Thursday, March 7, 2013

Window on Eurasia: ‘Russians Have Never Had a State of Their Own’ and Consequently They and It are at Risk, Nationalist Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 7 – “The Russian nation has never had its own state,” and consequently, the Russian nation has never completely taken shape, according to a Russian nationalist commentator. That has left the Russians as an ethnic community far behind others in terms both of their consciousness and of their willingness to defend the country in which they live.

            Maksim Shinfein, who writes the Russian nationalist Sinn-Fein-Front blog, argues, as Marxists do, that a nation can be founded only by a bourgeois state of a non-feudal type and that “in Russia, a state of [this] type has not for the time being at least appeared” (

            As a result, as far as national self-consciousness is conceerend, Russians are “behind the Jews, the Poles and even [the Ukrainians]. We continue to be Soviet: ‘We’ not in the sense of ‘and I also’ and not in the sense of ‘Russian nationalists.” Rather “’we’ in the sense of a civic Russian society.”

            Why is the UN an organization of nations? He asks. “Why nations and not sovereign states as the case with the CIS?”  That is because “only nations create states.”  And that explains at least in part why the Belarusian SSR and the Ukrainian SSR had seats at the UN alongside the USSR, but the RSFSR, the supposed state of the Russians, did not.

Despite what Moscow insists, the Russian Federation, like the RSFSR before it, was not and is not a national state and has included within it nations like the Chechens and Daghestanis, Sinnfein says. “As a result, we are giving birth to risks which have not yet been measured by anyone.”

“By suppressing Russian national consciousness and the striving toward a Russian nation state,” he continues, “we are leading ourselves and our country to a crisis of a type with which neither Rome, nor Byzantium, nor Austro-Hungary were able to cope.” Instead, we are being led toward a Eurasian empire of “’all good people against all bad ones.’”

There are “good people” in all communities, the blogger says, and one could bring them together to build a Tower of Babylon. But “this does not mean that it is necessary to give all [such] people citizenship and the right to decide our fate for us.”  Friendship is fine, but it is “an individual choice,” not something that can be imposed from above.

“Do you know why no one wants to serve in the Russian army, but in Israel, people consider it an honor?” he asks. The reason is become the Russian army is called upon to defend “a state formation which no one understands” and which “at a subconscious level is conceived by all as something alien.” The Israeli army, in contast,, “defends it people and each of that people’s members.”

“The Soviet Union was a utopia,” and it died when the communist idea that had “cemented it together” did, Shinfein says.  “The Russian Federation has idea cementing it together. May 9 or November 4. Don’t be absurd.  What unites ethnic Russians with Muslim Caucasians or Muslim immigrants? Nothing, except Putin’s desire to create USSR 2.0.”

According to the nationalist blogger, Russians today “are following the worst imperial scenario,” one that resembles that of Rome which as all Russians know fell. That is because imperial Rome gave “citizenship left and right,” something that did not “solve the problems of unity” but laid a mine under the state while its people were occupied by “’bread and circuses.’”

“Doesn’t anyone remember anything?” Shinfein asks. Rome “disappeared” from the map, but “today we still can save our people and our country. At least we can still keep 95 percent of its territory.”  But that opportunity will not last forever, and if Russians do not seize it, others will work to reduce the country to “the size of Moscow oblast.”

“Al that is needed for salvation,” the blogger concludes, “is to recognize ourselves as ethnic Russians. Not as Soviets and not as [non-ethnic] Rossiyane.” If that happens, we can “at last build a Russian state, state of our brothers” and one capable of maintaining itself in the world.

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