Month: December 2021

Making sense of it all

Why does knowing international history matter in the 21st century?

I was a newly emergent adult when all of this happened but somehow, I remember… 

Not the details…

But pieces of the details 

That make it all make sense…

A hunch or a feeling you get when you don’t really understand but you know


Is not

Quite right…

I remember my 4th grade Czechoslovakian teacher

Saying something

I remember the command heard round the world when I was in college

“Tear down that wall” spoken from an American president

Very close to what I remember was a series of global citizen campaigns to

Heal the world

Amid calls to boycott

Coca Cola

For apartheid in Africa

And the release and triumph of Mandela 


I don’t remember this…

The rise of Yeltsin



It all makes sense

When these words…written in 2007 about “The real Yeltsin legacy” could have easily been written in 2022…a year after an insurrection that is being skillfully dismantled in the public memory of the people.

Written in 2007 by Archie Brown for the Guardian, you fill in the blank:

_______’s main merit as president of ________ was that he preserved many of the freedoms introduced by _______. His principal fault was that he helped discredit the very ideas of democracy which had evoked real enthusiasm in the last three years of the _______.  This was partly a result of his lack of interest in democratic institution-building. He was disdainful of political parties, and refused to join one. He was scarcely less dismissive of legislatures, most literally in ________ when he ordered the bombardment of the parliament building. He had little understanding of the significance of the rule of law. When the minister for justice was dismissed in _______ he was told by ______ officials: “You have one problem – you always cite the law.”_________ came close to cancelling the ______ presidential contest and only allowed it to go ahead when he knew that, with TV on his side and huge sums of money from the oligarchs, he could win.

He overlooked vote-rigging in both ______ and _______ elections.Although he launched a bloody and unnecessary war in ______, he gave substantial leeway to regional ______ and the _______ of the ______. He genuinely believed _______ was too large to be governed exclusively from the centre. Devolution, though, was at the expense of freedom and democracy.Popular support for democracy was further undermined by the sell-off of _______ natural resources to preselected buyers at knock-down prices, at a time when wages or pensions were often unpaid. The level of corruption was such that his main concern, when picking a successor, was to find someone who would safeguard him from prosecution. Having earned much of his popularity in the late _______ period with attacks on privilege and inequality, he presided over such a vast increase in both that he seriously damaged the cause of democracy to which, at his best, he had made a real contribution.

It sounds eerily familiar to an American president, elected by some people who did not concern themselves with democracy or popular votes, opinions or interests.

Additional reference:

Yeltsin’s legacy