Nostalgia for grandeur of empire. Op-Ed by Victor Pelin

“It is not at all accidental that the mentioned opposition parliamentary parties categorically refuse to publicly express their attitude to the Russian aggression against Ukraine. It is a proof of full lack of discernment and empathy with the millions of suffering people and hundreds of thousands of killed people. To a great extent, the nostalgia for the great Communist past that takes obsessive forms is also to blame...

Hunt for glory and wish to influence fates of the world

Together with the dissolution of the USSR, in 1991, an ideological gap appeared in the space of the former Communist empire. After going out of the tutelage of the older brother, the former Soviet republics focused on the national renaissance of societies and started to achieve the century-old aspirations – to build national states within the borders inherited after the dissolution of the USSR. After new states joined the United Nations Organizations (UN), in 1991-1992, except for Ukraine and Belarus (1945), the given borders were recognized and enshrined in bilateral treaties.

Post-Soviet Russia didn’t satisfy itself with the role of ordinary state, even if it was very influential. The Russian elites couldn’t accept the transformation of their country into regional power without any global mission, after during about 70 years the USSR had had the Messianic pretention – happiness of mankind through the agency of Communism. The hurt vainglory motivated the Russian nationalist circles to resort to the exploitation of the myth about Moscow – the third Rome, the rescuer of Christianity, which gradually laid the basis of the “Russian World“ concept” that was officially embraced by President Vladimir Putin, in 2006, as a precondition for restoring Russia’s grandeur with regard to the West.

The Russian Orthodox Church assumed the role of one of the clamps that unite the concepts Moscow – the third Rome and the Russian World. Respectively, the official ideology of the ruling party of President Putin, “United Russia” - conservatism - became another clamp. The official embracing of the new ideology took place after the publication of the so-called manifesto of enlightened conservatism, which substantiated Russia’s abandonment of liberal democracy and its transformation into a continental empire led by an almighty government that names the governors and mayors (renouncing of federalism) and supports the special role of the Church in public life.

After President Putin embraced the idea of the Russian World, it was announced Russia’s pretension to re-become a pole of the multipolar world. It happened at the Munich conference, of February 2007, which centered on security issues. Gradually, the pretentions to restore the grandeur became visible: a) invasion of Georgia, in 2008; b) annexation of Crimea that inspired the war in Donbas, in 2014; c) announcing, in 2020, of President Putin’s pretensions to annex a series of territories of ex-Soviet republics for the reason that these are presents made by the Russian nation; d) direct aggression of Ukraine, in February 2022, along practically the whole perimeter. This is the method chosen by Russia to restore the status of a pole of the multipolar world and of country that influences the fates of the world.

Sic transit gloria mundi (Thus passes the glory of the world)....

It can be said that overall responsibility for Russia’s aggressive policy of the past 15 years is borne by President Putin, the Russian political elites and propagandists who washed the brain of the citizens and incited hatred. But it would be too easy to believe so. The truth is exactly during the period when President Putin announced the embracing of the Russian World concept, in 2007, solemnly pledging to promote Russian expansionism, a series of sociological surveys were conducted and these revealed the nostalgic wishes of the Russian citizens. According to the surveys, approximately ¾ of Russia’s citizens long for the restoration of the grandeur lost together with the dissolution of the USSR. Respectively, things should be regarded through the angle of the wish to return to the status of global power that influences the fates of the world.

The deriving conclusion is that the Russian political elites adjusted to the nostalgic expectations of most of the citizens to see the earlier grandeur of the USSR or imperial Russia restored. In this connection, it is opportune to invoke the discussions on the collective blame of the nations launched immediately after the invasion of Ukraine on February 24 this year by different circles of intellectuals. Indeed, the catastrophe of the militarist adventure in Ukraine occurred against the nostalgic feelings of about ¾ of the citizens over the restoration of Russia’s grandeur.  The absolute majority of Russian citizens welcomed the annexation of Crimea and the aggression of Ukraine. The direct invasion of Ukraine is nothing but a new phase of the annexation of Crimea and the war in Donbas caused by Russia. This thing was recently confirmed by the justice system of the Netherlands, which showed who and with what weapons fought for the separatists during eight years.

Now that the war entered an uncertain stage and the Russian army suffers defeats on different segments of the front in Ukraine, the regime of Putin had to announce partial mobilization that will most probably be followed by general mobilization. Respectively, the Russian citizens slowly change their attitude to the regime that they blindly supported because it allegedly raised Russia from its knees and restored the longed-for grandeur. Anyway, in such circumstances, it is highly improbable that large segments of the population will reach the conclusion that collective blame should be assumed, followed by remorse for the act of aggression and crimes committed in Ukraine, where: over 100,000 people – troops from both of the sides and innocent civilians have been already killed; the population is periodically subject to terror through the agency of shelling; the economy and critical infrastructure was destroyed in proportion of over 59%; approximately 1/3 of the citizens became refugees or internally displaced people; over 10 million people live without elementary public utilities etc. The series of needs and shortages will expand together with the cold period of the year.

Homo sovieticus hasn’t repented for the crimes of Communism – tens of millions of people killed even if this was urged to do it in an extremely intelligent way. Homo postsovieticus nostalgicus will surely not repent as well. The thirst for grandeur and repentance are incompatible. Respectively, Putin’s propagandists never tire of repeating that a nuclear power engaged in a war cannot lose it and is ready to resort to the ultima ratio, the main argument being Putin’s statement – why do we need a world if Russia is not in it?

The resorting to blackmailing is often one of the forms of manifestations of impotence. This way, in pursuit of grandeur, Russia: became the country that is subject to the most severe sanctions on the part of the international community; lost the most important markets for selling its products; showed to the whole world how immature it is and that it is fully dependent technologically on the West; proved the army’s weakness and the inefficiency of its conventional weapons. The consequences are: it lost international armament markets; became extremely dependent on China, undermined its fetishized sovereignty; destroyed the country’s prestige, dramatically hampering the return to normality; condemned the future generations to uncertainty and work for reparations of trillions of dollars to Ukraine etc. Not accidentally, an old proverb says that he who longs for grandeur does not get to relish it, on the contrary… 

Lack of discernment in nostalgic Moldovans

According to sociological surveys, nostalgia for Russia’s grandeur is typical for the supporters of all the Russian parliamentary parties that unconditionally support the regime of Putin: United Russia – 78%, Zhirinovsky’s LDPR – 79%, Rodina Party (the Fair Russia) – 74%, the Communist Party of Zyuganov – 62%. In the Republic of Moldova, all the opposition parliamentary parties have official relations of friendship and partnership with the given Russian parties, tacitly supporting Russia’s pretentions of grandeur.

The Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) has cooperation agreements with the Fair Russia and United Russia. The given cooperation took bizarre forms. For example, the PSRM renounced the own doctrine in order to embrace the ideology of Putin’s conservatism. Evidently, the PSRM is also pleased that some of the leaders of United Russia plead in favor of using nuclear weapons against Russia’s opponents. For its part, the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) claims that it remains faithful to the Marxist-Leninist doctrine, alongside Zyuganov’s Communist Party of the Russian Federation, as part of the so-called Union of Communist Parties (UPC-PCUS) in which the nostalgia for the late USSR is hatched. The irony of fate is that no trace of the alleged values – internationalism and friendship of nations – remained inside the UPC-PCSU. There is only Russian grandeur chauvinism and the nostalgia for grandness. Ultimately, the Shor Party established friendly relations with the LDPR of Zhirinovsky, with which it allegedly discussed the supply of gas to Orhei district at preferential prices.

It is not at all accidental that the mentioned opposition parliamentary parties categorically refuse to publicly express their attitude to the Russian aggression against Ukraine. It is a proof of full lack of discernment and empathy with the millions of suffering people and hundreds of thousands of killed people. To a great extent, the nostalgia for the great Communist past that takes obsessive forms is also to blame.

Вы используете модуль ADS Blocker .
IPN поддерживается от рекламы.
Поддержи свободную прессу!
Некоторые функции могут быть заблокированы, отключите модуль ADS Blocker .
Спасибо за понимание!
Команда IPN.