The history of Russia is the story of how not to live. The entirety of Russian society is an open and festering wound. Russians love the past, because they are always sick of the present.
NV publishes this excerpt from Igor Harin's new book The Crimes of the Collective Putin.
Russian patriotism begins with a hatred for everything foreign, which grows over time. Here, life has always flowed in an environment of inverted concepts: sleepy Black Hundred-xenophobes actively fought fascism with weapons in their hands, stubborn lying scoundrels preached the "truth" day and night, morons and idiots "educated" Preobrazhensky professors, and wreckers and thieves were positioned as the main patriots. There is a new kind of patriotism — destruction of the country as virtue signaling. The motherland makes cannon fodder out of you, and you have to love her for it.
Doses of patriotism imposed from above in Russia can only compete with doses of drugs consumed, though one differs little from the other. The main feature of the psychological profile of the "protector of power" is what he himself calls "patriotism," and which is actually serfdom and faithful service to scoundrels. There is always something patriotic written on the gopniks. This type organically does not tolerate, does not accept freedom, and easily switches it out for a "vertical of power," for "whacking them in the outhouse [a very famous comment made by Vladimir Putin referring to terrorists who allegedly committed apartment bombings across Russia in 1999 – ed.]," and for "stability, greatness, and portraits of Stalin and Crimea." Behind the veneer of gung-ho Russian state patriotism almost necessarily hides a sewn-on imperial theme: to “love Russia" here means to wish for the subjugation of neighboring peoples and not to love those who want to get out from under “mother Russia’s” imperial influence.
Over centralization, "vertical power," and the robbing of the regions are dangerous for Russia, because sooner or later, the same situation as in the late USSR will arise: the regions will not want to pay tribute to Moscow and stand tall against the Kremlin. This is a destructive factor, and even a lobotomy cannot prevent the country from inevitable collapse.
In fact, we are talking about the poisoning of the consciousness of the imperial nation. In medicine, there is a concept of prefrontal lobotomy, which involves partial removal of the frontal lobes of the brain. But the all-pervading irradiation of propaganda and fumes of patriotism completely turn brains off. After all, if Russians and Ukrainians are one people, as the Russian commander-in-chief who is currently destroying Ukraine has instilled in the Russian people, then it turns out that he has unleashed a civil war to destroy his own people.
We feel this acutely in Kharkiv, the largest Russian-speaking city in the country, now turned to ruins, comparable to the massive destruction during the Nazi bombing of the city in the Second World War.
I don't believe that this is a one-man war, because thousands of officers are behind the missile consoles and bombers, destroying kindergartens, schools, and hospitals. In fact, it is a war of the same "collective Putin" which makes up the majority of the population of the Russian Federation. As Ukrainian musician Viktor Bronyuk puts it, "it is not Putin who kills children, it is not Putin who rapes women. You are all a collective Putin. Each of you is a part of your weak state."
The term “agency” comes to mind – the control over one's own destiny. Russians have en mass lost control over their own destiny, and did so not today or yesterday, but a long, long time ago.
The "collective Putin" includes practically all army officers carrying out the criminal orders of Putin, who himself is in a questionable state of mental health. And with the practical absence of the necessary checks and balances in Russia to protect against the Führer's madness ("a sick little of-fended brain," as Viktor Shenderovich put it), we have to imagine the level of danger the modern world has found itself in.
However, everything that has been said fully applies not only to the Russian officers, but also to the so-called “gopnik intelligentsia” and the Chekistclergy — all the service personnel of the bloody regime. Because you cannot belong to the creative class and support the war.
The abbot of the Russian Orthodox Church also cynically called on the Russian military to go to war. Kyrylo ("agent Mikhailov") dedicated an entire ode to the aggressor's troops. He proclaimed to them that they should have no doubts that they chose the "right" path. That they must, according to the head of the Orthodox Church, they must be ready for combat so that the whole world will be afraid of the Russian army. Patriarch Kirill actually "blessed" the Russian army in its war against a brotherly state instead of calling the flock to peace.
In this quasi-Christian country, nothing is holy at all! By order of the Bolsheviks, churches were blown up, priests were tortured and killed by the thousands, and today bombs are dropped on cathedrals in Kharkiv and other Christian shrines. And it is unlikely that they would have stopped before carrying out a missile attack on St. Sophia Cathedral or Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. Because "collective Putin" is capable of everything – the Russian Federation could very well use chemical, bacteriological and even nuclear weapons, any large-scale provocations (recalling, for example, the series of terrorist attacks and explosions of residential buildings in Moscow, Volgodonsk, and Buynaksk committed by the FSB in September 1999 [see the book by Aleksandr Litvinenko and Yuriy Felshtynsky, Blowing Up Russia], causing 307 dead Russian citizens, including many children, more than 1,700 wounded and traumatized, and a cry to the whole world that peaceful Russia had become a victim of Islamists). In other words, having hundreds or thousands of victims among their compatriots in the pursuit of large-scale geopolitical and military goals is not a problem for the Kremlin Chekists.
In the spring of 2000, after Putin's election, FSB General Ugryumov pondered, “[w]e had to blow up houses to put him in the Kremlin, how much blood will have to be shed to take him out of there?" Urgyumov would survive only a few months after making this statement. I have already written about hundreds upon hundreds of Russian opposition journalists who died under strange circumstances. But this also applies to the numerous deaths of Putin functionaries.
The world was asleep when Putin abandoned the Kursk submarines, when he organized controlled terrorist attacks and gassed people in Nord Ost, and burned children with flamethrowers in Beslan. And where were his compatriots?
The world was asleep when he killed Nemtsov. And where were his compatriots?
The world was asleep when he attacked Georgia. And where were his compatriots?
The world slept while he fought in Syria, supporting the war criminal Assad, who used chemical weapons on civilians. And where were his compatriots?
The world was asleep when he annexed Crimea and occupied Donbas. And where were his compatriots?
The world was childishly asleep when he tried to destabilize the West – interfering in elections, carrying out cyberattacks, trying to organize a coup in Montenegro, dividing Italy, and supporting separatists.
And when he spread great-power hysteria for years, insisted on the exclusivity of Russia and Russians, nurtured in them hatred of the entire planet, and reduced war to a cult. And where were his compatriots?
The world expressed concern and then went back to sleep. The world expressed alarm through its criminal slumber. And the “very serious people” were silent all this time.
Today, the world woke up on the threshold of World War 3.
And Russians today must also be prepared for not being able to avoid responsibility, and for being pariahs whose hands nobody will shake in the entire civilized world.
Was it worth it? After all, it will not be long until the moment when they will stand in kilometer-long queues for food handouts and shyly say: "We didn't know, we didn't see, we didn't choose."
But they knew. They saw. They chose. And now everyone has a chance to feel the consequences of their silent choice.
Since nothing in Russian history has provided an example of deserved punishment, it has invariably led to the conclusion that personal advantages and merits are useless and that only force, violence, demonstrative cruelty, and arbitrariness are reliable pillars, and that justice and rightness are invariably defeated. Stockholm syndrome would be better called “Moscow syndrome.”
However, no matter how you bow down, no matter how you crawl in front of the rapist or the boss, it will not change or ease your fate. The deep contradiction, opposition, alienation of the population ("vile people") and the authorities, so brilliantly revealed by Richard Pipes in the bestseller Russia Under the Old Regime, gave rise to the rejection of initiative and submission to fate, injustice and lawlessness. After all, the very power of Russian statehood has always been consolidated by violence, lies, and fanaticism. This cancerous tumor which has affected the state organism is practically incurable, and therefore deadly and murderous. A clear competition or competition of paralysis with power, plague with health, and barbarism with civilization.
In the same way, the expansion of the empire by the seizure of neighboring lands was often accompanied by the eradication of local orders — so that the minds of good Russians would not be confused by foreign efficiency and creativity.
All this, these historical genetics, produced the Russian’s aversion to work, a dignified life, and faith in progress. During the thousand-year history of Russia, labor dominated by servility and serfdom, and its fruits were invariably taken away from their creators. And those who took these fruits distributed them as they pleased. The eternal and demonstrative insult to the working person in conditions where it was totally impossible to protest only confirmed this disgust, which reaches the point of hatred, producing idle beggars, or at best, the fraudsters, crooks, and swindlers so brilliantly described in Russian literature. Total indifference, indolence, sleepwalking alcoholism are typical Russian traits expressed in their aimless destructive-ness and unprecedented rudeness.
It is not surprising that after the Bolshevik putsch, the “silent majority" (still the same "collective Putin") saw in this the fulfillment of an age-old dream: to break free from the yoke of slavery, i.e. labor, ownership, and subordination. The bacchanalia of murder was accompanied by a bacchanalia of destruction. A ninth wave of destruction swept across Russia. Over the course of two or three decades, not only were practically all manor estates destroyed or defaced (even "nationalization" could not save them), everything that reminded of the "old order" – that is, simply put, order as such – was destroyed, and burned if possible.
That is why the Russian peasant never held onto his land – because he never owned it. That is why he so easily participated in numerous resettlement projects of the tsarist government: because he knew that far from the "official vertical," in a new, uninhabited place, there was at least some chance of living as a human, at least initially. For the same reason, the most far-sighted peasants on the eve and at the beginning of collectivization gave up everything and went to join the "construction of communism," just to save themselves.
From the construction of St. Petersburg to the victory in the Second World War, everything in Russia was created and destroyed by the method of Homeric bloodletting. Human sacrifices were made in the name of anyone and anything, but not for the sake of people, and not for the sake of humanity as such.
The Russians’ anger, hatred, ruthlessness, and rudeness that forces itself into view are the natural elements of their historical genetics – a centuries-old slavery and serfdom, which today is expressed in the national demand to execute all wounded and captured soldiers-heroes of the "Azov" regiment, declared by Russian propaganda to be "Nazis" " and "terrorists"...
In Russia, everything is just an external form, a decoration, a "Potemkin village," a "people's democracy," a tautology of eye candy. There is nothing real, original, or authentic. And in this sense, the Soviet – and then Chekist – government was truly popular, which is why it lasted so long. It saddled, led, directed, and exploited – all of these are the worst (but truly nationally defining and immanent) features of the Russian national character.
After all that has been said, should we be surprised at the fact that at the slightest loosening of the bridle, a Russian person easily and happily violates all imaginable prohibitions, and did so, as a rule, with terrible inventive sadism? But Russian murder is not orgiastic sadism and not prudent (self-interested) inhumanity. Most often, it is just a means to an end: it is often easiest for a Russian person to solve everyday problems using existential villainy.
Russians have primordially hated those whom they were allowed to hate. It understood with an animal sense that Russian culture is a system of restrictions, i.e. a lack of freedom. But from age to age, it has existed in a repressive paradigm of such sadistic violence, terrible pressure, and complete prohibitions that for all their habitual attachment to them, from careless birth to painful death, Russians have lived with only one dream - to get rid of it. And they found the only way out: "senseless and merciless" rebellion.
A lot has been written about the eschatology of Russian consciousness. In the world view of a Russian person, the past, the future, and the sacred are equally distant. "Après nous, le déluge!" repeats the Russian man, as he then demolishes the churches and cemeteries in which his ancestors lie. But the absence of a cult of death means also the absence of a cult of life!
Illogicality, irrationality are the main attributes of Russian culture, Russian mentality, national destiny, and historical genetics. Being a mosaic simulacrum, the Russian human-hybrid, a mixture of Byzantine and Tatar-Mongol or French with Nizhny Novgorod, is a non-systemic phenomenon at all levels: psychological, social, economic, and cultural... It is futile to look for structure, purpose, or meaning where there are none. The great "perhaps," "to hell with it," and "burn it all with fire" have left a mark on this long-suffering, unhappy and terrible land.
The history of Russia is the story of how not to live. The entirety of Russian society is an open and festering wound. Russians love the past because they are always sick of the present. Can there be a more shameful characteristic of the people than being part of the "collective Putin?"