Sunday, February 15, 2015

Kvas Patriots Harming Russia More than Its Nominal Enemies, Samoylov Says

Paul Goble


            Staunton, February 15 – “Kvas patriotism,” the term Russians have long used to describe the crudest and most uncritical form of loyalty to the state among them, once again has won out in Russia, Aleksandr Samoylov says; and it is again inflicting more damage on the country than the foreign states that both those infected by it and the Kremlin identify as Russia’s enemies.


                The reason for that conclusion, the Moscow commentator says, is that kvas patriots “support any actions of the existing authorities” in ways that do not in fact provide real support to those in power but which convince the latter they are always right, something that has led to disaster in Russia again and again (


            As a result, he continues “our country has frequently shown that the government” which has such supporters and which takes their declarations of loyalty at face value nonetheless completely incapable of “guaranteeing national security of the country or a happy future for the descendants” of the kvas patriots and everyone else.


.           The USSR was only the latest example, Samoylov writes. In Soviet times, “the terms patriot and patriotism were extremely popular, but this was far from the feeling of patriotism which makes the people and each individual responsible for the life of the country. In fact, we delegated this responsibility to the regime and left ourselves in the comfortable position of outside observers.”


            That meant that when the USSR collapsed, many Russians “threw up their hands and said ‘well, what could we do!?’”  They blamed the three leaders who assembled in Beloveshchaya and “under the influence of alcohol organized things for hundreds of millions” of people, and they utterly refused to assume that they themselves had anything to do with this – or should.


            The harm that such “quasi-patriots” have inflicted on Russia “unfortunately has still not received an adequate assessment,” and quite possibly for that reason, they continue to inflict such harm even now, allowing the leaders to avoid facing reality and allowing themselves to view Russia as something others but not themselves are responsible.


            Again and again this has happened: it led to the ignominious loss to Japan in 1905, to the deaths of millions in World War II, to the collapse of the Soviet Union, and to more recent adventures as well, including not just Georgia and Ukraine but the conversion of Russia into a raw materials supplier to the world without industry but with an ever more impoverished people.  


            In the months following the annexation of Crimea, Russia has experienced the latest wave of kvas patriotism.  One can only speculate, Samoylov says, to what new disaster it will lead a country whose population likes to call itself patriotic but shows no readiness to take responsibility for what is going on.



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