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April 26, 2007

Taibbi's Yeltsin obit

This column by Matt Taibbi is simultaneously the most fairy-tale-like and the most honest Boris Yeltsin obit available.


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I love Taibbi, and this piece in particular. Thanks for spotlighting. :D

Jeebus! The snobbery and class hatred in that obit is so thick you could cut it with a knife.

That's a fair criticism.

Still, I liked the piece because it wasn't a fawning tribute to Boris Yeltsin, like most of what we've been getting from the established media.

If scientists could just convert stupid, smug self-congratulation into energy, we could lock Matt Taibbi in a room, hook him up to wires, and power New York.

Alternately, we could just lock him in a room.

The charge of 'class hatred' sticks, though, as usual, Taibbi nails his target:

"What we were calling 'reform' was just a thinly-veiled mass robbery that Yeltsin perpetrated with American help. The great delusion about Yeltsin was that he was a kind of democrat and opponent of communism. He was not. He was, like all politicians who grew up in that system, an opportunist. He read the writing on the wall and threw his weight behind a 'revolution' that turned out to be a brilliant ploy hatched by a canny group of generals and KGB types to privatize Soviet assets into the hands of the country's leaders, while simultaneously cutting the state free of its dreary obligations towards the rank-and-file Russian people."

And that's how you go from the fall of the Berlin Wall to a Vladamir Putin.

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