Essence of Time. Chapter 9

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(If you haven’t already, please read Chapters 123456, 7, and 8 first)

March 29, 2011.

Historical time is accelerating. This acceleration is becoming more and more rapid. What we see in Libya can leave no one indifferent. One must be absolutely insane to not see that this bell tolls for each and every one of us. And that the Tomahawk missiles will not distinguish between “white” anti-communist patriots, proponents of the improved Red project, proponents of the direct restoration of the Red project that had existed, or liberals. Tomahawk missiles will strike everyone at once. And anyone can come under fire.

The idea that such a strike can only target Libya, and that it cannot target us, does not hold water. Because that is false. Tomorrow, as everyone understands, one group of people or another can declare that it is not satisfied with what is happening. It will, more or less, have justification for saying this; the justification is always there. Several broadcasting companies will show up, if not Al Jazeera, then CNN. They will film people waving their hands, shouting in protest. Then these people will suddenly pull some grenade launchers and assault rifles out from somewhere, and they will start advancing somewhere. They will start getting shot at. And it will turn out that they are not insurgents, not scoundrels, but the people, which has risen in rebellion. If necessary, the freedom fighters will find support; or if  necessary, they will be crushed. If you rise up, you will be crushed; if Misters Kasparov, Kasyanov, and any other American-affiliated individuals rise up, they will find support.

As soon as they receive this support, it will turn out that the country is in the midst of a humanitarian catastrophe, and that military strikes are necessary. And do not comfort yourselves with the fact that we have nuclear weapons, that we have a large amount of weaponry, or that we have good air defenses… Do you want to find out what we actually have left? Are you quite certain that all of these resources will be employed to defend the country? Do you want to experience the “pleasure” of exchanging nuclear strikes with unpredictable consequences?

After all, probably all of us, being of sound mind, want to live, and we want our children and grandchildren to be able to live in our country; we want to continue to engage in social activism, and to act in general, and so on. There are few people who crave the Apocalypse and urge, “Oh, hurry up and get it over with!” This means that very, very much is at stake.

I have already said, and I will repeat, that the word “crusaders” is not part my rhetoric. The issue is not only that Bin Laden or Gaddafi speak of “crusaders” attacking them. It is that “crusaders” is a very poetic term; many have glorified them…

 

Lumen coelum, sancta rosa!

Shouting on the foe he fell,

And like thunder rang his war-cry

O’er the cowering infidel.

 

These great lines belong to Pushkin (“Once There Lived a Poor Knight…”). There are other lines as well. There is Richard the Lionheart, there is the Holy Sepulcher, the Siege of Acre, the glorious battles of the Christian armies…

Perhaps, if someone invited me to join a crusade, I would have saddled my horse, put on my armor, taken my spear, and I would have rode off to the crusade together with others. There were cases in history, however, when everything turned into the pillage of Byzantium… But let us not go into excessive detail in examining this symbol.

The issue is that the people who are currently committing the barbaric aggression against Libya do not deserve the title of crusaders. These are crazed, pathetic, insane people, who understand neither what they are doing, nor in what logic. They do not understand what they are achieving even for their own countries, nor for the world. Forces that are calculating but even more insane stand behind them, and they are dragging the world into the abyss. Consciously!

I was having a conversation with some rather sleek, intelligent, and composed people who insisted that as a result of the transformation from world order A (that same Modernity) to world order B (whatever one may call it) only 7-8% of the population should remain, approximately 400 million. When I asked, “At the expense of what will this be accomplished?”, I received a calm response, “There will no longer be any states; 400 million people will remain; they will be divided into categories, and then, probably, it will be possible for the movement of world history to continue, in accordance with new criteria.”

Too much is at stake. Let us even put aside this extreme option. Let us ponder the question, what exactly are those who are committing the aggression (or the “humanitarian operation”) against Libya doing? They keep telling us that they are preventing the criminal authorities from killing their own people with tanks, from exterminating their people using their military advantage, and so on.

Prior to taking part in Vladimir Solovyev’s TV show to talk about Libya (“Duel” on channel Russia, aired on March 24, 2011), I familiarized myself with the statements that my opponent, Mr. Zlobin [a pro-American political scientist and commentator of US-Russian relations, founder and president of the Center on Global Interests in Washington, DC – translator’s note], made on the air of the Echo of Moscow radio station [notorious for its radical liberalism and pro-Western bias – translator’s note](“Clinch” aired on March 22, 2011), and the responses from his opponent, Filatov, a very positive, clever, educated man from the Alpha counter-terrorism unit, whose arguments against Mr. Zlobin were quite telling and evidence-based. Had I been a listener of this show, I would have definitely voted for Filatov, for he opposed Mr. Zlobin quite comprehensively.

But within this comprehensiveness there is one, not even a weak spot, but a trait inherent to the current patriotic majority, which persistently refuses to clear a certain hurdle of complexity. It approaches this barrier, and it retreats. It does not clear the hurdle of complexity; it does not transition into that area, where it is possible to effectively fight the opponent. It just fails to transition from a certain area #1 to area #2! It does not want to go there; it shies away from something, not understanding the necessity of doing so. In order to truly be able to defend the Motherland to the end, to be able to engage in informational and ideological warfare, the patriotic majority must clear a certain hurdle. But it fails to clear it, and this results in the most serious of consequences.

I will not talk about how strangely voting happens on Echo of Moscow. It is unclear if it is even possible to win in these votes, because several times when I started to win, all the voting would stop, they would announce false results, and the radio station’s management would then apologize to me afterwards. Therefore, I will not even talk here about the results on Echo of Moscow.

The question is a methodical one. And the hurdle I am talking about is a methodical hurdle. It is a hurdle of political semantics. Of political linguistics. In the end, this hurdle is called “the hurdle of the game.”

If you remember, I said that Russians cannot be defeated in war. They can’t be. They are one of the most combat-ready peoples of the world; they fight well. I said back then that, out of the smaller peoples, Pashtuns or some other one, possibly fight better… Germans also fight well. But Russians are a warrior people. Where there is war, they win. It is no coincidence that Nixon called his book Victory Without War. Victory without war is victory in a game. And a very important element of winning the game is methodology, political semantics, political language.

 

Egyptian Chess Players by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1865

 

If you had agreed to a certain phrasing in a discussion, then you have already fell into a trap, and you will never get out of it. If a certain phrasing is imposed on you, “Ought the authorities to terrorize their own people, and ought not the global community to interfere if the authorities terrorize their own people?”, if you accept this phrasing, you will have lost before the discussion even begins. You will have already lost; it doesn’t matter where, on Echo of Moscow, or anywhere else. Because the formula of “the authorities terrorizing their own people” is a propagandistic framework. It is impossible to win here.

“Do you wish to say that the authorities should be allowed to terrorize their own people? What if this terror is horrendous, should the global community not interfere?”

And when you get bogged down in this discussion, you will be made to see that you have lost, and they will then adopt a UN Security Council resolution; they will start bombing any country of their choosing, dragging the world into horror, disaster, and world war.

In order to begin the struggle, it is necessary to find oneself on the other side of the hurdle. On the other side of the hurdle, one must be not a chess piece adopting borrowed semantics, a borrowed language, and a borrowed methodology, but a player. Even better would be to become the master of the game, who sets its rules.

Anyone can clear this hurdle, and to stop being a chess piece, to become a player. Anyone. It is only necessary to awaken one morning, not in an ordinary physical way, but in a spiritual way, to put one’s feet on the floor, and to say, “I will not live like this anymore, I will live differently.” And the true awakening will begin.

Everyone can truly wake up. The great Sufi teachers talk about such an awakening. It is found in every principal world religion and in world culture as a whole. However, the problem is that, as a rule, very few awaken.

But the Russians have found themselves at such a point, at such an edge; they are hanging over such an abyss, that the only thing that can truly save them is not just a miracle (everyone is talking about “a miracle in general”), but a miracle of awakening. Every person has great reserves of power: physical, spiritual, intellectual, emotional. Sometimes it seems that, for some reason, most people are saving these powers for someone, that they do not want to use them. And they are saving these powers not for someone specific, but clearly for the grave worms, whom they will allow to consume all of this.

This means that these powers must be awakened now, today. Solving all other problems is impossible without awakening. The situation of “the broken spine” cannot be overcome without awakening. And the question in the intellectual sense is simple: it is necessary to clear this hurdle, to jump over it! Not break ourselves against it, but to clear it.

And what is the barrier of methodology, which becomes politics? If the enemy is playing against you on a methodological level, while you, playing on a purely discussional level, have recognized his methodology to be correct, then you have lost the intellectual and informational competition. And then perestroika will repeat itself.

I give a simple example. A propagandistic framework, a stupid but very powerful one, exists for Mr. Zlobin. According to this framework, there are only the tyrannical authorities and the people (the people of Libya, in this case). But the point is not to discuss how exactly the events are supposed to transpire within this framework. The point is to scrap this framework, to demonstrate that it does not really exist! And everyone understands, even the lamest professor of some backwoods American university, that this framework does not exist. I have been saying this at all the international seminars for the past ten years. They nod their heads saying, “Oh, yes, yes, yes!” and then they keep talking about the “tyrannical authorities” and the “people, who have rebelled”.

There is no “people in general” which have either rebelled, or not… There are forces. Countries like Libya, Egypt, Algeria, Iraq, Iran, and so on, contain forces #1, 2, 3, 4….

From the highest moral point of view, the world must be regulated by certain norms, and norms demand spiritual legitimation. These norms existed in the project of Modernity. As soon as they had abandoned the boundaries of Modernity, they abandoned boundaries in general; they descended into the realm of demagogy and brute force. This is the highest dimension of the problem. But there is also the lowest dimension of the same problem.

Okay gentlemen, you wish to influence… What and how? You influence certain forces. For example, there was this force, which was called “Saddam Hussein and Ba’ath party.” You struck against this power, and you destroyed it. Which forces did you liberate and activate by doing so? To whom did you grant this field? To whom did you give it? You have granted it to the Kurds, who are beginning to destroy all the neighboring states. You have granted it to the Shiites, who are drifting in the direction of Iran. And you have granted it to the Sunnis, who have established such Sunni radicalism, compared to which Saddam Hussein is an angel with wings, a liberal civil lawyer.

Al-Zarqawi has been killed, but his cause lives on [Al-Zarqawi formed the terrorist group Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, which operated in Iraq. Al-Zarqawi was killed in 2006. Having survived several metamorphoses and changes of leadership, this group was finally transformed in 2013 into the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, organization banned in Russia) – translator’s note]. The Sunni triangle in Iraq is real. This is such a thing compared to which bin Laden will seem like a little boy.

Then what have you actually done? Whose hands did you cast the region into? If you hated Iran so much, then why did you throw all of this to Iran’s feet? If you loved Turkey so much as a relatively secular ally, then why did you allow the Kurds to start destroying Turkey and all the other neighboring states? If you hate Islamic radicalism so much, then why, having suppressed the Ba’ath party and the nationalists, why, having suppressed all of them, you placed your confidence in some liberal idiots who had been tailing behind you? Now these liberal idiots had simply disappeared from the stage, and all of those whom you had been fighting are the ones who have become the kings of the arena after you had left. What have you done? You did this? [It is worth reminding that this lecture was originally recorded and published on March 29, 2011 – translator’s note].

Before the invasion of Iraq, I was asked to receive representatives from Nixon Foundation. The meeting took place in the reception room of the Experimental Creative Centre. They were sitting here, talking big. We told them, “What are you doing? What are you going to do next? If you have decided to enter Iraq, then nothing will stop you. But what are you going to do there? What?”

They smiled and dodged the question… Then, a few years later, they started repeating everything we told them back then. That they made a terrible mistake. Oh, they made a terrible mistake! “That was the inept Bush; he made a terrible mistake!” But  at least Bush had not received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Now a genius has come. He entered Libya, which has three forces:

– there is Gaddafi (who had, by the way, provided quite a decent life for his people, much more decent than in Russia: a school teacher’s salary is $3000 a month; the average salary is more than $1000 a month; every family receives a free apartment; a family that gives birth to a baby receives money, a family that gives birth to another baby receives even more; this is not our petty welfare, this is entirely different: free healthcare, free education; one child from each family is provided with free education in Western universities… He has done many things there, this Gaddafi (yes, a military dictator);

– there is also the Senussi clan, which Gaddafi overthrew;

– and there is the Islamic Group, Al-Jama’a bi-Libya, whatever you call it, in other words, Al-Qaeda [organization banned in Russia – translator’s note].

These three forces exist. And there are some liberal clowns pretending to be important, but they will retreat immediately once the arena is cleared.

This means that by destroying Gaddafi, by exerting influence on him, the USA is opening a can of worms. And the choice will be between the Senussi and Al-Qaeda. And which will be worse remains an open question.

And the same has been done in Egypt, where liberation from the military clan gives free reign to the Muslim Brotherhood [organization banned in Russia – translator’s note]. They say this frankly. Soros says this. Condoleezza Rice says this. Hillary Clinton says this. All of them say this; their documents (both open and classified) now reek with plans in which they want the Muslim Brotherhood, the force of caliphatist Islam, to be there.

So, they did what they did in Iraq… They admitted that they screwed up there… And they immediately started doing the same thing in Egypt; then they did the same thing in Libya, and they continue to do so across the entire region. They are clearing the region of the more or less sane, albeit fierce forces, which were engaged there in what? I’m asking, what were they up to? Authoritarian modernization in one form or another. They are getting rid of them in favor of Counter-Modernity, in favor of the forces of caliphatist Islam, in favor of the forces of Islamic radicalism: any such forces, including Al-Qaeda. Objectively, this is what they are doing, and they are not idiots to such an extent that they do not understand this. To speak with them in the language of “the suffering people” and “the cruel authorities” means to surrender to them in advance.

I begin saying that what is taking place in Egypt is the surrender of the country to the Muslim Brotherhood; I give facts. Then it begins, “Oh, you are saying that some overseas hand is involved in the events in Egypt! Oh, you say that the United States has ulterior motives! Oh, you say that the US is behind the opposition!”

I say nothing of the sort. I will not speak this language, because a different language exists. And I demand that it be spoken when discussing all of these problems. This language contains the word “support.” Support. Do you say that this support does not exist?

In the course of discussing the so-called “Arab Spring” (more about this phenomenon can be found in the monograph Political Tsunami – editor’s note) one expert claimed, “It is ridiculous to say that the USA facilitated these events by supporting the members of the opposition.”

Well, finally the word “support” was at least articulated. Is there financial support? Soros said that it exists. Informational support exists. Military support exists in Libya. We counted: the USA provided ten kinds of support! Ten. We are not conspiracy theorists. We understand all of this in detail.

There is this Mr. Sharp, who has been working on the so-called “moral resistance” and “moral deterrence” since 1983. In particular, he studied Gandhi for this purpose. He received his first grants in 1983 in order to counter the possibility of Warsaw Pact countries sending troops into one country or another. Then he worked in Burma together with the CIA. I later observed this Sharp very closely in Vilnius, when an attempt was made to, in an absolutely inappropriate manner, use military force to oppose criminal actions aimed at destroying the Soviet Union, in disregard for the referendum. And this Sharp was the chief figure at the time; he knew about everything. All of the plans were known to him. Two weeks before the military was deployed, he conducted comprehensive training activities with the Sajudis movement [Initially formed as the Reform Movement of Lithuania in support if Gorbachev’s reforms, Sajudis quickly became the leading movement advocating for Lithuanian secession from the Soviet Union. Prior to Gorbachev’s order to use the military in Vilnius, Sajudis leader Vytautas Landsbergis had become the chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Soviet. In the years following the collapse of the USSR, there have been speculations regarding Sajudis’ cooperation with the KGB. – translator’s note] and other forces. He was an official advisor to Sajudis. This is a real person. He is the head of the real Albert Einstein

He then brought his group to Vilnius for this “moral resistance” and “deterrence”. It included snipers as the main factor of “moral deterrence”. The people who has participated in “moral deterrence”, including by way of rooftop sniper fire, later admitted this fact. Then Sharp worked in Serbia together with the Otpor movement. Now he works on the Middle East and all of the greater “Islamic Crescent” region. He has more than enough work.

Demons by Ivan Simakov, 1904

I’m not saying he works alone. Just don’t try to play dumb with me and say Soros isn’t paying them money, and that weapons are not being supplied there. Look what weaponry these “peaceful” Libyan anti-Gaddafi rebels have. They have better weaponry than Gaddafi. It’s mint condition.

I will not repeat all the arguments I laid out in the previous broadcasts. There is no need to spoon-feed the material once again when you are working with your supporters. I am telling my supporters something else: look, this is a question of methodology! Methodology. If you break open the “authorities-people” framework and reconstruct it into the framework of “which forces participate in the process” (and this is the correct framework), then you will understand what is actually going on. If you do not spend your time talking about the “hands stretching from abroad”, “criminal conspiracies”, and everything else, but if you ask what kinds of support the USA  specifically provided in Egypt and other countries, if you carefully read the secret cables published by WikiLeaks and other data, if you figure out who the people involved are, then it will turn out that they provided many, many kinds of such support.

Then, on the field which is on the other side of the hurdle, the possibility of a different kind of informational and ideological battle will appear. It will be different. The time has come for this battle. “What do we require in order to vanquish them? Audacity, more audacity, always audacity!” Danton said this. No one wishes to understand that the battle must already take place on this particular territory (“on the other side…”). There is no other territory.

The second misconception is that democracy cannot be used as a means of this struggle. It can and it must be used. It is possible and necessary to learn to win through democratic means now. Consequently, I announce that we are creating, in reality, an organization called AKSIO. The name is tentative, propose your own variants. This is based on the Greek word for “value”, and this is well and proper, but it also stands for Agency for Cultural-Social Studies of Society [in Russian: Agentstvo Kul’turno-Sotsyal’nykh Issledovaniy Obschestva: AKSIO – translator’s note].

We are, in reality, creating a civic expert review group, and we are organizing a sociological seminar in order to determine its conditions. We address those who call themselves not just our viewers (to whom we are also grateful), but our supporters in order to unite with them in creating such a free, civic, and democratic expert review. Many people watch and listen to the program “Essence of Time”. We are not even certain as to how many. We receive an enormous number of letters; a large number of people says that they are ready to work. People are already meeting with one another throughout the country.

The first task of the AKSIO organization, a civic expert review for studying the cultural and social structure of our society, is very simple: we want to conduct a public, democratic, and independent review of everything that the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights of Russia, as represented by its head Mr. Fedotov and all other members of this Council, offers to us. (See “Propositions for Establishing the National State and Social Program ‘On the Memorialization of the Victims of the Totalitarian Regime and on National Reconciliation’ ”) [available only in Russian. The main point of these “Propositions” made in 2011 to the President of Russia (this post was held by Dmitry Medvedev at that time), was to accuse the Soviet Union of large-scale crimes, and to recognize it as a totalitarian and thus criminal state. In essence, had the “Propositions” been adopted, the people of Russia would have been recognized to be descendants of criminals, with the corresponding international consequences for the country. Six years have passed, but the idea to accuse the Russian people of crimes against humanity has not disappeared from the world stage, it has simply taken different forms. – translator’s note]

We do not want to argue with them over the questions of de-Sovietization and de-Stalinization. We want to receive a clear answer to one question: what portion of our society supports Mr. Fedotov’s program, and what portion of our society does not support it? We want to receive an intelligible, scientific, yet democratic answer. And let no one say that there are other tasks more important than this one. There is no task more important than this one. There is no task more important than this one in today’s political struggle.

We need an objective result without any sort of doctoring. This means that we not only need to reveal the main problematic points of everything that Mr. Fedotov is proposing. Not to substitute these points with our whims, but to reveal them. To explain them to people in simple terms, and ask a representative sample of people (you will be taught how a representative sample is formed), whether they support these points or not, yes or no? Do they wish us to repent for the crimes of World War II or not? Do they want this, this, and this?

Leave the question on memorials to the victims of repressions, let them erect these monuments as much as they like. Take flowers and lay them to the foot these monuments instead of being outraged by these actions. That is all fine.

But this program has very critical and very far-reaching points. And we must demonstrate,, adhering to all the scientific rules and observing the law of democracy, which is the rule of majority, that in 2011 this will not pass in a democratic manner.

If you want to, the please go ahead and adopt these “Propositions” by repressive and authoritarian means in front of the entire world. At a time when all of your friends are so much obsessed with the process moving forward in accordance with democratic norms, do it: surrender yourselves to the repressive apparatus. Work, acknowledge that you are dictators. You don’t want to? Then stop your machine, because it cannot proceed democratically.

Every time we win on television, they tell us that these are some sort of trends, that these are random samples, that society does not resemble this, citing the research of Mr. Grushin and others. What sample size do the existing sociological centers use these days? Two thousand people? Three thousand? We are ready to provide a representative sample of 30-40 thousand people surveyed. Maybe more. These are not our sympathizers. The people who we call our civic activists will conduct the surveys on a civic basis, using the principles of classical sociology. They will survey  existing groups, not their sympathizers, and they will do so objectively. In the country, in the city, by occupation, by age groups, and so on. We will present a mathematical analysis of the results.

We have had it, we are sick of hearing, since the times of Andropov, that we do not know the society we live in [Andropov was the KGB Chairman who then became the General Secretary of Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1982 to 1984. He coined the phrase “we do not know the society in which we live.” – translator’s note]. We know the society we live in. And do not tell us you do not know it. You do not want to know it! Then just say that you do not want to know it. That you do not need to know it. That you wish to act in defiance of this knowledge. Then admit that you exist not as the respectable democrats that you wish the West to see you as, but as cutthroats who rape their own society. And then we will have a different conversation.

But we know how to speak with you in a democratic language, and we will use this language, Mr. Fedotov and others. We will use it to its full extent. I am giving several days to compose the questionnaire for the survey and another month to conduct the survey. We must conduct it rather swiftly.

We keep hearing that we do not know what we are going to do. We know what we are going to do. We will take faultless actions, which yield massive political results. We will never surrender the field of public review again! We will conduct a public review of every element of their attempt to implement perestroika-2. And we will demonstrate that there are actions that contradict the desire of the vast majority of the Russian population, and that these actions cannot be conducted democratically, while all of our official politicians insist that the democratic way is vitally important.

You, gentlemen, either insist on this sincerely; in which case you cannot take these actions at all, especially not during an election year. Or all of this is hypocrisy, but then this hypocrisy will be discovered. I hope this is not hypocrisy. I hope that certain statements by the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights are personal opinions belonging to Mr. Fedotov and a number of other “intellectuals”. But if this is not so, we must confront your opinion with data, objective data. Not with our emotions, not with victories on the informational arena, but with objective data.

Are the today’s people, who understand that society will once more be cast into the disaster of the perestroika if laws will be adopted tomorrow based on all of these decisions by the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, are these people ready to conduct truly objective research? We urge you not to doctor anything, not to turn cartwheels. We need the truth. We all need it. Let us examine what our society actually looks like based on this and other questions.

If we managed to conduct only this one review, then we would have already, for the first time, put up a democratic, open, and respectable resistance to the pseudo-liberals’ the destructive actions, a kind of resistance which, for some reason, no one has put up for the past 20 years.

Out of all the paths, I always choose the path that minimizes risk. I always urge everyone to choose this exact path, because only a madman maximizes risk. I always and in all situations strive to be as calm and as loyal a citizen of my country as possible. And I will firmly be one up until the moment when the authorities will start actually and demonstratively rejecting their constitutional duty, which is to preserve Russia’s integrity. Until that moment, we are ready to support those who at least formally preserve this integrity in everything that concerns it.

But let us ask ourselves, are we prepared to create a very broad coalition of people who simply do not want the country’s integrity to be destroyed? Do we understand that if the country will again be split into parts, or if at least one part will be separated from it, our people will cease to exist? And there will be no prosperity on this territory, which we are again being promised. There will be a monstrous genocide. The Russians are a very large people, and they have a hard time understanding what absolute genocide of your people is, but it is time to understand.

This means that opposing the violation of our country’s  territorial integrity is our constitutional duty. We will fulfill it. Will the authorities fulfill it? If they will fulfill it, then there is certain common ground, on which we are always ready to act together, but if the authorities violate it, then they will not get away with what Gorbachev and Yeltsin got away with. There will not be a situation in which the violation of the country’s constitutional integrity will occur with complete passivity from the society. This passivity and this paralysis will not be. As one of Alexander Galich’s songs goes, “No, good buddy, this won’t happen, it won’t be so, my good man.”

One must never line up with powers, which contrive to destroy the Russian state. This imperfect, wretched, call it whatever you want, but existing state. It can be repaired; one can contribute to the maturation of forces inside of it, which will turn it into a truly great Russia. But one cannot diminish it one more time, to cut it apart, to divide it into parts once more. There is nothing that could justify this. No matter what anyone might say.

They counted on something as a result of dismembering the Soviet Union… What did we receive? 26.2 million people not born and prematurely dead, what is called “the Russian Cross” (the same number of people that were killed during the Great Patriotic War)? The humiliation of Russians in all of the neighboring republics, who instantly became serfs? What else did we receive? A decay of education, upbringing, culture, a drop in the standard of living for the vast majority of the population… Do we want to shoot ourselves in the same foot one more time? We do not want to, we will not allow that. Such is the will of the majority.

And here is another question: do you want our territorial integrity to be violated? Are you prepared to support and somehow justify such violations? There are many questions.

In 1991 or 1992 very many things alienated me from the authorities which then emerged. And I said everything that needed to be said about it directly. But when Basayev emerged in 1994 [a terrorist who fought for the separation of the terrorist-proclaimed so-called Republic of Ichkeria from Russia. He is responsible for deaths of thousands of adults and children in some of the largest terrorist attacks in Russia, including the attacks on the hospital in Budyonnovsk, the theater in Moscow, and the school in Beslan, as well as the explosion at the stadium in Chechnya, which killed the President of the Republic, Akhmad Kadyrov. Basayev also was a field commander who led militants during many attacks on neighboring Republics of Russian Federation – translator’s note] and some people began to say that Basayev is better than Chubais [Chubais was in charge of privatization in Russia in 1990s, which resulted in a hyperinflation that put the majority of the Russian population into a state of poverty, while allowing the mafia to purchase state assets – translator’s note], I indignantly dismissed such manipulations. Because these tricks would have led to the destruction of the last existing remnant of our statehood, even larger disasters for the people, and Basayev’s victory parade on the Red Square. We barely managed to prevent this from happening back then.

Never again shall the state be destroyed. As long as the authorities do not violate their constitutional duty, we, in this regard, will be absolute supporters in defending the integrity of the state. We will clearly say that the existing course is incompatible with this integrity for such and such reasons. We will clearly express our positions on every decision by the authorities that endangers the integrity of the state. But as long as there will not be an act similar to of Gorbachev, who betrayed the Soviet Union, or Yeltsin, who had unconstitutionally split it into pieces, as long as there are no such acts we are absolutely loyal on the main issue.

There is no loyalty as such. No one has it. Everyone is satisfied on some issues and dissatisfied on others. We will assert our position on every issue: Libya, reforms, Stalinization and de-Stalinization, and so on. But on the issue of state integrity we have a firm stance: we will never flirt with or join up regarding any issue with the forces that try to infringe on this integrity.

It is the dividing line, because all of these temptations: “We will first dismember it, we will first knock it over, and then we will reconstruct it…” these are the temptations of the evil one. In the existing world, in the existing political situation, these are the temptations of the evil one.

No force exists now, neither did one exist back in 1991, that could ever make me infringe in any way on the great Soviet values and the great Soviet state, on my great Motherland – the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. I preserved and will continue to preserve these values together with my comrades, who are ready to give their lives for this. And nothing like this will happen under any circumstances.

 

Free us! By Kukryniksy (Mikhail Kupriyanov, Porfiriy Krylov, Nikolay Sokolov), 1942

 

Which means that besides AKSIO, i.e. an organization, which voluntarily engages in the publicly reviewing undertakings of various scales that carry with them a certain threat, we consider it necessary to create an organization called Historical Heritage, which will protect the values of our history in general, and Soviet values first and foremost, because these are the values that the main attack will target.

We bequeath all the patriots of our country to understand that, today, defending Soviet values is our common cause. Someone might profess “white” views [after the White Guard in the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922, i.e., anticommunist views. This has nothing to do with racism – translator’s note], Someone might profess “red” views. Someone might be a liberal, or someone might be a nationalist. But everyone must understand that if the values of the Soviet era, which lasted 70 years, will be violated, trampled upon, and once again defiled, then the people will have no history at all. The people will simply collapse into an abyss outside of historical time, where the remains of historical consciousness will be destroyed. This must not be allowed to happen.

The Historical Heritage Foundation (the title is provisional, propose your own), which is an absolute analogue, and we do this consciously, of the American Heritage Foundation, is just as important as the AKSIO organization (these are two different tasks). And it must perform its specific tasks starting from today and throughout all of our activity. These are just two different types of activity (fig. 38).

 

 

 

The first form of activity is civic expert review. The second activity is the defense of values. This not yet all of forms of activity, but let us first pause here due to the importance of this task and its specific nature. I will read the description of our Historical Heritage Foundation verbatim.

The first direction of activity is defending the Soviet heritage. This is what I previously denoted as “Component #2.” Remember I had drawn a construction, which consists of several blocks? “Component #2” is the great block on which the construction of our future rests on. It is the real Soviet experience. The real experience of everything that was in our lives. There are four blocks: that, which was first sanctioned by the Soviet system, but was later denounced or rejected; that which was not sanctioned by the Soviet system; the great historical novelty, and “Component #2” (that which really existed).

So, the first task is to protect this block. For if this block doesn’t exist, then this entire construction is a utopia, a chimera. The reality is here. Here, in this experience. Such activity of defending the historical heritage is also called “preserving the fire” or “preserving the spirit.” Are you ready to preserve the spirit? Are you ready to be the guardians of the fire? Are you ready for the risks associated with this activity (because they may arise)? Prepare for them. If you are not ready, step aside. But do not confuse one activity with the other. Remember the great lines:

And I do not belong to those

Who’re capable of mixing both.

[above is a quote from Aleksandr Griboyedov’s Woe from Wit – translator’s note]

Do not mix these two activities! Every activity has its risks. Do not engage in multiplying these risks and turning one into the other. We want to conduct public review, and we want to protect the historical heritage.Under conditions when such powerful antagonists exist, and with such events unfolding, there will be more than enough risks here. But anyone who engages in mixing other forms of activity other than what we have set for ourselves is either a troublemaker or a provocateur. Either a person who poorly understands the difference between the necessary and the arbitrary, or simply a provocateur, who intentionally substitutes one thing for something else.

Public self-governance is a wonderful thing until some provocateur suggests that you study “the common constructive ideas of Kurginyan and Hitler.” If someone suggests that, you would all understand that this is the most common provocation, and one must get rid of provocateurs in the most common fashion. You must say, “Mister, make these suggestions somewhere else.” We have our cause. Any activity can be turned into its polar opposite and then be used for provocations.

We have agreed upon AKSIO’s area of activity. Over the course of several days, we will discuss the survey instructions and the questionnaire. We will consider all of your proposals on making various additions to the questionnaire. These additions must firmly correspond with what the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights did. We do not want to review “something in general”, we want to review specific ideas: not all the points in this Council’s program, but the ones we call sore or problematic. And we want to understand how problematic these points are. This is our right as law-abiding and constitutionally loyal citizens. This is our right as experts and scientists. This is our intellectual and civic duty, and we will fulfill it. We must act swiftly, and all of those who are not ready for this must step aside.

Now I will familiarize you with a letter pertaining to the Historical Heritage Foundation. I will read it verbatim, because it is an organizational letter, not a philosophical reflection, every point is important here.

Any activity can easily be turned into its polar opposite, and then be used for provocations. This does not mean that one should not engage in activities, but this means that activity must be protected from provocations or from that which is called “Gaponovshina” [Referring to the priest Georgy Gapon who, being a Tsarist secret police informant, organized the Assembly of Russian Factory and Mill Workers of St. Petersburg. During the Revolution of 1905, on what became known as Bloody Sunday, the police massacred a workers’ demonstration, which Gapon led. He was later discovered to be a secret police informant, and he was killed. Since then, “Gaponovshina” refers to the act of someone knowingly leading an opposition group to provoke law enforcement, so that the police can then brutally suppress the opposition. – translator’s note]. Let us not tamper with the historical person of Mr. Gapon, and put the question bluntly: what do provocateurs do and what can we not allow to let happen? A provocateur substitutes one activity with another and that is all. This is why it is necessary to preserve what we simply and clearly refer to as the “activity framework.” Actions must be free enough and correspond to the local situation, but the “activity framework” must exist. Moving far past the “activity framework” is either foolishness or provocation. And you perfectly understand that if activity begins, then provocations will surely follow.

So, it is necessary to preserve the “activity framework.” And forbid oneself and others to substitute the activity which you chose to engage in with another form of activity. People who wish to do so must be calmly called out, “Please, feel free to engage in a different activity. We do not inhibit you in any way. You are free people. Just do this somewhere else, in a place that is suitable for that other activity. Please calmly and kindly leave this place alone.”

Do not decry someone else’s activity. We respect all kinds of activity, which civically concerned people undertake, and we do not intend to quarrel with anyone. I personally do not attack anyone without extreme political necessity. Many people vilify me, but I calmly remain silent and watch this. I rebut only the most blatant and direct misinformation, and still only to such an extent as to avoid misunderstandings. This is also my responsibility before the people who decided to support me, but I do this to a minimal necessary extent. I am the one being accused of something, but I do not accuse anyone. I do not want to and will not quarrel with anyone. It is necessary to build one’s own activity, not to decry someone else’s, and to cut short attempts of turning one’s own activity into someone else’s. Conversely, on certain issues, it is necessary to create as broad of alliances as possible.

I could absolutely care less if people, who wish to defend the integrity of the Russian state are liberals, “white” patriots [again, “white” in Russia traditionally refers to a monarchist and anti-communist persuasion, which has nothing to do with racism – translator’s note], communists, or anyone else. Every person who says, “Not an inch of Russian land will ever be surrendered. The state will remain unified. It will either become larger or remain the same” are my allies in the common cause of protecting the integrity of the state. I also see that there are other people: not allies, but enemies, and I want to mark the dividing line.

We will act together with all those who wish to act together in accomplishing this task. But if we want to protect the historical heritage, while someone else wishes to engage in actions of another kind, then let that “someone” engage in his actions somewhere else. We wish to protect the historical heritage, and we wish to conduct public review. I will say below what else we wish to do.

 

The Third of May 1808 (Execution of the Defenders of Madrid) by Francisco Goya, 1814

 

So, do not decry someone else’s activity, I repeat, it is necessary to build your own, and to cut short any attempts to turn it into someone else’s. The activity of defending the Soviet historical heritage is already dangerous. You surely see and read these documents, which I would like to review publicly. You understand that they do not represent fringe activity, or have an independent nature. They are of an entirely different nature. You understand the degree of danger they pose. Imagine that what is written there will not meet democratic, constitutional, legal, calm, and composed resistance, but will instead act freely. Do you understand what this would lead to?

Once more: the activity of defending the Soviet historical heritage is already dangerous. It may become even more dangerous. The specters of de-Stalinization, de-Sovietization, etc. haunt the vast expanses of the Russian Federation. You do not consent to take the risks of this activity upon yourself? Step aside. Turn from activists into spectators and sympathizers. We will understand you, we impose nothing on no one. But remember this: every activity has its risks. I repeat for a third time, do not substitute one activity for another, and thus create a slew of risks. We will not allow this, for it is absolutely unacceptable.

It is necessary to minimize the risks of any activity, including ours, not to maximize them. Only a fool, having engaged in an activity, maximizes the risks or ignores them.

It is never possible to reduce the risks to zero, but it is absolutely necessary to minimize them.

We address our supporters. Do not seek out local risks, which we do not fully understand. Your task is not to seek out risks (what are we supposed to do once you find them?), but to work. To sensibly spend your time and energy. And to coordinate your activity with the activity of others. In our world, in our extremely imperfect and retrogressive society, this is already an act, and such an act in our world, I apologize for the pathos, is heroism. But let this heroism be as composed, energetic, sensible and careful as possible. We do not simply ask this of you; we demand this.

Activity determines the genre. Our activity must be anti-hysterical, composed, evidence-based. But it has to exist. Do not go over the top and become a laughing stock. Do not say, for example, that Stalin did not kill anyone, or that the events of 1937 [the year of mass repressions in the USSR conducted mostly by NKVD chief Nikolai Yezhov, who was later arrested and executed for plotting a coup – translator’s note] are the “invention of ill-wishers” or the “pinnacle of justice”, etc. It is necessary to study what actually happened there, to master the real information, to gather it, to learn to distinguish any myth from truth, to master the mechanism, even a very simple one, that would allow one to actually prove something and actually disprove something. Most importantly, it is necessary to understand (I ask you one more time to remember this) that the situation (especially after Libya) is so heinous that it is high time to stop going mad in both directions.

Anti-Soviet and anti-Stalinist mythology is a fact of the age. Can someone prevent others from debunking myths? Can someone demand in the 21st century that myths be left untouchable, myths in general and anti-Soviet or anti-Stalinist ones in particular? Do they want us to remain calm and listen to all this nonsense, if we know for sure that the number of victims is being exaggerated tenfold? Let them try demand something of the kind from us! Nothing will come of it. And if you start to substitute negative myths (i.e myths in which everything is vilified) with positive myths, then a certain imbalance will appear. This is an unnecessary and harmful activity from all points of view, because now, in the situation which we live in, we do not need myths. We need reality, sobriety of the mind, not blind faith. And I have shown what happens when one lacks the desire to come into the closest possible contact with reality, to take root in it, and to clear the hurdle of complexity in the intellectual battle, the intellectual war, which is in full swing. And in which we must participate in accordance with the genre of this war.

No one but you can define the measure of the activity you undertake. Because this measure is defined by your situation and your possibilities. Define it yourself, and cut short the unnecessary risks, either assuming the necessary ones or refusing to participate in activity.

I give examples.

The “Essence of Time” program is our online project. But the “Judgment of Time” program is a federal television project. A member of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, the staunch liberal Mr. Svanidze participates in it. Should these broadcasts, for some reason, not be spread, discussed and elaborated upon? Why not? I gave only one example of activity with minimal risks and with great benefit to the cause. If this is the only thing that you can do, then do only this. Adapt yourselves to the situation and to your understanding of what is due. We provide you with a “menu”, not an order.

Here and now they propose memorials to the victims of repressions. Great. Lay flowers to the monument. But we have Soviet heroes, moreover, indisputable ones: Gagarin [the first man in space – translator’s note], for example, or Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya [after Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union, 18-year old Zoya joined the partisans, and she fought the Nazis behind enemy lines. During one of her missions, the enemy captured her, and they sentenced her to hanging. With a noose around her neck, she gave an ardent speech full of confidence in the victory over Nazism to the residents of the occupied village, urging them to fight – translator’s note]. We want to protect them from defamation and create a public Anti-Defamation League as part of the Historical Heritage organization.

Do we not have the right to create a public Anti-Defamation League? Why do we not, if we live in a democratic society? We do not want to throw stones at our opponents, after all. We are doing what everyone does. Would you like me to list who has created Anti-Defamation Leagues over the past twenty years? The most reputable organizations of the world. They may do this, but we may not? We want to create an Anti-Defamation League, which will protect our heroes from defamation. Such leagues exist around the world. We wish to protect our indisputable heroes, and consolidate ourselves on this ground.

Regarding the tragic events of our history, we want to know their real scale, to understand their real meaning, and compare all of this with global historical precedents. That is all. Not to praise them and to shout, “They deserved it!”, but to do only that which is necessary in order to defend our historical heritage, and to prevent others from turning our history into a black hole.

A picture of a Soviet hero in your home is already a mini-action. Watching a program on national television and discussing it is an action. We have Soviet movies; to discuss them is not forbidden, they are being aired all the time. Can one not create a Soviet movie club? Or Soviet song club? Soviet poetry, literature? Solzhenitsyn’s works must be discussed and promoted, but the works of Mayakovsky cannot be? Why not? I ask: why not? The whole world reveres Mayakovsky as a great poet. Sholokhov cannot be studied? Gorky? In a civil democratic society?

There are indisputable Soviet holidays, and there is democratization, the praise of the civil society. Is a society dedicated to the study of our country’s history not an element of the civil society they urge to build? Come on.

There is private activity, including museum activity (it is to follow), and so on. Can someone forbid it?

Private schools arise on the agenda. It is difficult, but possible, to use this to organize education free from brainwashing. And we need to discuss how to do this. If ordinary private schools are expensive, it is necessary to create online ones with excellent education, and they will be available to everyone. A Russian kid in the most backwoods village with a desire to receive a better education than in a marvelous American school or in Harvard will receive such an education. And this is our civil, private activity. No one forbids us from undertaking it for the well-being of the country and of society. Or does someone think that education can be superfluous?

Let us discuss how to do this, for I am convinced that this can and must be done, if we have the sufficient strength. If we are weaklings, then we simply need to lay down and wait for the missiles to hit us. And then lick the boots of the occupants. There is no other option. Life does not provide it. Many people would like to be weak, but this option does not exist. That’s it. Do you understand? Wake up tomorrow, put your feet on the floor and tell yourself that there will be no weakness and no hysterical fits ever again. There will be calm and systematic activity, step by step.

Political life will not stand still in the villages and towns. It can quite legally shift in very different directions. Over the course of these shifts in some municipality, or in some small town, or anywhere else, new possibilities will emerge, and as these new possibilities emerge, new shifts will occur. Fight for the schools, the kindergartens, the children’s summer camps, the sports clubs, the extracurricular clubs. Debunk the myths, do not allow anyone to place new or old ones in your consciousness, or the consciousness of your loved ones and children. This is counter-regressive social activity.

The plan to turn the country into a reservation under the guise of modernization will not pass. Be patient, considerate, and sensible, and at the same time, absolutely loyal and absolutely constitutional. Mr. Sharp studied Ghandi’s experience and other experience; we also study the experience of steady, effective, dignified, democratic, and moral action. We are the moral majority, not you.

We defended not only Soviet history during “Judgment of Time”, but our history as a whole. This is what we ought to engage in. All things Soviet are simply under a special degree of threat. Therefore, we must defend it in a special manner, and to remember that should it be destroyed, then there would be nothing left. After destroying Stalin, they will move on to Aleksandr Nevsky [the Russian saint and 13th century ruler who had defeated the German knights when they invaded the Rus’ – translator’s note], Peter the Great, and everyone else.

We suggest composing a list together of the kinds of such activity strictly on the principle of “from the bare minimum to maximum.” And to start acting from this very day, to coordinate activity, and to share experience, because a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

 

Travellers on a Mountain path at night by Hiroshige, 19th Century

 

This is only one of the areas of activity stemming from the concept laid out in Essence of Time. Other areas of activity exist, and we shall study them separately.

But let us first engage in the first two, which we have discussed today: AKSIO and Historical Heritage. We have also defined the third: The Alliance for the Defense of State Integrity (Territorial Integrity). If the problem of state integrity emerges for real, if we see crowds of people raging in the streets, openly calling for the destruction of the state, its partition, and occupation (such people exist, and we will demonstrate that they exist, and that they are gaining more power, and that they receive training from the various likes of Mr. Sharp), if all of this turns up on the agenda, then another form of activity will emerge. But for now, let us discuss these ones.

I have dedicated very much time today to the topic of activity, because we do not have the right to turn our discussions into abstract philosophy. But without philosophy, we shall also get nowhere.

Let us take another look at what is happening in Libya and in the rest of the world. Let us carefully look at the shape of what is happening. Let us take a good look. And we will see the following: that a certain world, which had existed both for hundreds of years (and was called the Westphalian system of sovereignty [after the Westphalian Peace of 1648, which ended the Thirty Years’ War, and which established the foundational principles of international law – translator’s note]), and for the last sixty six years (and was called the Yalta world order), is being destroyed. This world has its own more complex derivatives, which pertain to the project of Modernity, the Soviet project, their coexistence, and so on. We have already examined this. I now want to simply emphasize: what we are seeing is the collapse of this world, not just individual acts of injustice being committed. Any moral person can think about this.

What we see unfolding is disgusting. Abominable. Vulgar. Stupid. I have already examined previously, that the strikes target very specific forces. And this simply means a global upheaval. Do you understand how this is happening? There are different forces, and if you strike one, then the process will go in one direction. If you hit the other, the process will turn in a different direction.

One cannot claim that all Americans and all of the representatives of the West are so smart that they understand this. Moral idiots exist. Cynics exist. Many other things exist. But there are also those who deliberately choose a specific force from this “keyboard of forces”, who strike it precisely, and this turns the process. Where are they turning it to?

I repeat this to everyone once more: there is no difference to me here between an ordinary citizen of my country and any, even the highest ranking politician. I ask you to take heed before it is too late, because these ordinary citizens and the highest ranking of politicians will hang from nearby lampposts. Calmly heed this to a kind advice.

This process is being turned globally, do you understand?

It is being turned in a direction, which is incompatible with life for Russia. If Russia, having jettisoned the USSR, at least had a dismal place in the previous world, one that could guarantee only a wretched existence, then with such a turn it will have no place. The country will be entirely destroyed. It will not have a place on the map of the projects out of which the new world order will be arranged. It has no place on that map, but the turn is being made in this exact direction.

Take a close look at how they turn it, how they are striking! Do you indeed have pity for neither yourselves, nor for your people? If it is so, then let us ponder together: what does this lead to?

This leads to a deepest of political thoughts (and at the same time, one as basic as “two and two make four”)… If Russia has no place in this turn of events, but we want it to have a place, then we need to turn not the Russian process, but the global process in a different direction.

We cannot just turn by ourselves! We cannot talk about Russia’s special path or about its path of modernization. Because a path of modernization implies that it has a place in the new world order, that it can be incorporated, while there is no such place for it. The special path implies that the entire world will move into this same “era B”, while Russia will wander somewhere on its own. Some people say, “to the beat of a different drum.” Perhaps it is capable of marching “to the beat of a different drum.” But this too is already impossible. The only possibility is to turn the global process.

This is a terribly ambitious goal. But this is a goal of saving the world.

The Russians once again face the task of saving themselves and the rest of the world. They still have the capability to turn the entire global process through a heroic effort. But an ordinary nation state cannot turn this process. Only a superpower with a new orbit of global influence can turn this process.

Everything needs to be changed. Or one must be blind, and not see that the process is being turned in a direction that is incompatible with life. Or one must be a complete scoundrel who wishes for life to end. Or we must turn it, even understanding that this is terribly difficult, almost impossible. It must be done calmly and with a cool head.

This is a large worldview task. We must do this, having first made sense out all that is now taking place.

Therefore, having discussed these directions of activity, I will return to the invariable constants of worldview in my next talk. We cannot allow ourselves to become immersed only in them, but we cannot act outside of them, because the fourth organization that we want to build is the Institute of the Fourth Project: The Institute of Supramodernity. We must make sense of it: an Institute of World Project Configurations, an Institute of Alternative Models of Development (fig. 39).

 

 

Russians have an understanding of what alternative models of development are. A profound experience of alternative global development exists. And this must be proven and discussed. These are not empty words about a special path. This is a reality that we will uncover. It is just that it took a long time to discuss activity. We spent a long time consulting on this question. We considered this as absolutely necessary. And we have done it.

 

Source (for copy): http://eu.eot.su/2017/11/09/essence-of-time-chapter-9/

 

Essence of Time: The philosophical justification of Russia’s Messianic Claims in the 21st century

Sergey Kurginyan

Experimental Creative Centre International Public Foundation

 

Essence of Time is a video lecture series by Sergey Kurginyan: a political and social leader, theater director, philosopher, political scientist, and head of the Experimental Creative Centre International Public Foundation. These lectures were broadcast from February to November 2011 on the websites, www.kurginyan.ru and www.eot.su .

With its intellectual depth and acuity, with its emotional charge, and with the powerful mark of the author’s personality, this unusual lecture series aroused great interest in its audience. It served at the same time as both the “starting push” and the conceptual basis around which the virtual club of Dr. Kurginyan’s supporters, Essence of Time, was formed.

The book Essence of Time contains the transcriptions of all 41 lectures in the series. Each one of them contains Sergey Kurginyan’s thoughts about the essence of our time, about its metaphysics, its dialectics, and their reflection in the key aspects of relevant Russian and global politics. The central theme of the series is the search for paths and mechanisms to get out of the systemic and global dead end of all humanity in all of its dimensions: from the metaphysical to the gnoseological, ethical, and anthropological. And as a result, out of the sociopolitical, technological, and economical dead end.

In outlining the contours of this dead end and in stressing the necessity of understanding the entire depth, complexity, and tragedy of the accumulating problems, the author proves that it is indeed Russia, thanks to the unusual aspects of its historical fate, which still has a chance to find a way out of this dead end, and to present it to the world. But, realizing this chance is possible only if this becomes the supreme meaning of life and action for a “critical mass” of active people who have in common a deep understanding of the problems at hand.

Dr. Kurginyan’s ideas found a response, and the Essence of Time virtual club is growing into a wide Essence of Time social movement. In front of our very eyes, it is becoming a real political force.

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