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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Feliks Dzherzhinsky Returns?

In its preamble, the 1992 Republican platform celebrated the Cold War's end
We all watched as the statue of Soviet hangman Feliks Dzherzhinsky was toppled in front of Moscow's KGB headquarters by the very people his evil empire sought to enslave. Its sightless eyes symbolized the moral blindness of totalitarians around the world. They could never see the indomitable spirit of people determined to be free from government control—free to build a better future with their own heads, hands, and hearts.
Now, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports that the statue might return:
To many, the tall statue of Feliks Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Cheka secret police, was a symbol of bloody Soviet repression, and the moment when it was pulled down from its pedestal outside KGB headquarters in August 1991 was an iconic image of the regime’s demise.
To the communists who campaigned for his rehabilitation, however, the Bolshevik revolutionary remains a cherished figure, and this week they inched closer to their goal: returning Dzerzhinsky to that old spot on central Moscow's Lubyanka Square.

On June 11, the Moscow City Election Commission ruled to allow a referendum on restoring the statue to the site -- a concession the commission had previously declined to make. 
Pew reports:
As the Obama White House and its NATO allies discuss their responses to Russia’s activities in Ukraine, Washington faces its own internal divisions, some of which are being reflected in the early stages of the 2016 presidential campaign. Republicans and Democrats in the United States are strongly divided on the situation in Ukraine and what to do about it.
Members of both American political parties see Russia as a major military threat to neighboring countries, but to differing degrees, according to our latest survey.
Two-thirds of GOP members see Russia as a military threat, but only 56% of Democrats share their fear. And while half of Republicans say Russia is to blame for the violence in eastern Ukraine, just 39% of Democrats agree.
There is a similar partisan divide over what to do about the situation in Ukraine. Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to support military assistance. Six-in-ten Republicans voice support for NATO sending arms to the Ukrainian government compared with 39% of Democrats.