How the Russiagate Hoax Has Led to the ‘Sovietization of America’

How the Russiagate Hoax Has Led to the ‘Sovietization of America’ By Dr Stephen F Cohen for 21 Century Wire

“Collusion,” “contacts,” selective prosecutions, coup plotting, and media taboos recall repressive Soviet practices.

Having studied Soviet political history for decades and having lived off and on in that repressive political system before Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms – in Russia under Leonid Brezhnev in the late 1970s and early 1980s -I may be unduly concerned about similar repressive trends I see unfolding in democratic America during three years of mounting Russiagate allegations. Or I may exaggerate them. Even if I am right about Soviet-like practices in the United States, they are as yet only adumbrations, and certainly nothing as repressive as they once were in Russia.

And yet, ominous trends are not to be discounted and still less ignored. I have commented on them previously, on the official use of “informants” to infiltrate Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, for example, and such practices have now multiplied. Consider the following:

Soviet authorities, through the KGB, regularly charged and punished dissidents and other unacceptably independent citizens with linguistic versions of “collusion” and “contacts” with foreigners, particularly Americans. (Having inadvertently been the American in several cases, I can testify that the “contacts” were entirely casual, professional, or otherwise innocent.) Is something similar under way here? As the former prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy has pointed out, to make allegations of Trump associates’ “collusion” is to question “everyone who had interacted with Russia in the last quarter-century.” In my case and those of not a few scholarly colleagues, it would mean in the last half-century, or nearly. Nor is this practice merely hypothetical or abstract.

The US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence recently sent a letter to an American professor and public intellectual demanding that this person turn over “all communications [since January 2015] with Russian media organizations, their employees, representatives, or associates,” with “Russian persons or business interests,” “with or about US political campaigns or entities relating to Russia,” and “related to travel to Russia, and/or meetings, or discussions, or interactions that occurred during such travel.” We do not know how many such letters the Committee has sent, but this is not the only one. If this is not an un-American political inquisition, it is hard to say what would be. (It was also a common Soviet practice, though such “documents” were usually obtained by sudden police raids, of which there have recently been at least two in our own country, both related to Russiagate.)

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