In his latest 17 web page (in Russian) diatribe about Ukraine and Russia, Putin makes a most telling introduction: ” I emphasize once more that Ukraine for us … shouldn’t be merely a neighboring nation. It’s an inalienable a part of our personal historical past, tradition, and religious house (italics mine). These are our comrades. These near us, amongst whom are usually not simply colleagues, buddies, previously individuals who served collectively, but additionally family members, and folks linked to us by blood and household ties.” (my translation)
Within the piece, Putin emphasizes what he sees as an aberration of historical past, promulgated by Vladimir Lenin, who instituted his model of Marxism, unusually nationalistic, to interchange Orthodoxy. Consequently, Lenin promoted an unbiased Ukraine and thus planted the seeds of separatism, an motion that Putin asserts is the supply of all the issues between Russia and Ukraine within the current day. This castigation of Lenin can be an remarkable heresy within the Soviet Union and is a sign that Putin’s mannequin is the restoration of the outdated Russian empire based mostly on Nikolai I’s tripartite components of Orthodoxy, autocracy and Russian nationalism.
Soviet students (Yuri Lotman and Gleb Uspensky) have identified that the Russian consciousness tends to suppose in binary oppositions. They attribute this tendency to Russian Orthodox dogma, which says that there’s a heaven or hell however no intermediate purgatory. Inside this set of binaries, the Russian Orthodox perception system proclaims a God that exemplifies energy by way of unity and order.
Reverse to that is individuality and freedom, which exhibit a separation from God and inevitably end in a weak spot of chaos. This “splintering” of society and nations (as Dostoevsky referred to it) is a situation that the Slavophiles of the 1840s attributed to European societies and can be the reason for “fall” and disintegration of the West.
This idea has been rekindled by Putin whose oration to the Russian folks (and the West) reveals his binary thought course of and emphasizes his perception that Orthodox unity and energy should prevail in opposition to the chaos of Western and individualism and separatism. Ukraine has fallen into the Western world and it should return to the fold and be an integral a part of the Russian “religious house” the place it traditionally belongs.
Gene Fitzgerald, Emeritus Professor of Russian Lang. Lit. And Tradition, U. of U., Salt Lake Metropolis
Submit a letter to the editor