Searching for Russia – I
by The Saker on 09 Apr 2017 2 Comments

Whether one likes Russia or not, I think that everybody would agree that this country is really different, different in a profound and unique way. And there is some truth to that. One famous Russian author even wrote that “Russia cannot be understood rationally” (he used the expression “cannot be comprehended by the intellect”). Add to this already some rather eccentric politicians like Vladimir Zhirinovskii who is known to mix very rational and well-informed analyses with utter nonsense and you get the famous “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”.


Frankly, this is just some witty hyperbole, Russia is not that mysterious. She is, however, rather dramatically different from the west, central and east European countries and even though a big chunk of Russia lies inside the European continent west of the Urals, in civilisational terms she is far removed from the so-called “West”, especially the modern West.


For example, Russia never underwent any “Renaissance”. I would even argue that Russia never really underwent any Middle-Ages either since, being an heir to the East Roman Empire (aka Byzantium), Russian roots are in the Antiquity. While one could, arguably, describe the phases of western civilisation as Middle-Ages -> Renaissance -> Modernity -> Contemporary era, in the case of Russia the sequence would be a much shorter Antiquity -> Modernity -> Contemporary era.


[Sidebar: you will notice that I did place the roots of the modern western civilisation in the Middle-Ages, not in the antiquity. The reason for that is the fact that when the Franks finally conquered the western Roman Empire they destroyed it to such a degree that the era following the collapse of the western Roman Empire is called the “Dark Ages”. (Russia, by the way, never went through this millennium of darkness and, hence, she never had any need for any “renaissance” or “re-birth”). Contrary to the official historical narrative, the current western civilisation has never had any root into the Roman Empire, and even less so, the Greek antiquity. The true founders of the “western world” were, in so many ways, the Franks].


I would therefore argue that while geographically speaking Russia (at least the most populated part of her) is in Europe, culturally she has never shared a common history or, even less so, a common culture with the West. To say that Russia is “Asian” is also problematic for two crucial reasons: first, Russia, as a culture, was born from the Baptism of ancient “Rus” by Saint Vladimir in the late 10th century. The brand of Christianity received by Russia was Roman, not the Frankish one. I don’t believe that anybody would seriously argue that Rome or Byzantium were “Asian”. So the cultural and spiritual roots of Russia are not Asian.


Ethnically speaking, most Russians are Slavs, mixed to various degrees with other ethnic groups. And though I personally find the category “White” of dubious analytical value, I don’t think that anybody would seriously argue that “Whites” are Asians. That leaves us with the Russian state, the Russian polity and here, yes, I would argue that it was the Asian Tatar-Mongol (an inaccurate and misleading term, but the commonly used one) invaders which created the modern Russian state.


The complicating factor here is that since Russia became a western-style Empire under Peter I she has been ruled by a mostly westernized elite which had much more in common with the elites of western Europe than with the majority of the Russian people. Both the 18th and 19th century in Russia were marked by a ruthless, and often violent, imposition of western political, social, cultural and religious models by the Russian ruling elites upon the Russian masses.


This is a complex and multifaceted process which saw many contradictory phenomena taking place and we can argue forever about it but what is certain is that this process ended in 1917 with a bourgeois (masonic) liberal coup d’état, followed, eight months later, by a Communist takeover and a bloody civil war. While neither the February coup nor the Communist takeover in November were true “revolutions”, the year 1917, taken as a whole, saw an immense revolution take place: one ruling class was completely replaced by a completely different one.


I have neither the time nor intention here to discuss the Soviet period here, I have done so many times elsewhere, but I will only present my main conclusion here: there is no way to consider the Soviet period as a continuation of the pre-1917 Russia. Yes, geographically speaking the USSR more or less covered the previous Russian Empire and, yes, the population which lived in pre-1917 Russia continued to live in the new Soviet Union, but the roots of the dominant Bolshevik/Communist ideology in power were not found in ancient Russia and in the traditional Russian cultural, spiritual and religious values: there roots were imported from the West (just as the main leaders of the Bolshevik uprising for that matter).


I would therefore argue that in 1917 one type of western elite (the aristocracy) was replaced by another type of western elite (the Communist Party) and that both of them were “imports” and not “Russian intellectual products”. I would even go further, and argue that the Russian people, culture and civilisation have been persecuted for the last 300 years and that only with the arrival of Vladimir Putin at the helm of the Russian state did this persecution end.


Let me immediately clarify that these past three centuries were not uniform and that some periods were better for the Russian people and some worse. I would submit that the period when Petr Stolypin was Prime Minister (1906-1911) was probably the best time for Russia. The worst times for the Russia happened only six years later when the Lenin-Trotsky gang seized power and immediately began indulging in a genocidal campaign against everything and anything “Russian” in the cultural, spiritual or intellectual sense (this bloody orgy only abated in 1938). All in all, even with very strong variations, I believe that in a cultural and spiritual sense, the Russian nation was oppressed to various degrees roughly between 1666 and 1999. That is 333 years: a long period by any standards.


And then there is modern Russia, which I call “New Russia”. Clearly not the Russia of pre-1917, but not the Soviet Russia either. And yet, a Russia which, for the first time in three centuries, is finally in the process of gradually shaking off western cultural, political and socio-economic models and which is trying to re-establish what I call the “Russian civilisational realm”. Of course, we should not be naive here: Putin inherited a political system entirely created by US “advisers” whose sole purpose was to further oppress and exploit the Russian people. The human and economic costs of the Gorbachev and Eltsin years can only be compared to the effects of a major war.


And yet, out of this horror, came a leader whose loyalty was solely to the Russian people and who set out to liberate Russia from her foreign oppressors. This process of “sovereignization” is far from completed and will probably take many years and go through many ups and downs, but it has undeniably been initiated and, for the first time in centuries, the ruler of the Kremlin is not somebody whom the West can hope to subdue or coopt.


Hence the hysterical paranoia about Putin and his evil Russkies. The West is terrified by the very real risk that for the first time in 333 years Russia might become truly Russian again. Scary thought indeed.


Consider the record of what we can call “oppressed Russia”. It began by the defeat by Peter I of one of the greatest European military power, Sweden, during the Great Northern War (1700-1721). If you are interested, take a look at this Wikipedia list of Russian wars between 1721 and 1917 and pay special attention to those wars listed as “defeat” for Russia and notice that with the exception of the Crimean War, the Russo-Japanese War and WWI, Russia won all of her relevant/important wars (wars in which Russia played a major role or had a major stake).


I personally would not consider that Russia lost the war against Japan (neither do Japanese historians, by the way), and in the case of WWI Russia basically self-destructed on the eve of victory. As for what I call the “Great Ecumenical War against Russia” (it united the Latins, the Anglicans and the Ottoman Muslims together), I would call it an “ugly draw” whose worst consequences for Russia were soon mitigated. Contrast this with the really important war, the Napoleonic aggression on Russia in which Russia single handedly defeated a coalition basically uniting all of Europe against Russia. Take a look at this photo of a monument at the location of the biggest battle of the war, the battle of Borodino, and check out the list of countries allied together against Russia: (See here)

France; Italy; Naples; Austria; Bavaria; Berg; Saxony; Westphalia; Prussia; Holland; Spain; Portugal; Poland; Switzerland; German Confederation

Total: 20 nations

Infantry: 145,000

Cavalry: 40,000

Canons: 1,000        


That is 15 countries against Russia. There were fewer aggressors during the “Great Ecumenical War” but three out of four of those aggressors were not just countries, but entire empires: French Empire, British Empire, Ottoman Empire. Whether it is 15:1 countries or 3:1 empires, a pattern begins to emerge. And while during WWII only six countries participated in the initial invasion of the Soviet Union (Germany, Romania, Finland, Italy, Hungary, Slovakia) in reality there were numerous more or less “volunteer” units which joined in. European unity at its best indeed.


(To be concluded….)

Courtesy The Saker;

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