Saturday, September 16, 2017

Russians have Lost Faith in Chekist Rule Just as They Did Communist and Democratic Ones, Ikhlov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 16 – A major reason for the rise in confusion and aggressive in Russian society is that for the third time in a generation, Russians have lost their faith in the set of ideas they had earlier believed in as each of these ideological visions failed to deliver on its promises, Yevgeny Ikhlov says.

            And if Russia were a bit more archaic than it is, he says, it would likely be moving in the direction of “a fundamentalist revolution of the Iranian type.”  But “thanks to seven decades of Soviet state atheism and widespread superstitious paganism … for the time being, it has gotten away with just a ‘Mathilda jihad’” (

            The first loss of faith occurred in 1990 when “the dream of a correct, honest and just socialism” collapsed. That dream had existed since the time of Khrushchev’s Secret Speech to 20th Congress of the CPSU in March 1956, but by the late 1980s, it had become obvious to all that it was never going to be realized.

            The second loss of faith, this time in “anti-communist democracy,” the Moscow commentator continues, occurred in 1993, with Boris Yeltsin’s use of force against the Russian Supreme Soviet and the launch of the first post-Soviet Chechen.  Russians took from those events that they weren’t going to have a contemporary democratic system anytime soon.

            And the third loss of faith, which involved rising disappointment in the rule of the Chekists – the Russian version of Mussolini-style fascism – and the ability of people from the security services to impose order and provide at the same time societal transformation in “an eschatological battle with the West for … Eastern Ukraine the ‘Russian World.’”

            Two years ago, Russians recognized that promises about the formation of a Russian world were “exactly the same political fata morgana” as that offered by the tsarist regime in World War I about putting a Russian Orthodox cross on Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, a mobilizing idea but not one fated to be realized.

            Having lost faith three times in a generation, Ikhlov suggests, they find it hard to believe in anything, however much they may want to and however often someone will try to present them with ideas bigger than themselves.

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