Central Europe From Yalta To Trump

Donate

This video is a point of view of a part of SouthFront Team. Far from everyone project member supports it. Nonetheless, it has a right to exist.

Loading the player...

Written and produced by SF Team: J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson

If you’re able, and if you like our content and approach, please support the project. Our work wouldn’t be possible without your help: PayPal: southfront@list.ru or via: http://southfront.org/donate/ or via: https://www.patreon.com/southfront

The First World War and the collapse of German, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian Empires led to the creation of a band of newly independent states which, due to their economic underdevelopment, were too weak to serve as a buffer zone between the revanchist Third Reich and the Soviet Union. The reactionary nature of their political systems, Czechoslovakia being the only exception, meant these countries were incapable of forming alliances against Germany. Worse, with Czechoslovakia again being the  exception, they viewed USSR’s existence as posing a threat not because of any danger of Soviet military attack, but rather due to the fear Marxism. Most of them aligned themselves with the Axis powers. Even Poland, which figured very high on Hitler’s target list, participated in the destruction of Czechoslovakia, prevented USSR from coming to its aid, and did not begin to craft operational plans for an eventual war with Germany until the Spring of 1939.

Needless to say, it would be Soviet troops who would have to rescue the peoples of Central Europe from their leaders’ folly, and the  Tehran, Yalta, and Potsdam conferences recognized USSR’s legitimate security concerns by acknowledging its sphere of influence as extending to the Elbe River. The next four decades would represent the fastest economic and social progress the countries of Central Europe have ever known, which transformed them from agrarian states with rampant poverty, disease, and illiteracy into modern nation-states whose institutions in some respects, for example, when it comes to the quality and availability of education and health care,  surpassed their Western European neighbors. For all the current revisionist talk about Soviet “occupation”, “imperialism”, or “exploitation”, the experience of Central Europe within Soviet orbit is not comparable to the experience of any colony of a Western imperialist power. Soviet objectives in Central Europe were, after all, radically different from, for example, French objectives in Indochina or North Africa, or British objectives in India.

To put it bluntly, Western imperial powers were usually motivated by the desire to exploit the colonies economically. In the Soviet case, Central Europe of Warsaw Pact era can be best described using the concept of military frontier. If these countries were to serve that purpose effectively, they could not be economically exploited–instead, they had to be built up and strengthened economically and militarily.

Central Europe thus became part of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, or COMECON, the first attempt at European economic integration as it reached levels of cooperation, including the use of the so-called “transferable ruble” as common currency, that would not be seen in Western Europe until the creation of the EU in 1992. COMECON, in addition to integrating Soviet and Central European economies, would eventually extend its influence as far afield as Vietnam and Cuba, with Mexico, Ethiopia, Yugoslavia, Finland, South Yemen, and several others enjoying observer status.

In the end, however, the project proved unsustainable due to a combination of factors which included the cost of the arms race, the problems inherent in the 5 Year Plan central planning process, and of course the sheer expense associated with subsidizing the countries of Central Europe which enjoyed such privileges as the ability to purchase petroleum using transferable rubles, which USSR could have naturally sold on the international market in exchange for hard currency.

Those in Central Europe who expected the EU would simply continue where COMECON had left off would be disappointed, as Western powers’ interests did not include creating economic competitors bur rather finding a replacement for Greece, Spain, even Italy–the Southern European countries that found themselves economically drained and indebted by their more powerful neighbors. Central European countries have lost, through rapid privatization, most of their national industries to foreign conglomerates which engaged in asset-stripping on a massive scale. These practices, combined with the the 2008 economic crisis and the ongoing sanctions war with Russia have turned Central Europe into a net burden on the West.

Latvian President Raimonds Veinonis asserted in a recent  interview that his country no longer has an economy of its own, and is solely dependent for its economic survival on EU grants and subsidies. Whenever there is even a delay in their disbursement or utilization, the country’s economic activity slows down dramatically. This is not an isolated case. The media in other post-Communist states, including Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria, have also been running similar stories which underscore these countries’ dependence on EU monies. Their COMECON-era industries wiped out by privatization and asset-stripping, securing subsidies has become one of the most important campaign issues in the poorer states of Central Europe.

But EU subsidies are not meant to be permanent, but rather a temporary measure that allow recipient countries to reach “escape velocity” of economic growth that enables them to function independently. Well over a decade after EU’s expansion, it is becoming evident that hey have also not reached a state in which their economies can prosper on their own, and will likely never reach it for as long as they remain in the EU. There are very few exceptions, for example, the Czech Republic, but even that country still appears fragile. This is a fundamental fact that nearly all the major players recognize but none wish to acknowledge because doing so would put into doubt the entirety of European integration project. Yet the millions of economic migrants fleeing Poland, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania, and other countries for  Western Europe in order to perform menial jobs are the accurate indicator of the true state of affairs.

The supposedly “pro-Russian” rhetoric emanating from Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, and other conservative Western leaders is simply the result of their  unwillingness to continue subsidizing Central Europe indefinitely. French conservative leaders, including both Le Pen and Fillon, being fiscally conservative, share his motives. After all, every post-1991 EU and NATO eastward expansion has become a net liability for the wealthier partners. The countries of Central Europe have not only become permanent subsidiary recipients, they are also net security consumers rather than providers. Poland and Romania have sought US bases, including for strategic anti-missile defenses, mainly because once these bases are established, US government will become de-facto responsible for the economic and political stability of these countries, which may quickly become a very expensive hobby. Therefore, as time goes by, it appears that the alternative model of Eurasian integration, the rightful successor to COMECON that now includes China, may eventually be recognized in Western capitals as a welcome alternative to the continued need to subsidize Central Europe. The recent elections and referendums in Europe and United States are certainly pointing in that direction.

Donate

SouthFront

Do you like this content? Consider helping us!

  • paul

    I found this a very interesting analysis as it presented a refreshingly
    different perspective to the one I usually hear. The point of view
    certainly has merit. The media in the west are hysterical in always
    trying to mold perception into their preferred view of reality. So it
    is hard to know what to think and what to believe. The only way to
    approach the western media is to treat them as profound liars.

    • Karai Puku

      Paul, I would rather accept this article as a beginning offer in a expected bargaining process over the future of Central Europe.
      Bargaining that cannot start before you identify, recognize the relevant parties.
      Trump is obviously one. Putin one.
      But we still do not who really represents Europe. Is there such a being?

      • Patrick Martin

        France-Germany is what essentially represents europe. Nothing happens without these two.
        With the rise of nationalism in europe the landscape is changing though.

    • Patrick Martin

      The video wants to tell us that Soviet russia was more advanced then west europe.
      Even today quality of life in russia is far below western.

      • Kell

        “The best enemy money can buy” Anthony Sutton is a good read.

        http://www.whale.to/b/mullins41.html

      • gmatch

        Hmm, did you shop recently in the US – at Walmart? Never see this junk in Russia, China or India.

        • Patrick Martin

          That is why they elected Trump ;)
          The globalists did a quiet good job at trying to bring everyone to the same level(down!).
          Without Trump even in charge yet there are already signs that this will change soon and rather fast.
          One has to respect americans for beeing able to see that their country is going down and react accordingly. Due to its constitution america will always have a higher chance at succeeding then less free systems.

  • Loki
  • Patrick Martin

    This is totally biased towards russia and revisionist.
    They act as if Russia was more advanced then West europe after and before WW2 which is factually and obviously untrue. Just compare east germany to west germany.
    The quality of life in west europe is and was much higher then in the whole soviet controlled east europe.

    I like southfront for their war commentary but this video makes no sense(nice graphics though)

    • Dear friend, thank you for the comment. We want to call your attention to the fundamental difference between the economic and industrial development in western Europe and in eastern Europe before the World War 2.
      This difference was deepened by a devastation in eastern Europe during the war. Where did main battle actions take place? It’s hard to compare the damage to France and to Poland(or Ukraine) or the damage to the UK and to the Balkan states. There were also difference between the damage suffered by the western and eastern parts of Germany.
      There were also difference between the economic pressure faced by the US as result of the Marshall Plan implementation and the war-devastated USSR that assumed responsibilities for the restoration of eastern Europe.

      • paul

        I thought the video made some rather good point. The distinction
        between western colonialism driven by the quest for resources and the
        Soviets need for a buffer states was an interesting one. Although
        only touch on in the video the fact that some Eastern European
        countries where Nazi allies is worth remembering. Actually you could
        have gone further and said that they where happy enough to join the
        Nazi war of extermination. So murdering the Slav was fine with them
        but don’t hold that against us seems to be their stance.

      • Patrick Martin

        There was not much done in regards of building up East germany or the central european states. They were total vasal states towards Russia. Freedom, liberty and overall quality of life was WAY below West German standards.
        This can only be partially described by the bigger destruction of the east and less economical power due to the battlefields in the east.
        It is mostly due to the system pushed onto the people without a choice. We all know Berlin wall was not build to defend but to keep people in.

        I well understand the points about how imperalist west is acting under false umbrellas but The lack of freedom and amount of systemical political oppression in central europe will be remembered in history as fact.

        • John D.

          Granted the West had a higher living standard Patrick. But I’d rather have a society with no homeless, no jobless, free education and healthcare and cheap housing. I don’t mind my neighbour driving the same car and having the same fridge or washing machine. Social security is the glue that keeps societies together and peaceful. These are all things the West with it’s “great” living standard can’t offer.
          War, poverty, insecurity and social egoism are characteristic of Capitalism and something I’d rather do without.

          • Patrick Martin

            There is not one socialist / communist country that was able to grant a continious high standard of living. Very bad track record.

            And people in east germany had sometimes wait 10+ years until the car they ordered was delivered and then it was shitty quality.
            At the same time the harder you worked in west germany the better quality car you could drive. And still everyone had health care all while the enviroment/pollution of east germany was very unhealthy.

            It simply isnt reality like you say: “everyone beeing the same good”. Everyone is the same bad in socialism/communism.

        • gmatch

          Yes, the vassal situation applies to Europe and US.

      • Piotr

        Dear SF redactor,

        Russia never helped us – CE countries rebuild.

        In contrary, when we wanted to join the Marshall Plan – big brother from Moscow said Nyet!

        The transfer Rouble – was bullshit. Exchange rate was set so, that Russia could buy our industrial products or coal for pennies. So, for example, we built a ship. This ship was then bought for some Roubles. We than were given oil for this.

        It built the closed-circle economy, in which there were no competition.

        The most of the industry we built in Poland was in 70′

        But for this we were given loans in US, UK, France in hard currency. And we bought licences in western countries.

        Some industries we were able to build were succesfull… until the big brother did not say us: hey, you small people are not allowed to build this kind of stuff. We take care in Russia and sell you in exchange for coal or ships.

        Standard of living was terrible. There was shortage of consumer goods because Moscow wanted us only participate in their 5-year plans of expanding the heavy industry.

        Thangs god we had good traditions in textile, cosmetics, food industries and after war we rebuilt them. Perfumes Pani Walewska, Pollena and so on.

        In DDR (east Germany) after 50 years of this nightmare they were so uncompetitive, that after the reunification no single big company remained on the market. Everything wiped out by the western Germany competitors. When Japanese came to the city of Jena to see the optic industry there, they saw the production process that remembered early 60′.

        Can you name any Russian product of high quality oher then military equipment?

        Pls do not fool yourself and ppl.

        The better way to show how Russia can expand is to see it in western structures. But Russia is simple too big, complex, and orthodox. This aint happen. Only thing that can actually happen is some kind of military alliance to fight terrorism and secure common goals. But Russia do not need to conquer Centrl Europe to achieve this.

        • vladBEL

          It was not USSR who dictated you on how to do business but your own communist bureaucracy. So every failure, like now in Ukraine, was explained to polaks as Russian pressure. Sure, the political systems of two countries cooperated and were doing very well together while restoring the countries from the war but if something went wrong, Russians were to blame.
          I totally agree that absolute ban on exploitation the man by man retarded economical progress but Poland and Yugoslavia did not have such ban unlike Soviet people. So, we can see that Moscow did not abuse these countries. The military intervention also could be possible only per alliance official request.

          • nickythetricky

            Uh, Yugoslavia had the SSSR army present in WW2 for a half a year in ’44/’45, 800.000 battle tested Yugoslav army, it was fully out of the SSSR brotherly bear hug since 1948 and firmly in American economic and military grip, willing recipients of the Marshal plan, with some successful political balancing by it’s leader – Tito, incl. the non-aligned movement, private business ownership for businesses of up to 20 employees, etc. As something in between, by ’80s Yugoslavia underwent industrialization with vastly better living standard, and viewed Czechs as poor fucks, while reality is that Czechs were advanced economy until 1940. and Yugoslavia was mostly agrarian society, barely out of feudal state. So, no…

      • gmatch

        The only bombing in France was done by the British.

      • Lamarsky

        Today, how can anybody ignore Solzhenitsyn?
        Neither the Marshall plan or the 5-year plans were designed to help Europe, but instead were meant to help create the debt for the Banking puppetmasters that controlled both the USA and the USSR. If you doubt this, investigate how well Communist countries keep up the debt payments despite the usury involved.

    • Kell

      Some interesting facts here about “Western” support for the Soviet Union over the years from Rockefella Oil interests to Ford building Tank plants – Not so much a stretch when you realise the Bolsheviks were financed by Wall Street “You know who” banks and the original Politburo contained only 6 ethnic Russians, 300 being “you know who’s” from New York city.

      Trotskies real name was Lev Bronstein oy vey!

      http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/sociopol_globalbanking12.htm

    • gmatch

      Yes, during the time of the Soviet Union the life in the West was much better – true, but that has changed.

      • Patrick Martin

        I doubt it. Russia in its poorest parts still appears like decades behind.
        The poorest parts of west europe are still high developed.

  • Soizic

    “The collapse of German, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian Empires.”???
    What do you mean ?
    You are not in the reality.

  • Kell

    Interesting perspective and one radically different to what ive been aware of before particularly in relation to Comcon/Warsaw pact economic developement – will need to research/consider this aspect more.
    Initially thought you said Comic-con lol.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bf0b9a5ecb8f69d8af71077dbc0493d5ca6ad48068fd7782d030607f607b041b.png

  • Indigenous rights for indigenous tribes. The Goyim are waking up to what the Racist-Zionist have been doing all along!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvyEugYkCvw

  • Lillian Smith

    Excellent video I agree with everything except the conclusion. The U.S. has no problem with having economic chaos and poverty in countries that host their military bases. Just look at the Philippines and Iraq. As long as their bases are secure then let poverty and chaos reign. It has always been their policy.

  • Piotr

    haha nice peace of russian propaganda.
    Dear Russophiles I tell you compare living conditions in Russia and in Poland. Poland has in the last 25 years surpassed Hungary in GDP per capita. The best way to compare which political/economy system is better fpr central Europe: Russo-kleptocracy or western is to compare the transformation story of two countries. Ukraine and Poland. The first closely tied to Russia. The second integrating into western system.
    Now in Poland there is no real unemployment. The average salary is nearing 1000E. Thanks to well developed food processing sector and competition on the market cost of groceries is only 60% of the average EU-level. GDP per capita in Warsaw is 180% of the EU average.
    Over one million Ukrainians live in PL.
    I had Russian girlfriend. She came from Kaliningrad. Believe me. I know living conditions in Russian Empire. I would never ever go there for like longer than a week. It is too sad to be there for longer.
    Now compare percentage of HIV infections in Russia, Ukraine and Poland or Czech.
    Guys pls. Russia is military superpower. It is the largest gas station.
    But it miserable country to live in. My girlfriend from Kaliningrad told me, about third of her female friends from school in Kaliningrad are now prostitutes. Full or part-time.
    Average life span for male Russian is 65 years. Come on. What we’re talking about. It is a third world standard.

    Last thing: There was pact of Ribbentropp-Molotov. It was signed in August 1939. According to this pact Soviet Union (aka Russia) and German Reich divided Poland.
    1 September 1939 Germany attacked.
    17 September 1939 Russia attacked.
    Poland was able to defend for no longer than one month. We hoped for French to invade Germany from west. Traitorious french never attacked.

    We took Zaolzie from Czech in 1938 because in 1921, when we battled Soviets on our eastern borders, Czech traitoriously took it from us. We have no problems with Czech. We all know one thing: you can’t be in close economic pact with Russia. It would drag your economy backward. There is no way Russian Empire can lure any Central European country into closer alliance. The only way is to conquer us with your tanks. That is why we want American boots on our ground.

    Paka

    • Rzepicha

      After reading your post I felt obliged to present an alternative view on situation here in Poland.

      Maybe you know what is the median or dominant value of salary in Poland? Because average is skewed by singular high values (home work for you: 1 person earns 1 million and 10 earn 1 thousand, what is the average?). Only recently minimal hourly wage was introduced (13 PLN – ca. 3 EUR before tax) and employers started complaining that it will drive costs of workforce too high for them. Expenditures on salaries in Poland in industrial sector are comparable to Turkey per worker. As for lack of real unemployment – that’s so far removed from reality that I don’t even know how to comment on this.

      And please don’t cite Warsaw’s GDP as an example of standard of living in Poland, high prices for everything (starting from housing) artificially elevate GDP there – that says nothing about real purchasing ability even in Warsaw.

      Officially more than 2 millions of Ukrainians are now working in Poland, but do you really think that Polish standard of living is their main motivation? The same or more emigrated to Russia since their “Revolution of Dignity”.

      What about even more Poles (unofficial German sources state as high as 8 millions) working for minimal wages (or lower when illegally) in EU? In my home city it’s hard to find a family not affected by this phenomenon. Of course they all gone there because they couldn’t stand our 180% EU GDP and 60% EU grocery prices!

      Almost all of our economy is now owned by foreign capital and consists of simple industrial processes (assembly, basic metal forming/casting, injection moulding), logistics/warehouses or call centres “India style”. R&D done externally overtly or covertly. Most of foreign entities obviously barely make any profit here (it means: paying no income tax, income and tax is registered in tax heaven or home country). Where is !OUR! shipbuilding, machine, agricultural, aviation, auto, pharmaceutical, building, energy, etc. industry with our own Polish know-how and expertise? We were never best in the world but at least we were making something ingenious and had our own achievements. Now we are mainly responsible for maintaining the smooth running of processes designed elsewhere. Do you own a !POLISH! (designed, manufactured by Polish owned enterprise) car, domestic appliance, audio set, power tool, piece of clothing, shoes, whatever? Even our alcohol producing industry (formerly state monopoly) was sold out as allegedly not making profit (in Poland that is, someone could think we are heavy drinkers, another myth busted ;)). Oh, I almost forgot – we are European stronghold of high-tech wooden furniture industry! How come forests are one of the last sell-able items in Poland not yet privatised, but previous government alomst achieved it…

      As for American boots – if you own any ground, please gather all of them there, if you wish, on your ground, let the rest of our country be free form occupation.

  • Piotr

    Russia is a backward country with high HIV infection rate, average life span of russian male is 65 years.

    How can such such country be competitive for CE countries.

    bitch pls

  • Lamarsky

    This article ignores force that created the USSR and the aggressive plans of the USSR to attack NAZI Germany and dominate Western Europe. There is so much evidence for this there is so little doubt it can only be ignored.
    Also, both NAZI Germany and the USSR were massively subsidized by the Bank of England and Wall Street Bankers. War profits are not just monetary, but are cultural and demographic. The forces behind money have a time honor method of creating conflict for advantages of many kinds.