Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Remember Novgorod and Fight Putin’s Despotism, Milin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 29 – Vladimir Putin wants to convince Russians that they have always lived under despotism and that therefore they should accept his latest version as entirely consistent with Russian tradition, Dmitry Milin says. But in fact, Putin’s claims are not true. Russia has an ancient democratic tradition and it needs to remember it in order to revive it.

            That tradition rests in the Republic of Novgorod the Great, the Russian commentator says. It is republican and democratic and its existed for hundreds of years until Muscovy conquered and suppressed it, something the supporters of despotism now would like to “white out” of the history of the country (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5CC6963749B83).

            Indeed, Milin continues, “anyone who speaks about ‘the eternal slavery of the Russians’ is playing into the hands of despotism and Putin.” Those who support democracy and a republic form of government must remind everyone that “the history of Rus (both Muscovite and Kievan) is not only the history of despotism and monarchy.”

            It also includes “the history of the greatest trade and manufacturing republic which existed 342 years while surrounded by stronger despotisms.”  Those who want to keep democracy in Russia suppressed want everyone to forget about that part of the nation’s history and celebrate only the despots like Putin.

            “Our duty,” Milin says, “is to oppose that.”

            “Genuine Russian traditions are the traditions of the democracy of the veche, and NOT of despotism. Do not forget about this however difficult it sometimes seems to be.” If one forgets this for even a minute, he suggests, one is unwittingly helping those who insist that “’Russians need a tsar’ or a supreme leader or a dictator.”

            In fact, in Russian history and Russia today, there are many people committed to freedom and equal treatment of all peoples; and they do not need to survive “any tsar, supreme leader, dictator or a president with dictatorial authority.”

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