Delivered at the international conference «Russian Statehood: Stable Instability»
Here, in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine which is fighting Russian aggression, it is quite appropriate to begin the analysis of the modern Russian regime by recalling a fundamental historical fact: prior to the Mongol invasion, our common progenitrix Kievan Rus’ was being formed and was developing as a European nation. The Mongol invasion tragically split its ethnos into two.
One was absorbed by the Horde, and its spiritual enslavement wasn’t limited to 200 years of Ulus of Jochi’s formal subordination to the Mongol Khan. As the prominent Russian philosopher Georgy Fedotov rightly noted, Khan’s seat was simply moved from Saray to Moscow in 1480, fully preserving in Muscovy the Golden Horde’s despotic matrix, the Asian method of production and the occupational form of government.
The other part – just as populous, one that preserved its European identity – continued evolving, primarily as part of the multi-ethnic Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
Today’s war (let’s call a spade a spade) between the RF and Ukraine is no accident. This is not a territorial dispute over Crimea or Donetsk, and it’s not an ethnic conflict. This is a pivotal collision of differences in worldview between descendants of Kievan Rus’ and descendants of the Golden Horde. There are some of each in both nations, although in different proportions. Kievan Rus’ European choice that has spanned 10 centuries is today supported by an overwhelming majority of the Ukrainian people, and it’s irreversible.
Numerous attempts by Ulus of Jochi Khans-Tzars-General Secretaries-Presidents to pretend to “Europeanize” their domain without changing the nature of their rule, failed one after another.
The modernizing Tzar Petr Alekseyevich did not “cut a door to Europe wide,” he merely cracked a small vent, and the Russian “elite” managed to squeeze its tiny head through. And since then, two different sets of people came into being: in Russian, they were called the barin [(lord)] and the muzhik [(peasant)]. All other countries have always had their own social ranks, too, but nowhere was the gap between barin and muzhik as pronounced as it was in Russia after Peter the Great.
The split wasn’t based on class, it was based I would say rather on anthropological differences, as these are indeed two very different sets of people who simply didn’t know or understand each other.
This split became Russia’s tragedy, now deeply ingrained for centuries to come. The muzhik was certain that all of Russia’s imperial institutions, including the Church, were always on barin’s side. This is exactly why the Bolsheviks were allowed to crucify generals on bayonets and to topple crosses. Centuries-long tension inevitably had to blow up, and the Romanov Empire’s downfall during the 1917 Revolution was historically predetermined.
In that revolution, leadership was usurped by a tight group of people – people who certainly did not initiate this essentially peasant Pugachev’s rebellion, but who masterfully used its explosive energy.
The Marxist idea is so attractive and convincing in its primitively simple explanation of the world that it was doomed to deafeningly fire at least once in the history of humanity. But Russian peasantry simply didn’t delve into Marxist equations.
We study [Russian] Civil War history using only “red” or “white” textbooks; we don’t use “muzhik” textbooks, which is why we still don’t know muzhik’s [version of] history. The paradox is that the momentum of the split between barin and muzhik (lord and peasant) was used by a force which, metaphysically, was even more hostile to the muzhik than barin was. So why did these [Bolsheviks] in pea coats, field jackets, pince-nez win? After all, culturally and civilizationally speaking, they were likely much more alien to the Russian muzhik than the village priest. They won because the Russian muzhik didn’t forgive the barin for what had gone on for centuries.
The paradigm of the civilizational split between the elite and the masses also remained in other incarnations of the Russian state. While using the momentum of the protest bred by the early 18th-century split, Bolsheviks re-created the same huge gap between the elite and the masses. In this system, the government viewed the masses as a limitless reservoir of slaves with no rights, [useful] for implementing the rulers’ lofty imperial or ideological goals. Communist nomenklatura was just as infinitely far removed from the masses as dvoryanstvo (Russian nobility) had been. It wasn’t until the early 1960s that peasants [in Russia] were issued ID papers – they had indeed been slaves.
Speaking of the [Russian] Civil War, we usually forget its second stage, one even more cruel and more bloody than the war itself: collectivization. Collectivization was a unique phenomenon in world history, a war the Communist elite waged against an unarmed people. The [Russian] civil war of 1917-1920 had its own internal logic, but collectivization, in which tens of millions of lives were sacrificed, was purely ideological, almost mythical.
Ancient Aztecs waged wars for the sole purpose of taking prisoners and using them for holy human sacrifices. Same with collectivization: Russian and Ukrainian peasants were ritually sacrificed by the ruling Aztecs to their Marxist gods, for no apparent purpose.
Having systematically destroyed first the barin, then the muzhik, the Bolshevik Aztecs eventually created a new atomized historical anti-entity, the Soviet man.
80 years later, grateful offspring of survivors gave the Chief Priest, the Executioner, Joseph Ahuitzotl, “the Name of Russia.” This alone casts doubt on the mental health of a nation that endured such great ordeals, as well as the mental health of this nation’s televangelists.
The Communist doctrine was also finally replaced (at least outwardly). But what stayed was the unsinkable nomenklatura, and the reality of the metaphysical gap between the “elite” and the masses became even more pronounced. The existence of two Russias – the Pikalevo Russia and the Rublyovka Russia, gloomily eyeing each other on TV screens, is the same fundamental split that was bred by Peter[the Great]’s and then the Bolsheviks’ “modernizations.” However, unlike the 19th century barin, educated in classical Russian literature and with a guilt complex regarding the muzhik, Rublyovka residents read only trendy authors, and so experience no complexes of any kind. The Party-KGB nomenklatura’s golden dreams have materialized: after all, this nomenklatura came up with the idea of perestroika in the mid-1980s. What was achieved in 20 years? Still total concentration of political power, but now with enormous personal wealth they couldn’t imagine back in the day, and a totally different lifestyle (be it in Courchevel or on Sardinia).
Most importantly, as rulers, they did away with any social or historical responsibility. Now there’s no need for them to howl in unison: “Our life’s purpose is the happiness of simple people.” Such hypocrisy was nauseating to them even back in the day. These days, they dryly repeat that their life’s purpose is “continuing market reforms” and [pursuing] “Russia’s greatness,” although none of them actually believes it or knows what that is.
The same regime that, for 25 years (!), has been promising the masses “unpopular measures,” managed to implement, in the same 25-year period, personal wealth-building measures that are indeed very popular within the regime’s narrow circle.
We still exist in a context where the entire modern political class has been discredited in the eyes of the people who have been passive objects of the past 25 years of “modernization.” We are hopelessly stuck in a time loop of Russian history that spans centuries.
Our most august modernizers’ system error persists century upon century. Allured by the technical and consumer fruit of the ever-enticing West, and greedily desirous of possessing it and re-creating (“implementing”) it in their own domain, our Scythian rulers, with arrogant contempt, reject Western civilization’s roots and its very spirit – the much-hated spirit of Freedom and Human Dignity.
This is why these hapless modernizers, after yet another mobilizing thrust, keep ending up next to a broken washtub, with piles of iron and steel per capita, and [scores of] rotting submarines and rockets. This is why “Putin” remains here forever, regardless of the actual name of the next incumbent.
In just under 100 years, the great evildoers of the [Russian] Revolution (Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin) first turned into laughable helpless old men (Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko), and then, having besprinkled themselves with the living water of nomenklaturan privatization, transformed into young athletic oil traders with sex appeal (Putin, Abramovich, Timchenko). These badass dudes are the real heirs of the October [Revolution], the last generation of the revolutionary leaders, the natural and unavoidable outcome of the evolution of a “new class.”
They made it. It was for them that tens of millions of victims of the 100-year experiment (whom they viewed as losers) enriched the soil with manure. They have no wishes left. For them, their own Fukuyama End of History has arrived.
They have no plans for the future, and they can’t have any. They have already achieved eternity, and they will most likely turn out to be the last generation of leaders – not just of the October [Revolution], but of Russia.
Almost 200 years ago, our wonderful compatriot Petr Chaadayev expressed the notion that Russia is apparently historically destined to be a lesson of sorts for other nations, to show other nations what must be avoided at all costs. It seems we are continuing to play this role, with masochistic ardor, throughout these 200 years.
When writing his famous The Road to Serfdom, the prominent Austrian economist and thinker Friedrich von Hayek certainly couldn’t have imagined that, aside from the two roads to serfdom he described – Fascism and Communism – there can be yet another road, on which [people] will be led under the banners of von Hayek and with von Hayek’s name on their lips.
There is a small bust of von Hayek [displayed] in one of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin’s offices. This is not meant to be used just in order to recruit foreign investors who sometimes visit the office. Vladimir Vladimirovich may indeed think he is a “liberal reformer” of sorts. Many of his advisors tell him so non-stop. Actually, in his economic world view, elements of chubaisism and chekism are strangely yet organically blended, which makes me think it’s appropriate to call the philosophy he espouses and practices “the ChuChe model.”
A popular political myth today is that there is a battle of two ideological currents in Putin’s circle – the so-called “liberals” and the siloviki. [But this myth is false] – there is no world view conflict there at all! Among Russia’s top elite, there is total moral and political unity (which, of course doesn’t preclude one-on-one or clique-on-clique scuffles for control over financial flows). Who are the siloviki or the chekists? Do they speak out against the holy principle of private property? Certainly not – well, maybe just against someone else’s private property. These people are very well-to-do, and their friction with the classical Yeltsin oligarchs started simply as millionaires’ mutiny against billionaires.
And who are the liberals? These are Kudrin, Gref, Chubais – people who have always dreamt of a home-grown Pinochet who would lead Russia with an iron fist toward “liberal” reforms. These people are quite satisfied with the authoritarian nature of the Russian government.
Especially since we have a president whose résumé so organically blends and synthesizes the two sources, the two elements of Russia’s gangster capitalism. Putin is truly Our Everything. Generally speaking, ChuChe is implementing the Soviet Party-KGB nomenklatura’s golden project conceived in the mid-1980s, the perestroika.
The road we are on is the third road to serfdom, and a fourth road is not to be, because either this system will destroy the country, or we’ll manage to find the courage to get off this road, in which case this whole Putin period will remain in our historical memory as the latest vaccine against the serf mindset.
But for now, Putin’s OCG [organized crime group] and its armed advance unit, the St. Petersburg crew, has to solve a practical problem: [how to] stay in Power while continuing to saw the country apart.
Before each round of the make-believe special ops called “elections,” government spin masters have used very basic instincts, masterfully instilling fear [in the masses] – first the fear of the Communists returning, then the fear of Chechen terrorists who blow up buildings, then the fear of oligarchs of a certain ethnicity who have robbed the [Russian] people. Each of these mythologems was fake through and through, each was a single-use ideological instrument. This is why the Kremlin has to up the ante each time when mobilizing [mass] hysteria.
And so now [they are saying that] it’s not just Chechen terrorists and Jewish oligarchs who are threatening us – now the West that’s pulling the strings, the United States, the world backstage that’s trying to strip Russia of its sovereignty, dismember and destroy it. The front [lines] are on every street, every house and every outhouse. The country is a besieged fortress with an active “fifth column,” which automatically includes Putin’s opponents (by opposing Putin they are [labeled] enemies of Russia). In St. Petersburg crew’s slang, “We won’t let Russia get stripped of its sovereignty” means “We won’t stand for being dragged away from our power-property feedbox.”
“World War IV is underway,” the Kremlin Propaganda claims, “the Russian World against the godless Anglo-Saxon world. In this war, Russia has to get even for losing WW III (the Cold War). We are not fighting some Ukraine – we are fighting the US on Ukraine’s territory.”
The most important ideologeme of Russian foreign policy discourse, actually its structure-forming nucleus, is the lascivious relishing à la Ferdyshchenko of some [alleged] “humiliation” Russia has experienced in the last quarter-century as a result of the USSR losing the Cold War. The ostentatious ripping of garments and the display of geopolitical sores is a favorite pastime of our entire political “elite,” from the “Asiopes” Prokhanov and Dugin to the “Westerners” Arbatov and Lukin.
The most brilliant way this was achieved was through the cinema, which, “along with the circus, is the most important of the arts in our illiterate country,” as the half-forgotten classic rightly noted. From the caring hands of our own maestro Riefenstahl-Balabanov, 15 years ago we got our own little triumph of the will: the ideal national hero and a national idea to boot: Danila-the-hitman with its morale-boosting “kirdyk to your America.” As far as its effect on collective consciousness, this thing turned out to be more powerful than Putin’s uplifting [promise to] “wipe them in the shithouse.”
And it’s no wonder, because the mythology of Brother2, well-honed with a master’s experienced hand, touched on areas deeper than aggression; it reached the most sensitive erogenous zones of the collective unconscious. The trusting Holy Russia, desecrated by the soulless foreigner, is the bald prostitute, the modern-day Sonechka Marmeladova, while Danila-the-hitman is St. George, hulling the elderly loan shark America with an axe and not asking himself silly questions like “whether I am a trembling creature or whether I have the right.”
We’ve been exacting “powerful strikes on American diplomacy” and putting the “hedgehog in the Americans’ pants” all over the world for almost 50 years. Until we ourselves ended up pantless. Actually, this pantlessness doesn’t pertain to the unsinkable political “elite,” which has led us and which continues to lead us unhampered, the elite that came out from the Cold War defeat loaded like never before. Still, even after ensuring it has sturgeon with horseradish for generations to come, it once again wasn’t constitution the elite wanted – it wanted Asiope greatness, a new Golden Horde that unites the peoples and nations that long for its embrace.
One well-known practicing galley slave called the breakup of the Soviet Union the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century. My thinking is that this breakup caused, first of all, the greatest psychiatric catastrophe in the minds of people who humbly call themselves Russia’s political elite, including the above-noted passion bearer. If there’s one overarching idea today that unites those bruised by the catastrophe, then this idea is “dominating the post-Soviet space,” creating a “zone of privileged interests,” reinstating the Golden Horde-Russian-Soviet Empire in one form or another.
Thievish and vapid, pompous and cowardly, darting between Courchevel and the Lefortovo [jail], Russian political “elite” just can’t seem to grasp that, in the post-Soviet space, no one has any use for it as teacher of life or a center of gravity. Putin’s Judoheriya couldn’t be attractive to anyone – not to the millions of Ukrainians eager to displace their own ruling gangsters, and not to Central Asian dictators, who don’t need a Kremlin alpha don to supervise them.
Ukraine’s “Yes” to Europe means, first of all, “No” to the post-Soviet model of gangster capitalism, and “No” to the four mob bosses’ Taiga Union.
Perhaps there are some like-minded brothers among our neighbors who are socially close to us [and would join us], if only the Russian “elite,” seething with hatred for the West, offered them a sustainable Big Anti-Western Ideological Project. But the whole world knows where this “elite” keeps its treasures, what medicine it prefers for itself, and what education it chooses for its children.
By the way, the true principled enemies of the West, obsessed with the maniacal idea of destroying it and raising the Global Caliphate’s black banner on its ruins, view Russia as part of the depraved West – in fact, as its weakest and most vulnerable part, to be dismembered and taken over as first order of business.
We have called every new ruler of every neighboring country “pro-Western” or “even more pro-Western,” not realizing that we thus doomed our own policies. So where are those “pro-Russian” [leaders of neighboring countries], in anticipation of whom we built our new empire’s sand castles? Maybe something’s wrong with us and our [own] policies, while the [neighboring countries’] presidents are simply pro-Ukrainian, pro-Georgian, pro-Belarusian? Moscow will never live to see the day of “pro-Russian” forces (in Moscow’s understanding of this concept) on CIS’ vast lands.
The inability of the “elite,” narcissistic in its megalomaniacal phantasies, to take the “brotherly” countries’ independence seriously (not just on paper, but internally, psychologically), the “elite’s” astounding deafness to our neighbors’ possible reaction, its spiritual laziness and imperial conceit which prevent the “elite” from trying to see themselves with the [neighboring countries’] eyes – all these lovely qualities of Russian kleptocracy’s leaders systematically created a cycle of alienation and hostility throughout the post-Soviet space.
The persistent failure of all attempts to “dominate” in their smugly self-declared “zone of privileged interests” is what forces the Kremlin dwellers featured on Forbes’ list [of the world’s richest people] to feel the frustration and humiliation about which our foreign-policy orators broadcast non-stop on all Russian and foreign psychoanalysts’ couches. For them, financial well-being isn’t enough. The Russian political “elite” desires grandeur, grandeur, and more grandeur, insisting on its unique and supreme spirituality that counters the decadent West’s commercialism.
Alas, there are no apparent signs of this grandeur – not in Russia’s degree of influence on world affairs, nor in Russia’s economic and technological development indicators, nor in the standard of living, education, and health of the people led by this very “elite.”
These very unpleasant parameters can only be changed through sustained, arduous labor, starting with changing the ruling clique’s irresponsible attitude toward its country and toward its people, the Putin bearer.
But there’s an easier path to “grandeur,” to the sweet sense of your own importance, to overcoming “humiliation.” To get there, it suffices to proclaim that you are an Aryan tribe that descended from the Carpathian mountains, with an extra chromosome of spirituality proudly swinging between your legs, easily sprawling half the world over to California’s Fort Ross, and besieged from every direction by the unified forces of globalism, Atlanticism, Judeo-Masonry and Satanism.
The insane concept of the “Russian World,” borrowed, disciple-like, by “the disjointed tribe’s” chief from Hitler’s foreign policy of the 1930s, and the shameful attempt to implement this concept in Ukraine, became the pinnacle of the quarter-century-long orgy of “being humiliated.” As regards Ukraine, Russia played the most humiliating role: that of an impotent rapist.
Finally, the patient explained the nature of his humiliation to those who have long been concerned about the patient’s inappropriate behavior.
It turns out that the Russian man, on a rendezvous with History, is humiliated when he can’t stomp on and dismember with impunity his former confreres in building Platonov’s Foundation Pit. So humiliated that he can’t even eat sanctioned food.
“World War IV” isn’t over yet, but, strategically, Ulus of Jochi already lost it.
The “good Hitler,” as the prominent Kremlin propagandist Migranyan subserviently called Putin, suffered three fundamental defeats.
First, and most painful, is the defeat in Ukraine. Not even a military defeat. Clearly, Russia is incapable of a large-scale military operation [in Ukraine] because it would result in losses so tremendous that they’d be unacceptable to Russian society. The Kremlin’s most fundamental defeat in Ukraine is metaphysical – the “Russian World” ideology was rejected by Ukraine’s [ethnic] Russians, the vast majority of whom remained loyal to the Ukrainian State and its European choice. The [ethnic] Russian citizens of Ukraine are fighting the aggressor just like ethnic Ukrainians are. Resplendent “Novorossiya” shriveled to a gangsterous Lugandonia, which Moscow desperately tries to force, like as a cancerous tumor, into Ukraine’s political body.
Second, the Kremlin’s nuclear blackmail of the Baltic States failed. Putin had threatened the West with using nuclear weapons if NATO helps the Baltic States when Putin’s “little green men” appear there. “Are you ready to die for Narva?” he had asked (paraphrasing Hitler’s famous question of the 1930s made with reference to Danzig,) threatening to up the ante. The July  NATO summit in Warsaw responded not just with words, but also with deeds (deploying military forces) that the Alliance will defend the Baltic States as it would defend any other NATO member states’ territory. Putin’s question ricocheted right back to the lowlife who asked it: “Are you, Mr. Putin, prepared to die for Narva?” [The answer would be “no” because] it wasn’t in order to die for Narva that Mr. Putin stole $250 Bln. from the Golden Hordesmen.
And, finally, Putin’s would-be victory in Syria, where, yes, he really is making mincemeat of the Americans, while the pitiful Kerry chases after Lavrov, meekly beseeching him about something. In the meantime, Putin continues to systematically destroy the Syrian pro-Western opposition that the Americans tried to support. However, this so-called “victory” turned out to be another super-Afghanistan for Putin, and he was branded a war criminal to boot. Actually, not just Putin, but all of Russia.
Three major foreign policy defeats. After such [monumental failures], dictator regimes don’t survive long. The Kremlin billionaires don’t want an actual nuclear war. This wasn’t why they amassed their treasures. This means they’ll have to hop off the escalation ladder and seek, as analysts close to the Kremlin write, some “new peaceful co-existence with the West.” The Golden Horde Matrix is hoping for another reset.
The Matrix can only be toppled for good through Ukraine’s indisputable success on the European trajectory of its development, which has to convince the rank-and-file Golden Horde [soldiers]. Now Ukraine holds in its hands not just its own fate, but also the future of the entire continent [of Eurasia], from Lisbon to Vladivostok.