This blog is 4 years old. It’s time to reflect on some of the main ideas, which I’ve come up with over the years.
I like neologisms and inventing new words because they are stripped from any previous meanings and history: they are valuable due to their conceptual purity. Hence, I abandoned terms like Russian Stereotypes or Russophobia. Many seem to employ such terms loosely, making any specific meaning vague; rather like an image on a old coin. Over time and excessive usage, many such terms tend to become a mere parody of their former intended meaning. Continue reading “#EsotericRussialism”→
Pt. VII: The Retrospective Foresight Saga (The Eternal Return of Russia Analysis)
A simple study of names and dates will prove that between the policy of Ivan III and that of modern Russia there exists not similarity, but sameness. […] At length Peter the Great coupled the political craft of the Mongol slave with the proud aspiration of the Mongol master to whom Genghis Khan had, by will, bequeathed his conquest of the earth.
When I first went to Russia it was in 1991, I caught the last couple of months of the Soviet Union before it came crumbling down, and I was in Moscow during the coup against Mikhail Gorbachev, or the coup attempts, I should say, when there was this great optimism right after, that Russia would soon join the international community and would be sharing in Western prosperity, and so on and so forth. And it became quickly evident, in fact, it was evident already before then that the Soviet Union didn’t entirely crumble and leave a ruin on which to build a new shining capitalist democratic society but it still had many structures in place and many behaviors that continued. Nevertheless, I think it could have fundamentally changed, it was fundamentally changing in some ways in the 1990s, that is, I don’t believe Russia’s faded to remain a corrupt authoritarian country.
Of course, confrontation can’t last forever. When Russia emerges from its current course in the coming years or decades, it will be nearly as shell-shocked as after the Soviet collapse in 1991. The people will be confronted with the same massive task of reforming not merely the economy and government but also some of their cherished attitudes and thoughts. For now, however, they will no doubt dismiss the suspicion that will naturally fall on Russian Olympic medals in Rio, failing to see just what the Russian revelations have exposed about their country’s real place in the world.
The concept of Russia’s eternal sameness appears in a plethora of Western Russia narratives. By this ‘sameness’ I mean the continuity of Russia’s identical essence during all (or at least several) historical periods and forms of Russian statehood.
Pt. IV: Vodka vs Caviar, or the Eternal Opposition?
Again a tussle with Europe (oh, it’s not a war yet: they say that we – Russia, that is – are still a long way from war). Again the endless Eastern Question is in the news; and again in Europe they are looking mistrustfully at Russia…. Yet why we should go running to seek Europe’s trust? Did Europe ever trust the Russians? Can she ever trust us and stop seeing us as her enemy? …
Captain Obviov, Lost Letters & Memoirs, 1989-2009.
…Let me quote Romano Prodi once again: “Russia and the EU are united like vodka and caviar“. He tried to modify an English proverb – ‘like whiskey and soda’. But my Russian friends told me that vodka and caviar are not always perceived integrally in Russia. Perhaps, I will advise him to say like vodka and herring next time.