Staunton, January 5 – Stalinism, Yevgeny Ikhlov argues, is “proletarian Slavophilism,” which remains popular because it like the earlier Slavophiles identifies as the Israel of today not the followers of a particular faith but a people and because Stalinism is not intended as “a medicine for the diseases of Western civilization but as a weapon for their destruction.”
Many have drawn parallels between the evolution of Christianity and that of Marxism, but Moscow commentator Ikhlov makes some especially intriguing observations about the vitality of Stalinist doctrines today in an article entitled “A New Formula of Stalinism” (forum-msk.org/material/politic/11299564.html).
As it split from its predecessor, each new Christian church claimed to have become Israel, Ikhlov says, and the same was true with the necessary change of terminology for each generation of Marxist ideologues. “But only the Russian Slavophiles decide to call ‘Israel’ (‘New Israel’) not a church but an ethnic (ethno-civilizational) community – the Russian people.”
And in this “’new Israel’ people, the Slavophiles generously included all Ukrainians, all Belarusians and all Orthodox Germans who had naturalized themselves in Russia.”
“Bolshevism,” he writes, “passed along a similar path, only much more quickly because the example of the Slavophiles was in front of everyone … If the first generation of Bolsheviks considered that French, German and British Marxists could become real Marxists while the still deeply peasant and semi-Asiatic Russian proletariat might not, the second wave with satisfaction supported the ‘heretical’ slogan about the victory of socialism in one country.”
“Very quickly,” Ikhlov says, “this slogan displayed its real meaning – only the proletariat of countries which had not experienced the seductions of stable bourgeois democracy and bourgeois reformism would be capable of being real ‘militants.’” And consequently, “Stalinism in essence is proletarian Slavophilism.”
And that in turn meant that Stalinism was “thought up not as a medicine for the illness of Western civilization but as a weapon for its destruction. Those two things taken together, the elect quality of Russians and the need to unit to destroy others, explain the continuing attraction, one could even say power, of Stalinism in Russian today.