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November 18--  A former resident of the Soviet Union who is now a U.S. citizen and businessman is alarmed at similarities he sees developing between his homeland and the United States.

{mosimage}Thirty-six-year old Oleg Ivutin, shown here at his company's distribtion warehouse in Mableton, addressed the Georgia Tea Party in August and will be in Vidalia Tuesday night to address Vidalia area Tea Party members and interested citizens who wish to hear his message.  He will speak at 6:30 at The Captain's Corner on Stockyard Road.

The following article appeared in The Marietta Daily Journal regarding his concerns.

MARIETTA — As guest speaker at the Marietta-based Georgia Tea Party on Thursday, Oleg Ivutin of Smyrna warned of growing similarities between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union where he grew up.

The U.S. is on a “fast track” to becoming an authoritarian government like the U.S.S.R., said Ivutin, a businessman who challenged Joe Dendy as chairman of the Cobb GOP in March.

Under communist rule, the Russian police spied on people, collecting files to use against them. Neighbors were encouraged to report on neighbors. Ivutin sees similarities between what happened in Russia and what is happening here. The KGB never had it so easy, he said.

“I think with the software that’s available today you can analyze people’s behavior and predict where they’re going to be on Tuesday at 2 a.m.,” Ivutin said. “Obama’s argument for all this is always, ‘Well, I have this power, but we’re never going to use it. And time after time again he uses it, and whatever is going to happen after Obama we don’t know.”

Consider, he said, the U.S. government’s use of drones against civilians.

“There is always collateral damage, but it opens up the reasoning for all these wars and the military presence.”

Consider how the city of Boston was placed on lockdown during the Boston Marathon bombing.

“I believe every weekend there is a teenager in Boston that’s armed and dangerous, but they don’t lock down the city every single weekend,” he said.

Ivutin believes history will judge National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden not as a traitor, but as a whistle-blower.

He cited an organization affiliated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation called Infragard as an example of how the U.S. government already encourages private citizens to inform on their neighbors, just as the KGB encouraged Russians to inform on theirs.

“It’s really an Orwellian society,” he said.

A prison system that benefits the elite

Ivutin says another similarity between the Soviet Union and U.S. is the prison systems.

The Soviet Union arrested not just the criminals but political dissidents, using prisoners as slave labor to build the infrastructure and increase the wealth of the Russian elites. In the U.S., there are also those who are earning money at the expense of prisoners.

“With the drug war you have, half of all the prison population is there for drug violations,” Ivutin said. “In Russia, they were benefiting from slavery when they were putting people in jails. Here, private prisons make money off of prisoners. So when prisoners go to prison the prison owner gets money, part of that is profit.”

The U.S. now has a larger percentage of its population incarcerated than any country in the world.

In some cases, the states, including Georgia, have contracted with private prison companies to house prisoners.

In the Soviet Union, the government benefited from large prison populations through slave labor. Private prison companies in the U.S. benefit from a larger prison population through profits.

“There is always a benefit factor to somebody. In the Soviet Union, it was to the elite. Here it’s really to the elite as well,” Ivutin said.

The military-industrial complex and the debt crisis

With the Soviet Union, the lion’s share of expenses went to prop up the military.

“The United States spends close to a trillion (dollars) a year on its military,” he said.

That’s more than the rest of the world spends on military hardware and troops, combined.

“No one is interested in looking at comparisons to see that the U.S. military is so vastly superior to every other country combined,” he said.

Such overspending is bankrupting the country when tax collections come in at $2.2 trillion but spending is more than $3 trillion.

“Then you have interest on the debt that we pay on the $16 trillion portion, and in the Soviet Union it was the same exact thing,” he said.

The Soviet Union had to import much of its goods, just as the U.S. imports many things from China.

But the Soviet Union lacked the revenue to pay for its imports and turned to borrowing, just as the U.S. borrows.

“So there was a lot of deficit (spending) in the Soviet Union,” he said. “The United States has a lot of deficit, trade deficit, it buys a lot more than it sells, and it borrows a lot of money, so the financial pressures are exactly the same.”

Fortunately, the U.S. dollar is the reserve currency of the world, but as soon as that changes, there will be a collapse, he predicted.

“Debt produces debt and there will be a point eventually where all of this is going to end, the music will stop, and there will not be enough chairs.”

Republicans in name only

From Ivutin’s perspective, establishment Republicans, whether it’s U.S. Sen. John McCain at the federal level or Georgia House Speaker David Ralston at the state level, are not doing anything to stem the tide.

“I look at John McCain and Hillary Clinton. I don’t see any differences on any issues,” Ivutin said. “If you look at our state House with Ralston and everybody else, this is where all the socialists are hiding. They’re all in the Georgia State House. We don’t have many Republicans in there,” he said.

Any bill that supports returning constitutional rights to the citizens and opposes big government is not something Ralston will support, Ivutin charges.

“I believe he’s got a different agenda. They make those bills sound good. Like bills on ethics, ‘Hey, we’re doing something on ethics.’ The original bill sounded big, but when you look at the bill that they passed, it’s like, ‘Woah, now they can really get away with it.’”

Ivutin called on supporters of the U.S. Constitution to draw a line in the sand.

“These people should openly admit that ‘Yes, we’re socialists,’” he said. “‘We just pretend to be Republicans because we want to get elected in the South.’ And they refuse to take that stand. This is why the tea party movement, the Ron Paul movement, the liberty movements are so popular is because everybody understands it finally. People are starting to watch what they do, not what they say they do.”

Breaking away from the GOP?

Ivutin received rousing applause from the audience at Thursday’s tea party meeting, among them Peter Elizalde of east Cobb, a public school social studies teacher who said he couldn’t reveal where he teaches for fear that the school administration would retaliate against him because of his political beliefs.

Elizalde, who calls himself a Republican, said the time is fast approaching when the tea party movement should break away from the Republican Party, which has taken people like him for granted for too long.

The breaking point is if Republicans don’t vote this November to defund Obamacare when the continuing resolution that serves as the nation’s budget is approved, he said.

“To me, if we take a stand, draw a line in the sand now, and we tell (U.S. House Speaker) John Boehner and every GOP in the establishment, ‘Look, we go this far. You will split the party of the conservative movement if you go along with this.’ I will be perfectly OK with that. Because if anything, we will go down fighting, showing the rest of America maybe not in the next election, but in the future someone will remember that this country was made up of ideals and people who were willing to stand by them, not people who were willing to, just for political conveniences, adjust to things.”

Ivutin said he hasn’t given up on the U.S. yet, which remains the last hope for the world.

“The rest of the world understands what is going on in America,” Ivutin said. “They know what American people are up against today. And they hope and pray that American people will win and Obama tyranny will lose because that’s their lives. Because they know if nothing changes, more war comes their way.”