Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Nicholas II because of His Murder has been Transformed from a Real Historical Figure into a Symbol of All Russia has Lost, Teslya Says


 Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 17 – One hundred years ago today, the Bolsheviks slaughtered Nicholas II, his wife and children and some of his servants in the basement of the Ipatyev House in Yekaterinburg. In the years since, the reactions of Russians have significantly evolved to the point where that murder is viewed as a symbol of all Russians have lost, Andrey Teslya says.

            The instructor at the Baltic Federal University in Kaliningrad says that at first the killing was viewed only as “one of the bestial actions of the Bolsheviks” among many. But “gradually,” he says, the views of most Russians evolved; and today, Nicholas II and especially his martyrdom have become symbols of “a lost and genuine world” (republic.ru/posts/91505).

            Because the tsar had been deeply unpopular, even Russians who opposed the revolutions were not in his corner and viewed his murder as ugly but only one of many in the summer of 1918.  Opponents of the Bolsheviks were not his supporters and adopted the view that the future of the Russian state should be determined by a Constituent Assembly.

            That should not surprise anyone, Teslya says, because “by the end of 1916 and the beginning of 1917, there were few in educated society who remained sympathetic to the emperor and the empress.” Many of them wanted him out of office and had taken part in conspiracies of various kinds against him. Even the upper reaches of the aristocracy were opposed to Nicholas.           

            Consequently, he continues, “the idea of monarchy by 1917 was dead.”  Indeed, by the time of the February revolution, there were no monarchists left in Russia. There is nothing strange in that, Teslya observes. The same was true in France in 1792 and 1848 and in Germany in 1918.

            “The rightist monarchist organizations which arose in the course of the revolution of 1905 beginning with the Union of the Russian People and the Union of the Archangel Mikhail turned out by 1914 to be practically inactive,” a reflection both of the government’s stabilization efforts and the patriotism that arose in the first months of World War I.
                                                                                                          
            Thus, “the specter of restoration in 1917 and the beginning of 1918 was influential not in and of itself but only as an accusation, a source of suspicion and fear,” the Kaliningrad scholar says. And that was generally true among the anti-Bolshevik White movements which had few monarchists as well as universally so among the Bolsheviks themselves.

            “Monarchist attitudes arose in emigration” and then only after many of those who had most directly experienced the reign of Nicholas had ceased to be the most influential spokesman for its ideas.  As years passed, “the empire became ever more beautiful in the eyes of emigres,” and with the empire so too the emperor.

            The brutality of the murder of the Imperial Family “became a factor in the strengthening of monarchist feelings and illusions,” with the real Nicholas II disappearing in favor of the sainted image of “the tsar martyr.”  And that happened as the arguments about restoration in the 1920s gave way to the unrealizable dreams of the 1930s and the post-World War II world.

            “The further from the real Russia” the emigres were, the more inclined they became to deify the tsar and his family, and as that happened, something else happened as well. People divided themselves and others on the basis of attitudes not about reality but about an image that they had invented.

            Today, that same process has occurred in Russia itself, “and the figure of Nicholas II symbolizes all ‘the old past’ and imperial greatness,” without much or in some cases any concern about the real history of that ruler and his reign and their links with or lack of links with Russian greatness.

As a Result of Russian Flight, Non-Russian Republics Becoming More Ethnically Homogenous, Tishkov Says


Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 17 – Yesterday, the presidium of the Russian Presidential Council on Inter-Ethnic Relations met to discuss the issues they will raise when they meet with Vladimir Putin sometime in the fall.  The Nazaccent news agency focused on the remarks of two of its members.

            Academician Valery Tishkov directed the attention of participants to the exodus of non-titular nationalities from the non-Russian republics of the Russian Federation, a trend that he says “entails the danger of isolationism” in them (nazaccent.ru/content/27712-chleny-prezidentskogo-soveta-obsudili-svyaz-nacpolitiki.html).

            The former nationalities minister added that “programs for returning ethnic Russians to the republics have not given any tangible results.”

            He noted that according to his data, “the composition of the population of the Russian Federation is changing in the direction of an increase of Turkic, Daghestani, and Vainakh peoples and the reduction in the number of Finno-Ugric and Slavic ones.” But Slavs still account for “more than 80 percent,” and so this should not provoke any fears.

            The other speaker Nazaccent reported on was former sports figure Vitaly Mutko who was attending the council for the first time.  The agency said that he “demonstrated knowledge and interest” about nationality issues and welcomed his promise to resuscitate the inter-agency nationalities working group that Aleksandr Khloponin only convened once.

            But Mutko’s most intriguing remark, if Nazaccent reported his words correctly, was his assertion that native languages must not be option if one is speaking about the official language of the republic.” If Mutko actually said that, his position would be the exact opposite of Vladimir Putin’s, something that seems very hard to believe.

            But if this report is accurate, Mutko will have already won himself support among many non-Russians, something that could help him recover from his disgrace as the man most prominently associated with the doping scandal that has marred Russian sports since the time of the Sochi Olympiad.

Kremlin Urged to Follow Orel and Recognize Donbass ‘Now that World Cup is Over’


Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 17 – Now that the World Cup and the Helsinki Summit is over, Moscow analysts say, the Russian government should immediately recognize the independence of the Ukraine’s Donbass and then integrate it with Russia in the ways the governor of Orel Oblast has already taken steps to do. 

            “Before the World Cup,” Aleksey Polubota of Svobodnaya pressa says today, “many political analysts in Moscow said that Russia’s hands were tied lest it disturb relations on the eve of sports event so important for us.” But now, he and many of them say, it is time to go ahead without regard to the West (svpressa.ru/war21/article/205448/).

            The governor of Orel Oblast has shown the way by setting up a joint commission to integrate the two Donbass republics into Russia, the Svobodnaya pressa analyst says. (For a discussion of his actions last week, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/07/russia-has-begun-integration-of-donbass.html.)

            Aleksey Kochetkov, the president of the Russian Foundation for Civil Society Development, says that he personally believes Moscow should have recognized the DNR and the LNR “already four years ago.” Had it done so, he continues, many lives would have been saved. But even now, taking that step would be a good one.

            “In general,” Kochetkov says, “it is necessary to put the question more broadly: does a Nazi regime, which has destroyed peaceful residents, have the right to exist in the center of Europe?” And that question must be raised, he says, because those under the protection of the Ukrainian powers that be represent a threat not only for Russia but also for other countries.”

            Having analyzed the problems of the so-called “unrecognized states on the post-Soviet space” for many years, he says he believes that the process of Russian recognition has gone too slowly both elsewhere and in the case of the Donbass, but despite its slow pace, Moscow is moving toward recognition of two Donbass republics as it did Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

            Aleksey Anpilogov, head of the Osnovanye Historical Research Foundation, stresses that each unrecognized republic is slightly different; and he points to the situation in Cyprus where the Turks have controlled the north but the south has been able to become a member of the European Union.

            “Apparently,” he continues, “the Kyiv regime hopes that approximately the same story will be repeated with Ukraine; that is, despite the unresolved territorial disputes, the country will be taken into the EU and NATO.” But however that may be, the peoples of the Donbass are moving toward Russia even though Russia is not moving fast enough to recognize them.

            The Donbass and Ukraine are growing apart, Anpilogov says, and soon no one will be talking about their coming back together just as no one talks about reuniting Austria and Hungary even though they were part of one country just over a century ago. Unfortunately, not everyone in Moscow appears to understand this.

            He gives as an example of this failure the demand by Russian officials that “residents of the Donbass renew their Ukrainian passports in a timely fashion lest they cease to be recognized on Russian territory.”  Anpilogov says he has been assured that Russian officials are addressing this problem right now.

            According to the analyst, “Russia missed the first moment when it could have proceeded along this path, the fall of 2014. Now, however, for the recognition of the DNR and LNR, the Kremlin doesn’t see a basis and is waiting for the next crisis” when it can act. For the time being, he says, “a situation of ‘no war, no peace’ continues.”

            Some Russian officials appear to fear that giving Donbass residents Russian passports will upset the West. Of course, it will, Anpilogov says; but the West was “far more unhappy about the inclusion of Crimea into Russia. And despite that, the sky has not yet fallen.” It wouldn’t in this case either.

            “I think,” he concludes, “what is involved are the phantom concerns of the Muscovite ruling class. Namely the Muscovite and not the Russian because the main part of the ordinary citizens of Russia and even regional elites would entirely support not only handing out Russian passports to the residents of the Donbass but the inclusion of the DNR and LNR into Russia.”