Posts Tagged ‘Lesley Chamberlain’

IDEOLOGI Rysslands agerande i Ukraina har fått omvärlden att fundera över vad som ideologiskt driver Vladimir Putin.

Standpoint April 2014

Father of Russia’s conservatism” av Lesley Chamberlain, Standpoint

There’s nothing new about the Russian conservatism Putin stands for, and it is something worth understanding, even if it makes us weep with frustration at the heavy-handed seizing of Crimea and the evident will of most Ukrainians not to be subject to Russian rule.

Just as many liberal Western democracies trace their histories of tolerance and a sharp separation of church and state back to the Enlightenment, so Russia still seems to be fighting the French Revolution, the political climax of that period. Russian conservativism has its roots in resistance to the modern momentum of individualistic liberation. There was never a Russian Edmund Burke to make a sophisticated plea for the powers of tradition and community over rationality as a guide to how to live. But there was always the Orthodox Church to bluntly dismiss reason as anathema. And for three and half centuries there was a tsar to rule by divine authority.

Whenever I try to understand the authoritarian Russian way anew I have to think of a man who 50 years before Lenin and 150 before Putin spelt out the classic Russian formula: Orthodoxy, autocracy, nationality. Count Sergei Uvarov’s tripartite slogan of 1833 was conservative Russia’s answer to liberté, egalité, fraternité. It meant, in something closer to today’s terms, autocracy, religious authority and managed democracy. Many Russians seem to find that acceptable.

Standpoint March 2014

The Russian Enigma: Is The Bear Turning East?” av Walter Laqueur, Standpoint

”An elite without an ideology is a threat.” This is the central point in an article by Aleksei Podberezkin in the first issue of 2014 of the Moscow weekly Zavtra. This is the organ of the Russian far-Right, Podberezkin being a leading figure in these circles. He is a strong believer in Russian nationalism and therefore critical of the present state of affairs in Russia in which politicians are preoccupied with ”technical” issues such as macroeconomics, but he also wants to preserve much of Soviet Communism. As a politician he was not very successful: competing in the elections for the presidency of Russia he scored 0.1 per cent of the vote. But he still is a respected figure in these circles as a political thinker. Whether the absence of an ideology is really a threat is not at all clear; Russia has  suffered from many disasters in its history but they were more often caused by a surfeit of ideology rather than the absence.

But it is certainly true that the recent period in Russian history has been marked by the absence of an ideology (or doctrine or strategy) comparable to the past. This has been noted by many authoritative interpreters of the Russian political scene irrespective of their political orientation. To give but one example, Dmitri Trenin, head of the Carnegie Moscow Centre, wrote ten years ago that in Russia at present ideas hardly mattered and interests reigned supreme. The world view of Russian elites centred on financial interests.

Russia has had a national idea ever since the days of Filotel, a 16th-century monk in the city of Pskov who claimed that Moscow was the third Rome and that a fourth Rome would never be. The leaders and the political elites were always preoccupied with Russia’s destiny.

Tidskriftsomslag: Standpoint mars respektive april 2014. 

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