Voices from Russia

Friday, 20 October 2017

20 October 2017. P A Stolypin on the Basis of Freedom

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Saturday, 23 January 2016

23 January 2016. P A Stolypin on Russians

00 P A Stolypin. Sergei Milllitsky, Uncle Shura. 2003

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Friday, 10 October 2014

10 October 2014. A Development of Fr Andrew’s Thesis… What the Double-Headed Eagle Sees… Right AND Left!

Stolypin. Russian Eagle 05.12

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Editor:

I did NOT pass this by Fr Andrew for vetting for the simple reason that I didn’t wish the plug-uglies in the First Families to shit on him. Hey dere, you guys (you know who you are)… this is my work, my work alone… leave Fr Andrew in peace. He’s a good guy (we don’t always agree, but that’s OK… mature people know that no one agrees with one completely). There are all kinds of good folk in the Church… some are even in opposition to one another for this-or-that reason! Real-deal people know that and make allowances (“Don’t tell X that you got that from Y… they’ll never speak to you again”). Again… THIS IS MY WORK AND MY WORK ALONE. I’m the guilty party… solely and absolutely. ‘Nuff said…

BMD

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Let’s start with a quote from Fr Andrew Phillips:

Firstly, reunited Russian Orthodoxy has a view of humanity as spiritual beings, beings with a spiritual destiny, as free children of eternity with immortal souls, not slaves of death and determinism, shackled to contemporary fashions and passions. Secondly, therefore, our society has it basis in spiritual and moral values, so, its purpose is to transfigure humanity positively. It encourages in humanity spiritual freedom, freedom from fashions and passions, and it doesn’t bring it down to a bestial animal level, as does the apostate West. Thirdly, and finally, so, the Orthodox Christian State exists to raise humanity up through providing all means for both physical and spiritual life. This means encouraging traditional values, specifically those of Orthodox Christian culture. Such culture is universal in its spirit and meaning, for it’s the fruit of a Church whose emblem is the double-headed eagle, uniting, not dividing, East and West, Asia and Europe.

The symbol of Holy Rus is the double-headed eagle, as it was of the (Orthodox) New Roman Empire before it. By the way, the “Ecumenical Patriarch” is of “Constantinople New Rome”… not “Byzantium”… “Byzantine” is a hopelessly ignorant Western construction. Most of those who use it, therefore, confess an utterly Western and non-Orthodox Weltanschauung by that usage. There is no “Byzantine rite”… there IS Russian and Greek Orthodox usage and traditions… but NO “Byzantine Rite”. I say this to clear the decks for my argument below, which owes nothing to Western thought, ethos, and historiography. It comes from the heart of Orthodox sobornost and tserkovnost… two untranslatable Russian Orthodox concepts. “Collegiality” and “Churchmindedness” are very weak (and somewhat deceptive) analogues. Yet, they’re vital to my thesis (and I think that Fr Andrew would agree with me on that).

The eagle does look east and west… but it also looks to the past and to the future. It looks at the entirety of our past… it looks at the totality of Kievan Rus, the Mongol Rule, Muscovy, the Tsardom of Rus, the Russian Empire, the USSR, and its successor states. That is, in modern terms, the double eagle unites the White and Red streams of Russian reality. In Hegelian terms, the Reds and Whites were thesis and antithesis, not irreconcilable opposites… they acted upon each other (and are acting upon each other still)… their ferment caused the present Orthodox revival in Holy Rus.

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00.02a Unknown Artist. ...Was Dead, but Came Back to Life, Was Lost, but Was Found Again. late 1980s

“Was dead, but came back to life, was lost, but was found again…”

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Without the Reds, there’d be no revival. FULL STOP. Let me repeat that… without the Reds, there’d be no revival. Firstly, the Reds burned out the cancer in the Church’s vitals… God does have diverse instruments for His Will… some are rather “interesting” indeed. The Church in late tsarist times was deeply compromised with Hard Right forces such as the Black Hundreds… no, not all clergy were involved, no, not all believers were involved. However, all too many were involved (they even suckered in St Ioann Kronshtadtsky… but he condemned the Kishinyov Pogrom publicly, to his credit). The Church, in the eyes of many common folk, was just another oppressor. When the Reds killed priests and burned churches, they had many who applauded them for doing that or who said, “They had it coming”.

Secondly, the early Reds gave an example of what a godless society would be… this had both positive and negative aspects. Many in the West overlook the positives… many leftists overlook the negatives, but if we’re Russian Orthodox in mind and soul, we must look at both sides (that IS the vision of the double-headed eagle, after all). Firstly, the main negative lesson is that you can’t build “good” on a foundation of “bad”. You don’t bring in a just society by killing even a small part of it. Secondly, you can’t control people’s thoughts. You can control their expressions… you can control their education… but you can’t control what they think or what they take from the education offered them. Thirdly, you can’t constrain the human longing for spiritual meaning… people “just know” that there’s more to life than mere earthly reality… it’s a Sisyphean task to try to uproot this. Fourthly, you can’t fuck over the earth… it bites back. We need only mention the Aral Sea Disaster and the Virgin Lands boondoggle.

However, don’t forget the positive aspects. Firstly, the idea that “all men are brothers” (that IS the meaning of “Workers of the World Unite!”)… Ilyich played no favourites. He treated everyone equally… he treated the “low” with the same consideration as he did the “high”. Don’t listen to White propaganda… Ilyich was a VERY complex person. On the one hand, he did order the deaths of hundreds without flinching… on the other, he wasn’t corrupt, he was modest (in the Churchly sense, no less), and he was no respecter of “position”. He’d treat a dustbin man with the same civility and hospitality as he would a cabinet minister. He wasn’t a boaster or an aggrandiser. He was the exact opposite of George W Bush, Sarah Palin, Willy Romney, or Rush Limbaugh. In short, in many ways, he was an exemplary man. People respected Ilyich for a reason. For instance, he exiled Ivan Ilyin… he didn’t kill him. Actually, Ilyich was much more pragmatic than I V Stalin was… he was willing to overlook “doctrine” in favour of “results”. That is, he was more a Deng than he was a Mao (Stalin was more like Mao… perhaps, that’s why there wasn’t any Sino-Soviet split in Stalin’s time). The NEP is abundant proof of that.

Secondly, the Sovs unleashed great positive forces amongst the people. Think of the bravery of the Ossoaviakhim-1 aerostat crew on their fatal mission… the hardiness of the icebreaker crewmen and scientists in the Sedov rescue… the building of new industrial centres in the Urals and in Siberia… the podvig of the Great Victory over Fascism… the launching of Sputnik and Gagarin being the first “man in space”. The standard of living in the USSR was higher than it was in late imperial times. Sorry, ROCOR, the Empire wasn’t nirvana… it was a society where the aristos and merchants took more than their rightful share (as they do in the contemporary USA… and the Republican Party wants to give them MORE).

Yes, there were shortages in the USSR… that was due to the arms race brought about by the American/British-instigated Cold War. It started in Greece… not Berlin. The West poured all of its resources into defeating the leftist rebels in Greece. It knackered Britain… then, the USA stepped in (Truman was an old-line Southern Dem… that is, he was more “conservative” than “liberal”). It wasn’t “directed from Moscow”… local leftists had legit grievances against the local ruling classes. The same was true of Korea… Kim Il-sung invaded on his own nickel. One can see that in that it took months for the PLA to intervene, ditto for the VVS MiGs that drove most of the USAF from North Korean skies… most American air activity was south of the 38th Parallel… the MiGs would’ve torn apart the older aircraft used for close support (that’s why most B-29 missions were flown at night… the USAF didn’t have air supremacy or superiority over the DPRK). Indeed, the Kremlin kept the MiGs from even approaching the FEBA, so, the Americans had a monopoly in the actual contact zone.

The USSR put its effort into providing necessities for the people, not into producing “quality goods” for the Affluent Effluent. That is, it put more effort into subsiding housing, food, and utilities than the West did. People didn’t understand what that meant until after the fall of the USSR. As the people say, “We knew that they were lying to us about communism, but we didn’t know that they were telling us the truth about capitalism”. That is, the USSR put more effort into making an effort to raising the level of life of the common people than the West did. Never forget, the USSR had to repair the damages of the Civil War and of the VOV… considering that, it’s clear that the USSR put more governmental effort into the people’s welfare than the West (especially, the USA, which suffered NO war damage) ever did.

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Pyotr Stolypin. Consequences. 05.12

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That’s what the leftward-facing head of the eagle sees. There’s a rightward-facing head too. However, it doesn’t look towards Anglosphere “conservatism”, for that isn’t conservative at all… it’s far MORE radical than communism ever was. Anglosphere “conservatism”, plainly put, is an evil ideology… it posits that greed is the driving force behind everything and that we should place no constraints upon it. We should cut all government social action to the barest minimum or cut it out entirely. “Conservatism” is Social Darwinism in its starkest and most rabid form. “The race goes to the swiftest”… “Winning is the only thing”… “Money makes the world go around”… “We must have economic freedom”. This is NOT what the rightward-facing head of the eagle sees… no, indeed!

The rightward-facing head sees the Empire… it sees the White Movement… that is, the best of the Empire and the best of the White Emigration. It sees Graf Stolypin… it sees Tsar St Nikolai… it sees interwar Paris, Harbin, Berlin, and Shanghai… it sees Ilyin and Berdyaev. The Empire wasn’t “fated to fall”, but it did have internal contradictions that led to a rapid collapse. There wasn’t a fair distribution of the “goods” of Russia’s modernisation… most White thinkers realised that. Eurasianism (the present ideology under Putin) originated in the emigration. Yes… there were fascist elements, as well… as the existence of KONR indicated. However, most Whites refused to collaborate with the Nazis… indeed, most joined the Resistance against the Hiltlerites (to their credit).

Yes… there are Whites who “live in the past” and want to efface all traces of the Soviet era. Metropolitan Vitaly Ustinov was, perhaps, the most apposite personification of this trend. He cooperated with Langley’s efforts to attack the Mother Church… an effort that didn’t end until an intra-Church coup toppled him. One need only recall Victor Potapov’s nasty and cruel remarks about Patriarch Aleksei Ridiger at Georgetown to see how repulsive that policy was. This was, perhaps, the nadir of the White Idea… it was on an even lower level than the Vlasovtsy were… the ROCOR had a chance to help, but its leadership CHOSE to smite their brethren when they were down. That’s why I find it amazing that the Mother Church forgave them for that… not that they shouldn’t have done it, but in the normal course of events, such treachery usually leads to suspicion and mistrust.

The rightward-facing head not only sees Vitaly Ustinov, Agafangel Pashkovsky, and Victor Potapov… it sees Antony Khrapovitsky, Anastassy Gribanovsky, Filaret Voskresensky, Antony Medvedev (who came to mistrust the so-called St Herman of Alaska Brotherhood), Hilarion Kapral, and St Ioann the Wonderworker. Like the Red legacy, the White legacy is mixed. If we don’t discard the good in the Red heritage… we shouldn’t forgo the good in the White heritage either. If we ignore either, we spit on our heritage as Russians (or Russians in the emigration or Russian-Americans, the terminology doesn’t matter). In fact, this applies not only to people of Russian and Slavic derivation, it applies to all those who chose to join themselves to Holy Rus through the Russian Orthodox Christian faith. You can’t pick n’ chose American cafeteria-style… as Graf Stolypin put it, if you cut off one head of the eagle, all that you’ll do is make it bleed to death.

You HAVE a joined a Church that blesses the Left and has grave reservations about the Right. In short, the Church does NOT bless the theomachistic programme of the US Republican Party (and its Anglosphere analogues)… it does NOT bless the anti-family anti-people bias of “conservative” ideology. It does bless the Left… as HH showed by blessing Belarus, Cuba, China, and Venezuela. You HAVE joined a Church that stands against the demonic hegemonic drive of the American oligarchy (which gives the orders to the US Republican Party and to many Democrats, too… there’s nothing to choose between John McCain and Chilly Hilly).

The eagle looks both ways… that means that we should as well. Graf Stolypin and Ilyich… Tsar St Nikolai and Gagarin… Yekaterina Velikaya and I V Stalin… they’re all our history. To deny it is to deny our very soul. Look at the so-called “Ukrainian Nationalists!” They’ve created a mythic “history” out of lies and they try to impose it in place of the real history. This effort creates nothing but bloodshed and chaos. That’s what’d happen if we denied ANY part of our heritage. It’s ALL ours…

OR, NONE OF IT IS OURS!

As for me, I embrace the whole banana… what about you?

BMD

Monday, 16 December 2013

Is Liberalism the Right Path for Russia? Prilepin: Why Russia’s Liberals are Getting it Wrong… Gubin: Why I’m a Liberal

00 Igor Demkovsky. The Russian Bear. 16.12.13

The Russian Bear

Igor Demkovsky

2013

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Editor’s Note:

The author uses “Liberal” in its European iteration, that is, deregulation, hyper-free markets, and “small government”. In short, it’s a ringing condemnation of Anglosphere “conservatism”, which is nothing but neoliberalism of the most rancid and fundamentalist sort (they’re cultural Wahhabis of the first order). However, most “conservatives” are so ignorant (if not stupid) that they don’t know that. People don’t call the Republicans the “Stupid Party” for nought…

This was a two-parter in the original; ergo, I gave you both sides of the discussion. I don’t agree with the second poster at all,  but that’s the view that they espouse. Mainly, Russians reject Liberalism, seeing it as nothing but money-grubbing Mammon worship in its worst form. I do tend to agree with that POV. Secondly, I found the second poster’s ad hominem attack on the first poster out-of-place and quite LOW. That’s why I hate Liberalism… both “conservatism” and “liberalism”.  To hide their lack of substance, they focus on extraneous fluff. A real person should espouse Conservatism (like Bismarck and Stolypin) or Socialism (like Debs and Lenin)… they’re ideologies fit for adults. “Liberalism”, whether one calls it “libertarianism“, “progressivism“, “liberalism”, or “conservatism” (all are flowers of the same noxious Liberal root) is pabulum fit only for mewling toddlers. The choice is yours. I’ve chosen the Left, for socialism, what about you?

BMD

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From the start of the 1990s, Russia broadly built an enlightened liberal society. The country integrated as a partner into global political, financial, and banking systems, and was no longer a centre of power lined up against the rest of human civilisation. Today, Russians are indisputably availed of fundamental liberal freedoms; anyone with the requisite resources can move freely around the country and abroad, there are hundreds of sufficiently independent media, and with five minutes of internet research, Russians can dig up a ton of dirt on any state official. Residents and guests of the Russian Federation are able to open any business within the bounds of the law and freely dispose of revenues earned here, including send them out of the country, if it’s strictly for personal use. People can get access to any literature and music, and there’s an independent film scene and even freer theatre. Droves of private clinics sprang into existence along with private schools and universities, and hundreds of other firms and institutions now offer all manner of private services…  competition is there before your eyes.

Upon close inspection, no one could seriously try to argue that Russia as a liberal country differs substantially in any way from others that chose the liberal course of development, such as Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Romania, Poland, Turkey, the Ukraine, and Czechia. Moreover, enlightened Russian liberals prefer to orient themselves toward such countries as Switzerland, although it isn’t so clear what we share in national, historical, or geographical terms to allow us to inherit from the successes of this genuinely comfortable country. If we’re talking about models of liberal reforms, isn’t it more feasible to cite such countries as Greece, Italy, or Spain, with their looming economic collapse and mass of intractable social problems?

True, we have a high level of corruption. However, there are many more typically-liberal countries that also have serious corruption problems. True, we have political prisoners, including some of my own associates with anti-liberal views. Yet, surely, no one believes that participants of anti-government actions in other liberal countries would immediately find a place in parliament and not, for example, in gaol. True, we have specific problems with the media, and there are cases where journalists had to resign because of their reporting. However, in the liberal world there are also taboo subjects, and even journalists who sit in real brick-and-mortar gaols for failing to observe these taboos.

A liberal entourage surrounds our President and almost all of those close to him could hypothetically be a participant in anti-government demonstrations, in the sense that they also espouse liberal values. Russia has yet to divide its parliament into Republicans and Democrats, who bounce power back and forth between themselves after forging a mutual nonaggression pact. The day won’t be long in coming, but I, for one, don’t want it to come to this. I don’t want to live in your liberalism. All of us, liberals and anti-liberals, need honest courts and ramps for the disabled, a functioning electoral system and a normal police force, social protection and decent medical care. Nevertheless, who said that these are evidence of liberalism?

Liberals genuinely convince themselves of some peculiar things… that a country that lives off oil and gas (exploited incidentally as a result of the deeply illiberal policies of the Russian state), does, in fact, owe this existence to the untiring work of liberals and we should be duly grateful; that all the good things in the world (freedom, chewing gum, wine, elections, good novels, ice cream, flowers, miniskirts) are liberal, and all the bad things (war, prison, emigration, jingoistic films) are anti-liberal. It’d never occur to them that war, absence of disabled ramps, jingoistic films, and prejudice on the grounds of nationality almost always take root in liberal countries, whilst, meanwhile, China busily builds up a significant auto industry, and Cuba stages gay parades and shoots raunchy movies. Freedom isn’t a synonym for liberalism. All too often, we see that freedom is the antonym of liberalism. Economic independence is even less a synonym for liberalism. Moreover, ultimately, state independence isn’t a synonym of liberalism either.

24 November 2013

Zakhar Prilepin

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There’s absolutely no gain in being a liberal in modern Russia. People derogatorily call liberals in Russia “liberasts” (liberal + pederast). To the layman whiling their hours in front of the TV (and television in Russia is much more a propaganda tool than a source of information), liberals are undoubtedly freaks, most likely homosexuals and agents of the West. Another disadvantage of being a liberal in modern Russia is that you have no right to represent the interests of your own people. Survival is the people’s main interest under an autocracy; the people believe it isn’t a good idea to antagonise the authorities, who (as the people are sincerely convinced) feed them.

When I tell people in Russia that liberalism gives mankind credit for being able to change for the better without external coercion, that the pursuit of freedom is intrinsic to humans, I get suspicious looks. When I say that free men are perfectly able of feeding themselves, people look at me with open hatred, saying, “We know what kind of freedom you mean, it’s that freedom [brought by Soviet President Mikhail] Gorbachyov, which led to [the USSR] getting destroyed and plundered. We don’t want any more of that!” To many Russians, freedom implies rampant crime, disintegration, and decay. Order, however, means submission to the authorities and the restriction of personal liberties for the sake of the state’s grandeur… even though this means the omnipotence of the tsar, who we now happen to know as the president.

As historian and Slavist Richard Pipes appositely put it, Russians invariably choose order over freedom, without realising that this is the wrong choice. In other words, today, Russians hate liberals whilst knowing almost nothing about liberalism. Most of my students at Moscow State University, where I teach a course on radio journalism, don’t know who Pipes is. They’ve also never heard of Noam Chomsky, whose paper Government in the Future, written half-a-century ago, gives a detailed description of several government models, including the liberal one. My current students are generally less educated than my friends were in my university days. Perhaps, this was how education-thirsty Soviet society nurtured and matured the liberal idea, which demanded an end to censorship and the authorisation of private entrepreneurship; this idea eventually destroyed the USSR. However, today, a convinced conservative in Russia is usually ignorant and takes myths for facts. This is one more reason why am a liberal… it’s too boring to side with those who don’t want to know anything.

There is also a third reason… I don’t believe that, in this day and age, one can base moral behaviour exclusively on intuition and emotions. If you rush in to help a person injured in a road crash, but have no medical knowledge, you may actually kill them. Civilisation is becoming more complicated, and survival increasingly depends on knowledge. Whom would you prefer to operate on you… a sincere surgeon or one with proper qualifications? Perhaps, this increasing complexity, matched by acceleration of technical progress, motivates many to embrace conservatism, even if myths completely obscure that road (for example, people hold on to the idea of “historic family traditions”, although they have no idea of the social history of family). People escape into “natural simplicity“, a “Golden Age“, the “childhood of humanity”, although any anthropologist would tell you how unsavoury that childhood was. This grasping at contrived “foundations” would be just as sweet as the next eccentricity, but there are ideological seducers who know how to turn the fears of the confused into formulas for salvation.

In Russia, as a rule, such formulas involve the destruction of enemies. An enemy is a geographic or religious alien, or someone who feels differently than yourself, or someone who lives a different life… in short, a liberal. Liberals are responsible for all our woes, so tally ho! One such sincere seducer is Zakhar Prilepin, a gifted writer (his sincerity accounts for much of his giftedness). Having had his share of adversity (he used to be a member of the banned National Bolshevik Party, got arrested, and experienced police brutality), Prilepin started to sing praises to ordinary people who are led through life by fate, those who are always right on the mere strength of being in the majority, of being just like everyone else, of being Russian, and having Russian roots. Deep down, Prilepin’s short stories and novellas are sincere (to the point of physiological sincerity) in praising the modern Russian chav. Sometimes, even intellectuals give in to this exalted admiration of the animal grace of young people not spoilt by education, culture, or reflection. However, it’s important to differentiate between the aesthetic pleasure at the sight of a peasant earning a crust by the sweat of his brow and the temptation to put that same peasant at the centre of the universe, whilst labelling all the rest as enemies. Something of the kind happened in Cambodia under Pol Pot. That’s the ultimate reason I’m a liberal, even though it doesn’t pay.

24 November 2013

Dmitri Gubin

Russia Behind the Headlines

http://rbth.ru/opinion/2013/11/24/is_liberalism_the_right_path_for_russia_31955.html

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