The Great-Granddaughter of Mr. Khrushchev

The great granddaughter of Nikita Khrushchev was on Al-Jazeera; the program was an in depth look at the Pussy Riot trial.  Yep, that is right, Al-Jazeera devoted 25 minutes to discussing the trial.  There were three guests, an English professor who studies Russia, a Russian civil rights advocate and Ms Khrushcheva.  The intent was to explore the issue of dissension in Russia, to look at political repression, the role of religion in Russia and talk a bit about Putin’s version of Russian freedom.  All three agreed that Russia was influx and that President Putin is an enigma, something between a democratic ruler,  a communist dictator and an old style Tzar – Vladimir the Great.  But none of the three knew quite where Russia is headed or what the impact of the trial will be on political discontent in general.  The final question was the most interesting of all; the interviewer asked Nina Khrushcheva what her great grandfather, Nikita would have thought about the current situation.

Khrushcheva said that was very difficult because Khrushchev had been dead so long (1971) and Russia had changed so much.  She thought he could not have imagined or wanted a non-communist Russia.  She said he probably would simply have had a heart attack and died when the the Soviet Union fell.  However, in answering the question, Khrushcheva quoted a statement her great grandfather made in 1968; he had been out of active political life for four years when the Soviet Union sent tanks and troops into Czechoslovakia to suppress democratic demonstrations, so his comments were those of a private citizen.   Khrushchev said, “after 12 years we haven’t learned anything, there has to be a better way.”  He was referring to the Hungarian revolt of 1956 and the Russian response.  His granddaughter thinks that is what he would say today, “after all of these years we have not learned anything, there has to be a better way.”

In and of itself the trial is probably not very important, not in the grand theme of the world or even in Russia.  But as an indication of Russia’s sense of justice and political freedoms under Putin, it is important.  And of course, Russia is still very, very important in the grand theme of the world – without Russia’s support Bashar Assad would already be part of history and not the focal point of continued bloodshed in Syria.  Russia still wants to be a world power and retain its place and influence in world events that it held back in Nikita Khrushchev’s day  – that make everything that happens in Russia important to all of us.


1 Response to “The Great-Granddaughter of Mr. Khrushchev”

  1. 1 Bill Hanigan August 2, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    It seems the song that pussy riot sang in the church was a parody of Patriarch Kirill who lives in luxury and is one of Putin’s cronies. I stick by my earlier comment that this would all have passed under the rader had it not been for Putin’s influence.

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