Recent events in Ferguson showed that America is not a free democratic, but a totalitarian police state. Social problems explode into mass protests against the system. What is in store for the United States? Pravda.Ru interviewed Americanist historian, leading researcher at the Institute of World History at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Alexander Petrov.
"The formation of the civil society and legal system is a rather complicated process. In America, the process goes back to the 19th century, when there was a movement for civil rights. The Civil War in the United States, among other problems, solved the question of equality. It culminated in the reconstruction of the South, the adoption of relevant amendments and the abolition of slavery. The relatively recent struggle for civil rights, the movement of African Americans for their rights, with Martin Luther King as the leader, ended with desegregation.
At the end of the twentieth century, other events were happening. In 1992, in Los Angeles, four police officers beat a young man to death. The incident stirred up the city. To pacify the protests, National Guard was used. The story ended up with the payment of an unprecedented compensation worth more than three million dollars.
And now they have an event that shook maybe not the whole country, but Missouri for sure. In the state of Missouri, most of the population are African Americans. Indeed, the murder of the young man was an event out of the ordinary. It showed that in America, there were things that still have not been regulated, despite all the statements made by politicians."
"After September 11, the world changed in many ways. In the United States, there is very tight control indeed. One needs to arrive to the airport long before boarding. Inspection measures are very strict. However, after September 11, the Americans were frightened a lot themselves, because America had not seen such challenges before. Then, there were Boston bombings. America realized that it was still unprotected. Danger may come from a seemingly law-abiding citizen.
"There are many questions left. Neither Governor Nixon, nor Washington officials have given any answers yet. The absence of answers leads to clashes. Why did the officer fire six bullets at the teenager? America has come a long way forward since the time of the infamous Jim Crow segregation. The African American community has not been fully integrated into certain processes yet. Some of them are considered a prerogative of the white population. However, it is politically correct to believe in America now that there are no prejudices and problems at all."
"Not fully integrated? They have a black president now."
"Moreover, any booklet must mention a black, a white and a Hispanic representative, and a representative of some other diaspora. America shows that this country is for all, regardless of skin color. If a booklet, an ad or some other form of advertising does not contain that, relevant institutions may have problems.
"The question, the way I see it, is different: how deep are the reasons and whether they can lead to further development of the situation. In late 1990s, in the beginning of 2000s, there was a very powerful process going in to pay compensations to heirs of slaves. That was a type of reparations for slavery. In 2009, the Senate apologized and said they would not pay anything.
"Does it mean then that African Americans, whom they are so afraid to call blacks, not to show any discrimination, have never been integrated in the system of the American society?"
"From the point of view of history, not much time has passed since the launch of the system of integration. After all, slavery is the greatest evil in the history of mankind. By the standards of the history of civilization, the phenomenon existed not so long ago. Then they abolished slavery, but African Americans still did not receive equal rights. They did not become full-fledged citizens either. One needs to understand why African Americans are in the majority in certain suburbs? What are their slogans? Although white people also take part in protests together with black people. This is not purely a riot of color. This is not a revolt of the ghetto. These are common concerns. This is an aspiration to integrate on the part of both African Americans and poor levels of the American population. This is an attempt to find their place in life."
"The United States, President Obama have found themselves in quite a sticky situation. They arranged unrest and revolution in Ukraine, they were giving instructions to the new Ukrainian government. And now, it appears that there is Maidan brewing in the USA?"
"Obama represents interests of his Democratic Party. On the one hand, he sees pressure from his colleagues, and on the other hand, there is tremendous pressure from the Republican Party. The party criticizes him for Obama Care, but also for excessive pliability that, in the opinion of the Republican Party, Obama showed to Russia. Therefore, he is keen to indicate that he still has the will to bring his line to the end.
"Obviously, the USA does not understand how strong Ukraine and Russia are connected. The Americans know their own history, but they do not understand or know poorly the history of other countries. If they did, their actions would not lead to such events.
"Not that long ago, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a very wise man, published an article in The Washington Post. He clearly said that the Americans need to take a look at how closely Russia and Ukraine interact with each other. To start a war is a piece of cake, but ending a war is a hard nut to crack.
"Comparing Maidan riots in Ukraine and the current protests in the United States is not entirely correct. Maidan has a different basis - a political crisis. In America, this movement started because of fuzziness and uncertainty in national and racial issues.
"Ukraine is a young state. Many of the processes that take place in it have a rather complicated assessment because of the time factor. Mass media give a completely obscure and biased picture of the situation. And they are constantly changing. This is a fundamental difference between the United States and Ukraine.
"And of course, a racial issue in Ukraine does not exist. In Ukraine, there is a problem of regions and contradictions between them. Historically, they were developing differently, they were parts of different states. In the United States, the question of racial affiliation is a serious one."
Interviewed by Anton Frolov
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