Staunton, May 9 – Today, on the anniversary of the end of what Russians refer to as the Great Fatherland War – often spoken of by its Russian initials VOV -- Igor Eidman, a Russian commentator for Deutsche Well, posts on Facebook a commentary he prepared in 2015. It is if anything even more relevant now than it was three years ago.
He points out that “any non-apologetic evaluation of the events of the VOV elicits from the Russian authorities and journalists” – people he suggests should be called VOVans by analogy -- which recalls the reaction of Islamists to what they view as ‘an insult to the Prophet Mohammed” (facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1854539567942347&id=100001589654713).
“The basic dogma” of the VOVans, Eidman continues, is that “we saved the entire world,” including many who “it would have been better not to save” and that now “everyone owes us” for that. Those who express any doubts about that are ungrateful fascists.”
VOVans aren’t prepared to acknowledge “that other peoples also fought against Nazism, that Nazism as a historical phenomenon was doomed, that even if Russia had lost the war, Germany would have been beaten … and that the state which won in [that war] no longer exists and that present-day Russians overwhelmingly have no relationship to those events.”
For the followers of this cult like the followers of any other cult, evidence is irrelevant, Eidman says. They accept Tertullian’s principle “’credo quia absurdum est.’” And like the followers of other cults, including Islamism, “VOVans seek to impose their cult on the entire world” and to punish any who disagree with it.
“The main VOVan of Russia is VOVan Putin. The servants of the cult of the Great Fatherland War are his officials and propagandist servants.” Unfortunately for those who accept this cult, it works in just the opposite of Protestantism: it doesn’t encourage rational thought and personal initiative but rather promotes the acceptance of authority and dependence on the state.
The grandfathers of the VOVans of today really fought; but their grandchildren are ascribing to themselves triumphs which their ancestors won but that the VOVans did not. “Real veterans receive very little from this cult. They live worse than their former defeated opponents in Germany, and the state spends on them immeasurably less” than on public spectacles.
According to Eidman, “the main sacred symbol of this religion is ‘the Georgian ribbon,’ which VOVans on holidays attach to themselves in various way just as Papuans do with beads they have been given by travelers.”
There is one difference between the VOVans and the Islamists, he acknowledges. “If the Islamists are fanatics, highly-placed VOVans in the main are simply crooks who are trying to strengthen with the assistance of this cult their power and privileges. They sell their VOV-opium for the people” to keep them in line and themselves in wealth.”
Thus, the high priests of the VOVans are themselves “absolutely cynical, do not believe in anything and only serve those gods, the cult of which is most profitable.”
Those who actually fought in the war deserve real respect, not the ersatz kind the VOVans offer, Eidman says. The new cult, he continues, is at the center of a rapidly forming “chauvinist state ideology which is “evidence that the state in Russia is becoming ever more ideologized and moving from authoritarianism to totalitarianism.”