Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Many Children of Russian Elite Express Contempt for Their Country

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 26 – The fact that many of the best and the brightest of young Russians are studying abroad or even choosing to move there permanently has riled Russian social networks in recent weeks. But in an even more alarming development, some of these bright young people are expressing contempt for Russia even if they have not yet left it.

            The latest such case involves a statement by Elina Bazhayeva, the 22-yar-old daughter of Chechen oligarch Musa Bazhayev. A student at MGIMO, she declared on the basis of her experience on an educational exchange in the US that “everywhere is better than Russka” (мусабажаев/921563/doch_oligharkha_musy_bazhaieva_opravdalas_za_viezdie_luchshie_chiem_v_rashkie).
            In a survey of the response to Bazhayeva’s remark, Andrey Polunin of the Svobodnaya pressa portal notes that a Duma deputy has said that he will make sure that Bazhayeva never gets a position in the Russian foreign ministry which is the place many MGIMO graduates go (

                The rector MGIMO said he would have a conversation with her, and not soon thereafter, Bazhayeva backed down, said she had been entrapped, and added that her remarks had been taken out of context and misunderstood.  But it is clear, Polunin suggests, that many children of Russia’s new elite feel the same and think they are above the law and better than the masses.

            Unfortunately, the journalist continues, there is mounting evidence that they have good reason to think that. They aren’t judged as harshly as others and they get away with saying and doing things others could not.  And that, he says, represents an indictment of the elite more generally and not just the children of the elite.

            Mikhail Remizov, the president of the Moscow Institute for National Strategy, agrees. He says that “the Russian elite really shows its low quality,” including on such measures as loyalty to its own country and ability to “create and not just act like parasites.” The children of the elite simply and more radically “express the views of their parents.”

            He suggests that it is long past time to give members of this elite a patriotic education and to punish those who do not reflect patriotic positions.  “A worthy elite isn’t going to grow up by itself,” Remizov says. “It must be the subject of social engineering.”

            Yekaterinburg political analyst Fyodor Krasheninnikov offers another perspective. According to him, “the contemporary elite in the entire world is cosmopolitan, and the Russian elite is no exception. That is its style of life and only in such a manner under contemporary conditions, the world of global capitalism can this elite exist.”

            “If an individual is rich and can live broadly, he sooner or later will be transformed into a citizen of the world,” Krasheninnikov says. “The ‘golden youth’ grow up in this milieu and for entirely banal reasons do not understand why it is necessary to lie and to say that living in Russia is best of all.”

            From his perspective, the Yekaterinburg analyst says, he is far more concerned by another situation, the one in which “people profess love for patriotic values but themselves live a greater part of the time abroad.”  Those people by their actions are showing what they really think of the country of their birth.

            He added that the case of Bazhayeva might have not attracted so much attention except for her father, the Chechen oligarch. In his view, Krasheninnikov says, “the game is being directed not against Elina Bazhayeva but against her father.”  Nonetheless, what she said is not terribly different from what many other children of Russia’s elite would say.

Belarus Trying to ‘Leave the Russian World On the Sly,’ Regnum Commentator Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 26 – A Russian commentator who insists that Belarus and the Belarusian language do not exist despite efforts by Poles, Trotskyites, and Russophobes to promote them says that at present Belarus is “leaving the Russian world on the sly” by promoting pre-school instruction in Belarusian “ by hook or by crook.”

            In terms that recall some of the worst and most ignorant memes of Soviet propaganda, Alla Bron says that this tactic is part of Minsk’s effort to try to “overcome the irredentist attitudes of Belarusians, the absolute majority of whom want to reunite with their big Motherland, Russia” (

            According to Bron, only three groups of people in Belarus speak Belarusian: broadcasters, instructors in Belarusian language, and the Russophobic opposition. “The first two do so only at work, and the third only when people are watching. When ‘the Moskali’ aren’t listening, they speak Russian.”

            “In certain regions of Belarus,” the Regnum commentator continues, “there exist at the village level particular Belarusian dialects which the Russophobes consider a language. But Belarusian dialects vary from one region to another, and they in no way come together to form a separate language.”

            According to her, “by their lexical content, the Belarusian dialects do not have any relationship to the literary Belarusian language overfilled with Polonisms that was created in the 1920s and 1930s under the leadership of the Trotskyites who later were cleansed from power by Stalin.”

            Bron says that “the very idea of a separate Belarusian nation appeared [only] at the end of the 19th century” when Poland was interested in promoting a halfway house between Russians and Poles and when the earlier religious halfway house, Uniatism, was declaring in importance in the region.

            She insists that before 1917, “the idea of a new nation existed only in narrow circles of the Russophobic intelligentsia. After the Polish-Soivet war, Western Belarus and Western Ukraine became part of restored Poland.”  But in the eastern portions of Belarus and Ukraine, apologists of the new ‘nations’ found protection from the Trotskyites who wanted to divide and destroy the Russian nation as too ‘conservative.’”

            Given that these “’Belarusianizers’” cooperated with the Germans during World War II, Stalin “destroyed them and stopped Belarusianization. But after the collapse of the USSR,” those who took book in Minsk “began again their black work” against Russia, Bron argues.

            “Many suggest that Lukashenka began active Belarusianization approximately three years ago after the Maidan in Ukraine. But this is not the case,” Bron says.  In fact, “Belarusianization began immediately after the formation of a separate Belarusian state.”  That is “absolutely logical,” she says.

            According to her, “any system acts like a living organism and struggles against any threats to its existence. For the Belarusian state, such a threat is that the Belarusians are not a national group but only a local identity within the Russian people. In a national state, it is unthinkable not to have nation building.”

            Lukashenka initially froze this out of the hope that he could take power in Moscow and later because he needed Russian money to survive.  But Belarusianization was taking place even then. It only became more intense and more obvious in the last three years, however many people in Russia “refuse to believe this.”

            Minsk’s policies, Bron says, have created what she calls “an idiotic formula” in which Belarusians say that Russian is a foreign language and Belarusian is a native one even though they do not want to study it because it leads nowhere. Consequently, the most Russophobic of the Belarusians are promoting the study of Belarusian in pre-school institutions.

            Parents should move their children out of such institutions, Bron says. Otherwise, there is a risk that their children will never learn Russian well or will speak it with an accent and always be viewed as somehow marginal and second-rate.  Belarusian, she suggests, isn’t a real language and isn’t going to survive.

            “In the era of the Internet, old and really existing languages are disappearing one after the other. Even many European languages several decades from now will cease to exist,” she says. “What then can one say about the prospects of those that have come into existence only recently?”

            Bron concludes: “The Belarusian language is needed only for those for whom it was thought up in the first place, for the gradual transformation of Russians into Poles. If you are a Russophobe,” she says, “study Polish now,” not Belarusian. There really is no need for this “intermediate step.”

Russia Can’t Fight and Win an Ideological War without an Ideology, Dugin Warns

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 26 – Russia is engaged in an ideological struggle with liberalism at home and abroad, the influential Russian Eurasianist Aleksandr Dugin says. Moscow has clearly articulated what it is against, but having failed to develop an ideology of its own, it remains incapable to saying what it is for and thus risks losing this competition.

            In a TV interview, Dugin says “the West criticizes Russia and each of our actions be they in Crimea, Novorossiya or Syria from the position of liberalism.”  And because of that, Russians in general and Vladimir Putin in particular have come to view liberalism as hostile to Russia (

            To defeat it, the Eurasianist says, Russia must do two things, the first of which it is on its way to doing – rooting out all the liberalism which “put down deep roots” in Russian life beginning in the 1990s – and the second, articulating its own ideology to put in place of liberalism, something it has not yet done.

            Ultimately, he suggests, “these two things are closely connected” because “we cannot pull out liberalism by the roots, if we do not find something to replace it.” And unfortunately, “the bearers of the liberal virus do everything … to sabotage from the inside any effort to advance a consistent alternative ideology” based on Russian identity and exceptionalism.

            They are helped in this by the fact that in modern times, there have been only two ideologies opposed to liberalism, Dugin says. These are communism and fascism, “including various forms of nationalism,” and both are anathema to Russia because of their specific historical experience.

            Consequently, many feel that “if we reject liberalism then we are forced to oppose to it either Marxism and communism or forgive the expression fascism.” It is possible to put various “fig leaves” on these, but their “essence remains unchanged.” And Russians know this as do their opponents.

            “Perhaps,” Dugin continues, “that is why we are afraid to fight for an ideology.” But in the current ideological war, Russia must have one.  “We simply have no other way out if we want to escape this vicious circle” except by coming up with a new ideology, the fourth, instead of the existing three.

            “In modern times, there is no such theory because liberalism, communism and fascism exhaust all the theoretical possibilities laid down in the era of the Enlightenment,” Dugin argues.  But in the current post-modern period, it is possible to construct a fourth political theory by turning to both the past and the future.

            “In the past,” he argues, “we see the ideal of tradition, empire, the holy Christian monarchy and the symphony of power. This is not liberalism, communism or fascism,” but something else entirely.  And that means that with the new ideology, “modernity and its axioms must be sacrificed.”

            At the same time, the new, fourth, ideology, must be constructed with a view to the future as well; and having done that, it will be possible to “throw into the trash heap” liberalism, communism and fascism, and thus liberate Russia from all three. “It is possible,” he says, that “that will be completely compatible with the rebirth of tradition.”

            “Let this be called a Conservative Revolution,” Dugin says.  That may sound “paradoxical” but Russia has no other path available. It must have an ideology. It can’t use any of the existing three. And so it must turn to what he calls “the Fourth Political Theory.”