Staunton, June 8 – There is a famous anecdote about two 19th century Slavophiles who separately decided to dress up as they imagined traditional Russians did and when they encountered each other on the streets of Moscow, each assumed the other was not a Russian but a visitor from Persia or somewhere even more exotic.
There is perhaps an even greater danger that in their drive to push Russia back into the past, some supporters of the Putin regime and its “traditionalist” approach to Russia and Russian culture may end up in the same situation. Three events in Moscow this week at least raise that possibility:
· Russian Education and Science Minister Olga Vasilyeva has called for “returning” all the languages of the CIS to the Cyrillic alphabet because “our population in the near abroad speaks about its attachment” to that Russian script (turantoday.com/2017/06/russia-sng-turkic-states-cyrillic-script.html). Presumably she wants Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, the Crimean Tatars and the Gagauz to return to the Stalin-imposed Cyrillic scripts, to block Kazakhstan from moving in that direction, and perhaps having Armenia give up its national alphabet as well.
· Duma deputies from Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s LDPR have called for restoring the tsarist anthem, “God, Preserve the Tsar” and the tsarist flag because they say such moves will underscore the continuity of Russian history and the unity of the Russian people (politsovet.ru/55539-v-gosdumu-vnesli-zakon-o-vozvraschenii-gimna-bozhe-carya-hrani.html).
· And the LDPR deputies have also introduced legislation calling for a return to the Julian calendar which Russia went off of in 1918. That calendar, still used by the Russian Orthodox Church, is now 14 days behind the Gregorian calendar most countries, including the Russian Federation, now use (kp.ru/daily/26688/3712589/).
Zhirinovsky’s followers expect support from “patriots” in all political factions, one of their number says. But there is one place at least where they aren’t getting it: the Russian Imperial House of the Romanovs. A spokesman for Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna said that the whole idea was “illogical” and does not conform to present-day realities.
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