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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Russia and Competition

We have previously posted an essay of Boris Tumanov of the New Times offering many insights into the Russian character, and here is a second, reviewing the relationship between Russians and their government. He begins with the observation: "Russian power is unable to withstand competition either within the country or in the international arena. That is why it prefers to call its competitors enemies."

We are used to believing that the surprise of Biblical Balaam was caused by the fact that his ass began to speak in human language. In reality, Balaam’s ass, obedient as it was to divine forces, acquired the ability to speak exclusively to assess correctly the situation in which its master had found himself. It was this which struck Balaam most of all.

Meanwhile, such shocks can happen in our days too, for example, while reading the truly wonderful words of the Kremlin’s decorative Chechen. These words so eloquently characterize the century-old and unshakeable foundation of the Russian state and Russian power that one has to wonder how the creator of the superficial and unprofessional Marching Together and Nashi (Ours) organizations could arrive at the ideas. Apparently, divine forces intervened.

The man in question, Vladislav Surkov, said the following:

“It would be good to flee to Europe, but it will not accept us. Russia is a European civilization, it is the badly-lit outskirts of Europe, but not Europe as such. In this sense we are indissolubly linked with Europe and have to be friends with it. Europe is not an enemy, it is simply a competitor. This is all the more offensive that we’re not enemies. If one confronts the enemy on a battlefield, one may die a heroic death. But to lose a competition means to be a powerless dupe. And this seems to me doubly offensive.

“It’s better to be open enemies than ambiguous friends…”


Although Europe is a big nuisance and constant irritant for the inhabitants of the Kremlin, although they seem to dream of a head-on collision with it, it remains a certain criterion for them. Of course, this is nothing but voluntarism pure and simple, inasmuch as the real state of Russian society resembles not so much the history of England as certain African countries today, both in the state of society and in the moral qualities of the political elite.

Perhaps some readers may find these words more offensive than the comparison of today’s Russian society with the medieval England. This is a dubitable point. But the indisputable fact is that Russia has indeed become frozen on the wayside of world social development. This is not because democratic values are alien to the Russian people organically, but because, since the time of Peter the Great, Russian power has quite consciously and stubbornly kept society in the primeval state, not wishing to give up even an ounce of its depraved munificence. From this point of reference, Russia is a senseless state whose existence has been bolstered up by far-fetched arguments.

The geographical position of Russia and its participation in European politics have not made it a genuinely European state. Of course, the Russian imperial elite acquired a European gloss and felt quite at ease in the high society of Paris, London, Rome and Berlin. But emancipation did not touch tens of millions of Russians whose social consciousness remained as it had been in the 17th century.

The meaningless and disorderly territorial conquests of Russia (as Count Sergei Vitte aptly remarked) did not change anything for the better for the greater mass of the population. Still worse, they practically stopped the maturing of the national consciousness of the Russians.

This was due to the fact that the artificially created imperial grandeur of Russia divided the Russian nation. European Russia had nothing in common with coarse rural Russia, which suffered from inferiority complexes, hatred and distrust for its own elite and subconsciously transferred them on to the West and its civilization. Eventually, the famous formula invented by Count Uvarov (“Autocracy, Orthodox Christianity and national spirit”) as the conceptual basis of the unviable state proved no more effective than the communist invocations about the friendship of the peoples, equality and fraternity, as well as the Soviet people’s mission of world importance.

It would seem that one thousand years would be enough for any nation to completely understand its place and mission in the international community. But Russia is not such a nation. It remains restless and wandering, continuing to rush about between Europe and Asia, tempted easily by the historical-mathematical quackery of Anatoly Fomenko and the geopolitical nightmares of Alexander Dugin about Continental and Oceanic civilizations. It continues to harp on the “age-old Russian lands,” without the least idea of the real boundaries of its territorial expanses. Russia faces its past, vainly trying to find in it new evidence of its grandeur and its exclusiveness, but refusing to see and admit its own past errors or draw adequate conclusions from them. These ailments were aggravated in the last century and can be compared with the disintegration of the personality.

Having expelled or destroyed the inhabitants of the upper echelons of imperial Russia, rural and proletarian Russia got rid of its inferiority complex, but contracted another disease, a grave and prolonged one. It was megalomania, which Soviet power easily maintained in the complete isolation of the builders of communism from bourgeois influence. The formation of the Russian nation was retarded and virtually stopped by those in the huge building of the communist Central Committee in the center of Moscow, who invented the ideological formula of the “new historical community of Soviet people.” For quite a long time, we were sincerely proud of the grandeur of our achievements, whose practical value was exactly equal to that of the Egyptian pyramids. But that pride began to vanish quickly when forced to eat instant soup and cereal while on business trips abroad. Homo soveticus in his social nature had nothing in common with the inhabitant of the czarist Russia. But the nature of power and its more or less openly parasitic relationship to the masses remained as did their political and social ignorance. True, power itself, being one bone and one flesh of the people, has not gone far ahead of its fellow citizens, degrading along with them.

That process is still going on in this country. The Russian elite continues to engage in what it sincerely believes to be state management, namely, the invention of ever new “mechanisms” and “projects” to strengthen the unity of the nation and power and ensure the security of the country. Of the latest inventions, mention should be made of the promotion of business tycoons to the post of governors and the patriotic bicycle race that Nashi dedicated to the memory of the heroic feat of Citizen Minin and Prince Pozharsky in the early 17th century, whom the participants in the race heard of only an hour before its start, as they themselves admitted.

With the only national idea being methods to perpetuate Vladimir Putin’s power, Russian society has finally lost all value orientations and is prepared for leading a vegetative life. Judging by what is said by some dwellers of the Kremlin and political commentators, Russian power agrees with this evaluation. Since it is not warning society about the danger of the situation or instilling in it even elementary notions of democracy and civic duty, it must be satisfied with it. Because power knows that a herd needs a shepherd, and it consciously keeps society in this state to remain in the role of the supreme shepherd of the silent society.

Commander of the Russian Navy Admiral Vladimir Masorin was horrified when he learnt the reasons why seven submarine crew members nearly died in the Far East waters recently. He called a spade a spade, emphasizing the Russian slovenliness and irresponsibility, which had from time immemorial bred passivity and indifference and allowed Russian power to remain incompetent and corrupt. Representatives of this power complain about the high competitiveness of European partners, who have put an end to the slovenliness and irresponsibility that existed in their countries previously, specially for the purpose of harming Russia and making its present elite look like chumps.

Quite recently, we sincerely believed that the victory over Nazi Germany in the last war would serve Russia as an eternal indulgence for all the crimes and sins of its power. One should not be surprised if we soon tell Europe about how we protected it from the invasion of the Tatar-Mongol hordes and saved its civilization from Genghiz Khan in times of yore. And today ungrateful Europe is constantly reminding us of human rights. Indeed, Surkov is right when he says that it would be better being an enemy than an ambiguous friend.

Just imagine people who are convinced that they prevented the disintegration of Russia by turning it into a unitary state, but who are not resolute enough to ban cars with right-hand steering wheels, inasmuch as they know that that measure could porovoke separatist tendencies in Maritime Territory, if not in the entire Russian Far East.

Imagine people who are so unsure of the stability of their power that they fear “orange revolution” and “foreign rule.” Meanwhile, they subconsciously realize that, under their current rule, the country is almost ripe for foreign rule. In other words, they now realize that they are dumbbells.

Incidentally, people in the West don’t believe complaints about Russian society being unprepared to live in democracy without all and sundry reservations (“guided” or “controlled,” “moderate,” “patriotic,” “stage-by-stage,” “Orthodox Christian,” “Slavic” democracy, etc., etc.). Only Kurfuerstin Sophia was moved to pity by the tales of Russian barbarism.

One can become furious, ideed. One tried as he might to look European and behave accordingly, learn to eat escargot with a special fork, pretend to like their sour swill called “dry wine,” and so what?... The G8 have been talked into having the next meeting in Russia, which has now earned billions upon billions of petrodollars, its cavalry regiment now caracoles in the Kremlin no worse than the British royal cavalry guards, we have now learnt to compile the annual messages to the Federal Assembly just as in Europe, the Constitution is mentioned now and then, and still they look at us like dupes. Just imagine, they don’t want to play gorodki with us!...

Like Henry Kuttner’s hero, Russian power also constantly remembers its sore spot. The only difference is that it made it more painful itself when it had sacrificed the interests of society to its own imperial interests in the time of Peter the Great. Our power is unable to admit its historic defeat and work to increase Russian competitiveness. Its grasping instincts have always been stronger than common sense. Besides, our power will hardly compete successfully with anybody or anything without the help of the Prosecutor General’s Office. It is precisely due to this that our “collective Yensi” tries to convince himself and all Russians that the world has it in for long-suffering Russia.

The Kremlin dream expressed by Vladislav Surkov of venting the humiliating realization of its own inferiority on the whole of humanity in a heroic head-on collision will remain nothing more than the gritting of teeth. However, their intentions, if realized, would ruin Russia.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Check out the following http://notobvious.blogspot.com/ to see that Russophobia is a rudimental philosophy.

khristianka said...

Alexander Dugin and his fellow Russian- "nationalists" (including the GRU) advocate the use of Islamic terror against America, and claim to dream of taking over Europe and aligning with the Arab world. With Europe and certain Sunni-Arab countries (including Turkey, which Dugin says is an enemy) growing so close and "Eurasia" depending on Arab oil that lowers Russian prices, this does not seem useful for well-guided action. Unifying Europe with much of the Islamic Mediterranean would make Russia less likely to be able to co-opt either, in addition to which the Saudis and the Iranians do not like each other. The Sunni bloc is fighting for itself against the more violent Muslim-Brotherhood/Syrian-Iranian bloc that is temporarily aligned with Russia (Hamas supports the Chechen jihad). Saudi Arabia's intention is to wage jihad against Russia and America, but it has aligned with other Sunni states to strengthen militarily in order to survive, and while it will buy weapons from Russia, it is not likely to become a friend of -- in the Eurasian Empire scheme -- Russia's "friend" Iran, or -- as a result of Russia's support for Saudi Arabia's mortal enemies and Russia's being non-Muslim -- Russia. For another thing, China won't sit back and be ripped apart (nor is it weak and Westernized as Dugin claims -- what next, "Zionist-Talmudist capitalist"?), in addition to which Japan elites are pro-American because they want to remain sovereign.