( Links to previous Chapters are available here: Volume I)
April 12, 2011.
Ten chapters of the “Essence of Time” program have passed, and we can consider the first stage to be finished. The sociological research activity that we are currently carrying out draws the dividing line between the first and the second stages.
Why is the line drawn this way? Why are we ready to say that one stage is over and that we can begin a new one precisely now?
When we started producing “Essence of Time,” we saw that there are quite a few people, who want to watch and listen to the program. But these people immediately began to ask, “What shall we do next? Are we just going to keep listening? Are we to wander through the maze of “Essence of Time”?
Then we offered the most active part of these people to join the Essence of Time virtual club. A good many people signed up, but less than the number of those who were ready to listen to the program. Then specialists in socio-political activity told me, “A given number of people listen to the program. Significantly fewer people joined the club. And when it comes to any kind of socio-political actions, you will only get 5% of the members enrolled in the club. These are the people who will do the real work! Do not worry, this is a normal percentage. It is always like that. Count 5 percent of those registered in the virtual club, and what you get is a very good and impressive number; it is a huge step forward.”
What can I tell you? The number of people, who took the questionnaire for the survey we are conducting within the framework of the AKSIO program [abbreviated Russian: Agency for Cultural and Social Studies of Society], regarding the attitude of our citizens toward the de-Stalinization program, exceeded the numbers that the specialists suggested tenfold. [User #3000 registered on the Essence of Time Virtual Club website (http://eot.su) on April 8, 2011. At the time when “Essence of Time” #11 was recorded, around 1,500 people said they were ready to distribute the questionnaire.] We still do not know the exact number. Because a person who took the questionnaire passes it onto his friends who will possibly also join in conducting the survey.
It turned out that many people desired real action, thought about action, and demanded action. It was a markedly higher percentage than there should have been according to all the rules of socio-political activities. That is significant.
This is the watershed, the border between the first stage and the second.
First of all, we have just ventured on a fairly large socio-political action related to researching our citizens’ opinions on a very painful and crucial issue.
Secondly, significantly more people became involved in that action than we expected.
Therefore, I propose that we consider the first stage of the “Essence of Time” program to be completed, and to begin the second stage with only one alteration: to divide each chapter of the second stage into four parts:
part one – activity,
part two – relevant politics,
part three – political theory,
part four – political philosophy.
PART ONE. ACTIVITY
And so, we begin the first part of the first program of the second cycle. It is called “Activity”.
We are constantly asked about what our activity is. Do we intend to conduct some kind of activity or not? Do we have an idea of this activity?
Naturally, we want to familiarize you both with the fields of activity that we are currently developing and with the fields of activity that have existed for a long time, to look together at the picture of activity as a whole.
What is our activity as a whole?
The first field of activity, as we have said before, is the movement in defense of Russian territorial integrity. We call it “TI”: “Territorial Integrity”.
Its purpose: the defense of Russian territorial integrity (Fig. 1).
There is room for people with very different views in our movement. But there is no place in it for people who want to violate Russia’s territorial integrity. Here we should ask ourselves a question: who wants to violate it? Who calls for its violation in reality? Are the only ones who call for it those, who we call pseudo-liberals, or do other groups call for it as well? What part of those who call for it are misled, and how many of them are consciously working for this evil purpose? To what extent is this violation of Russia’s territorial integrity a real and immediate political prospect? How strong is the threat? Is it a challenge? Is it a threat that has already taken form? Are the political forces that stand behind this cartoonish, or are they sufficiently powerful? Do objective processes work toward this end? Which ones in particular?
Now, within this field of activity, we will have to:
gather information on what threatens Russia’s territorial integrity;
make sense of that information;
develop means to combat this threat.
At the same time, we have no demarcation lines here between people who believe that Russia should be “white” [i.e. monarchist – translator’s note], “red”, “tricolored” or whatever else. We are not even talking about the integrity of the state. We are talking about the integrity of the country; “Russian Territorial Integrity”.
The issue is simple yet complex. It is possible to defend our territorial integrity, while at the same time providing such a dreary social and spiritual life that people would say, “Why do we even need this territorial integrity?”
We answer: as long as territorial integrity exists, as long as Russia’s final and ultimate disintegration has not begun, healthy forces can still gather within Russia. And we must help make it possible for them to gather even in the darkest of circumstances. But once the country falls apart, there can be no gathering of healthy forces. Our historical life would end. Therefore, the problem of territorial integrity, which by no means resolves all the other problems, is of crucial importance.
It may happen that at some point (exactly as it happened in 1991) the authorities themselves will refuse to defend the territorial integrity and step aside. Chaos will break out in the streets as it has broken out today in the streets of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and other states. And amidst that chaos, people with no need for territorial integrity will suddenly prevail in some strange way, and they will start talking about a new “constituent assembly”. And then they will constitute either a conglomerate of states, or even a series of fiefdoms, emirates or something else of the sort…
In such a situation, the members of the “TI” (“Territorial Integrity”) movement must declare, “We do not need that kind of hockey!” – do you remember the catch phrase of the famous Soviet sports commentator [Nikolai Ozerov, who coined this phrase during the final game of the 1972 Canada – USSR Series – translator’s note] regarding Canadian hockey?
The “TI” movement can play an enormous role even before the great mass of destructors who shall speak of Russia’s destruction in all seriousness, burst onto the scene, and before the authorities step aside.
Until that moment comes, the movement must gather information about these threats to the country’s territorial integrity, as public knowledge, I stress this point. Because our society has a great deal of information. The problem is that people lack the time to review it, much less so, to adequately comprehend it. The preliminary stage of this activity is to comprehend the objective information, to spread our own views about why the violation of our territorial integrity is a terrible danger, and from whom exactly this danger originates.
The principal stage, the transition to direct socio-political action comes at the moment when:
a great number of destructors bursts onto the scene, who say directly that territorial integrity is not needed and even detrimental;
something “a la Gorbachev” happens (let this cup pass from us!) and the state removes itself from protecting the country’s territorial integrity.
Later on, we will discuss this field of activity in greater detail. But it is clear that it does exist, and it is currently taking form, and that certain obstacles stand in the way of its taking form. It is our society’s chaotization and the inability of people who want to engage in this action to tell themselves, “We are engaging in it, and we are doing so in such and such specific manner. We are dividing ourselves into specific groups, and we are playing with a certain set of social roles. We structure our results a certain way. We familiarize society with these results in such and such a way. And we develop mechanisms of counteraction”.
We shall do all of this: designating social roles within this field of activity (who is able and willing to do what) as well as differentiating the various types of action within this line of work. Who gathers information, where and about what? What are the threats, both direct and indirect? What processes lead to sad results? How should we exchange information about them? How do we analyze the gathered information? How do we convey the results of this analysis to the public?
We will structure all this work and carry it out. Welcome, the doors are open! Everyone willing is welcome to the “TI”!
The second field of activity is “AKSIO”: the Agency for Cultural and Social Research of Society.
Its purpose: to ensure the right of the people to reliable information regarding the society in which they live (fig. 2).
We are now engaged in gathering information about our society’s attitude toward the de-Stalinization and de-Sovietization. We do not falsify any facts. We do not want to receive just data from our supporters and say, “Yes, we have a 100% consensus against these terrible decisions!” We want to comprehend the society that we live in. It is a very complex society. It is divided into age groups, social groups, and groups based on worldview. These borders do not always coincide. Different things happen in different regions.
The processes, that were launched 20 years ago, have already managed to damage plenty of minds. We want to understand the scale of this damage. We want to understand what the real political landscape is. Everyone is saying, “We are the majority, the overwhelming majority, hurray!” But even if we do have the majority, then this majority still needs to be structured and somehow directed toward achieving certain socio-political goals.
What if it is not the majority? Do you only agree to be part of the absolute majority? And if it turns out not to be the absolute majority, then do you refuse to be a part of it? But my comrades and I were the minority 20 years ago. And we, just like today, were warning people of the deadly processes that were unfolding. We were able to withstand and to change the direction of these processes to a certain extent. Or at least to prevent them from having an absolutely devastating impact.
Very often, everything depends on not only an absolute or relative majority, but also on the density of the gathered mass of people, on their structuredness, on their readiness to act, on their willingness to take their ideas to people, to millions and millions of their fellow citizens. Which, by the way, is socio-political activity.
Now then, we are studying our own country, our own society. We want to know it. We do not tolerate Yuri Andropov’s phrase, that we do not know the society in which we live. We want to know it and we will know it. Our motto is “Know the society you live in”. We are obliged to do this. The authorities are obliged even more so to do this, but they seemingly find more interesting things to do. If it is so, then we wish to do this ourselves. And we, as citizens, have the right to do so. We want to provide our fellow citizens with reliable information about the society they live in. This is not only their right, but their duty – to know the society they live in. That is what we work for. This is the second field of our action.
Once again, within this field of activity, everyone can do different kinds of work. Someone studies the processes, someone makes sense of them, someone contributes in the theoretical domain, someone does organizational work, and someone conveys the information to the people. This action should be divided into levels, into structural layers. Not into levels of the “chosen ones”, the high-browed bosses, and the “riffraff”, but into social roles.
Do you want to engage in making sense of our society? Do it!
Do you want to learn how to do it? By all means – we will teach you. We are open to your desire to find your place within this field of activity. But most importantly, act. You talk very much about activity. So let us do it.
The third field of activity. We debated for a long time on its name. We wanted to name it the Heritage Foundation; but ultimately, we stopped at the name “HISTORICAL DIGNITY”. It is also a separate socio-political movement.
Its purpose is to ensure the right of the people to study their historical heritage in depth.
It does not mean the right to apologetics, to praise something monstrous. But citizens should have an opportunity to study their historical heritage in depth. They must not become victims of brainwashing, informational-psychological terror, psychological repression, any ”de-“ (de-Sovietization, de-totalitarianization and so on). Free citizens in a free country have the right to study their historical heritage. Our task is to provide them with high-quality and multifaceted information, and also to combat disinformation.
In order to fight disinformation, we are creating an Anti-Defamation League within the framework of the third field of activity (fig. 3).
We will not allow disinformation or what is called the falsification of history to occur. We will not allow phony figures, libelous and slanderous statements toward what we consider a heroic part of our history. We will fight against it.
Why can the B’nai B’rith organization create an Anti-Defamation League, but we cannot? It is an absolutely respectable, civil, and democratic activity, and we too shall systematically pursue it. And I hope that we will do so effectively.
The fourth type of action is called “ALMOD” (“Alternative models of development”).
The purpose of this movement is to coordinate research activities on:
World project analysis,
World project modeling,
World project forecasting,
The study of real alternative mechanisms of development (fig.4)
There is an organization called INSOR [Institute of Contemporary Development] headed by Mr. Yurgens [Vice-president of Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs and adviser to Former President and current Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev – translator’s note]. Now we have created a movement called ALMOD.
Mr. Yurgens studies, or he says that he studies, mechanisms of development related to the process of modernization (the way he understands it). The gentlemen from Presidential Council for Human Rights and Civil Society are working on modernizing our consciousness, while Mr. Yurgens works on political modernization. And someone else will work on economic modernization.
We do not object. We are ready to give criticism and to point out the places where it is discordant with the entire historical tradition of modernization. If you want modernization, then so be it, as long as normal development occurs as a result. As long as develop is underway!
But we emphasize that this type of development has historical limits. That problems exist for Russia, which are related to this particular type of development. That the energy of this type of development is close to exhaustion. That real alternative mechanisms of development do exist, and that it was exactly in Russia, throughout its entire history, that these mechanisms of development were seriously elaborated, constructed, and implemented. In a sense, Russia, both pre-Soviet and Soviet, is an inexhaustible fount of real alternative mechanisms of development. We shall discuss this as well.
We propose to coordinate research activity in this direction. We consider this field of activity to be one of the most important.
These are the new fields of activity, which we incorporated into our activity after it took on a broad socio-political nature. But by no means are we going to curtail the lines of activity that we have previously conducted. Moreover, these four new fields of activity and the fields that I am about to discuss are very closely interconnected.
The fifth field of activity is called SUBSTANTIVE UNITY. It is a discussion club that has been functioning for many years, where (attention!) we develop (elaborate and articulate) an agenda for modern Russia, a strategic agenda.
Yes, we take it upon ourselves to formulate this agenda. We have been working on it for years. We have a team that works with us (fig. 5).
We have, as the sixth field of activity, a research organization called THE EXPERIMENTAL CREATIVE CENTER (ECC), otherwise known as the Kurginyan Center.
It is a research organization that works on developing an analytical method, which allows one to understand the processes; and in accordance with this understanding, to formulate an agenda. How can an agenda be formulated? One must identify the challenges, threats, and problems. In relation to these challenges, threats, and problems, an agenda is created. An agenda cannot be pulled out of thin air.
Our research organization, which is an International Public Foundation and an associate member of the United Nations Department of Public Information, is engaged in developing an analytical method, accumulating databases (we have been doing this for the past 20 years) and knowledge bases (this is a separate category; I hope I do not need to explain the difference between a database and a knowledge base), as well as formulating conceptual, ideological, political science, and political tools. In other words, everything that is necessary in order for the Substantive Unity club to articulate this very agenda, to translate our research into specific formulations, and convey them to our society to be comprehended. This precisely is called ideological activity, the work of creating ideas (fig. 6).
The seventh field of activity, which is narrower but still absolutely necessary, is THE SCHOOL OF HIGHER MEANINGS. It will be engaged in the exploration of the fundamental and system-forming principles, both cultural-historical and metaphysical. For no major project (and we are embarking on the creation of an absolutely new mega-project for Russia) can exist without metaphysical and cultural-historical foundations, including those of an ultimate nature.
The School of Higher Meanings includes the Theater On the Boards. For many years, our theater has been engaged in metaphysical practice or, as religious people would say, the liturgical component of such a complex matter as the study of meaning formation, culture formation, and the metaphysical functioning of those closed mechanisms, which facilitate the activity of a mega-project.
Concurrently, we have a functioning Laboratory for the Study of Historical-Cultural and Metaphysical Problems as well as a Psychological Laboratory and The Exclusive Methodological Seminar. Exclusive does not mean “private”. People come to us from all over the world. We invite people who are interested. These people sit in our auditorium, listen to lecture series, and enter into discussions. This already exists (fig. 7).
The psychological laboratory is something the theater cannot exist without. It means exploring how certain meanings function in the human psyche – in the human conscious mind, the superconscious mind, the subconscious mind, and in the collective unconscious, and integrating these levels. It studies the logic (or structure) of psychological damage and the correction of such functions.
All this together is the seventh field of our socio-political activity.
The eighth field of activity encompasses everything that has to do with the DISSEMINATION OF IDEAS as well as knowledge, concepts, information, and so on. Here arise the questions of television (creating television content and appearing on television) and the Internet. And whether we can together, by organizing and coordinating activity by intellectuals, who work with the contemporary methods of displaying intellectual and ideological information, contemporary television, and contemporary intellectual models, manage to create a serious alternative media space on this basis, together with others or by ourselves. Can we make this media space serious and large? We are taking steps in this direction. We have engaged in this before, and now we will approach it even more seriously (fig. 8).
We have books and magazines. And now we raise the question before our comrades in arms: do we need a newspaper? Everyone talks about the Internet. But the Internet exists for those who use it. Do we want to restrict the number of our supporters to only those who use the Internet? That is the first point.
The second point is, do we want our comrades in different regions of the country (people who are engaged in other fields of activity) to have a platform to speak? So that new leaders would emerge in our movement on the basis of their speeches. So that creative, intellectual, and persuasive youth would join the movement. So the voice of the youth, as well as the voice of the different regions in general, would be heard. Back in the day, the dissidents created “A Chronicle of Current Events” very effectively. How are we going to act?
In any case, the eighth field of activity does exist. But now we raise a question of the newspaper, as well as a significant expansion of our publishing activity. If we want to publish books on the fundamental issues related to these fields of activity, then we must publish not only our own works. In which case, we also need to create a distribution network. Are we creating all of this? In what volume? Either way, we are obliged to do it.
The ninth field of activity is COUNTER-REGRESSIVE ACTIVITY, by which we mean creating an environment of spiritual self-defense and spiritual growth (fig. 9).
If someone wants to go to a porn club or a disco club, let him go, it is his right. Our goal is for there to be other places to go to. One must have an alternative. He should be able to choose independently between going to a porn club or to a film club, which we have already created and intend to further develop. Or to lecture halls, which are now working sporadically, but will move to working constantly. To discussion clubs, which also now work sporadically, but will also work constantly.
Should film clubs, lecture halls, and discussion clubs take place only in Moscow, in one place, or in many other Russian regions? Should we coordinate this activity, and if so how shall we coordinate it? These questions need to be answered.
The tenth field of activity, and the most serious in my understanding, is EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITY.
It is also structured. There are different functional roles within it. However, it must belong to the realm of alternative activity, since the principal educational activity, the state’s activity, is ready to involute to a tiny number of compulsory subjects (gym class plus a few more). The purpose of this activity to transform Russia into the world’s foremost intellectual power (fig. 10).
I do not know if we can transform Russia into the world’s foremost economic power within the next 20 years. We need a “Russian Miracle” for that. But we can and must turn Russia into the foremost intellectual power. We have every reason for that. The Russians remain the people who are the most vigorous and the most interested in all that is intellectual among the peoples of the Eurasian and American continents. I think that I am right in this statement of mine. At the very least, I really want to believe in this.
But in order to do this, we need to examine alternative forms of education. They exist, and they can be studied. Just like it is possible to engage in many different forms of activity (museums, various clubs, pioneer camps) within the framework of counter-regressive activity, it is also possible here to engage in various forms of alternative activity. But these are specific forms of activity, which must be discussed in-depth.
The eleventh field of activity, and the most difficult one, is SOCIAL ACTIVITY. Its necessity and its difficulty stem from our understanding of the present situation, from the nature of the ongoing processes, which we call regress. And we are ready to substantiate this.
Its purpose is to carry out production activities within collectives of like-minded people. This way, the production activity that gives people their daily bread, or economic prosperity (as it may come), is carried out not within certain collectives that are connected on various grounds of worldview, but in close-knit collectives of like-minded people, which are called communes. Such communes can be either virtual or real. Their activity can be intellectual or otherwise (fig. 11).
Kibbutzim have existed in Israel for a long time, and no one sees anything strange and unnatural in that. I do not understand why something similar cannot exist in Russia. We call it “catacombs” as well as “growth points”, “foci of counter-regress”, “nodes of the counter-regressive network”, “foci of sociogenesis”. If Chubais managed to create a destructive class of pseudo-capitalists in 2-3 years; then maybe, we (though much more slowly) will be able to implement another sociogenesis, but a constructive one, rather than destructive. Because without such a sociogenesis, we will find ourselves in the most dire of situations at the most decisive moment.
Finally, the twelfth field of activity is FUTURE-BUILDING ACTIVITY. Perhaps, I would have preferred to work on this exclusively… I call it building the future, because such building is an alternative to the fruitless discussions thereof. Everyone likes to blabber about the future. It is time to stop blabbering about it, and to start building it. For that purpose, we are creating a social movement called The Fourth Project. And I hope that this social movement will unite with social forms of activity in the same way that they united in Israeli kibbutzim and other points of growth, in intellectual communes and movements around the world. The experience is quite extensive. It was widely used at different historical stages (fig. 12).
When Europe was in complete ruin, and Saint Benedict of Nursia said, “Life and labor”, and he started creating a network of monasteries according to his new rule, he actually created this counter-regressive network. The network of the future.
These are the 12 fields of activity that we offer to your consideration. At that, I conclude the first part related to discussing activity. In the following “Essence of Time” programs, programs of the second stage, I will continue to expand on this subject, but now I proceed to part two.
PART TWO. RELEVANT POLITICS
I get asked why we focus our activity on certain points. Why have we focused, for example, on the Council for Human Rights and Civil Society? Why have we focused on “INSOR” (since 2008 I have paid special attention to Mr. Yurgens and his “INSOR”)?
Because we think that what we call “perestroika-2” is bursting into our life through these points.
We are not counteracting specific people (Fedotov or Karaganov, Yurgens or Gontmakher). We are counteracting the chaos that is bursting through the cracks of this very fake, very unsustainable, and very dubious stability. For this stability at least slows Russia’s downslide into an abyss. And chaos will accelerate this downslide.
They will say, “If Russia is destined to end up down there anyway, then what is the point of delaying the inevitible?” I have already quoted the film “The White Sun of the Dessert”: “Do you what to die right away or to suffer?” – “It’s better to suffer for a bit!” And I have said that those years, that might be spent on forming a core of counter-regressive forces, are priceless. Therefore, it is better for everything to slide down into the abyss slowly. First, from a moral point of view, it is always better to slow down a destructive process. Secondly, this time is necessary for us to gather forces for counter-regressive activity.
What worries us?
First of all, let us emphasize that it already worries not only us.
Vladimir Ovchinsky very clearly formulated what exactly worries him in Karaganov’s speeches on the pages of the newspaper Zavtra [Tomorrow – translator’s note] (Ovchinsky V. Inzhenery haosa (Engineers of chaos). Zavtra. 06.04.2011.).
The television anchor Aleksey Pushkov, who is quite respectable and heavily integrated into the elite, left the Council for Human Rights and Civil Society. (http://www.regnum.ru/news/1391505.html) And it is not important whether he was excluded from the Council, as they shall now start shrieking (“he was removed from it, thrown out!..”), or if he left on his own. Mr. Pushkov is smart enough, delicate and politically talented enough, to stay if he wanted to. He could have fit in with the Council’s activities. He has no less grounds for remaining a member than does Mr. Karaganov. Moreover, if I remember correctly, misters Pushkov and Karaganov are among the co-founders of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy.
But Mr. Pushkov did not wish to integrate himself into what the Council for Human Rights and Civil Society in doing under the guise of de-Stalinization and de-Sovietization. That is an act. Mr. Pushkov has by no means sacrificed all of his positions as a member of the elite, but he sacrificed at least part of these positions. This is an act that deserves all sorts of respect.
Is anyone else capable of such an act? Will the ranks of people, who are ready to act like Mr. Pushkov, consolidate and strengthen? And what will those existing the filth do? Will they just scatter into their elite alleyways, or will they unite to combat this filth? What will happen at the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy? Will the remaining members of the Council squeeze out profanities from between their teeth about what is happening under the guise of de-Stalinization and de-Sovietization? Or will they gather to fight back, and either exclude the elements that have become destructive, or split the Council? This is a test for the elite.
But Pushkov is a phenomenon, a trend. And such a trend should be supported. This trend should grow. Within its framework, very different variations may emerge. It is important that Pushkov sees that the black hole of filth is expanding. But I am convinced that other people see the same thing. So is it not high time to speak out about this collectively?
Is it not time to gather collectively and to make it so that it becomes not just the private opinion of separate individuals, but at least the opinion of a whole group?
Let us honestly talk it all through.
We have conducted a semantic and linguistic analysis of the Council for Human Rights and Civil Society’s proposals regarding de-Stalinization and de-Sovietization, and of the proposals that the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly formulated in Vilnius in July 2009 [On July 3, 2009, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Vilnius adopted the Resolution on Divided Europe Reunited: Promoting Human Rights and Civil Liberties in the OSCE Region in the 21st Century, which equated “two major totalitarian regimes, Nazi and Stalinist, which brought about genocide, violations of human rights and freedoms, war crimes and crimes against humanity”. The Resolution proposes to “proclaim 23 August, when the Ribbentrop–Molotov Pact was signed 70 years ago, as a Europe-wide Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism”. https://www.oscepa.org/documents/all-documents/annual-sessions/2009-vilnius/declaration-6/261-2009-vilnius-declaration-eng/file]… Their identical resemblance makes me blush in shame for my country and for my elite. A tendency, which was formed outside of our country and which is obviously directed against us, finds support within Russia! Tell me, how do you call this? For the forces outside of our country are initiating the process in such a manner that Mr. Fedotov becomes, as one might say, “the Komsomol”! Do you remember: “The Party said, ‘You must!’ – Komsomol replied, ‘Yes, sir!’”? Vilnius said, “You must!” Mr. Fedotov replied, “Yes, sir!”
I understand that even more powerful forces stand behind Vilnius. But Mr. Fedotov said, “Yes, sir!” And Mr. Karaganov yelled, “Yes, sir!” in such an indecent manner that I became afraid for him.
These forces are launching this process not at all to condemn Stalin. They don’t give a damn about Stalin! When they needed to, they called him “good old Uncle Joe”, but when another necessity arose, he became “the butcher of peoples”. They don’t give a damn about Stalin and what happened here with “these Russian savages”!
They want only one thing: practical results. That is what they want. They want our “repentance” (it is ‘repentance-2” in its most vile and overt form) to conclude with cash payments and territorial concessions. Follow the press: any excuse is used to bring up the topic of territorial concessions. The Japanese experienced a terrible disaster and we sincerely sympathize with them. But immediately there was a cry, “What, even in such a disaster, we cannot give them the Kuril Islands?”
Excuse me, was it, perhaps, necessary that in the context of Chernobyl somebody should give us a part of Poland… or the Balkans… or the Hagia Sofia? We had dreamt of the Hagia Sofia. Then Chernobyl happened. Why did they not feel sorry for us and give us the Hagia Sofia? Nobody even thought of such an idea! They began to tear us apart… But we need to give up part of our territory because the Japanese had a catastrophe at the Fukushima nuclear power plant… We condole with the Japanese; we are helping them, taking the last away from our own people. However, we are in no way going to share our territory with them. But has the talk begun? It has.
Now look: as soon as the Council for Human Rights and Civil Society began to cry out about de-Stalinization, who was the first to respond? The movement associated with Ataman Krasnov and von Pannwitz [Krasnov was an anti-communist White Cossack commander during the Civil War, who then assisted Nazi Germany in its invasion of the Soviet Union. Helmuth von Pannwitz was a German officer who commanded a number of Nazi collaborationist Cossack units during World War II. A number of self-declared monarchist organizations have addressed the Russian government in attempts to recognize Krasnov, von Pannwitz, and their associates as “victims of Stalin’s terror”. These groups wholeheartedly welcomed the Council for Human Rights and Civil Society’s proposal to conduct a mass de-Sovietization and de-Stalinization in 2011. – translator’s note] And what about the Council? The Council immediately said: okay, this is a wonderful movement, we should think about how to show solidarity with their point of view. At the very least, the Council did not reject the hand that Krasnov’s and von Pannwitz’s followers had offered.
But do you understand what the Krasnov and von Pannwitz movement is? First, it is obviously a Nazi movement. These are people who take pride in wearing the Nazi uniform. It is a movement that joined the Nazis and fought against Russia, unlike Denikin and others. But that is not the main issue. The main issue is that this movement has a very clear goal: the movement insists that Cossacks are a separate people. And there is a project of a separate state, which, incidentally, exists on a map published in the United States, and it is called “Cossackia”.
Therefore, as soon as the late von Pannwitz and Krasnov’s followers receive an impulse of support from the Council, separatism arises. And the field of activity called “Historical dignity” will be linked with the field of “Territorial integrity”. They will immediately interlace with each other, for what else could happen?
But if the Council is ready to accept Krasnov, then there is no question about General Vlasov!
So, where are we going, gentlemen? Are we moving to democracy and liberalism, or something completely different? Dear liberals, those of you who have not yet lost their heads, think about the nature of this process! Think, before it is too late! We can still try to stop this process; later on, everything will start developing in the most devastating manner.
So, what are we pursuing? Are we pursuing trifle things connected with Fedotov, our attachments to some values, or something serious? Are we the only ones doing that?
I have seen Pushkov several times on television programs. He is a pleasant man who expresses his thoughts in a very articulate manner. I do not have any particularly friendly feelings, nor on the contrary, do I have disaffection for him. I was always interested in listening to him. At the same time, we are complete strangers.
But I am amazed that there was no one in our society to offer a hand in solidarity to Mr. Pushkov at the moment when he left the Presidential Council. And regardless of what he says on other issues (for example, about Lenin’s Mausoleum), I offer him my hand here. And not just to him, to every person who would do something in this direction. Not only to my friend Ovchinsky, whose civil courage I admire, but to others as well.
And hereafter, a question arises, shall we only offer our hands to one other (both in reality and virtually) or we shall join them (both virtually and in reality)? Will we not be too late in saying that fascism will not pass? For it is fascism!
Now regarding INSOR, which I have already mentioned. I have said for a long time that it is a strange institution. If in the case of the Council for Human Rights and Civil Society, the matter at issue is “repentance”, then here it is democratization. This is a strange democratization, where democrats are the minority; but for some reason, they must be in power… Democracy is the rule of democrats… Also INSOR discusses modernization. But it is a strange modernization, where we have rotting pipes and funds are being embezzled… And it is a very strange collective actor in this process…
I always thought that I would be the only one calling it strange. Now the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR) has woken up [In the spring of 2011, billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov proposed to modernize the labor market and the Labor Code in favor of reducing the rights and social protection of workers. In particular, he proposed to introduce a 60-hour work week. In response to that, the head of the FNPR Mikhail Shmakov criticized these proposals, saying that Prokhorov does not understand anything in the labor legislation – translator’s note.http://www.rg.ru/2011/04/08/trud-site.html]. Whether it has completely awakened or not quite, but they already say that this is social genocide. This is sociocide. This is a violation of basic constitutional principles. At least they speak seriously about it!
This means that we are not dealing with trifle things but with relevant politics. But it is not enough to criticize INSOR or the Council for Human Rights. We need develop ALMOD and “Historical dignity”. We need to study our society. We need to launch alternative activities. If we constantly just hold up our hands, horrified at the activities of others , but without conducting our own, then that is a very weak position. And the “Essence of Time” programs, the Essence of Time movement, and this whole serious conversation about activity were needed precisely in order to overcome this.
So let us pursue relevant politics. Let us carefully examine all of its actors: the Council for Human Rights and Civil Society, INSOR, etc. Let us gather all the negative statements about the programs these actors propose (such statements, though they are still weak and indecisive, do emerge). Let us give it and present it to society as a collective position. Perhaps, we will awaken part of our elite and a broad stratum of our civil society, and it will not be too late. At least, I would like to think that it will be so.
With this, I finish the second part: “Relevant Politics”. And I proceed to the third part.
PART THREE. POLITICAL THEORY
All this diverse activity with its 12 fields, what is it? Social activity… political activity… civic activity… charitable activity… philanthropic activity… cultural activity… (fig. 13)
My answer is, first of all, that this is ideological activity. All of this together is a serious ideological center. And if this center can create an extensive network throughout the country, if it manages (and it depends only on us, for if we do not succeed, then we will have only ourselves to blame) to correctly coordinate the intellectual activity of those who respond to its proposals… I do not mean the possessors of super-valuable ideas, the authors of universal theories of saving everything in the world with the help of certain measures. We are not engaged in the study of such theories, especially theories the authors of which shout, “How many dollars does a second of Kurginyan’s time cost for us to talk to him about our super-valuable ideas?” We do not deal with super-valuable theories. We are occupied with science. Big science.
If scientists, graduate students, students, and professors will come and help us organize intellectual and intellectual-political activity in each of the aforementioned fields, if we will manage to coordinate this activity, then this will be a very serious ideological undertaking.
What is ideology? Ideology is the creation and dissemination of ideas. Perhaps, someone thinks that it is possible to do without ideological activity, which has been neglected for a long time in our country. It does not exist. No one is engaged in persistent, synchronized and coordinated ideological activity in the full sense of the word. There are statements; sometimes they are very valuable. There are people who have contributed greatly to the resistance against the destruction of the consciousness. Sergei Georgievich Kara-Murza has contributed greatly to the resistance against the destruction of the consciousness. But these are separate statements.
I can name many talented intellectuals, whom I infinitely respect, who are engaged in this. The question is whether this will turn into a collective ideological offensive activity, let it be conducted by a network rather than a hierarchy (of course, a network, that is the only acceptable way). Will we advance, as Antonio Gramsci said, on the ideological front? Are we ready to act effectively on this front? Think about it.
The creation of ideas includes different forms of activity. You can help create ideas, for instance, by collecting data. Lab assistants, technicians, and graduate students are all needed in scientific activity.
As for the dissemination of ideas, this is a completely separate matter. And this (hear me!) is a very fascinating occupation. It is tremendously fascinating, delicate, deep, gentle, and interesting. Do not tell me that there is no activity – here it is. Even if we were engaged only in ideological activity, then that would already be a great feat. For if the ideology can seize the consciousness of the majority, then believe me, with greater or lesser losses, we will prevail, and we will save Russia. That is why ideological activity is a grand and very necessary activity.
If within this activity, I criticize someone and ask certain questions, then forgive me for that in advance. I am not encroaching on anyone’s authority. I have an extreme appreciation for any grain of positive contribution to this work, and I admire the personal feat of everyone who is engaged in it. If I debate and ask serious questions, it is not because I want to discredit someone, but because we need to resolve these issues. If those, whom I am addressing, will help me with this, then I will be infinitely grateful to them. We cannot have any “witch hunts”, conflicts, or strife among people engaged in our ideological activity. Ultimately, let each cultivate his own garden.
But we are talking not only about ideological activity, the formidable activity of creating and disseminating ideas, which no one here to date has seriously tackled. We are also talking about a political activity. And in order to sort it out, I need to transition to political theory. We have a huge, colossal gap in everything that concerns political theory. Today’s movement that wishes to save Russia, to a significant degree (I am not saying entirely; I do not wish to offend anyone) lies at a mundane stage, if I may say so, on a “persona-manic” level. This means that the pursuit is after persons, individual people, and war is waged against them… This is reminiscent of the actions of the Luddites, who destroyed machines because they believed that all evil, such as unemployment, came from machines. It took the Marxist discussion clubs and many other things to explain that machines are in the hands of the owners. That machines, in and of themselves, do not bring evil. That it is pointless to destroy them. That owners exist. And that we need a class struggle, a political struggle. That is, the fact that an actor stands behind all of these machines as its attributes.
Sometimes, it seems that there is no actor standing behind individual people as its attributes in our political theory. No even the most elementary of actors. I will give an example.
Let us examine the pyramid.
Its upper level is the leaders.
Its middle level is the political system. The next level is a class (or, if someone does not like it, a macrosocial) support base. In our case, it is a pseudo-class support base.
Finally, the bottom level is the people (fig. 14).
So, if this simple pyramid is adopted as one of the elements of political theory, then the pursuit of leaders would be over. For it is a shameful and perilous pursuit. Think about it: the opposition’s political movement spent years and years trying to discredit Yeltsin, and to explain that he was a drunkard and a frail old man, a sick person. It succeeded. And with huge costs and expenses for itself (for if your opponent is such a weakling, but you cannot topple him, then who are you?), it still managed to implant this image into the consciousness of a vast part of the population. With the help of the same liberals, who were also sick and tired of Yeltsin. Who the real Yeltsin was is a separate question. They had succeeded on this field for many years. And they said, “Hooray! Victory will be ours! The enemy is driven into a corner, we will take him by the throat, and we shall win!”
What was done in response to this? Instead of a sick old man with certain addictions, they presented a healthy and youthful person without these additions. Everyone followed him. And they continued following him for 10 years. But when he too finally started being gradually driven into a corner, then they presented someone new. And if this scam does not stop, then this can be continued until Russia’s complete collapse, until a genocide of the Russian people. They will just keep following different leaders, chasing them: admiring them, then resenting, pursuing and discrediting them. They will endlessly examine their property or their moral portrait. This is called “personification syndrome”. It is akin to what the Luddites did: hunting leaders is like hunting machinery.
Where is the center, the focus, the essence of the process in reality?
Let us examine the given pyramid with Nicolas II as an example. The leader is Emperor Nicolas II. The political system is the monarchy. The support base is already a mixed one (the feudal lords and the bourgeois). That is exactly why Lenin rejoiced at the fact that the political system was not able to switch its support base and to truly ground itself on the bourgeois. Although it too was impossible to find support in those bourgeois, and he understood this.
And finally, we have the people, society.
The worst thing we have is happening at the class level. I spoke about this in the first chapter of Essence of Time. A terrible class (or pseudo-class) of parasites was created. It is devouring the country. It is a devourer, a “phage”, an artificially created “phage”.
After all, if they had intended to create a full-fledged healthy capitalism, then they should have understood that the country was in very poor condition for creating capitalism. The country had no base for primitive accumulation; there was no honest capital, which is supposed to be formed within the previous order. In a feudal system, honest capital was formed, both from commerce and from manufacturing (or from workshops, in the sense of the medieval craft guilds). There were feudal lords, who transitioned into the bourgeois (it was easy in England, but it happened with great difficulty in France, though they also existed). Their money had a legitimate nature; it was clear where this money had come from. The money was not criminal; it was inherited from one’s father, from his grandfather and so on. There was a base in the form of these capitals.
In the Soviet Union, such a base almost did not exist. There were “tsekhoviks” [underground manufacturers – translator’s note], who, even though were violating Soviet law, were still producing something. But very few of them have really made gains. On the other hand, traders who would buy meat for the state price and sell it at double the price at the market, were purely thieves. Bona fide thieves and mafia common funds existed. And there was nothing else.
But private citizens did have savings. Citizens had legal savings, some had more, some less. Why was it impossible to increase these savings, to give them a step-up coefficient, or at least to rescue these savings from inflation?
Gaidar nullified exactly these savings. He destroyed, in a political economic sense, the entire base for an honest capitalism in our country. It was necessary to decrease money supply, to contract it? Then just index those deposits and issue them in the form of additional privatization checks. Since you cannot cash them out, multiply these checks tenfold. And then, some people might pool together to buy a hair salon… a medium-sized manufacturing… or a shop. But even that was not done! They exterminated to the root, to the zero the feeble seedlings of an honest pre-capitalist existence, from which capitalism could have been developed.
Why? Because they were creating a criminal predator. As Chubais said, this class was not created to function properly, but to devour the Communists [From Anatoly Chubais’ interview to The Financial Times, 11.23.2004: “The red directors had enormous power – political, administrative, financial… We had to displace them and we knew we did not have much time. The count was on days, not months…We did not have a choice between an ‘honest’ privatisation and a ‘dishonest’ one, because an honest privatisation means clear rules imposed by a strong state that can enforce its laws. In the early 1990s, we had no state and no law enforcement. Our choice was between bandit communism or bandit capitalism.”]. Just say it honestly, to devour Russia. Just say it honestly, tell everything to the end! This pseudo-class was intended not to devour the Communists, but to devour Russia, and it is doing just that. It is the first element of the problem.
But there is a second one. The state, what is it? Many become obsessed with it. I have said more than once: it is a means by which a people extends and develops its historical purpose. A people exists as long as there is a historical purpose. And it ceases to be a people as soon as it is deprived of its historical purpose by means of a sociocultural shock therapy called “perestroika” – the most despicable action that humanity has ever seen… Because those who implemented it were the same people, who before had been teaching communism. And then they started teaching anti-communism. Therein lies a distinctive abomination.
And note, what is the Council for Human Rights and Civil Society teaching us now? They do not want to conduct lustrations! They teach us hypocrisy. They say, “Just shut up and don’t praise Stalin. We are not interested in what you really think. We are not interested in who you used to be, a party boss or whatever. We are interested in you being silent.” People who call themselves democrats and free thinking people are saying this. Do you sense the moral monstrosity here?
Equating fascism to communism can never happen! But if we compare the phenomena, then denazification was still conducted, under occupation and in the context of the fascist ideology’s terrible and absolute criminality, not by SS Reichsfuhrers, and the SS men in general, but by entirely different people. But here, the barbarous, vile, and destructive nature of the undertaking is accompanied by the immorality and snide cynicism of the fetid elite which is perpetrating all of this.
20 years ago, this elite dealt a merciless and ruthless blow against the public consciousness from all the information warfare calibers, and succeeded in breaking it. But it is impossible to absolve society, which indeed sold its birthright for lentil pottage. A real dismantlement happened. Whether it reached the deepest layers of the people’s consciousness is a different question, but it did happen and it happened because of certain reasons.
We have two problems.
The first problem is healing the people (we must mend the broken backbone, and we must set right the time, which is out of joint).
The second problem is the class. Either it must somehow be split, or not. But we cannot just state that it is a phage, a devourer etc. We must call this problem by name using scientific language. It has a specific name. It is called “the problem of primitive accumulation of capital”. The capitalism belonging to the era of primitive accumulation is an absolute horror. It is not such an absolute horror when it accumulates capital by plundering the colonies. But in general, it is an absolutely horrid phenomenon. Everyone, who studies capitalism, understands this.
It is time to stop fooling around and stop talking about some modernizations. We have to raise the question about the destiny of capitalism in Russia. Is it possible to take our capitalism out of the phase of the primitive accumulation? Yes or no? If yes, then how? Historical precedents exist. We know what happens when capitalism is not brought out of the stage of primitive accumulation. It results in the creation of pirate kingdoms, utterly criminal states and societies, which are subsequently massacred completely, understand? We cannot allow Russian capitalism to remain in primitive accumulation. But we do not see any forces that are ready to take our capitalism out of primitive accumulation. It had once found support from society. It is too early to close the door on it in general. But we do not see such forces at all!
Furthermore, I emphasize once again that the problem with capitalism in Russia is a very serious one. Russian culture just does not want capitalism. It has no desire for it; that is just how it is! So what, are we to destroy our culture? So that capitalism can then self-destruct along with it? If there is no culture, then what capitalism are we talking about?
In any case, we should clearly indicate, on the level of political theory, that the matter at hand is the problem of primitive accumulation of capital, and how to leave this phase. If this exit is delayed for several more years, then it will be possible to say that, because of this phenomenon alone, a criminal state is being formed, and they want to form a criminal society. And that this is being done in order to clear out the territory, in order to justify genocide. And do not say that this capital was created just to stop the communists! It was created to destroy the country. To the end. Until the total genocide of the Russian people. Until the transformation of the people and its country into a pirate kingdom, so that a legitimate reason would appear to destroy us entirely.
Therefore, the problem with this class is enormous. Meanwhile, the problem with the people is precisely the problem of historical heritage. The problem is whether we can accomplish a belated heroic act of coming out from this downfall. The country must come out from this downfall. Society must rise from it. But first, it needs to see what is happening. It needs to see and be horrified.
So, the question lies in the following.
We have the pyramid of authority. The political system relies on the class, which attacks the country. Does this class have a constructive antagonist? Yes or no? Name it. This is first of all.
Secondly, if this constrictive antagonist does not exist, then can it be created?
Thirdly, once we create it, what do we intend to do? Because, even while we are creating it, we must fight. I suggest carefully reading The Prison Notebooks by Antonio Gramsci. When people tell us that Gramsci was used by the CIA and the like in order to destroy us, among other things… You see, Newton’s or Einstein’s discoveries can also be used to create a nuclear bomb and drop it on us…
Gramsci was a remarkable man, quite clever and sophisticated, who indeed introduced very much into Marxist theory, who created a new strategy for political struggle and a new theory of political struggle.
So let us discuss it here.
We have already discussed the elementary: the pyramid, the place of the class in it, and the regress (that is, what has been done to the people).
We have already understood that, in order for the antagonist to appear, one must either discover it within the depths of the masses (and it cannot be regressive; for otherwise, it is not an antagonist; it should be some stratum that the regression has not overrun). Or one must create it. And we need to discuss how the antagonist must act.
Gramsci has an extremely important provision in this regard. It is called the “War of Position”. In general, Gramsci uses the term “war” very actively in relation to political activity. Gramsci distinguishes between a war of position and what he calls a war of maneuver (which Lenin waged in 1917).
In our situation, even if this actor is created (and all of us have to create it now together: to discover it, to assemble it from what we have, etc.), then it will have to wage the war of position. The war of position for hegemony, as Gramsci said. Not for power, but for hegemony. Such an actor will have the task of struggling for hegemony. And all that is indicated on the general map, which I had presented, all these specified types of activity, is precisely the very opportunity to combine the ideological struggle with the struggle for hegemony in society in the same exact way as how Gramsci understood it.
We have to act in a regressive environment. But we can and should find guidance in this theory. These are not individual thoughts, not someone’s super-valuable ideas. This is what the world recognizes. That is the next stage in the development of Marxism, Leninism, and world political strategy in general. And we cannot avoid this stage. Therefore, we need to discuss political theory from this angle.
PART FOUR. POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
A few words about political philosophy. I will spare more time for it in the future, if possible.
I will read two poems by Nekrasov. The first one is called “To the sowers”.
Sower of knowledge in the people’s field!
Do you find the soil fruitless, or is it that
Your seeds are lean?
Are you shy of heart? Are you weak in spirit?
Your work is rewarded with stunted shoots,
Your grains of little good!
Wherever are you, able ones, with your spry faces,
Wherever are you, with your baskets full of wheat?
The work of those who sow shyly, seed by seed —
Strike it forward!
Sow the reasonable, the good, the eternal,
Sow! You will be thanked from the heart
Of the Russian people…
In connection with political philosophy and the question of culture as the regulator, I want to draw attention not even to the general pathos, not to the similarity of this pathos with the action that we call for (“Sower of knowledge in the people’s field!..”) I want to draw attention to something else.
“Sow the reasonable, the good, the eternal” – that is what was said by the revolutionary movement. That is what they came to the people with. It was not said, “Sow the vile, the foul, the filthy”. They did not say that. It was not Nekrasov who said that. It was Bakhtin who said that publicly, equating folk culture with “low” culture and calling for the use of this “low” focus, by way of carnival culture, to destroy vertical systems. And that is already a matter of a profound political philosophy, which we will have to discuss. [Mikhail Bakhtin was a controversial cultural scholar, who gained Andropov’s interest during the latter’s tenure as the chairman of the KGB. Bakhtin’s theories regarding carnival culture provided much of the conceptual architecture for the informational-psychological campaign carried out during perestroika. – translator’s note]
Thus, here we are talking about a cultural regulator based on “the reasonable, the good, the eternal”.
And here we have some other verses by Nekrasov, from his poem “Who is happy in Russia?”:
Oh, may it come quickly
The time when the peasant
Will make some distinction
Between book and book,
Between picture and picture;
Will bring from the market,
Not picture of Blücher,
Not stupid “Milord,”
But Belinsky and Gógol!
Oh, say, Russian people,
These names—have you heard them?
They’re great. They were borne
By your champions, who loved you,
Who strove in your cause,
So what does Nekrasov want? He wants the peasant to bring “not picture of Blücher, not stupid ‘Milord,’” (that is, instead of vulgarity and political glamour) from the market, and not for the peasant to only bring Belinsky, who is close to him, but also Gogol! Gogol as well! That is not a person from his camp. He wants the peasant to bring home great literature from the market. And the peasant started doing so. They were praying for this for centuries. And they did it.
And in that sense, we should discuss the question of what culture, as the super-regulator of Russian society in the 18th and 19th centuries and of the Soviet society, really is. This is a political and also a philosophical question, as well as a question for ALMOD (alternative models of development). For if this regulator exists, then alternative models of development exist. And then, in the second stage of our conversation, they can lead us to the Fourth project, and we can thoroughly understand it.
Because if we do not comprehend what culture as a normal regulator is and how its functioning in Russian society and in Russian civilization differs from its functioning in a traditional society and in the society of Modernity, then we will not understand the Fourth project.
In summary, we will follow these four directions in the next programs of the second stage:
This is the first program, which I have divided into four parts.
And let the Spirit of History help us to meet this challenge!
Source (for copy): http://eu.eot.su/?p=17160&preview=true
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.