Problems with Contemporary Russian Westernizers


Russia & the West.

Pt. VIII: Problems with Contemporary Russian Westernizers

Gely Korzhev - Triumphator (1993-1996). Oil on Canvas.
Gely Korzhev – Triumphator (1993-1996). Oil on canvas.

However, the mystery of the failure of all revolutions in Russia is a topic of a separate study. Today we will simply mark the fact that political evolution of the country did not take place.

Of course, one can do without a revolution but, alas, it is the revolution which gives an entrance ticket to the future. In addition, the revolution cleans up the country from the corrupt traditions and administrative dead thing. Such sediments are accumulated on any state’s framework, and Russia is a very severe case of that. Russia entered the 21st century without a single revolution in its history, its underlying mechanisms have never been updated: they keep on rumbling, generating lies, fear and war.

Alexander Nevzorov, Putin & Revolution.

It is interesting to see how the Russian language appropriates and redefines foreign words. I’m not using the term ‘liberal(ism)’ here because in Russia it turned into a pejorative: partly due to the collective memory of Yeltsin & Co. shock and awe ‘Westernization’, partly due to the certain positioning in Russia’s MSM. Western discourse-mongers use such found-in-translation cases in their self-fulfilling prophecy holy propaganda war, painting ‘the Russians’ as barbaric hordes of inborn totalitarians. Thus, I prefer to stick to the good old ‘Westernizer‘ term (in Russian – zapadnik) that is much more neutral.

Here’s the list of several problems with contemporary Russian Westernizers (in no particular order):

  • Russian guilt: Russia and Russians have always been guilty of something, i.e. at any given historical period they are/were ‘on the wrong side of history’. Hence,
  • the eternal sameness of Russia – in a negative sense (Russia as the Bad Guy of History);
  • moral superiority/holier-than-thou attitude. Other Russians are viewed as Vatniks, whose opinion doesn’t count. In extreme forms this moral superiority leads to
  • social racism and hatred towards Russia’s silent majority. Thus, in many cases it can’t be equated with self-hatred because such ‘Westernizers’ tend to distance themselves from Russia(ns);
  • ‘the West’ is right (even when it’s not), which is often accompanied by the old Soviet dissidents’ ‘zagranitsa nam pomozhet‘ mantra, i.e. ‘foreign countries will help us‘.

To be continued.

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2 thoughts on “Problems with Contemporary Russian Westernizers

  1. Pingback: Normalizing Russophobia – Russian Universe

  2. Pingback: Ivan the Not So Terrible? | Russian Universe

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