Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Russian Patriots and Nationalists All Waiting for a Miracle, Doctor Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 28 – Russian nationalists, national patriots and patriots of other kinds share one thing in common, Aleksey Zhivov says. Rather than working to change things, they are all waiting for a miracle of one kind or another that they expect will solve all their problems but that in fact will change little or nothing on the ground.

            The Moscow doctor says that “many times in [his] practice [he] has dealt with nationalists, national patriots and patriots of various kinds are expecting some sort of miracle … which will destroy all their enemies and ‘betrayers of Russia’ and open for them a bright political future” in which they can “save Russia” (

                Such feelings, he continues, have two effects. On the one hand, they keep those who have them from actually doing anything to bring the future they want into reality. And on the other, they also prevent them from recognizing that a future brought into being by such “miracles” is likely to be far less different than the present world they do not like at all. 

                Moreover, Zhivov says, “when all one’s political position is transformed into a constant passive reflection, one can only conclude that [such people] have no real political position at all.  And as a citizen, [they] don’t exist and are much worse than normal apolitical because from them little is being asked while from [the others] a great deal is being demanded.”

            For the last 10 t 15 years, people with such an approach have been waiting for “the end of ‘the Putin regime,’” without thinking about what they need to do to bring that about or preparing for what they would need to do if their “miracle” somehow occurred. As a result, they would almost certainly discover the morning after that no “miracle” had occurred at all.

            “If one follows the development of nationalism in the history of Russia,” the doctor says, “we see that the Decembrists for a long time wanted to reach an agreement with the tsar, already having powerful and influential structures and personal military experience … and even when everything failed, they from exile and jail before their execution wrote letters to the emperor.”

            Pavel Pestel, for example, “before his execution laconically noted that the thing for which he lived was the good of Russia and the Russian people.” Later, the nationalists of the middle and end of the 19th century, “despite the obvious struggle with them had their own structures and left their cultural inheritance and participated in all wars on the side of the Slavs and Russia.”

            “Their unbelievable passion and inextinguishable belief in victory set them apart,” Zhivov writes.  “And even when they did not get the desired republic, the Slavophiles and in part the Westernizer Nationalists all the same continued to send the tsars their messages and became his executors.”

            And he concludes: “The success of the national movement as a whole and of its ideologues in particular requires that they finally reject the idea of living and writing in expectation of a political Russian Christ.” And having given that up, they must get to work to change themselves and Russia. Otherwise, they will change neither.   

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