An excellent question, particularly since the archives paint not only a far darker picture of Gorbachev, but uncover the close intellectual affinity between the Soviets and many of those European politicians who were instrumental in creating the European Union.
There are other ways in which the story that Stroilov’s and Bukovsky’s papers tell isn’t over. They suggest, for example, that the architects of the European integration project, as well as many of today’s senior leaders in the European Union, were far too close to the USSR for comfort. This raises important questions about the nature of contemporary Europe—questions that might be asked when Americans consider Europe as a model for social policy, or when they seek European diplomatic cooperation on key issues of national security.One of the most persistent lies of contemporary American liberalism is that the liberals really care about human rights. I guess it all depends on who is running the gulag.
And what of Zagladin’s description of his dealings with our own current vice president in 1979?There is so much solid good sense in this article that I'm reluctant to keep snipping from it; however, I'll include one more short quote:
Unofficially, [Senator Joseph] Biden and [Senator Richard] Lugar said that, in the end of the day, they were not so much concerned with having a problem of this or that citizen solved as with showing to the American public that they do care for “human rights.” . . . In other words, the collocutors directly admitted that what is happening is a kind of a show, that they absolutely do not care for the fate of most so-called dissidents.
Remarkably, the world has shown little interest in the unread Soviet archives. That paragraph about Biden is a good example. Stroilov and Bukovsky coauthored a piece about it for the online magazine FrontPage on October 10, 2008; it passed without remark. Americans considered the episode so uninteresting that even Biden’s political opponents didn’t try to turn it into political capital. Imagine, if you can, what it must feel like to have spent the prime of your life in a Soviet psychiatric hospital, to know that Joe Biden is now vice president of the United States, and to know that no one gives a damn.
We rightly insisted upon total denazification; we rightly excoriate those who now attempt to revive the Nazis’ ideology. But the world exhibits a perilous failure to acknowledge the monstrous history of Communism.The basic ethos of Communism - the notion of the perfectibility of man through the agency of an all-powerful state - has not, by any means, died, and the durability of its appeal, under various names and in even the freest of countries, continues to pose a tremendous threat to those who love liberty and the spirit of individualism. Not only our "former" enemies, but their well-wishers are still making policy, still attempting to shape our world in ways inimical to any real concept of human dignity. That is why, even though the Soviet Union is defunct, its history and mission are still relevant.
Update: See what I mean?