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they are “the results of an unnatural selection, the choice not of the best but of the worse, of people with morally outdated ways of thinking.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.