On Christmas Day 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev, president of the Soviet Union, gave his farewell speech and more than seven decades of Russian revolutionary socialism came to an end. A generation later, the spirit of the Soviet Union has re-emerged with mass support in the U.S.
When I arrived in Moscow in 1976 to begin a six-year stint as a correspondent, I was struck by the red flags flying from government buildings and the somber streets devoid of advertising except for garish posters showing workers with clenched fists demanding an end to the arms race.
When the Soviet Union fell, it seemed the Soviet attempt to impose a deluded version of reality had died with it. Francis Fukuyama, in his 1989 essay “The End of History,” said that Marxism-Leninism was doomed as an alternative to liberal democracy. I argued at the time that the drive to make a religion out of politics had not disappeared.
For the past four years, potted histories have warned about the rise of fascism in the U.S. But the real danger is the transformation of “tolerance” into an ideology with its own courts, informers and punishments, all of them reminiscent of the Soviet Union.
One of the pillars of the Soviet Union was a controlled press in which all coverage was organized to confirm a mendacious ideology.