The assumptions in those comments verge on the patronising.
Some of us on 'the left' are not so blind as to think that all that is going on in emerging post-Soviet nations is "retarded nationalism, anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic aggression and the equation of Nazi war crimes with the Soviet rule afterwards." You don't have to be a supporter of either US imperialism, Wilsonian self-determination or old-fashioned nationalism to see that many of these characteristics as are to be found in Putin's rule in Russia on an even larger and more powerful scale - of course with the exception of Stalin's era, which is now starting to be recalled as a golden age there (and incidentally, what's wrong with being anti-Zionist?)
As to 'comparing Nazi war crimes with the Soviet rule afterwards', this would seem to be perfectly legitimate. It is not to say that they were exactly the same, however the median estimates for deaths caused by Stalin are around 20,000,000 compared to those caused by Hitler of around 40,000,000. That's certainly comparable in terms of orders of magnitudes, and you can't tell me that Stalin's gulags, arbitrary purges and slaughters and deliberate starvations were much more rational and justified than Hitler's vernichtunskreig, even though the latter remains the most revolting episode in human history.
Finally, I seem to recall that rather too many in certain parts of the western left gave their support to Stalin too, even after the extent of his crimes were revealed... they were wrong, put simply. Many of the European left were wrong and some remain unable to admit it. Simply claiming to be 'left' does not count as some kind of short cut to being genuinely critical - whilst we may have a good time applying our critical eye to the easy targets of petty nationalisms, it doesn't mean that some petty nationalists don't deserve our sympathy against even greater evils on some occasions (even whilst we might not agree with their views) - even if the USA has encouraged such petty nationalisms. And human compassion is in most cases a more appropriate first response than armchair analysis, however ideologically precise.


From: A forum for critical and radical geographers [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Thomas Doerfler
Sent: 14 August 2008 15:03
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: address of Tbilisi State Univeristy

Am 14.08.2008 um 12:38 schrieb Sarah Glynn:

For a different perspective try

Thanks Sarah,

there are a lot of different positions and I already communicated this to Helen. I quote it below, maybe it's of interest for some. I wonder why some people consider themselves as »critical geographers«.


Dear all,

Please find address to the universities by Rector of Tbilisi State
University attached to this letter and express your support to this little
country in every way you can.

Best regards,

Helen Sooväli

Helen Sooväli, PhD
Senior Researcher in Cultural Geography
Centre for Landscape and Culture
Estonian Institute of Humanities
Tallinn University
Uus Sadama 5
10120 Tallinn

Why the hell should we support him?


Dear all,
Instead of the attachment I have copied the address to this letter. Thank
you for your quick response.
Helen Sooväli

Hmm, ok, a serious task, but isn't it more useful to demonstrate against Saakashvili for his infantile military politics and far-beyond-imagination strategic errors he did and forced Georgia into a war with a hegemon of which he knew what it's reaction it would be?


It is easy to judge when sitting at the computer and condemn Saakashvili. This is not the time. Georgia needs help. Same sort of thing happened in Estonia last year in a much minor scale event, when finally a Soviet war memorial was moved to another place. I guess to understand the power of Russian propaganda and tactics one has to experience it... Thank God Estonia belongs to NATO, there was not much help from EU then..

Helen Sooväli

I think maybe one of the ugliest chauvinist practices we ever faced in memory politics was given when this monument was moved. A lot of people are also in clear opposition to the revanchist ideas in a lot of post-Soviet countries, with retarded nationalism, anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic aggression and the equation of Nazi war crimes with the Soviet rule afterwards. You should not expect too much support from Western Europe, because we had this chauvinist attitudes once in the 50ies and are fed of. The Left at least...


sorry, only in German language, but there are some information about Georgian Propaganda there on their role as »victims«. Sure, there will be soon some English information available.