What Is Prigozhin And Putin up to in Russia ? My reply to a conservative friend’s letter

Dear A:

My short answer to your question is this: Prigozhin “goes both ways” (sic).

If you are interested in my longer answer, please read on.

Sapiens, including those who are Russian, like to imagine that they are rational creatures, created in the image of god, moving forward progressively as each others’ keepers on the path towards conquering nature. I know and you should know too, that this self image is a crock. “Onward Christian Soldiers” is a song written for lunatics in an insane asylum. In Russia and everywhere else on this planet, it’s the fortune hunters among us who call the shots and those shots are intended for the most, to enhance and sustain the fortune hunters advantages in the pursuit of wealth, power, and privilege (no need to bring Marx into this, just open your eyes wide or read Nicos Poulantzas).

Once the fortune hunters decide what they want to get their hands on, they find a way to get their plebs to do the heavy lifting for them. (This is what Jürgen Habermas calls “strategic action, the opposite of “communicative action which is driven by the humble citizens desire to understand and to be understood.) Strategic action begins by loading the public information dice with a story that gets everyone off their asses. The war to end all war did the trick in 1914, as tens of millions, from all corners of the world, ran enthusiastically into the line of fire. For those who are reluctant to listen to reason, the fortune hunters created the State and gave it a legitimate monopoly on the use of violence against those who disobeyed its commands. (Read Max Weber. Unlike Marx, he didnt have an ax to grind). St Stephen, the founding father of the Hungarian state cut up the body of his most recalcitrant dissident, and put parts of his dismembered bloody remains on view atop the walls of his castles in the 4 corners of his kingdom. Many died on the cross, including that carpenter in Palestine. Hundreds of thousands of illiterate peasants died with a red-hot poker up their rectum because they wanted a seat at the table. Millions of blacks died in the Congo because they considered Leopolds demands unreasonable. If that was then, what is now? The Saudi ruler uses a meat grinder to cut his opponents down to size. Putin digs Novichok, Prigozhin shoots from the hip, and takes no prisoners. It’s a long way to Tipperary.

I do not think it’s an accident that the person who brought the cult of selfishness to the pinnacle of possessive individualism in America (Ayn Rand) was a fortune hunter herself. That she was Russian is, obviously just a coincidence. (Atlas may well have shrugged upon hearing this, but I am a stickler for detail.) Here is the big picture: The people of Russia have not chosen but have been forced into watching the trains go by since the dawn of history. Those who have objected to this screenplay have been treated very harshly by the Russian state regardless of whose colors were flying above the Kremlin. Bolshevism was just the latest chapter in this horror story. (Rosa Luxemburg knew this would be the inevitable byproduct of Lenin’s formula, no wonder she was hated by the architects of the Bolshevik State, no wonder my old friend, Ilona Duczynska was kicked out of the Hungarian Communist Party under Lenin’s watch in 1922 because she was a “Luxemburgian). Don’t listen to me, listen to what everybody knows.

Allow me to digress for a moment: In 1956, it wasn’t the Hungarian middle class but the countrys downtrodden proletariat, their disgruntled brothers and sisters in the countryside and their children at the country’s institutions of higher learning, who upchucked after being force-fed the Kremlin’s trash for a decade. It was their heroic, unselfish resistance against a nuclear superpower that enabled my bourgeois family to get the hell out of Dodge – the Soviet Empire’s smelly little encampment on the Danube. You and I have these wretched of the earth to thank for our first encounter back in elementary school, and for the unending friendship that has followed.

What I’m trying to say to you is this: Don’t listen to the Grimm Brothers or the screenwriters at the Disney studios. Please go back and reread the original story of that commoner, who we have come to know as The Sleeping Beauty. She woke (please register my added emphasis) not from a gentle, liberating kiss from a well to do prince, but from the consequences of that fortune hunters earlier sexual assault on her helpless, defenseless body. In case you have trouble finding the original, 12th century version, here is my summary: In the original orally transmitted version, that was authenticated in a print version following Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press (see Le Roman de Perceforest, Paris,1528) the sleeping beauty was raped by the prince in the middle of the night after he spied her laying unconscious in her bed. Once he was done with her, the marauding prince trotted back to his chateau, slipped back into bed next to his beloved wife, and fell fast asleep feeling no remorse whatsoever for the rape that he had just committed. Grabem by the pussy ? I have a message to Steve Bannon and the gang down at CPAC: Prince Charming was Trump before Orbán. The sleeping beauty only woke up from her deep sleep after she gave birth to twin boys. It was not the Prince Charming’s kiss but the cries of her “children in the morning, who are leaning out for love, and will lean that way forever  that woke the unfortunate commonner. (My thanx to Leonard Cohen for the above quoted words from his song Suzanne). If you want to know a bit more about how this medieval fairy tale that’s used time and time again to rock the oppressed into silent surrender, see an interview with me here.

What more can I say to clarify the picture for you? Machiavelli did a wonderful take on the object of your curiosity centuries ago. I’m not sure why we are still unable to see through the various smokescreens. Seriously. (Just listen to what’s coming out of the mouths of the talking heads at CNN, Newsmax, MSNBC, Fox, CBS, NBC, Russia Today – the list is far too long to continue.) In my view, what’s happening today in “civilized” Russia is what happened to the civilized world when the 3 victorious Western superpowers divided the world among themselves in Paris in 1919-20, and told the Kurds, along with the rest of the world, especially the global south, to eat shit! Are you with me? We have been confronted time and time again by the horrid consequences of that diet and yet we still refuse to learn anything from it.

What’s happening today in Russia is what happened in civilized Germany and Italy a century ago: a state-capture by a criminal gang but with the blessing of those countries’ business establishments and Christian churches. A similar story is unfolding today within Hungary, a member of that gated community we know of as the EU. The indigenous people of North and South America, of Africa were fucked the same way as the ordinary citizens of the Ukraine are fucked today by the combined forces of Prigozhin, Putin, Orbán, Lukashenka, Chairman Xi, the so-called “global south” and last but not least the UNthe global organization that was expressly created to prevent such obscene disasters from ever happening again, and to prevent organizations that have a one-sided ax to grind, such as NATO, from coming to the emotional rescue of those whose lives matter. Please check the soundtrack. 

What’s happening in Russia today is the same thing that is happening in the Sudan, In Uganda, in Northern Syria, in Lebanon, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (in the latter’s case, the conductor is Chairman XI Jinping of the Chinese Communist Party. For that score, please read Cobalt Red by Siddharth Kara, Macmillan, 2023), The American Republicans also showed us a good trial run with this playbook during Trump’s first presidency and are gearing up big time for a rerun in 2024 with a cast of candidates ready to outdo each other in their quest to make America’s fortunehunters great again. With a bit of gay-bashing, a few more restrictions on the black vote, a kick at womens reproductive rights, and a match under the ass of the fossil fuel industry, they have a 50/50 chance of rocketing themselves back into that very White House. The fortune hunters who own CNN or Fox will do their best to keep the final contest between the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates as close, as tight as can be. Virtue, honesty, the truth will once again take a backseat to the quest for ratings and the fortunes associated with it. The journalists employed by the big networks, Kaitlin, Anderson, Laura and Sean, will follow the wishes of their handlers as always. If Ol Man Joe edges ahead a bit in the polls, the high brass at CNN will bring in a few well prepared Republican debaters at prime time, to narrow the sympathy gap in favour of the old geezer. The Republicans heavy hitters will wipe up the floor with the ill prepared, emotionally charged Democrats CNN likes to run against the Republicans when the scissor opens and refuses to cut the way thats intended. (Kayleigh McEnany was a frustrating but brilliant servant of CNNs financial planners during the 2016 race, but the networks own Kaitlin Collins didnt do badly at that townhall CNN threw for the Artificial Blond Bomber (copyright ABG) at the run up to the season a couple of months ago). Please dont get me wrong. Im not advocating that we shoot the messengers – they have to bring home the bacon not only to their families but to those who employ them. The “mass media shit show” will be replayed in all of the social media networks that is in the hands of the richest quartet in the world. It will seep into the so-called policy-research arenas through such privately funded agencies as the American Enterprise Institute or publicly funded ones, such as the University of Manitoba’s Geopolitical Economy Research Group (GERG) that happens to be the host to the Chinese Communist Party’s loudest, publicly founded cheerleaders in North America. (You can read these tankies ode to the legacy of Stalinism, the Soviet Empire and the brilliance of the path followed by the Chinese Communist Party here.) 

Let me close my letter to you my friend with these parting words. The fortune hunters are once again fucking the plebs over and over again in order to get first dibs at the pot of gold that is presumed to be at the foot of the rainbow. Nothing good will come of this latest quest for advantage and of the sickening affinity-fraud it necessitates to disguise the perpetrators’ desire to serve the interests of Capital at the expense of Labour. Trump’s portrayal of himself as a blue-collar worker at heart is as sickening as Putin’s, Prigozhin’s, Xi’s, bin Salman’s or Orbán’s affinity fraud.

What’s cooking in the laboratory? Source: Government of the Russian Federation, CC.

Destroying the plebs’ ability to distinguish fact from fiction, illusion from reality has always been the favorite pursuit of the world’s fortune hunters. This pursuit is no longer the monopoly of Western governments, its disciples are now deeply embedded in the political systems of the Gulf States, in all of the newly independent Republics that were once a part of the Soviet Union. The fortune hunters are in full control of Russia, of China, their knees are firmly planted on Labours neck throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Central and South America. The fortune hunters’ quest has taken on an entirely new, and ominous dimension as we are stepping across the portals of AI (check out the hands upon the latter’s joystick). The light at the end of the tunnel is often from a flash. I’m afraid we have accumulated so much explosive charge, our natural environment has become so fragile, our political atmosphere is so polluted with noxious gases that the next flash may well destroy much of humanity’s tunnel system forever.

Best as always,


András Göllner

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