I’m being facetious here, but serious at the same time. This is to emphasise that Russia isn’t just a different country, but a different planet, nay universe. In that universe, the sentiments communicated by the poor brainwashed children dominate the press and airwaves.

Bugles blow and drums rattle all over Russia – to the extent they didn’t even during post-Stalin communism. Russians who, like me, remember those times will testify that the most strident songs sung at the time (and there were a lot of those) didn’t approach the febrile fascistic fervour of this nice children’s song.

These are worrying times, but our useful idiots aren’t worried. That’s what patriotism is all about, isn’t it? And patriotism is the highest virtue there is. God made a mistake leaving it off those stone tablets.

P.S. This is a cleaner version of the same video, but without the Putin sequences:

14 thoughts on “Music for useful idiots’ ears”

  1. Greetings AB,
    I thought I’d take a short break from Thanksgiving preparations to drop a line or two. Yes. Thanksgiving: the most historically inaccurate bunch of rubbish….well, you know.

    I viewed the video in the link provided. Pretty much the most terrifying thing I’ve seen since the footage of old Adolf patting the heads of the 15 year olds who were all that was left of his army.

    Honestly, it was stomach-churning. But without your treasured daily blog, I’d have never even known it exists.

    Anyway, I trust you’re in good health and, as always, look forward to reading you daily.
    God Bless,


  2. My understanding is that the Mother Russia monument at Stalingrad/Volgagrad Volgagrad/Stalingrad is crumbling and danger of toppling over.

  3. Mendeleyev wrote his doctoral thesis on ‘combinations of water and alcohol’ and coincidentally established the ‘correct’ strength for vodka. So he imbued chemistry with a true Russian theme and quite possibly had a lot of help from the alcoholic Alex III. Of course I doubt the Tsar had much to do with the Nobel Prize winning stuff on the periodic nature of the elements.

        1. The chronology of discovery by darned foreigners (sorry, non-Anglophone scientists) such as Mendeleyev, Mendel himself, Avogadro and others, tends to be obscured because it could take the English publishers many years to notice them.

  4. I think that those who approve of Putin see him as a patriot, rather than an aggressive expansionist – the opposite of how we viewed the old USSR. And his policy in Syria, where one has to choose which monster to back, was far more sensible than the West’s support for ‘the rebels’. Assad’s pluralist Syria being a far more attractive proposition than that which previous ‘rebels’ we’ve backed (Sauds, the Mujahideen) have brought about, once in power…

    Having said that, I think that, much like the USSR took European socialism to extremes, Putin has taken today’s progressive corporatism to extremes in creating his gangster state.

    He is not a nice man.

    1. My whole point is that the useful idiots see patriotism as the overriding and redemptive virtue. That’s a direct route to vindicating, or even admiring, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin — or Putin, take your pick. When it’s not married to virtue, patriotism is fascism. Also, I think it’s a stretch to describe Assad’s dictatorship as pluralistic. Yes, you may be right that the West’s policy there was asinine — partly because it opened the door for Putin to pursue his evil designs in the region. And I wouldn’t see Putin’s regime as an extreme in progressive corporatism. It’s an evil fusion of history’s most diabolical secret police and organised crime, pursuing — be means of theft, violence and subversion — its aims of self-enrichment and imperial expansion. To say Putin isn’t a nice man is to say very little. Franco wasn’t a nice man. Putin is evil. Big difference.

      1. Ah! but I prefer to separate ‘patriotism’ (a conservative virtue) from nationalism (a socialist vice). I agree that Putin is more nationalistic than patriot – but for those for whom that news doesn’t directly effect – and it’s a bit far away! those lines can be blurred (there were plenty amongst the British establishment of the 1930s who admired Hitler’s ‘patriotism’).

        In Assad’s Syria, one was free to worship whatever deity one wished (and religious pluralism was protected by law). Local women could be in jeans and T-shirt, or the full bin liner, depending on their choice (or the choice of their husbands, I agree). Most people I have spoken to, who had been to Syria prior to the civil war, have said that, if you could ignore the politics (which is true of any Arab country) , then Damascus was a terrific place to visit.

        Also – how is “be means of theft, violence and subversion — its aims of self-enrichment and imperial expansion. ” not an extreme form of progressive corporatism?

        1. Progressive — or rather progressivist — corporatism is what we have in the West. In Russia they have something entirely different, a gangster state with an imperial dimension. I mean, I don’t know of many British politicians with billions of laundered dollars in offshore accounts. In Russia, this is both a job benefit and a job requirement. Putin’s entourage have upwards of a trillion dollars in US banks alone, plus another trillion scattered all over the world. Add to this its pseudo-religious obscurantism married to total militarism, and I can’t see any parallels with any Western country. As to Syria, all you’re saying may be true, but it doesn’t amount to pluralism. I agree though that Assad, Saddam, Gaddafi, Mubarak et al, ghastly though they are, are preferable to any available alternative.

  5. “I don’t know of many British politicians with billions of laundered dollars in offshore accounts.”

    But I can reel off plenty of British and American, progressive politicians, who have spent their entire working lives on the public payroll, with millions of laundered dollars in offshore accounts…Hence my assertion of Putin’s extreme form of progressivism – the unholy alliance between big business and politics. One question I constantly ask is: Why has no journalist questioned the demise of The Monopolies Commission in the UK?

    Don’t get me wrong – I take my education on the current state of Russian politics from an articulate Englishman who happens to have Russian origins (that’s you AB!) – but we tend to criticise our own more vociferously…so I continue to question and I know you welcome those questions.

    1. I always wondered how come there was only one Monopolies Commissions. I think it was undone by the inherent paradox. As to our politicians, I’d respectfully point out that earning, however undeservedly, millions from public payrolls is morally, not to mention arithmetically, different from pilfering billions.

      1. Yes, touché (with a chuckle at the hoary old joke of your first) on both points.

        The Monopolies Commission, of course existed to ensure that free market capitalism could endure – a free labour market was spread out amongst many, competing companies. If one failed, it was no biggie – the, relatively small, workforce could find work in any of the other companies. Progressivism ensures that partner monopolies become ‘too big to fail’ – requiring large injections of public money when they do (followed by a period of ‘austerity’).

        Between the common ownership of the means of production and a totally free market, it is the greater evil, in my view.

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