Cargo Culture

Russia & the West.

Pt. XI: Cargo Culture.

Cargo Culture (Беляши vs The Belyashi)
Беляши vs The Belyashi

As you probably know, I’ve created a blog in Russian titled Armeyskov’s Squatterly Review. I will translate/adapt the most important posts in Russian and share them on this blog (and vice versa). You can find the Russian version here.


It is obvious that there’s no direct analogue of klyukva in Russia regarding the West. Of course, there are certain stereotypes but they don’t constitute a holistic phenomenon (unlike klyukva) due to the fact that ‘the West’ itself is not a monolithic entity. So it’s pretty hard to come up with a set of stereotypical narratives besides the eternally recurring Fall of the West meme. [That has a double]. As previously mentioned, Russia and the West represent the Ideal Other for each other, mirroring the processes taking place in their opponent, yet in a distorted way.

Russia is focused on the West, which is generating meaning, that is copied and then reproduced within the framework of what can be called a cargo culture. Cargo culture plays a significant role in Russian worldview and identity building, whereas klyukva is just a particular case of ethnocultural stereotypes.

To be more specific, cargo culture is manifested in terms of:

  • worldview (idealization or demonization of the West, xenopatriotism, conspiracy theories, decontextualization of latest Western cultural trends, double consciousness, etc.);
  • various goods, clothes and other products from the West, which brings this aspect of cargo culture closer to classical cargo cults*;
  • language (using non-Russian substitutes for words as often as possible, ‘pidgin Russian’).

In other words, cargo culture is a  process of constructing and redistributing mythologized Western images (patterns), given the latter are overvalued due to their Otherness.

To be continued!


*To quote one of my posts:

The topic is even more complicated because the ‘West’ plays an important role in the sphere of identity building, self-concept and worldview of Russians. […] The longing  for acceptance in the West was crucial in the decision-making of the late Soviet / post-Soviet nomenklatura. The jeans & bubblegum  ‘cargo cult’ was practiced by many common Soviet citizens and nomenklatura alike. The Western goods raised social status of a person possessing them and had a taste of a forbidden fruit. Of course, they were seen as cool and hip and their owner became cool and hip by association.

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3 thoughts on “Cargo Culture

  1. HE Bourne

    We Selves and other life forms on other worlds know life is so much simpler than this and other teachings that overwhelm the minds of your many. You can see the «Goodness and Love» in your life forms! You can also see the «Evil and Hatred» in your life forms! Balanced within all life forms at your beginnings. Your life experiences dictate which will grow stronger and subdue the other. Which path do you desire your lives to take? There is a battle between each essence within. An ebb and flow affected by your world experiences. But, a choice must be made to finally let your choice dominate the other essence within you. Worry not about imaginary «gods or devils» or «heaven or hell» that use fear and hope to control you, for they come from the minds of your own life forms. This is a scary concept, for you have been conditioned to believe many falsehoods. We Selves, and other life forms in this universe, had to make this choice. Now it is your world’s life form to decide! We Selves will continue to communicate with the many of your world. Continuing to follow the events of your world, answer relevant questions. Desiring to communicate , through contacts on your world, who with your world’s governments and religions leaders who claim to want peace, yet develop weapons capable of destroying your world. Why do they do so. A meeting available live. To be presented to the many comprising the cultures and life forms on your world.

    Larex and Sapele Elstin, HEB


  2. Pingback: The Russian Universe Vocabulary – Russian Universe

  3. Pingback: Краткое введение в каргокультурологию — Armeyskov's Squatterly Review

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