First introduced to readers during Khrushchev’s thaw, Salinger’s novel became an instant sensation among Soviet readers in the nineteen-sixties, and it has remained a classic. The Party authorized the novel’s translation believing that it exposed the rotting core of American capitalism, but Soviet readers were more likely to see the novel in broader terms, as a psychologically nuanced and universally appealing portrait of a misfit who rebels against the pieties of a conformist society. For a postwar intelligentsia chafing under repressive Communist rule, Holden Caulfield’s voice was electrifying—who knew phony better than these daily consumers of official Soviet language? Teen-agers adopted their hero’s speech patterns—or their Russian equivalents—even though the world of “The Catcher in the Rye,” with its private schools, hotel trysts, and jazz clubs, existed across a great abyss.
There are endless reported examples of Chechens fighting with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan — examples which completely belie the narrative pushed by Professor Williams, and Williams’ powerful allies in the Jamestown Foundation, Freedom House, and the American military-imperialist establishment that’s made a special project of coddling and harvesting Chechen radicalism, and aiming it at the soft oil-soaked underbelly of our old rival, Russia. No matter that reports from Syria tell of Chechen jihadi allies of Al Qaeda terrorizing areas around Aleppo — as reported in The Guardian last year. That doesn’t really count, because the Chechen jihadists are fighting against Bashir Assad, an ally of Russia, and the rule is, if you’re killing Russians, by definition you can’t be a terrorist.