The Eastern Border – An Important Podcast

 
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Official Logo for the Podcast

Having grown up in the seventies and eighties, I distinctly remember the time when the Soviet Union was A Thing. I remember when nuclear arms were always to the front of our minds, and the policy of assured mutual destruction was supposedly the only thing that kept us from assured mutual destruction. It was such a reality that about a decade ago, when discussing history with a few people younger than me and some professors older than me, I was surprised to see what they understood about Soviet Communism and its place in history.

For many, they have less information on the atrocities of the Soviets and more on the ideals those atrocities were supposedly performed for. I recall discussing the fall of the Soviets with my history of film professor who lamented the fall of Communism when it was the only politico-economic philosophy that supposedly cared about the common man. I was surprised to hear that, as I understood there was some great atrocities against these common men they philosophy supposedly lifted up. Such objections were usually brushed off with claims moral equivalency that today still wouldn’t hold up to scrutiny.

For the older generation, they may not have hope. If you’re older than me and you still don’t see clearly what the Soviets did and the havoc they wreaked upon the world, then you might never see. You want to believe what you believe regardless of facts. For some younger people, there’s hope. It’s possible they just don’t know.

For them, and for the rest of us too, I highly recommend The Eastern Border Podcast. This is a modern history podcast as told by native Latvian Kristaps Andrejsons. He tells not just the events, but speaks of attitudes held by those under the Soviet regime and life in the Soviet Union. He speaks with the knowledge of experience – that of his immediate and close family, and those of his countrymen.

There’s some experienced humor in the early episodes as he speaks of how day-to-day life for citizens was affected. There’s some decidedly dark episodes as well. It’s rather horrifying to see how Soviet Communism caused and exacerbated the Chernobyl disaster. The sheer disregard for human life is also demonstrated as he describes the Soviet space program. More recently in several episodes he’s discussed the utter cruelty of the Soviets in how they punished citizens.

Occasionally he does an episode with other podcasters. Some of the younger of that crowd are a bit surprised at his confirmations. In a recent episode, Death and Ideas, Kristaps interviews with the members of the Dead Ideas podcast. More than once they repeat what they take for just American exaggeration or propaganda of the Soviet Union only to find out that, no, no that’s exactly what it was like.

For example, the podcasters mention how churches noted the lack of religious freedom and how you could be punished for going to church. Rather than contradict, Kristaps confirms that yes there were Soviet officials posted outside churches on Sundays noting anyone who attended and that those people could face repercussions for attending. Lenin hypothesized that if people believed in paradise after this life, they would not be motivated to try to make paradise here on Earth.

He is not shy about his feelings towards modern day Russia either, and his impressions are not just that of a citizen of a former state under the Soviet Regime. He regards the current Russian political leadership with a keen historian’s eye and has criticized as he sees it needed. As a result, he has received not a small number of death threats. In a recent episode, he’s even noted that his podcast just might stop one day as it may be seen he’s too much a liability to allow to live.

Understanding the history, the societal and cultural effects of, and the modern repercussions of the Soviet Union and Russia today is important. If you are looking to add a podcast to your list, I highly recommend this. If you aren’t, I would ask you reconsider and discover more about an important part of world history. This may be one of the more important podcasts of our time.

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There are 15 comments.

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  1. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    I second this recommendation heartily.

    • #1
  2. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Thank you CU – I don’t think the younger kids know much at all about history and its being whitewashed and generalized.  Our own American history is even being re-written. This podcast is important, not just for the information, but the risk the speaker is taking. Freedom of speech is disappearing under the guise of many false labels, certainly political correctness.  I am reading about covert ops from late 40’s-80’s and we went to great lengths to try to halt communism from spreading – it’s a tough job, but matters.  Reagan I was surprised to learn (being young, stupid and a Democrat when he was in office) was a fierce fighter against communism.

    We run into a waiter locally at a restaurant from Moldavia.  He learned A/C and heating and is starting up his own co while waiting tables. He talked about the Ukraine and Russia in no uncertain terms. There is no freedom, no decent housing or work.  Look at Cuba.  I look forward to learning from the podcast!

    • #2
  3. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    One of the fascinating aspects of life I never realized was just how widespread and pervasive corruption was in the Soviet Union.

    • #3
  4. harrisventures Coolidge
    harrisventures
    @harrisventures

    Subscribed…

    • #4
  5. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Thanks for telling us about this. Too bad the guy, who it seems has much to offer, is wasting it on a podcast and isn’t putting it in writing. But maybe someday he can put it in writing. If it’s in book form maybe I’ll be able to listen to it on audio.

    • #5
  6. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    The Reticulator:Thanks for telling us about this. Too bad the guy, who it seems has much to offer, is wasting it on a podcast and isn’t putting it in writing. But maybe someday he can put it in writing. If it’s in book form maybe I’ll be able to listen to it on audio.

    Great point – while you have a voice, make sure it is available for other generations, like photos. Things have a way of disappearing in the tech age.

    • #6
  7. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    Front Seat Cat:

    The Reticulator:Thanks for telling us about this. Too bad the guy, who it seems has much to offer, is wasting it on a podcast and isn’t putting it in writing. But maybe someday he can put it in writing. If it’s in book form maybe I’ll be able to listen to it on audio.

    Great point – while you have a voice, make sure it is available for other generations, like photos. Things have a way of disappearing in the tech age.

    He actually is a writer and journalist, but at present podcasting is the way he earns a living as it seems he has some difficulty doing the former.

    • #7
  8. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    C. U. Douglas:

    Front Seat Cat:

    The Reticulator:Thanks for telling us about this. Too bad the guy, who it seems has much to offer, is wasting it on a podcast and isn’t putting it in writing. But maybe someday he can put it in writing. If it’s in book form maybe I’ll be able to listen to it on audio.

    Great point – while you have a voice, make sure it is available for other generations, like photos. Things have a way of disappearing in the tech age.

    He actually is a writer and journalist, but at present podcasting is the way he earns a living as it seems he has some difficulty doing the former.

    Interesting.  Thanks for the explanation.

    • #8
  9. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    The Reticulator:

    C. U. Douglas:

    Front Seat Cat:

    The Reticulator:Thanks for telling us about this. Too bad the guy, who it seems has much to offer, is wasting it on a podcast and isn’t putting it in writing. But maybe someday he can put it in writing. If it’s in book form maybe I’ll be able to listen to it on audio.

    Great point – while you have a voice, make sure it is available for other generations, like photos. Things have a way of disappearing in the tech age.

    He actually is a writer and journalist, but at present podcasting is the way he earns a living as it seems he has some difficulty doing the former.

    Interesting. Thanks for the explanation.

    In a very recent episode, for example, he says he applied to Breitbart.com thinking they might like a perspective from his corner of the world, but never heard back.

    • #9
  10. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    C. U. Douglas:

    The Reticulator:

    C. U. Douglas:

    Front Seat Cat:

    The Reticulator:Thanks for telling us about this. Too bad the guy, who it seems has much to offer, is wasting it on a podcast and isn’t putting it in writing. But maybe someday he can put it in writing. If it’s in book form maybe I’ll be able to listen to it on audio.

    Great point – while you have a voice, make sure it is available for other generations, like photos. Things have a way of disappearing in the tech age.

    He actually is a writer and journalist, but at present podcasting is the way he earns a living as it seems he has some difficulty doing the former.

    Interesting. Thanks for the explanation.

    In a very recent episode, for example, he says he applied to Breitbart.com thinking they might like a perspective from his corner of the world, but never heard back.

    If he’s a writer maybe he does an efficient podcast. I’ll give it a try despite my general dislike of podcasts.

    No promises, though. Last time I listened to a Ricochet podcast it was done with someone who writes well.  I didn’t think the podcast was a good use of my time, whereas the writing always is.

    • #10
  11. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    The Reticulator:

    C. U. Douglas:

    The Reticulator:

    C. U. Douglas:

    Front Seat Cat:

    Great point – while you have a voice, make sure it is available for other generations, like photos. Things have a way of disappearing in the tech age.

    He actually is a writer and journalist, but at present podcasting is the way he earns a living as it seems he has some difficulty doing the former.

    Interesting. Thanks for the explanation.

    In a very recent episode, for example, he says he applied to Breitbart.com thinking they might like a perspective from his corner of the world, but never heard back.

    If he’s a writer maybe he does an efficient podcast. I’ll give it a try despite my general dislike of podcasts.

    No promises, though. Last time I listened to a Ricochet podcast it was done with someone who writes well. I didn’t think the podcast was a good use of my time, whereas the writing always is.

    There are many different types of podcasts, though.  The typical Rico podcasts are 2 or more people arguing or chatting, and those I can’t listen to either, but narrative podcasts, interviews, and guided discussions I value highly.  This is of the latter type.

    • #11
  12. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    So a small warning: He has another podcast, the People’s Democratic Republic of Podcasting where he interviews people around the world to discuss politics in their respective countries. Occasionally he posts one to the Eastern Border. The latest, Telling “how it is”, he interviews a New York City liberal about the recent election and American politics and political history. She has a typical NYC liberal attitude about such things. It can be aggravating, but he holds his own arguing with her even with a stated ignorance of American politics for the most part.

    • #12
  13. harrisventures Coolidge
    harrisventures
    @harrisventures

    Just finished listening to ‘the GULAG within me’.

    It is a real struggle for people who have been raised in a Communist environment to make the transition to freedom. And on the flip side, for hipsters born in freedom to denigrate it, and instead idolize the great ‘Socialist’ or ‘Progressive’ movements.

    Great podcast, thanks for the recommendation.

    • #13
  14. Keith SF Inactive
    Keith SF
    @KeithSF

    C. U. Douglas:One of the fascinating aspects of life I never realized was just how widespread and pervasive corruption was in the Soviet Union.

    “Better to have a hundred friends than a hundred rubles.”

     

    • #14
  15. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    C. U. Douglas:One of the fascinating aspects of life I never realized was just how widespread and pervasive corruption was in the Soviet Union.

    Indeed without corruption these kinds of systems can’t function.  It introduces shadow prices into official transactions, black markets into consumer goods, and of course thuggery at every opportunity.

    • #15
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