Traditional values... Op-Ed by Victor Pelin

“Testing the traditional values mentioned in President Putin’s decree about his work through the angle of the aggression against Ukraine would be an extraordinary exercise. Let’s take, for instance, life as a value. How much does Putin praise this after hundreds of thousands of people from both sides already died in the war he started?...

When politicians speak about values?

This year is an electoral year and this already became evident during the first weeks of 2023. In Moldovan society, it became a tradition to speak about principles and values ahead of elections so as to show to the voters how spiritual one is. The given tradition has its roots back in 2010. Later, this was confirmed in 2016, was confirmed again in 2021 and now it is clear for good. This was proved by the president of honor of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM), Igor Dodon, who in a TV program highlighted that he shares the traditional values that will also be promoted by his new political organization that he will create if he decides to separate himself from the PSRM.   

Accidentally or not, Igor Dodon’s pleading in favor of the traditional values made the chairman of Our Party (PN), Renato Usatyi, step into the limelight and inform public opinion about the pressure exerted by particular circles in Moscow on the president of honor of the PSRM. Usatyi not only once showed that he has access to somehow delicate information that most of the times turns out to be true. According to him, the pressure is designed to make Dodon renounce his intentions to undermine the unity of the pro-Russian PSRM in which Russia invested millions. If it’s true, we have evidence showing that the sharing of the traditional values costs a lot. Not at all surprisingly, Igor Dodon avoided confirming or denying the information. He probably needs to ponder over the happenings.  

How did Igor Dodon become promoter of conservative values?

Even if he poses as a consistent promoter of particular values, Igor Dodon during only several years radically changed his doctrinaire preferences. He started from the left extreme of the political spectrum and reached the right extreme. In 2010, he became a member of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM), insisting to be handed over the Communist’s card not in any way and anywhere, but namely on April 22, 2010, on the 140th anniversary of the Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin, next to his monument, this being a proof that he firmly shares the Communist values.

In only a year and a half, Igor Dodon defected from the PCRM to PSRM to become the promoter of the values of democratic Socialism, which is of revisionism and opportunism, which are detested by the Communists. The twist occurred when Igor Dodon realized that the PCRM has no chance to return to Vladimir Putin’s good graces after Vladimir Voronin refused to accept the Kozak Plan to federalize the Republic of Moldova. In those circumstances, Igor Dodon decided to help the Alliance for European Integration (AEI) to do away with the eventual electoral revenge of the PCRM, contributing to the election of the AEI candidate for the office of President of the Republic of Moldova. Moreover, he personally tested the statehood qualities of candidate Nicolae Timofti for whom he voted. This is the cause why the PCRM cannot yet forgive Igor Dodon’s betrayal.

Things evolved gradually. In 2014, Igor Dodon and the PSRM established a partnership with Sergey Mironov and his party Spravedlivaya Rossia (SR) (A Just Russia), which is a fervent supporter of the Putinist regime. This partnership is valid so far, the actions of the two leaders of the SR and PSRM being coordinated at least apparently. For example, recently Sergeyi Mironov had pictures taken together with the sledgehammer, which claims to be the new symbol of Putinist Russia, which builds the new world order, while Igor Dodon urges to find a suitable place in this new world order so that the Republic of Moldova can benefit from the war. This is probably why Igor Dodon categorically refuses to condemn the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

We must realize that both the Leninist war Communism and Stalinist and Brezhnev Socialism represented two phases in the evolution of the Soviet empire that fell apart. Respectively, Igor Dodon was a Communist, then a Socialist, but after passing the two stages, he cannot remain hostage to the past, preferring to plunge into contemporaneity, which is in Putinism. For the purpose, he had to change the doctrine one more time, officially embracing the values of Putinist conservatism. Initially, he established a partnership with Edinaya Rossia (United Russia), Putin’s ruling party. Then, several years later, in the congress of December 2020, he made the PSRM renounce the Democratic Socialism ideology in favor of Putinist conservatism.

Someone should not believe that Igor Dodon is a flippant politician. Categorically no! He is absolutely consistent in his loyalty to Vladimir Putin. Respectively, Dodon has the right to accuse, for his part, his mentor Vladimir Voronin, of betrayal, because he dared to oppose the policies pursued by Putin in relation to the Republic of Moldova. Voronin anyway didn’t have any chance to return to Putin’s good graces as he is a Communist with pretentions of restorer of the USSR. That’s why Igor Dodon decided to take his place as the promoter of Russian interests. It should be noted that he left the PCRM at exactly the time when Putin’s Edinaya Rossia embraced the ideology of enlightened conservatism of exorcist Nikita Mikhalkov. Mikhalkov’s concept was designed to create a simulacrum that would unite different periods of Russia’s history – Communism, Socialism and Putinism – that he and the members of his family served from ideological viewpoint. Igor Dodon wonderfully adjusted to this trend. Later, Putin’s advisers developed Mihalkov’s ideas in order to announce the establishment of Putin’s lasting state  under the name Russkii Mir (“Russia World”), which claims to be building a new world order. This is how Igor Dodon became a promoter of the conservative values.

Inheritance of Communist values with impact in contemporaneity

Mentioning the three stages in the evolution of the values shared by Igor Dodon, it is very important to note his contribution to the establishment of particular traditions. For example, Komsomolskaya Pravda convinces us that the Bolshevik revolution was actually the first sexual revolution. In the West that lacked spirituality, the sexual revolution occurred in over 50 years! That’s why it is important to bear in mind who and when laid the basis of traditions. This way, there is no doubt that a decisive role in the sexual revolution was played by feminist Communists Inessa Armand and Alexandra Kollontai. They made a fundamental contribution to transforming couples into amorous and harmonious trilateral unions or to promoting marriages in a chain, one after another, of the same persons with others, etc. Moldovan Communists and Igor Dodon could explain to us the impact of the mentioned innovations on the durability of families.

The Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin himself had to pronounce on the sexual debauchery established and promoted everywhere, evidently outside marriage, to the detriment of professional duties. This way, after Alexandra Kollontai, the first woman minister and Soviet diplomat, alongside another member of Sovnarkom Alexandr Dâbenko, were accused of desertion as they disappeared from the workplace for a long period of time during the civil war, indulging in sexual pleasures somewhere on the seaside, Lenin gave the verdict: “No, shooting is not a sufficiently harsh punishment for such an offense. Kollontai and Dâbenko should be convicted to loyalty to each other for life”. This is how the Bolsheviks joked over such issues. Evidently, the Bolshevik sexual revolution had a special echo among the Communist youth – Komsomol. The debauchery reached colossal proportions, leading to an explosion of rapes, abortions and venereal infections.

The Communist regime adopted a new approach to the problem of homosexuality. The new Soviet penal legislation didn’t envision penalties for homosexuals. Moreover, the criminal punishments in the bourgeois states were treated as a retrograde manifestation of these. In this regard, it is very interesting to read the article devoted to homosexuality in the 1930 edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia (see pages 593-598). Several years later, Stalin reintroduced criminal punishment for homosexuality as it became so widespread that it could be used to punish the enemies of the people by the NKVD. No one should dare to say that the NKVD wasn’t very useful in restoring the traditional values

Conservative traditions in tsarist period

The pretensions of the Putinist regime and its acolytes that they share the traditional values generate questions. For example, the famous Russian historian Sergey Solovyov, a professor of the Moscow University, in his work noted that in Russia “this odious sin (sodomy) is considered a joke.  In public, jokingly one person boasts of the sin, another person blames this, while the third person invites this to commit the sin and only the public commission of this thing, before the eyes of all the people, is absent. We should find methods to fight this shame of sodomy, disgraceful drinking bouts, functionaries about whom Isaiah said: “Your leaders are accomplices of thieves””. Solovyov’s assertions are confirmed in the letter of abbot Filofei, the author of the concept ‘Moscow, Third Rome’, to Grand Prince Vasili III, in which he noted that sodomy was widespread in the Muscovite state and the church, both among lay people and among priests. 

Even one of the founders of Russian conservatism Sergei Uvarov, Minister of Education in 1833 – 1849, author of the well-known triad “Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationality”, was a promoter of the given sin. We know about this not from an ordinary person, but from Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin himself, who is the most credible one and who devoted an  epigram to minister Uvarov for the scandalous promotion of Prince Dondukov-Korsakov, who was considered to be a mediocre person involved in vicious relations, to the post of vice president of the Academy of Sciences. We this way convince ourselves that we should be very careful with regard to the promoters of the conservative values.

Conservative, traditional, Putinist values

Putin’s lasting state identified its own conservative values that crowns the set of values from the previous periods, which were mentioned above. These values were stipulated in President Putin’s decree of November 9, 2022, concerning the approval of the basis of the state policy for conserving and strengthening the Russian traditional spiritual and moral values. Article 4 of the decree defines the traditional values as moral guidelines that form the view on the work of Russian citizens transmitted from generation to generation, which form the basis of Russian civic identity… Article 5 of the document specifies these values: life; dignity; human rights and freedoms; patriotism; service to the Homeland; responsibility for the Homeland’s fate; high moral values; strong family; creative work; priority of spiritual values over material values; humanism; empathy; justice; collectivism; mutual assistance; mutual respect; historical memory; unity of people of Russia, etc. Article 13 of the decree enumerates the dangers to the traditional values: activity of extremist and terrorist organizations; particular media outlets; actions of the U.S. and other unfriendly foreign states; a series of transnational corporations and nonprofit foreign organizations; activities of particular organizations and persons from Russia’s territory.

Testing the traditional values mentioned in President Putin’s decree about his work through the angle of the aggression against Ukraine would be an extraordinary exercise. Let’s take, for instance, life as a value. How much does Putin praise this after hundreds of thousands of people from both sides already died in the war he started? This question was answered by the chief propagandist of the Putinist regime Vladimir Solovyov – life is overestimated in Russia! How much does Putin or his ally Lukashenko praise the family when they actually destroyed their families? How much does Putin praise the human rights when hundreds of Russian citizens were sentenced to long jail terms for condemning the war or for posting the word ‘peace’? This way we can analyze separately each of the stipulated values so as to convince ourselves of the cynicism of the Putinist regime. Moreover, it now becomes clear where Igor Dodon drew his inspiration from when he recently enumerated the dangers threatening the Republic of Moldova, these being similar to those stipulated in Putin’s decree.  

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