Discussions about amending the Russian constitution continue. As I mentioned previously, the Russian government has submitted a formal proposal to the State Duma, providing details on how the government believes the constitution should be changed. The proposal has already passed its first reading. In the meantime, however, all sorts of other people have thrown out all sorts of other ideas to tack onto the government’s proposal. Many of these are being discussed in the commission that Vladimir Putin set up to discuss the issue, and it seems possible that some of the ideas will end up before the Duma when the bill to amend the constitution comes up for its second reading in the coming weeks.
Today, for instance, the online newspaper Vzgliad reported that Putin had reacted positively to a suggestion by the Director of the Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovskii that the constitution should be amended to strengthen the idea that ‘culture is Russia’s unique inheritance, which is preserved by the state.’ Responding to Piotrovskii, Putin said that culture ‘is the nation’s DNA, which makes us the multinational Russian [Rossiiskii] people, and shows our originality. We’re thinking of how to do that.’
One integral feature of most cultures is religion. And so it should perhaps not come as a surprise that some people want to include God in the Russian constitution. Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church made this proposal a week or so ago, and it rapidly gathered support in influential circles. TV talk show host Vladimir Solovyov, for instance, boosted the idea on his evening show, and now the head of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Gennady Zyuganov, has said that he has no objection. Asked about including God in the constitution’s preamble, Zyuganov commented that,
It’s an image that is in line with the main moral and spiritual values of our state. … When I studied the Bible, the Epistles of Paul the Apostle […] it contains the main slogan of communism: ‘He who does not work, neither shall he eat.’ As a matter of fact, we borrowed a lot in the Moral Code of the Builder of Communism from the Bible. And if anyone tries to say otherwise, they just have to put those documents side by side.
It may seem odd that the Communists are turning to God, but it’s hardly the first time Zyuganov has done this. In fact, he’s been attempting to fuse communism and Christianity for the best part of three decades. And back in 2014 Patriarch Kirill recognized the Communist leader’s devotion to the Church by awarding him an order ‘for glory and honour’. With the Communists on board (or at least not opposed), the Patriarch’s proposed constitutional amendment has at least some chance of success.
I think that this case is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it shows what happens when the Russian government invites the public for input into fundamental issues connected to the nature and purpose of the state. The government’s own proposal pretty much preserves the liberal autocratic nature of the constitution. But once civil society, including Mr Piotrovskii and Patriarch Kirill, were asked for their ideas, they started introducing matters which the guardians of the liberal autocracy had never considered – most notably, issues of culture and religion start raising their head. It perhaps gives one a sense of the direction Russian politics might take if it indeed became less autocratic.
Second, much has been written in the past 20 years about the alleged political influence of the Russian Orthodox Church. Academic studies which I’ve read on the topic suggest that this influence isn’t nearly as great as often claimed. The fate of Patriarch Kirill’s proposal to include God in the constitution will, therefore, be a very valuable case study to determine just how much pull the Church really has. Far from everybody supports Kirill’s amendment. According to Interfax, ‘Russian State Duma Committee on State Building and Legislation Chairman Pavel Krasheninnikov has opposed this initiative.’ Putin himself has remained silent on the matter. It will be interesting to see who wins.
48 thoughts on “Communists for God”
Shocking about Lenin and that no working, no eating thing. Guess he was talking about the coupon clippers, but what would the social justice warriors make of it?
It was in the Soviet Constitution and all the stuff about ‘working’ and workers was not mere rhetoric. If you were seriously work shy the Soviet Union could get nasty even after Stalin. Being late or somewhat lackadaisical might be overlooked but actively not working would not be tolerated for very long. Mostly, that is because work and profession are strong motivators for people. Furthermore, in a lot of writings, Lenin appeals to Christian morality. It is a strong left wing tradition to be very well aware of, indeed educated in, religious mores and to be against organised religion or belief in God because of a belief that one should follow “Christian” values without needing a God to tell you to do so because they are right and just because of their content not because a man in the sky said so.
Would be fatally disappointing if the God fraction won… Culture that needs “preservation” by the state is dead, this much should be obvious.
One and only thing I truly hate about many of my compatriots is this oversized urge to bend the knee, to worship, to canonize – whoever/whatever is put in front of them under an appropriate dressing. They simply must have a Czar, a Vozhd’, an Invisible Pink Unicorn, whatever. Man up and take responsibility, damn you!
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“Culture that needs “preservation” by the state is dead, this much should be obvious.”
Dolores, Jewish State of Israel has Ministry of Сulture. It’s headed by Miriam “Miri” Regev, a former Chief Press and Media Censor of the IDF. Their stated goal is, indeed, “preservation” by the state of the Jewish culture.
Now, Dolores, are you saying that the Jewish culture is dead?
“One and only thing I truly hate about many of my compatriots “
Didn’t know you were Ukrainian.
Hmm. In my experience, if anything, Russians are more cynical, less inclined to worship than others. More or less immune to state propaganda. State leaders, ‘institutions’ — and priests — are subjects of jokes, viewed mostly with skepticism, and often with contempt.
Perhaps it’s mostly a legacy of the late Soviet and early post-Soviet periods, but it’s also clearly present in the classical literature: Pushkin, Gogol, Saltykov-Shchedrin, etc.
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Also let’s not forget the Soviet Union inculcated Atheism and mocked the need for humans to have a fear of God to do good and be kind to others. These things were moral imperatives that stood by themselves on their own merits.
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“But once civil society, including Mr Piotrovskii and Patriarch Kirill”
A quick one. What makes these two a representatives of the “civil society”?
Civil society is often misunderstood as being activist groups fighting for civil rights etc. For sure, they’re part of civil society, but only part. As normally defined, civil society includes groups of people with common interests outside of government or the for-profit sector, though receiving public funding doesn’t necessarily exclude one being part of civil society. So, basically it’s everything from the local chess club upwards. While some of it may be in opposition to the government, much of it may also be loyal, and most of it is apolitical. Churches are very much part of it. Thus the Patriarch is a member of civil society. Piotrovskii could be considered a public official and so not, but state-funded museums could also be considered as functioning at an arm’s length from the state, and so included. I guess it really depends in what capacity he’s acting.
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“So, basically it’s everything from the local chess club upwards… Churches are very much part of it.”
That’s rather… novel… way to define it, Professor. Never before have I heard from anyone such “heresy”. For one, People with Good Faces gonna strongly object of you including organized religion.
Also, Piotrovsky can not be considered a part of the “civil society”, because he, as the director of the State Museum, is not just “a government’s employee” (cops and teachers are as well), but, for all intends and purposes, a part of the “Regime”. Again, Shy and Conscientious members of Intelligentsia gonna smirk, note the price tag on his cachenez and wish upon him a fate of Isadora Duncan.
I think you are reaching here, Professor.
Lyttenberg, didn’t know Jewish state was your model. And yes, if a culture NEEDS state support to survive, it is dead. Live cultures support states, not other way round. Go read your Spengler.
Besides, organized religion is not culture. As far as I am concerned, contemporary Russian culture is better without. Being young and naive, I spent a fair share of my summers volunteering at dilapidated churches and monasteries, doing restoration work. Encounters with greedy batyshkas and brain-dead poslushniki made for some life-changing experience.
“Lyttenberg, didn’t know Jewish state was your model. “
It *had* to be a model for any shy and conscientous member of the international intelligentsia. They are “functional democracy” after all.
“And yes, if a culture NEEDS state support to survive, it is dead. “
I take it you are saying, that the Jewish culture is dead?
“Live cultures support states, not other way round. Go read your Spengler.”
Then you fail your readings on modern history and economics, Dolores. All culture expression depends on money. Where the money comes doesn’t ultimately matter in the meta-view – kreakls get the dough and live another day to create new stuff. Who has the money is of interest to them as potential sponsors, but it doesn’t really matter who they are.
When the kurfürsts of Saxony (you know – “a state”) gave money to their own and invited members of the creative class, what, did it mean that it was a ruin and elimination of the (local) German culture? The world famous Saxon porceline from Meissen got not only state money, but also state supervision. Lucas Cranach the Elder embodied the German Renaissance in Saxony, where he was a court painter for the several heads of state.
Dolores, resorting to slogans and chants without evidence seems to be your forte, but how about getting real for a change?
“Besides, organized religion is not culture.”
Yes, it is.
“Encounters with greedy batyshkas and brain-dead poslushniki made for some life-changing experience.”
Just shows that you never had faith in the first place.
PS Ukrainians are Russian. Ever heard of Kievan Rus’?
So you are from the Ukraine?
“Ever heard of Kievan Rus’?”
Yes, it is invented historiographic term. The actual state of the Ancient Rus has never been called like that.
“KIevan Rus” is the latter day academically applied term to “Rus”.
Back in the day, that entity on the whole was known as “Rus”. When Novgorod Prince Oleg changed his local to Kiev is roughly when the historically applied “Kievan Rus” kicks in. At one point, Rus (Kievan Rus) had more modern day Belarusian territory than present day Ukraiian land.
Also suggestions to define marriage as a union between a woman and a man. Anyhow, while I am certainly not opposed to any of these based, redpilled, and powerful lib-triggering proposals, at the end of the day, 97% of the world population are heterosexuals, while a solid majority believes in a God (if most of all in Africa and the Middle East, so it’s not exactly prestigious to be defined by it). So none of that is exceptionally interesting to me.
I for one will only be voting for the Constitution if it defines Russia as a state of the ethnic Russian people (as the Israeli Constitution says of Jews, almost all East European states say of their native denizens, and for that matter even the RSFSR said of ethnic Russians). This is also a proposal that both the LDPR and KPRF have expressed support for. If the Kremlin elites signal their disinterest in ethnic Russian welfare by skirting the issue, then I don’t see why ethnic Russians need to support the political interests of said elites by bothering to vote for the new Constitution.
Putin has said that he’s not averse to the marriage amendment. He’s also said he favours a proposition to add protection for animals. I doubt he’ll go with what you propose, though – see his statement above about the ‘multinational Russian people’ – and one suspects that United Russia deputies will follow his lead. I imagine that you’ll be disappointed.
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Well, I didn’t attach a probability estimate to this. 🙂 But I agree that it is rather low, probably not more than 10% at best – it was always a longshot at best, despite the surprisingly high profile support it has gotten (both official LDPR and even KPRF). Well, I don’t consider myself a multinational, so while Putin is very free to write a Constitution for those multinationals (whoever they are), I won’t be spending my time to help vote it through. I have better things to do.
That would be a foolish venture as, not only would this antagonise people who don’t identify as руский it also sidesteps/ignores that the Russian ethnic group is pretty much the opposite of ‘pure.’ It is not an ethnic identification based on some kind of ‘blood and soil’ idea but a lot on culture, way of doing and living, adherence to certain values, and cherishing certain symbols. Although you may not like it, part of that is reverence of the Soviet Union, including Lenin. If you doubt me, you need only look at when people hit out at ‘Russians’ even if those ‘Russians’ are Ukrainians they always hit out at Lenin.
That would be a foolish venture as, not only would this antagonise people who don’t identify as руский
Russia would do well to let go of ethnic minorities who object to its biggest ethnic group having a homeland (if indeed any such pathologically Russophobic minorities exist).
It is not an ethnic identification based on some kind of ‘blood and soil’ idea but a lot on culture, way of doing and living, adherence to certain values, and cherishing certain symbols. Although you may not like it, part of that is reverence of the Soviet Union, including Lenin.
There is a crisp moniker for such people: sovoks.
Conflating sovoks with Russians would suggest that I, most of whose ancestors have lived in the Russian Lands for more than a millennium, am not a Russian. While you, a Western sovok who can’t spell руский correctly, are. This sounds rather absurd.
We both forgot a ‘c’ when spelling it 🙂 But I stand by my point.
“[W]ould suggest that I, most of whose ancestors have lived in the Russian Lands for more than a millennium, am not a Russian. “
Гusskiy? Maybe 🙂
“On the maternal side, one half are mostly or purely Slavic. One ancestor was ennobled under Alexander III on attaining the requisite military rank; the extended family still has the letters patent signed by the Tsar.
The other half from the maternal side hails from Tsarist Odessa, and is a mixture of Russian, Italian (yes, 23andme is accurate on that!), and Jewish stock. They moved to Moscow soon after the Revolution.”
“I am 1/4 Dagestani.
Done replying to you.”
“Ethnic Russian” covers a wide range. Someone who is half Russian, 1/4 something else and 1/4 something else can be considered ethnic Russian. Someone half ethnic Russian and half something else might be considered that half something else, according to his/her preference. There’s also the matter of some of the more pure (for lack of a better term) ethnic Russians who spout Russia hating garbage.
I’m glad that Russia at large doesn’t conform to some of the anti-Russian biases out there, as well as some who aren’t anti-Russian ,but a bit hung up on a person’s ethno-religious background – leading me to note the good number of non-ethnic Russians in Russia and elsewhere who aren’t anti-Russian.
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The Russian Federation- is still largely composed of all the people’s that were there when it was called the “Russian empire” with many different people living in it – thats a fact that can’t be ignored.
Regarding the constitution – I would hope that they would flesh out the part about Russia being a social state – and fix within the constitution what this means for the people.
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Ethnic Russians make up nearly 85% of the population of the Russian Federation. That is more Russian than Israel is Jewish (75%), and Israel has no complexes about defining itself a Jewish State. For that matter, even the Constitution of Tatarstan makes explicit reference to Tatars, even though they barely make up a majority (53%) in that republic. So by opposing mentioning ethnic Russians in the RF Constitution – something, incidentally, that even the RSFSR Constitution had – do you mean to imply that Russians are inferior to and do not deserve the same rights as Jews or Tatars within their own polities? If so, this is one of the most Russophobic insinuations I have ever heard.
I can’t comment on what Tartarstan says as I do not have the knowledge
In relation to Israel – that is not a good example to use as they have a completely different origin being a colonial creation.
Defining a country in the way you describe – takes the country down the road Ukraine is travelling and that is not a good thing.
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I would say Israel is also not a good comparison as ‘Jew’ is a religious, not ethnic identification. Russian Jews are Russians and French Jews are French.
I would say Israel is also not a good comparison as ‘Jew’ is a religious, not ethnic identification.
Too bad that actual Jews disagree with you. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israeli-high-court-allows-dna-testing-to-prove-judaism-1.8439615
Zionism/Israel has a different view of Jewish identity – something that the USSR (rather interestingly) went along with – at least up to a point.
I guess then that Ethiopian Jews and Arab Jews and French Jews and Chinese Jews are all part of the same ethnic group. One need only see the backlash against Brett Stephens ‘Ashkenazi Jews are the best’ guff piece in THE NEW YORK TIMES from other Jews to see that this issue is quite contentious in the wider Jewish faith community. And even among Ashkenazi Jews there are big differences between those who identify primarily as ‘Jewish’ and those who identify primarily as Polish, Lithuanian, Russian etc. The elasticity of the Russian ethnic identity and it not really being based on blood was well elaborated by Mikhail. But this, like the French identity, is a source of Russian identity’s greatest strength. It is also the part of Russian identity that drives purist ethnonationalists up the wall. It’s a polyglot identity and a polyglot ethnicity.
We both forgot a ‘c’ when spelling it
Was quoting you.
One need only see the backlash against Brett Stephens ‘Ashkenazi Jews are the best’ guff piece in THE NEW YORK TIMES from other Jews to see that this issue is quite contentious in the wider Jewish faith community.
US Jews tend to be liberal blank slatists. Israeli Jews tend to be ethnonationalists.
In this particular case, the latter happen to be objectively correct. At least as pertains to Ashkenazi Jews).
But this, like the French identity, is a source of Russian identity’s greatest strength.
Diversity is indeed our greatest strength. As demonstrated in Syria, Iraq, South Africa, f. Yugoslavia, the USSR, etc.
Incidentally, even Charles de Gaulle, whose French patriotic credentials are beyond question, would have disagreed with you: “It is very good that there are yellow French, black French, brown French. They show that France is open to all races and has a universal vocation. But [it is good] on condition that they remain a small minority. Otherwise, France would no longer be France. We are still primarily a European people of the white race, Greek and Latin culture, and the Christian religion. Those who advocate integration have the brain of a hummingbird. Arabs are Arabs, the French are French. Do you think the French body politic can absorb ten million Muslims, who tomorrow will be twenty million, after tomorrow forty? If we integrated, if all the Arabs and Berbers of Algeria were considered French, would you prevent them to settle in France, where the standard of living is so much higher? My village would no longer be called Colombey-The-Two-Churches but Colombey-The-Two-Mosques.“
By your own lights then America should never have endured as long as it has, Mexico should not have had a successful post-revolutionary history, the Russian ethnic group should have killed itself, because none of those countries – or in the case of the Russian ethnic group – were very pure but a very polyglot collection. The ‘folkish’ community does not really work. Japan and Korea, perhaps the two most ethnically homogenous societies on the planet have often butchered each other in bloody internecine conflict.
A much as I am entertained by Herr Karlin’s public performance, I think local commentariat should know a bit about his views, for the purporse of understanding the context:
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Once again, about your novel and radical definition of the “civil society”, Professor.
I absolutely *love* to ask people their definition of the “civil society”, once they start brandishing this term. Anyone resorting to repeated use of clichéd complex idioms, like “democratic reforms”, “multi-vector dynamic” or “holistic approach”, surely know what they are talking about, right? That’s why they *must* find it super-easy to provide the definition of their go-to Big Words, should anyone asks them. How else could it be?
So… “Civil Society”, huh?
As any bright student brought up in the American (meaning USA, Canada is assumed to follow the lead) political science tradition would tell you civil society is the collective non-governmental organizations and institutions which represent the will of citizens and are independent of the government. Then they, thanks to their even more bright professors, lose any semblance of mental coherency, and start heaping up “amendments” and “exceptions”. Thus, they postulate that “the civil society is the third sector of society, apart from the state and business, and in a liberal democracy is supposed to function as a check on state power” (c). Then they rush to point out, that, no, political parties, trade unions, organized religion and just about anyone we don’t like as people are not proper members of the “civil society”. Therefore, in order for, say, a group of NGOs to be considered
handshakable“civil society” under this definition, they must be independent and to some extent critical of the government (or willing to criticize it)… in a way, that is acceptable for the so-called liberal democracy.
Now, some naysayers (bad, deplorable people, for sure) will question this premise and say, that if some self-appointed organizations with very murky funding set up as their raison d’être fighting or opposing the legitimate government at every turn and possibility, that’s called an insurgency. Proponents of the “Civil Society” (who, naturally, think they belong to it) will just laugh (nervously) into their opponents not-Good faces, and present them with the ultimate, universal argument, why this is not a case:
Here’s the thing. Definition of the “Civil Society” has three aspects, each lying at varying “depth”.
1) Surface. Bright-eyed proponent of the “civil society” writes a short, concise definition of it. Immediately follows a “OH, CRAP!” moment, when the full weight of possible implications becomes apparent. Then the definition becomes bloated in finding out and listing all possible organizations and institutions, which could not be considered part of the “civil society”. This task is so exhausting, that no strength remains to scribble even a couple of decent reasons, of why it’s so.
2) Internal. Proponents of the “civil society” know one thing for sure and only one – they belong to it. This means, that not everyone can ever belong to the “civil society”. Only the “proper people”. Therefore, contrary to what the official definition might make you believe, the “civil society” is actually a lobbying instrument for the larger society’s elitist losers – people not in the position of authority, with no political prospective, without excessive individual wealth, having no rapport with the vast majority of the “masses”, whom they actively despise. In short, an outlet for the shy and conscientious intelligentsia, so-called “professionals”, “urbanites” and “people with active public opinion” to voice their desires how to, basically, rule all others.
3) Atomic/Essential. “Civil society”, is an oxymoron. “Professionals”, members of intelligentsia, that whole lot – they are just a tiny service strata, beholden to the ruling class/whoever pays them money. Their delusions of grandeur are just that – delusions. They are ultimately replaceable, not some sort of “conscience of the nation”. They are also fine cat’s-paws of other interests, because they can allocate only as much of their personal funds for this or that NGO to function, and, inevitably, they’d have to acquire “sponsors”. Because, as per the definition above, “ the civil society is the third sector of society, apart from the state and business, and in a liberal democracy is supposed to function as a check on state power”. Being NGOs they can’t take government’s money – which leaves the business.
So, behind all glitter and pathos, the one thing remains – “civil society”, as championed by its proponents, exists only as (yet another) lobbying tool for the business. Any further uses of the term without honest recognition of that fact, are meaningless.
Or, Professor, you may still cling to your deliberately vague definition, but in that case you’d have to count amongst the MOST active members of the “civil society”, goons and thugs from the Національні Дружини (ukr. “National Militias”), because:
– They are proudly independent from any злочiнна влада currently ruling the Ukraine.
– They represent the will of the most “proper”, nationally conscious (ukr. “нацiонально свiдомих”) citizens of the Ukraine – Maidowns, ATO vets, cyborgs, football ultras, radical right wingers and other svidomites.
– They are no business, but the business is “encouraged” to pay generous donations to them – or else!
– They are not a political party, but the parties are advised not to cross them – or else!
– Because they are very good to act as a “check” on the Ukrainian state’s power (when they feel like it). They are to ensure that the dark times of the Tyrant Yanukovich will Never Again ™ come back. So, the police, the office of the Attorney General and the law enforcers in generals should curtail their attempts to stamp down truly national freedom of the awakened citizenry (triple SUGS!). That’s why local business have no other choice but to be “patriotic” and donate generously – the state power won’t protect their potentially subversive behavior of not coughing up the dough. Or they can just hire another group of the “civil rights activists”, be they from the “C14” (who’s efforts to make the Ukraine “Roma frei” 2 years ago finally made them famous in the West), or the former members of Aidar, Azov or Tornado battalions of the NatzGuard, and plethora of other lesser outfits. All of them patriots of the Ukraine and upstanding, un-prosecutable people, yeah.
Disappointing, but not surprising, that Ziuganov supports putting “God” into the new Constitution. Just shows that Ziuganov is a Communist in the same way that Petipa was a quarterback.
The idea that Lenin was a Christian is nuts. Did he believe that Jesus walked on water and rose from the dead? Highly dubious. If you don’t believe in those “miracles”, then you’re not a Christian.
So-called “Christian” values like “love”, “kindness”, “respect”, etc., are really just universal humanist values. It’s nice when religious leaders espouse these values, but their usual job is to support the economic “freedom” of the ruling class.
Will Russian citizens have referendum powers to vote these amendments up or down?
P.S. – I do like the idea of enshrining some animal rights, especially since Russia has so many awesome species of animals, many of whom need protection.
“The idea that Lenin was a Christian is nuts. Did he believe that Jesus walked on water and rose from the dead?”
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov was born on 10 (22 new style) 1870 and baptized as Orthodox Christian on 16 (28) 1870 in Simbirsk. According to his gymnazium papers, he graduated with a solid “A” for the “Law of God” discipline.
And then his brother was first arrested, then executed.
So, yes, Lenin was a real Christian, baptized and instructed in faith.
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“So, yes, Lenin was a real Christian, baptized and instructed in faith.”
This is a narrow and legalistic use of the word “Christian” that doesn’t match how people actually use it. The point is that Lenin didn’t actually believe in Christian doctrine or engage in Christian practice. Furthermore, even on the most narrow and legalistic construal of the word, Lenin didn’t die as a Christian, since he was excommunicated in 1918.
“The point is that Lenin didn’t actually believe in Christian doctrine or engage in Christian practice.”
One – you can’t claim the former to be true about the entirety of Lenin’s life. Two – as for the latter, leaving aside that it was not physically possible for the students of the gymnasium to avoid “engaging in Christian practice” (after all – Lenin was underage), we know for sure that he as a an adult did engage in yet another instance of “Christian practice” on 22 July 1898 (and for some time prior to that).
“Furthermore, even on the most narrow and legalistic construal of the word, Lenin didn’t die as a Christian, since he was excommunicated in 1918.”
That’s some lame ass logic here – and you are the one talking about “narrow” and “legalistic”! According to you, one retroactively ceases to be a Christian if excommunicated. Are you saying that Lev Tolstoy never was a Christian and did not “actually believe in Christian doctrine or engage in Christian practice”? Also, who gave you the authority to pass such a radical if not outright heterodox judgement?
I mean, okay, so he was baptized as a Christian. But later in life, he became an atheist… no?
yalensis: “Stalinism is not true Marxism, and that’s terrible.”
Lyttenburgh: “Stalinism is true Marxism, and that’s awesome.”
@Karlin: Lyt and I may have our disagreements regarding th personality of Stalin, but I like to think we are united when it comes to opposing Black Hundreds.
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Sure, I have no doubts about that. Just mind the pickaxe he’ll eventually send after you.
Haha! that’s actually a good one, Karlin.
(Have to give credit where is due.)
Professor, you attribute to Putin the following: “[Culture] is the nation’s DNA, which makes us the multinational Russian [Rossiiskii] people, and shows our originality. We’re thinking of how to do that.”
I see that there are some comments referring to “руский” (apparently “русский” was intended but misspelled. This brings me to a couple of questions:
1. Is the word in the original Russian from which you quoted “российский”?
2. Is there a difference between “российский”, “россианин,” and “русский”? I think an explanation might help clarify the discussion.
There are two adjectives meaning ‘Russian’ – ‘rossiiskkii’ which refers to anyone or thing pertaining to the Russian Federation; and ‘russkii’, which refers to someone or thing ethnically or culturally ‘Russian’. So a Chechen who is a citizen of the Russian Federation is ‘rossiiskii’ but not ‘russkii’.
Similarly, a person is either a ‘russkii’ (a Russian) or a ‘rossianin’ (citizen of the Russian Federation).
The Russian Federation is the ‘Rossiiskaia Federatsiia’, so definitely not Russkii.
In the statement which I quoted, Putin used the word ‘rossiiskii’ to describe the Russian people. I’m sure this was deliberate. He has previously always made clear his commitment to the idea that the Russian Federation is a multi-ethnic, multi-confessional country, He thus firmly rejects the Karlinite view that Russia should be declared the country of the Russian (russkii) people.
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Thank you, professor, that helps clarify what seemed to be some confusion among the commenters.
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Putin has his phases. For instance, just a few days ago, he said:
Поэтому этот народ – русский народ и все народы, населяющие Российскую Федерацию, должны быть уверены, что человек, который встает во главе российского государства, не имеет никаких интересов, кроме интересов этого народа.
So who knows. While the likelihood of ethnic Russians appearing in the Constitution’s preamble is way less than 50%, I wouldn’t say it’s entirely 0% either. Perhaps 10%.
Also, while I appreciate the compliment, calling this view “Karlinite” is quite the exaggeration. 🙂
The general idea is supported by:
* Official LDPR
* Official KPRF
* Major figures within the ROC
* Presumably, the 50-60% of Russians who regularly express support for the slogan “Russia for Russians” in opinion polls.
Part III (this one) gives a peek into his cultural and upbringing limits, which “qualify” him as an expert of all things Russian, who speaks on behalf of the People and the Country.
“I left when I was six, in 1994, so I’m not really the best person to ask this question of – it should probably be directed to my parents, or even better, the Russian government at the time which had for all intents and purposes ceased paying academics their salaries.
I went to California for higher education and because its beaches and mountains made for a nice change from the bleakness of Lancashire.
I returned to Russia because if I like Putler so much, why don’t I go back there? Okay, less flippancy. I am Russian, I do not feel like a foreigner here, I like living in Moscow, added bonus is that I get much higher quality of life for the buck than in California.”
“I never went to school, don’t have any experience with writing in Russian, and have been overexposed to Anglo culture, so yes, it’s no surprise that my texts will sound strange.”