Wednesday, February 13, 2013

More on Milne...

In a review of Milne's collected columns at (where else) the Guardian, there's this rather fabulous line:

Milne's somewhat vague, ambiguous view of the Soviet Union means at least that he is one of the rare western journalists to have dared to point out how anti-communism in contemporary Europe often spills over into direct rehabilitation of domestic fascists and even, in Latvia and Lithuania, Holocaust perpetrators.

Milne's view of the Soviet Union may be many things, but I'm not sure vague is one of them:

For all its brutalities and failures, communism in the Soviet Union, eastern Europe and elsewhere delivered rapid industrialisation, mass education, job security and huge advances in social and gender equality. It encompassed genuine idealism and commitment, captured even by critical films and books of the post-Stalin era such as Wajda's Man of Marble and Rybakov's Children of the Arbat. Its existence helped to drive up welfare standards in the west, boosted the anticolonial movement and provided a powerful counterweight to western global domination.

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