June 21st, 2012

Quaero togam pacem.

Orwell turns in his grave...

...And is probably joined by Huxley in the rotating exercise. Brave New World - does it already exist in our real world? How about Britain?

The London metropolitan police will soon have new extended rights, allowing them to download all data from the mobile phones of suspects and store it for unlimited amount of time. Regardless if any charges have ultimately been pressed or not. The news comes a few weeks after it transpired that the British Parliament was discussing a bill that aims to give the GCHQ (the communications controlling center) new jurisdiction and allow it to tap all phone and internet communications. This has renewed the controversy on the issue how much people's personal rights ought to be limited in this endless fight with crime and terrorism.

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Godzilla, default

An appropriate discussion given what tomorrow is the anniversary of:

In the WWII era there was a movement known as the RONA, an anti-Soviet Russian nationalist movement led by an ex-Red Army General named Andrei Vlasov. This movement was the product of Nazi efforts to dismantle the Soviet Union and the stresses of the later Nazi war effort, when the Nazis got so desperate for manpower they were forced to call upon the surviving Soviet POWs that hadn't died in 1941 or been assigned to slave labor in the Reich. The RONA, however, only saw service in Czechoslovakia protecting Czechs from the last Nazi diehards, and the men in it and the man who led it were deemed anathema in Soviet history and were only given some mention again in post-Soviet historiography.

Vlasov was a very patriotic man, in his own fashion, and he was certainly in love with his vision of Russia. Yet he worked together with the Nazis for a war which had as its most basic goal the annihilation of Russian civilization, explaining *why* his movement didn't see action until Berlin fell and only against Nazis, at that. The question that I present to you is this: was Vlasov a traitor, a patriot, or a collaborator with a movement intent on destroying Russia and thus beyond all social pales, or something else again?

Personally I think Vlasov was the last category, as a Russian working with Nazis pretty much forfeits any claim to respect in a very literal sense. Whatever the merits of opposing Soviet-style communism, there were better people to do that in the company of than Adolf Hitler. I also think that the RONA illustrates that there was at least some powerful anti-Stalin sentiment in the USSR and shows a potential that can only be a potential given the nature of Nazi ideology to start with. But what do you think? How would you handle such people after a war is over?