Saturday, December 29, 2018

Russian Opposition Still Views Putin Regime like Dr. Watson Rather than like Sherlock Holmes, Sedov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 28 – One of the most common mistake of opposition commentators in Russia is their effort to understand the Putin regime using their own logic, something that simply doesn’t work, for as Sherlock Holmes demonstrated, he could succeed in countering Professor Moriarity only by thinking like him, Yegor Sedov says.

            That ability, which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle highlighted in all his stories about the famous investigator, set Holmes apart from Dr. Waterson, who could think deductively but who could never manage to think like his most clever opponent, according to the Moscow commentator (

                The opposition in Russia  must recognize that the people in power are not like them, Sedov says. Instead, they are “the results of an unnatural selection, the choice not of the best but of the worse, of people with morally outdated ways of thinking. Archaic specimens,” who can’t be understood without reference to “rites, shamanistic practices, egregory, and magic.” 

            One cannot understand Putin or his regime without these and shouldn’t even try, the commentator says, because “it is not so important whether you believe all this or not, most likely you won’t. What is important is that they believe what they say,” be it rockets which violate physical principles or anything else.

            In trying to understand the Putin people, Sedov says, the best thing to do is to turn to Sir James Frazier’s classic study of myth, The Golden Bough. “There you will find everything. For example, why ‘a personage’ simply can’t mention the name of his opponent; or why they punish people for completely innocent expressions or pictures online.”

            Explaining such things with the concepts of political science doesn’t work; explaining them with the insights of ethnographers and anthropologists does. That is because Russia today, Sedov says, is ruled by people with archaic minds “who consciousness is full of superstitions” and who have maintained themselves to date by filling the minds of others with the same.

            But in a rapidly changing world, that only works so long; it will not work forever.  That is something those who know something about myths, myth makers and their deaths know; it is something even those who continue to hold fast to them even are beginning to suspect, the commentator suggests.

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