April 4, 2011.
On April 1st, 2011, Nezavisimaya Gazeta published an article by Mr. Sergey Karaganov entitled “Not de-Stalinization, but a modernization of consciousness. The proposal of the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights is a real path to national reconciliation.”
On the same day, my friend Vladimir Semyonovich Ovchinsky, a retired police general, a doctor of science, a brilliant professional, a publicist, and a public figure, gave a harsh assessment of this article on The Russian News Service. And I fully support this assessment.
Vladimir Semyonovich had less time to analyze Mr. Karaganov’s text in detail. And I believe that, at the expense of everything else, it is my responsibility that this text is subjected to a meticulous examination, which I will do now.
“In the popular press,” writes Sergey Karaganov, “our project has been called ‘De-Stalinization’. This is inaccurate and politically incorrect, although the essence of the project, of course, includes the de-Stalinization, and the de–communization of the Russian social consciousness and of Russia itself. The term ‘de-Stalinization‘ glorifies the cannibal (he means Stalin – S.K.) and dumps all the responsibility only on him. And it leads away from the truth, from the essence of the regime the legacy of which we must overcome. And it leads away from the essence of the tragedy that the people suffered. In fact, we are talking about eternally commemorating the victims of the totalitarian regime and about national reconciliation. “
As for the commemoration of the victims of the GULAG, I have nothing against it. But what kind of national reconciliation is Mr. Karaganov talking about when he calls Stalin a cannibal?
Stalin has relatives. To call someone a “cannibal” is insulting. Stalin has followers. There are groups in society who regard Stalin as their hero. Karaganov does not say that Stalin should not have a hero made out of him, and that he should be assessed objectively. He calls him a “cannibal.” That is, he simply spits these people in the face; he acts militantly rude to them, he insults them, and then he immediately talks about national reconciliation. It seems to me that this is a very important piece of evidence pointing to the essence of our time. It lies in the fact that any concept introduced by our pseudo-liberals (such as Mr. Karaganov) is actually a negation of itself. What is said is always the opposite of what is being done.
National reconciliation is being discussed, but it is being discussed with such semantics, using such language, in such a political tone, that it feels like a slap in the face. Hence, he speaks of national reconciliation, but it really means inciting civil war and conflict within Russian society. It means dividing this society; it means escalating its internal conflicts. This is what he is really talking about. And I leave it to my friends who practice law to evaluate statements like this and to evaluate their correctness from a legal perspective. In any case, at least from a moral point of view, it would be unforgivable to allow such a division of society and thereby escalating the conflict, intolerance at home, and civil strife. The moment at hand, believe me, has too much riding on it.
What else does Mr. Karaganov write? “The main goal of the project is to ensure Modernization of the consciousness of Russian society and the Russian elite.”
Mr. Karaganov wants to “modernize” my consciousness with the help of this project… Consequently, I have to know for sure that Mr. Karaganov’s consciousness has been modernized. That it is not randomly intoxicated with alcohol, it is not, so to say, inclined to certain deviations from the norm, that it is not overly agitated, but that it represents the gold standard of a modernized consciousness. Mr. Karaganov does not have a shadow of a doubt that he will personally “modernize” others. And that he, of course, is a modernized person.
And why should it go without saying that Mr. Karaganov is a modernized person, if being Soviet and belonging to the Soviet elite and to Soviet institutions is made synonymous with demodernization? Did Mr. Karaganov not belong to the Soviet elite? Was his family not integrated into the Soviet elite? Does Mr. Karaganov not represent the very flesh and blood of this elite in every sense of the word, which I, for now, will not subject to extreme scrutiny? No, Mr. Karaganov is the very flesh and blood of that era. He is a perfect illustration on the subject of one old joke.
“A patient comes to the doctor, and he says:
– Doctor, I must tell you the whole truth right away: I’m impotent.
– Yes? And what?
– No, doctor, the most important thing is that it runs in my family.
– What do you mean, it runs in your family?
– Well, like this. My father, my grandfather, and my great-grandfather…
– But you? Where did you come from?
– I came from Voronezh.”
Where did Mr. Karaganov come from with his absolutely modernized consciousness? He comes from the perfect example of a Soviet party elite family. He himself was not one to say no to working for the Party.
So why, all of a sudden, is he the one to modernize someone else’s mind? And how can this even be done in a democratic society, since there is no such thing as a standard modernized consciousness? Shall we get the psychologists to check who has a modernized consciousness? Shall we conduct IQ tests? Well, Mr. Karaganov, let us both undergo an IQ test together and see who has a higher one. It is not a very representative test, but… though it is minutia, it is pleasant nonetheless. So, it is not about IQ? Then what is it about? What are the norms for a modernization of consciousness?
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin once issued a “brilliant” decree on fighting fascism. He instructed all the relevant agencies regarding the necessity of fighting fascism. At the end, he added an addendum, “The Academy of Sciences is to develop and approve a definition of ‘fascism’ in three months.”
What is the “modernized consciousness” for the sake of which Mr. Karaganov wants to carry out an ideological campaign at the state level? Is anti-Stalinism and anti-Sovietism not an ideology? Can this ideology, like any other, not become totalitarian? Are five minutes of hate directed at Stalin, and then ten minutes or, hour-long orgies of hate not as disgusting as anything else? What is the topic at hand? What kind of modernization of consciousness are we talking about? Who said that the consciousness is not modernized, and in what sense?
Do you see the extent of the elite delirium and insanity, which possess not only Mr. Karaganov’s individual consciousness (this is a question to him and his personal psychoanalyst as to where this esteemed person suddenly discovered in himself such a charge of anti-Stalinism, anti-Sovietism, and the like)? It is about collective madness. What is happening with the elite group, with the class? Are they currying favor with someone? I would like to know with whom. Are they provoking someone? I would like to know to what ends. Are they just going insane?
And so, the modernization of consciousness… Mr. Fedotov will “modernize” my consciousness for the sake of our progress towards a bright “modernized” future, which will consist of the last factories collapsing, while physical education will become the only compulsory subject in school. Do you sense the scale of this delirium? The “Collective Mind”, as it was once called, is going insane…
“Modernization of the country, neither on a technical nor a political level,” writes Karaganov, “is possible without changing the consciousness of society, nurturing the people’s sense of responsibility for themselves, for the country, a sense of pride in it, an, albeit sometimes bitter, sense of normal patriotism.”
Let us, for the moment, leave aside the “normal patriotism” and the sense of pride that are supposed to appear after arousing loathing to the 70 years of the history of our fathers and grandfathers. Only when loathing to all this will arise, and all this will be recognized as a totalitarian abomination, an anthropological catastrophe, then, at last, we shall have a feeling of pride for our Motherland… This is not Gogol. This is not Kafka. This is even more extreme. But let us leave this aside for now.
“Modernization of the country, neither on a technical level nor a political level, is possible without changing the consciousness…”
That is, I have to understand that Korolev, Kurchatov, and others, who, as we know, were quintessential Soviet patriots even despite their personal troubles… at least, it did not prevent Korolev from being a profoundly Soviet man inside [referring to the fact that the father of the Soviet space program, Sergey Korolev, had spent time in the GULAG – translator’s note]… Am I supposed to understand, that all the great Soviet scientists and engineers known to me had, technically speaking, a “unmodernized” consciousness and that Karaganov technically has a modernized consciousness? All of the great engineers who created our industry, all of the great executives who gave rise to an unprecedented leap forward, which was called the “Russian miracle,” had an “unmodernized” consciousness?.. And Karaganov’s is modernized. But this fact cannot be confirmed.
This is Mr. Karaganov’s personal opinion. Which I should share for what reason? Because Karaganov is a member of the Presidential Council. And what is that called? That is called “totalitarian thinking”. Mr. Karaganov writes an article against totalitarianism using absolutely totalitarian language. In a super-Orwellian language. It must be read and admired. Because we again enter this kingdom of super-crooked mirrors, called “perestroika”, this time “perestroika-2”. And “perestroika” is always insanity, an artificially induced insanity.
So, pride for the country will arise only when it is cursed, together with our fathers, grandfathers, and the great accomplishments of 70 years. When it is again turned into a “black hole”, when they will wipe their feet on it again at the administrative-state level. Then there will be “genuine” pride, “bitter”, and “real”. Like a strong and well-aged wine, so to speak.
“A breakthrough in modernization is impossible or extremely difficult with the current moral and ethical state of society”.
I beg your pardon, Mr. Karaganov! But people like you have shaped “the current moral and ethical state of society” for 20 years. You were a member of the Presidential Council under Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin, if my memory serves me well. It is you who created the “present moral and ethical state”. You forgot, Mr. Karaganov, that the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. And Gorbachev’s de-Stalinization, the next in a series of them, began in 1987, at the very latest. It means that 24 years have already passed, my dear man! Over these 24 years… add them to 1917, and you get 1941!
Only helpless people blame everything on the remnants of the past, the Soviet past, the Soviet totalitarian consciousness. This totalitarian consciousness has not been around for the past 20 years. Moreover, they have been combating it for 20 years. And what? Modernization again cannot be conducted until this battle takes place? How long will it last? Another 20 years? And modernization will remain impossible for another 20 years? Do you even understand what you are saying?
“We propose,” Karaganov writes further, “to prepare a political and legal assessment of past crimes. Perhaps, in the form of official statements on behalf of the executive and legislative branches. And also an authoritative legal decision regarding the crimes of the past is absolutely necessary.“
Then let them all make this decision, Mr. Karaganov: the judges (including the justices of the Constitutional Court), the Legislative Assembly, which now must run for reelection, because it consists of parties… Let them all make this decision, and we will take a close look at them. We will look into their faces, into their eyes. These decision-makers will look into our eyes. Into the eyes of the civil society.
“… in the form of the official statements”… an authoritative decision “on the crimes of the past… There is also a suggestion to think about a new name for that holiday, which is now called the Day of National Unity. Turning it, say, into the day of commemoration of the victims of the civil war and of national reconciliation. “
So, “national unity” is not enough… They invented a holiday and tied it to the Time of Troubles. Now this is not enough; now it is necessary to commemorate the victims of the civil war. All the victims, Mr. Karaganov? You are from a family that includes art historians… Do you remember Andrzej Wajda’s great film “Ashes and Diamonds”? In which the hero is asked, “What, you shoot at Poles?” and he answers, “And you shoot at sparrows?”… Will we commemorate all the victims? Will we commemorate Lazo as well? [Sergey Lazo was a Red hero of the Civil War who fought the White movement and the Japanese in the Far East. After his capture, the White cossacks burned him alive in a train engine furnace. – translator’s note].
“It is necessary,” Karaganov writes, “to complete the legal rehabilitation of those citizens who suffered from repression.”
Do this as much as you want. This is your right, and we shall not hinder you.
“There is also the idea of a certain law on toponymy in order to remove the names of those persons who are responsible for repressions from our lives.”
To the subject of responsibility for repressions… Is Nikita Khrushchev responsible for repressions? Yes or no? Is Mr. Mikoyan responsible for repressions? Yes or no? Will we change the toponymy in relation to all figures? And to what extent shall we implement it? Shall we change the gravestones in the cemeteries as well? And in general, all these respected people, at a time when Libya is being bombed and everything else, have nothing else to do than to carry out another detoponimization?
“To this day,” writes Mr. Karaganov, “the archives are being opened sporadically and with enormous difficulties. They remain virtually closed. Undoubtedly, opening the archives to the fullest extent is key. “
I fully support this wonderful point. Open the archives. Completely. And we will read them. But each of us has the right to draw his or her own conclusions after the reading of factual material. As you know, with the full openness of Western archives, historians have been arguing for centuries over who Robespierre or Napoleon were. There are different schools, different views. Does this mean that one of these schools should be banned through legislative decisions? But this is called “totalitarianism”. This is what is called “totalitarianism”: a ban on thinking, a ban on having a point of view, a ban on making one’s own judgment!
We continue reading, “So that Russian scientists and citizens would be able to study and publish them. In order, in particular, for it to become possible to write such textbooks on the country’s history, which would be free from many of the previous mythologies. Because they are still very much alive. “
That is all wonderful. But do you not notice one amazing peculiarity in this whole affair? The archives are not open yet, and Russian historians have yet to write all this. We, therefore, have not even approached the truth, but we have already condemned one group of people and have begun to praise another. Does this not reveal that Mr. Karaganov’s consciousness is unmodernized to a profound degree? What he calls “Soviet thinking” is actually himself. Mr. Karaganov is fighting against his own thinking. This is a deeply psychoanalytical process. The snake biting its tail… Let him fight with it, then! Not with “remnants” in the minds of other citizens (in particular, your humble servant), but with his own consciousness, in which the “head” has already bitten into the “tail”, and now is devouring it feverishly.
Because, I repeat, the archives have yet to be opened. After opening the archives, it will take ten years for serious scientists to come to some conclusion. It will be a struggle between different schools. In another ten years we will attain a new quality of knowledge. Then we will be able to make judgments, which will never converge at a single point. But while these judgments do not exist, and the new data are even yet to be extracted from the archives, how do we know what is true and what is not?
Therefore, this is not a modernized act of a gnoseological nature, which is based on the search for truth on the basis of certain procedures and a certain sequence of judgments. This is an act of a theological nature. This is a “witch hunt”. When, without first opening the archives, you already know exactly what kind of assessment ought to be given regarding the contents of these archives. Then you open the archives, and you let the “scientist monkeys” dig around in the papers.
But even before that, you have already brought out all the verdicts. What is primary and what is secondary for the “modernized” consciousness, which, if my memory serves me correctly (I carefully read Weber), is a rational mind; facts come first, then research, then assessments, then judgments. No, judgments come first, then research! Perhaps we should follow this logic to the extreme? In the beginning, the “revolutionary troikas” [referring to a special expedited judicial mechanism used by the NKVD with liberty during the Great Purge of 1937 to sentence people based on a consensus from the chief of the regional NKVD, the head of the regional party committee, and the regional prosecutor, a practice which was condemned after 1938 – translator’s note] execute, and then it will turn out that “a mistake has happened”, and that “research” shows otherwise.
“Mythologies” are, of course, “very much alive”… Only Karaganov’s mind is free of them, just as it is free from the remnants of totalitarianism.
“This leads to another proposal: we need a law according to which officials who publicly deny or even justify the crimes committed during the years of totalitarianism cannot remain in the public service.”
This is the key thing in de-Stalinization! This is a ban on making one’s historical assessment. A “wrong” historical assessment is incompatible with public service. But what is the “charm” of such rather Goebbels-like procedures? Officials of all levels are not allowed to express a positive opinion of the Soviet past… And who are officials of all levels? These are all who are employees of the state, i.e. teachers and the like.
This is an absolutely totalitarian procedure. But let us continue this logic. Let us suppose, there is a Communist Party, which is not banned, which is part of the Duma, and which is engaged in social and political activities. Suppose that this party, under certain conditions, joins a coalition and forms the government. Will members of this party say one thing at party meetings and something different as government officials? But then they will quickly be removed from the party, and they will cease be members of parliament. Moreover, they probably still have some sort of beliefs. Consequently, they cannot become officials? So the parliament cannot form the government? Then who should form it?
And, finally, it is clear that this will end with banning all those parties that praise or speak objectively (as we believe) about the Soviet past. We start talking about officials, then we mean school teachers and state employees, and then we ban and disperse parties. That is, we gradually move towards a totalitarian dictatorship by way of “fighting totalitarianism”. Am I right, Mr. Karaganov?
“And, of course, monuments play an important role. It is necessary to create memorials in both Russian capitals to all victims of the political repressions that took place in our country. Memorials should also be in the places of the thousands of graves that have not yet been found, and in the towns and villages from which our people were taken to hard labor and death.
And finally, it is time to resolve the issue with Lenin’s Mausoleum on Red Square. But it is not just about taking his body out from there. A large volume of work has to precede this absolutely necessary decision.“
Well, demolish the monuments. But do we, the citizens, have the right to gather money and to build them?! No.
So you can demolish our monuments, but we cannot demolish yours or build our own? Now why is that?
Because we are not citizens with equal rights. Civil inequality is the very basis of totalitarianism. If Mr. Karaganov can demolish a monument, which I created, and I cannot demolish a monument that Mr. Karaganov erected, then there can be no talk not only of national reconciliation, but even of national equality of rights. Part of society are outcasts, whose monuments will be demolished. But this is just the beginning…
First they demolish monuments. Then they offend values. Then people start to rebel, and they start suppressing them. Then they transfer all of these values into the space of one’s personal life, into which the police then intervene. Well, this is exactly how totalitarianism is built. I repeat, it takes virtually no effort to build an anti-Soviet totalitarianism with “five-minutes” or “ten-minutes” of hate. And it is easy to see how eager Karaganov is to do this. But he does not say this all as a private citizen. A member of the Council on Civil Society and Human Rights under the President is saying this. He is not discussing this in the smoking room. He has written an article. People read this article. During an election year. Is this an act of insanity or an act of provocation? Or an act of both?
“Now everyone is for himself; society is fragmented. In many ways, the elite looks on the masses with resentment. The popular masses resent the elite. At the same time, the people and the elite have almost nothing to respect themselves for after the last hundred years.“
If “the people and the elite have almost nothing to respect themselves for after the last hundred years,” then this is the end; there is no people and there is no elite. There is a community of ruffians, who have nothing to respect themselves for. You must finish the thought, Mr. Karaganov. Not only themselves, but their fathers and grandfathers as well. We are supposed to stop respecting our families. Or better yet, why don’t you get lost with your Orwellian sermons?!
“The only thing we can truly be proud of is the Great Patriotic War. But its unifying potential is dwindling with time. “
As soon as 10 percent of what you have already written here will be implemented, Mr. Karaganov, there will be no talk of any Great Patriotic War. No one will admire it. It is impossible to study Zhukov [Marshal of the Soviet Union who had played a significant role in the victory over Nazi Germany – translator’s note] and to curse Stalin, because Zhukov praises Stalin, and so on. So the topic of discussion will first be equating communism and fascism (and you are already doing this), and then it will “suddenly turn out” that communism is worse than fascism. And somehow, so casually and imperceptibly, you rehabilitate Nazism. You will end up not condemning communism, but rehabilitating Nazism. And this turn of events is already approaching. We closely follow how this is happening. Certain sophisticated Germans say about this, “We are tired of being the scapegoats for so many years, now it is your turn, go right ahead.”
“Society cannot begin to respect itself and its country, as long as it hides from itself the terrible sin of seventy years of communism-Stalinism-totalitarianism”.
Whoa! Here it is, Modernized consciousness, “the terrible sin!” It is like the original sin, right? When a person with a modernized consciousness speaks in terms of “sin”, the next step, certainly, is to create an inquisition to “save” me from “sin”. By means of what? As we all know, by means of the auto-da-fé.
A splendid invention for the beginning of the 21st century… All while howling about democracy…
“When the people perpetrated the revolution, they brought to power and supported an anti-human barbaric regime (they committed a sin. – SK). And they allowed this regime to exist, and they participated in a self-genocide: in the systemic and wavelike eradication of their best representatives…” In short, the people are sinful, and the people’s sin allows Mr. Karaganov, who is innocent along with his fathers, grandfathers and all the rest, to start cleansing the people from this sin, which is the quintessence of a totalitarian procedure. The quintessence!
Moving forward, who exactly was killed… The golodomor, collectivization, and the intelligentsia… The best representatives…
“Because of this terrible century, most people do not know their great-grandfathers; they have lost a fundamental connection with the country.” Now this is just nonsense. Prove it. “Most people do not know their great-grandfathers”… Maybe you do not know them? Did you carry out sociological surveys? Do you support yourself with any data? What is this scuttlebutt? A mixture of a psychiatric ward with scuttlebutt and low-quality propaganda…
“To continue to half-conceal this history of ours from ourselves is to remain tacit accomplices to this crime. If we do not acknowledge the truth to the fullest extent, then we will remain the heirs not of the best part of our people and not of the best qualities in our people…“ Not the best part of the people? Which part is the “best”, and which is “not the best”?
If this were written in the United States of America, then there are about eight points here, by which one could begin litigation. But I am not going to sue Mr. Karaganov. I just want to exhaustively show everyone WHAT is at stake in our struggle for the historical heritage. AND WHAT people who are fully vested with power (or at least as it seems to them) now want to impose on the majority, “not the best part of the people”. This is Hitler’s rhetoric. This is the rhetoric of social and spiritual genocide. Because if this part is not the best, then this part can be taken under guardianship. And if it will resist, it can be suppressed by any means, etc.
“To refer to veterans is a flawed and cowardly argument. Moreover, there are only a few veterans left, whose feelings may be hurt. Probably, there are no fewer veterans left, for whom the condemnation of the totalitarian regime would bring the greatest joy.“
Then let us check. If for the overwhelming majority of today’s society the condemnation of the Soviet regime as “totalitarian” would be “the greatest joy”… Let us ask the veterans; it is not so difficult to find out. What does he mean when he says that they are few? I feel a kind of happy vibration in Mr. Karaganov’s voice… Maybe it just comes off that way… In my opinion, there is still a considerable number of them left. But what do they have to do with it? Do you think that among today’s youth everyone wants another denouncement of Stalin’s personality cult? Have you read the sociological data? What kind of society do you live in? What do you understand about it? And do you even need to understand something about it?
“The generation of people who were directly responsible for the extermination of the people is also gone.”
That is great… What about indirect responsibility? And their families? By the way, will you open all the archives? Have you firmly decided to do this? You are not joking? Do you understand me, Mr. Karaganov? No?
“People are afraid that full recognition of the horror of the Gulag, the full opening of the archives will harm the country’s prestige. This is not true. The campaign to perpetuate the memory of the victims of the totalitarian regime can only produce respect. “
I agree. Go right ahead and lead this campaign. Lead it, we will lay flowers to the graves of the victims. Not only do we not wish to touch that which has become dear to you now or was always dear to you, although you had concealed it very carefully… Probably even from yourself. Otherwise, you would not have joined the Party, right? You would not have joined that criminal organization? So go ahead, do not touch us, and we will not touch you. Then a basis would emerge for national reconciliation.
Otherwise, you are proposing a formula for reconciliation on our knees, and we shall not accept it, because this formula is not a formula for reconciliation, but a formula for humiliation and civil war. It is you who are inciting the civil war anew. And this is a criminal act. It is sinful, Mr. Karaganov.
“We are still brought up in the traditions of communist ideology, half-ashamed of ‘the century of exploiters’, ‘reactionary monarchs‘, and feudal lords. But this was the century when Russia was among the first or even the first power in Europe, a guarantor of stability and relative peace. It was the heyday of Russian culture… “
This is what you are saying now, but as soon as total de-Stalinization and de-Sovietization begins, they will start looking for the roots… People, do you hear me? For 70 years, your fathers and grandfathers were committing “crimes, self-genocide,” etc. for some reason.
And what are the roots? “The roots are in your slavish nature.”
And why is the nature slavish? “Because all the time there was totalitarianism. Peter the Great’s totalitarianism, Ivan the Terrible’s totalitarianism… ”
The next step is the entire Russian empire turning out to be totalitarian, then the entire Russian tsardom will turn out to be totalitarian, and then all the way with all the stops… This is direct logic. We have seen this; we observed it during the television program Judgment of Time: first Stalin then Alexander Nevsky; they are all “scoundrels.” Because the task is to destroy all of history. Under the guise of this baby talk, with these insane ravings and with all the rest, it is necessary to slaughter the people’s history and their identity. The people which is now trying to mend its broken spine, but this spine must be broken again, once and for all, completely and irreparably, in all places, using totalitarian methods this time, because there can be no other way by definition: the majority is already resisting the “modernization” of its consciousness.
“Moses led the people through the wilderness for 40 years. We have already wandered 20 years,” says Karaganov,” if we squander the next 20 years in the same manner, we may not be able to leave the wilderness. “
Gogol has a work that begins almost tragically, and ends with the phrase, “And do you know that the Bey of Algiers has a wart under his nose?”
“And the last. I understand that I will cause unpleasant emotions, which “undermine” the attractiveness of the project. But Khodorkovsky’s trial devalues any efforts to restore public morality and self-esteem. “
You did not cause me any negative emotions, Mr. Karaganov, you are comical, deeply comical, like this entire class that you represent. Like this entire pathetic class, which is rotting and vegetating in shameful and hideous luxury amidst an impoverished country. A class that does not know how to take responsibility for its complete political, administrative, economic, existential, and metaphysical ineptitude. And it again tries to do what it always does, like a boy without the knowledge of a woman tries to make love. It is shameful. So shameful that it could not be worse. But this shame contains something serious.
People! De-Stalinization, De-Sovietization, etc. began before the program Judgment of Time. People, we were able to fight it then precisely because we had full knowledge of it. People, we cannot fight constitutionally, lawfully, and calmly, in place of you. People, this is the edge.
Mr. Karaganov, if I remember correctly, chairs the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy. I ask the people who are members of this organization, “Are you ready for Mr. Karaganov to lead you? This is a test. People, this is a test. ”
Mister Yevgeny Maksimovich Primakov [A distinguished Soviet and Russian statesman who created and initially headed the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs (1996-98), and who was Vladimir Putin’s predecessor as the Prime Minister in 1998-99. When NATO began bombing Yugoslavia in 1999, Primakov, who was flying to Washington to meet with US Vice President Al Gore, famously ordered his plane to turn around over the Atlantic, thus aborting the meeting. After leaving office, Primakov continued to be a highly esteemed conservative figure in the Russian political establishment – translator’s note], I appeal personally to you and to those for whom you are an authority. You are not young. You were part of the Soviet elite. Many people look up to you. Will you let Mr. Karaganov get away with this article?
You esteemed scholars who have a Soviet past, directors of think tanks, veterans of the national security services, all those who are part of Mr. Karaganov’s Council! After what he said, will he remain the chairman of this council? If so, then YOU are the ones who are pushing the people towards a new desovetization and de-Stalinization. YOU are the ones who agree to a second perestroika. YOU are the ones who do not place social interdictions in its way. YOU are afraid beforehand, without even understanding what you are afraid of.
If this is not the case, then tomorrow the chairman (or leader) of this meaningless Council will at least not be Mr. Karaganov, but someone else. Then we challenge this de-Stalinization and De-Sovietization in its infancy.
But if first you express your admiration for my civic position in the program Judgment of Time and others like it, but then you hide under your bed… Then you will find yourself caught off guard by this de-Stalinization and De-Sovietization and trampled underfoot along with the country, and doomed to a miserable, humiliating, and bloody future.
You could afford to do this twenty-some years ago, when the country went insane. But now it is returning to normality. Very different processes are unfolding now. There is no excuse now for not behaving with civic dignity and calmness.
I would like to believe that there are people in our elite who are capable of such behavior. That a stop would be put to all this delirium, immediately. But if that is not the case, then the issue at hand is not some monstrously insurmountable threat to our society… No. The issue is that the elite once again demonstrates its own collective worthlessness. That this elite is abandoning the people to their fate. And the people, seeing this, has the right to save itself.
Now about how the people will save themselves in this case. They will save themselves with absolute composure, with irony, and in a manner devoid of hysteria. Nothing will come of this de-Stalinization and De-Sovietization. This trick can no longer work. The more they try to change the country’s direction using these methods, the more profound the counteraction will be. And our task is for it to be composed, with a smile on its face. So that another convulsive hysteria, which would be absolutely justified in relation to “tricks” of this sort, would not accidentally destroy the country. Or so that it would not be used for a real inflammatory provocation. They want to light the fire of civil war? We will not allow this. It will not happen.
This is precisely why we are creating a foundation, a society, a virtual club in defense of our historical heritage. There are hundreds of forms of such defense. No one shall be able to carry out this Orwellian, anti-Soviet-anti-Stalinist orgy of hatred now. The social situation that they need for this does not exist, neither does the necessary system of power; there is no such thing. But this does not mean that we do not have to fight back against this. Because if we do not fight back (calmly, ironically, precisely as a civil society, using all the possibilities of democracy), then this will continue.
As long as this continues, people with a consciousness like that of Karaganov’s will keep enraging themselves.You know, they have this quality about them: they enrage themselves. And when they get themselves truly burning with rage, and those who are supposed to stand up to them put their tails between their legs, then any sort of “tricks” can begin. Any! Because in actuality, (and this must be demonstrated), this whole “struggle” against communism, against all that is Soviet, against Stalin’s legacy, of course, is part of the activity by a great submarine of neo-Nazism, which is surfacing from the bottom, which is restructuring the world. It needs to remove the last obstacles in its path. It sees that Russia is still on the world map, that it is still a living entity, which is capable of countering these plans. It wants to bring Russia to ultimate destruction.
Behind the backs of people like Karaganov and other insane people, of course, stand neo-Nazis, who, though they are cold, and they have significantly corrected their old ideology, have remained faithful to its fundamental principles of human inequality. They are now running this show; they are now trying to finish off Modernity and reorient the process in the direction they find desirable. This is their time to shine. These people are cold and infinitely cruel. Karaganov and others are just carnival puppets that dance around before the beginning of the main performance. People, be vigilant! And understand what it is at stake, “what now hangs in the balance.”
The auditorium at my plays is now filled to capacity; people sit on the steps. The play is a mystery, a philosophical and metaphysical poem in two acts that lasts almost four hours with an intermission. After the performance, about a hundred people stay and ask me questions until 6 in the morning. These people dress modestly; they do not belong to this elite. The one I have now asked once again, “Elite, will you again betray your people?” The people who stay after the performance do not belong to that elite. But they talk about profound philosophical and metaphysical themes in a very sophisticated and deeply intellectual language, which shows that they have mastered a great multitude of things. This is the new Russia. This is not Karaganov’s Russia. This is the new youth.
Russia is a very vibrant country… I can give performances at festivals in Avignon or Edinburgh, but I know very well that everything is much more dead there… And not only because it is a different language, but simply because Europe is truly becoming very weak, decrepit, losing its inner spiritual temperament. Of course, this pertains first and foremost to Central Europe, but also to the South. Unfortunately, this is the case.
But Russia is a very vibrant country with a great interest in what is happening, with great interest in complex spiritual problems. And it is exactly this that tells us that Russia has a future.
The future is with you. You are the salt of the earth. You are the real elite, not those who write such idiotic opuses.
The key thing here is to break with your own inferiority complexes. The world, in general, has a certain complex, according to which it is shameful not to be rich, that it is shameful to be poor. This applies not only to Russia. Over the last 20-30 years, it has become a universal European madness. Life has changed drastically.
It is not shameful to be poor. It is shameful to be vulgar, stupid, greedy, and to be devoid of love and compassion. And of course, it is shameful to be weak. It is now very embarrassing to be weak. The whole question is whether a real force will arise where it must. In the groups of people who have not stopped reading. Who know much more today than they did 20 years ago. If in some way there is any justification for what happened, then it lies in this.
Returning from a very long journey to southern India, I see a Russian group. I am always somewhat afraid that they would turn out to be “new Russians” [referring to the group of people, who became wealthy during the predatory liberal reforms of the 1990s, and who are notorious for speaking using criminal jargon – translator’s note], and that they will start expressing themselves in such a way that you would be horrified from hearing all these words spoken in the Russian language. No, I see that modern young men and women are sitting there. They have Dostoevsky in an ugly cover. They are scoring passages, reading, arguing…
I ask, “What are you doing?” They say, “We are travelling all over India.” They name a great number of places. They travel in the cheapest possible way. They are sane and intelligent. They express profound thoughts regarding the country and the world.
How many people like these are there? How soon will they manage to unite? How soon will they part with the inferiority complex, according to which those other people are the elite, while they are the footstool, the dust at the feet of this elite? How soon will they gain an identity and a connection with the country? How soon will they understand where to go? This is where the real struggle lies today.
The struggle does not lie in clenching your fists and shaking them with hatred. The struggle is to give further development to the counter-regressive processes that have begun, to the process of spiritual renewal, to turn these rudiments into powerful trends. And that these trends themselves were founded on a great pride in our great history, in their great Fatherland. Then these trends will turn the global process in the right direction. Then both Russia and the world will save themselves from this Nazi, metaphysical, existential, strategic submarine, which is now surfacing from deep submersion.
We are talking about what the directions of our work need to be.
This majority and its most active part, which is ready to argue until 6 in the morning about philosophical topics, which is quite educated and quite advanced, which can by no means be called archaic or demodernized, which is strikingly different from this elite. A conversation with whom is the epitome of human happiness, because one can talk about serious topics with deep people (deep people who are deeply interested)… How quickly will this active part create an alternative entity? How quickly will they master high technologies, and will the Internet belong to them or to their opponents? Will they cede the Internet to the Americans, or will they take it for themselves? How quickly will they organize? How quickly will they understand that the time to relax is over, and that it is necessary to act; to act independently, without waiting to be organized, formed into ranks and sent somewhere?
Therefore, the topic of seminars on mastering the Internet is very important. The topic of developing everything related to new television is also important for us. This too is a direction of our activities. And of course, the key topic is the topic of the school. This is a super-topic. And the super-super-topic is when will communes, intellectual or otherwise, that are unified in their worldview begin to form in Russia. Why is it acceptable to form kibbutzim but not communes?..
When will people get up and start uniting with those like them on the basis of their worldview? And having united, what will they do? Will they go mad in sects, or will they enter the vast expanses of philosophy, ideology, and full-fledged normal spiritual life? If all this arises, then perhaps Russia has a chance for the future. Because what has happened is undoubtedly most heinous in nature.
Because what is the essence of Karaganov’s venture, and why do we now appeal to everyone who cares about Russia to support the defense of Soviet values?
Its essence lies in the so-called “black hole”. You have 70 years. And these 70 years are declared a “black hole”. I have said many times that I abhor drawing any analogy between the great Soviet society, which defeated fascism, and the hideous fascism. But even if we take this analogy, then we must understand that the Nazi “hole” (the “hole” of denazification) lasted 12 years. And a man, who was 20 years old before Hitler came to power in 1933, was 32 years old after Hitler left. He was still quite young. And the unity of the pre-Nazi and post-Nazi times took place within one person, one human being, inside his consciousness. And this still was a terrible process. The German guilt was indeed terrible, a guilt against the world and against itself. Because fascism really was a most profound dehumanization and the greatest of crimes against humanity.
But since the Soviet society, the Soviet people, the Soviet political system, the Soviet order saved the world from Nazism, then they cannot be as horrific as this Nazism simply by definition. Therefore, equating them to Nazism is in fact the rehabilitation of Nazism, as I have already said. But this is not the most important.
What happens if this “hole” of 12 years is expanded to 70? It becomes insurmountable. It is that very “Voronezh” we talked about earlier. “But where did you come from?” “I came from Voronezh.” It is impossible to overcome this “hole”. “This,” say people like Karaganov, “is an anthropological catastrophe. ”
An anthropological catastrophe means a defective people. A defective people requires guardianship. Whose? Clearly not Karaganov’s. Karaganov thinks that it is his. But he is like the rest; he also “came from Voronezh.” This is a system of occupation. Karaganov and others like him are preparing a model of occupation on behalf of the Presidential Council for Human Rights and Civil Society. On behalf of the head of state and the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. Come to your senses, what are you doing?! Everyone here must come to their senses… Not only Mr. Karaganov. I repeat once more: the elections are coming. The elections, gentlemen… Or are you abolishing them?
But let us put the elections aside. An anthropological catastrophe lasting 70 years means defectiveness and, of course, occupation. And that is all. Because next, people who love other historical periods will start looking for the roots of this catastrophe. They will ask, “What was the reason? ..” It was the same with the Germans. “What special features of the German spirit gave rise to fascism?”… “What special features of the Russian spirit gave rise to the sovok?” – as they speak disgustingly. They will find these features. Then they will suppress all of the manifestations of this spirit through all historical periods.
It will turn out that all of history is one continuous “black hole”. And what is the state? The state is a means by which a people extends and develops its historical purpose. If there is no historical purpose, then there is no people. This means that the agenda lies in dismantling the people, its disintegration, and therefore, in the disintegration of the state. And the state’s disintegration plus the dismantling of the people, of course, means clearing the way for a future genocide. And if you think that this is too far off, then it is not as far off as it may seem. If we do not stop it…. It is not far off at all. This can be done quickly enough. And this is neo-Nazism’s intent with regards to Russia.
The Nazis will never forgive Russia for the fact that it defeated Hitler in 1945. They will never forgive it for the red flag over the Reichstag. Like they will never forgive Serbia for its resistance against Nazism, which is now being punished with haste, as it does not have nuclear weapons. They are punishing Russia the same way. And they will punish it to the bitter end.
We often speak the wrong language. We spend all our time trying to examine leaders. Personification in politics is a kind of Luddism. Just like the Luddites once fought machines, instead of fighting the owners of these machines, so now they are trying to fight individual persons. But let us try to make sense of it…
There is a person. There is the system. There are leaders. There is a class on which the system relies. And there is a society, ideally a people. If the system is based on a rotten political class, and the leader relies on the system, then what exactly do we need to deal with at this stage? With certain persons? They will be replaced… and then replaced again… but if you leave not only the system, but the class that it is founded upon, then nothing will change. And this is the experience of the last 20 years.
Everyone spent so much time learning to comment on Yeltsin, identifying his personal shortcomings. They identified them and relished in them. Then came another man, who was not endowed with these shortcomings. Everyone gave a sigh of relief. They said, “Now everything will be different!” How will it be different if the system remains almost the same, and the class has remained literally the same with a few rare exceptions?
They say, “Then what are we supposed do?”
I said it once, and I will say it again: we need to build an alternative base of support. An alternative base of support. A different class.
They say, “How is it possible to build a class?”
But Chubais managed to do so!.. He built this hideous class, which is now devouring the country, over 2-3 years. That means, in principle, that it can be done. But if it is possible to create rotten and anti-national social groups, then why can we not create alternative groups? If it is possible to create groups of regressors, then why can we not create groups engaged in counter-regressive activity? We can and we must!
Otherwise, it is impossible to seriously oppose the current process. In that sense, the process has gone too far. It once suddenly became clear to me after one conversation with my father. He was a professor who chaired the department until he was 80 years old, and he then left the chair to his protege. He taught up until his very death. I asked (when he left the department): “Dad, how are the things going?” He said, “Well, everything is fine, the department is doing interesting work…” Then he paused and said, “You know, there is just one feeling… If there would be no students, then the department’s work would be even more interesting. ” And suddenly, in this small example, I realized what a mutation is… What is a form that negates its content. The department does not need students.
Let us continue… A department does not need students. The institution responsible for health care does not need patients and doctors. And let us add another word: they are a BURDEN for this institution. The institution responsible for defense does not need soldiers and officers. The institution responsible for the people does not need the people. The elite, responsible for humanity, does not need humanity.
This is what a macro-mutation is. The form begins to devour its content. The law of perverted forms becomes active. Russia is a weak link in the chain of transformations that are now spreading across the world. At least across most of Western civilization.
This is not our unique disease. But its most acute and terrible forms take place here. This is a serious illness; it is not a cold and not a pneumonia. This is a very serious macrosocial disease. It can end only with the collapse of society and the of state.
If it is possible to overcome it, then only by means of non-trivial actions.Through such actions, which have nothing to do with the trivial political struggle. Political struggle is an excellent remedy in cases when the disease sits in the range between the common cold and severe pneumonia. Then go ahead and use antibiotics and everything else.
Political means are very good and necessary, and they must be applied promptly. But in conditions when the disease has progressed to such an extent (and those who started it and brought it to this degree, were the people themselves; the majority who voted for Yeltsin in June 1991 did not consist of CIA agents; the XXVIII Congress of the CPSU did not consist of CIA agents, but they licked hands of their murderer, Gorbachev)…
The capitalistic temptation deeply ingrained itself in its crudest and most blatant forms, into the flesh, into the social life, and it handed the country, the spine of which was broken and which was thrown into regress, over to hideous monsters. And now it must be resisted. We must confront it every day through a continuous, modest, and well-organized valiant social feat. And we need to restore those levels of understanding of our historic past, which perhaps no people has ever fully reached . We were defeated like none other. If we want to respond and truly respond to what was done, we need such a profound and passionate systemic study, which no people has ever completed.
I return again to the question of Modernity and its derivatives. I cannot help but discuss Mr. Karaganov’s article. I cannot help but respond to what is happening today. People will not understand me if I do not respond. But I really urge all those here to think about one thing: to what extent does Russia possess the treasures pertaining to alternative models of development? In what way are we alternative?
There is no need think about an exceptional and special path. One’s special path today is already insufficient. What was the global path, which we indicated to the world? Is it only about communism? Are there deeper levels in which we made great discoveries? And why were these great discoveries trampled underfoot? Why does Karaganov suggest that they be trampled again? Is it not because the world, humanity, and humanism need these great discoveries today more than ever? Because everything else that was an alternative to these discoveries is dying. The great project of Modernity is dying. It is tiring, withering, fading. It is aided in dying much faster. Perhaps, it could have held out for another 20-30 years, but it is being finished off and finished off quickly. Because it also stands in somebody’s path.
But in this situation, our experience then becomes one without alternatives. We were a “train on the detour road” of a humanity moving down the historical path of progress and humanism. But now we are no longer the “train on the detour road”. Our road is no longer the detour. Only now, ours becomes the main road. Now, at a time when we are weak as never before. Only now can we either give a new guiding vision to ourselves and to humanity, or we can perish both ourselves and with the rest of humanity.
So what is so important within this Soviet legacy, which is being defamed? What within it holds priority? Why can it not be surrendered to mockery? Only because it is ours, because we love our fathers and grandfathers, and because we want to preserve our historical identity and be a people?
Of course, even that would be more than enough. But there is something more. The question lies not only in the Soviet stage of our development, which yielded great results, unprecedented results unmatched across the world in speed and depth. The question lies in why this Soviet system was adopted. Not because, as Karaganov writes, the worst part of the people, having mobilized all their slavish and beastly qualities, embarked on a path of self-genocide. It is because throughout the previous historical era, Russia found Modernity repulsive. That is, even the legitimate variant of existence of bourgeois society. Russia did not accept it. It recoiled from Modernity throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.
Does this mean that it existed within the framework of traditional society? No. Peter I was a great man, but he dealt severe damage to traditional society. As did his father and his predecessors. Russia had long broken with “custom” as the “soul of states”, with tradition as one of the methods to regulate society. Very long ago. And Russia did not take the path of law. The main regulator of the great project of Modernity is the law. Modernity is regulated by the written law. By the Napoleonic Code. The law is a great power. Russia did not clear the legal hurdle. This, of course, is unfortunate. But this is deeply historically predicated.
But what happened then, with society under Peter I and after him, not with Soviet society, over the centuries, during which the society was somehow regulated, and it was “developing rapidly” (as Mr. Karaganov exclaims with false enthusiasm)? Indeed, it was developing…
What happened to Russia? How could it be a society and develop if the traditional regulators (“custom is the soul of states”) were broken by Peter I, and in the period that preceded him, and the law did not become the regulator?
It was at this stage that culture became the great regulator for our society, of our people, of our world, of our alternative global system of civilization. To simply say that we have a special path is now categorically insufficient.
But how exactly did culture regulate society? Not the law (as in the societies of Modernity), and not tradition (as in the societies of Pre-modernity), but culture. How did it act as a regulator, and why is this regulative experience (for it is precisely what the Soviet experience of development arose from) infinitely important today for humanity, which finds itself in a state of a slowly but inexorably evolving catastrophe? Why is this experience precious? And what is it, in essence?
Let us discuss this in the next broadcasts, because we cannot, after all, engage ourselves with only different kinds of Karaganovs. Remember what was said in the great play “Woe from Wit”? I always wanted to perform its last scene, because it seems to me that everyone performs it wrong. It says:
You all have made me known as a fool.
You’re right: he will get out of the fire who
After remaining a day with you,
And breathing air with people of your kind
Will not get out of his mind.
I spent more than one day with people like Karaganov. I have been in this social environment for more than 20 years. And I am proud of the fact that my mind has, nonetheless, survived.
Source (for copy): http://eu.eot.su/2017/12/28/essence-of-time-chapter-10/
Essence of Time: The philosophical justification of Russia’s Messianic Claims in the 21st century
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.