Monday, April 29, 2019

Russia Urbanizing but Still Lacks an Urban Culture, Pryanikov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 28 – Vladislav Surkov attracted attention recently with his use of the term “the deep people,” a term that was introduced more than a decade ago by social thinker Vyacheslav Glazychev who though that it included rural Russians and those who had been in cities for only a generation or two, Pavel Pryanikov says. 

            That recollection, the Yekaterinburg commentator continues, led him to go back to Glazychev’s original formulation and to conclude that while the deep people may no longer number the 80 percent of the population the thinker believed, it still forms a majority of the population (

            When he talked about the deep people in Russian cities, Pryanikov adds, Glazychev made the following observation, one that the commentator clearly believes remains true to this day and helps to explain why Surkov found the idea so attractive:

“There is still not an urban culture in Russia; there is only a settlement one based on the formation of housing areas for factories. And despite the fact that many of these factories last a long time, the stereotypes remain. The stereotypes of people without a civic feeling, without the feeling that this is their city. A settlement doesn’t need society and people, only labor resources.

“A settlement without fail designates a temporary phenomenon, one that at any moment is prepared to be driven out, torn down and relocated, organized somehow to get through the day but in principle alien and even hostile to any shadow of stability, inheritance or rootedness.

“A city in Russia is a burgeoning factory settlement. A city in the European understanding is a self-administering community of people connected by a joint existence.

“For the time being [people] live in something which consists of apartment blocks, roads, street signs and signs suggesting public places. But this isn’t a city. A city arises when an urban community does. In the Middle Ages, the urban community was able to grow out of craftsmen; in our time, it can grow only out of zones of intellectual labor which draw within itself the services sphere.

“The power elite of settlements is at present the most serious opponent of the rise of the city as a social institution, organized in such way that it delegates ‘upward’ only those functions which cannot be filled at the level of self-administration.

“With certain exceptions of a personal character, the power elite as a whole is itself the clearest manifestation of this settlement consciousness. 

“Settlement consciousness does not like itself, but it is completely hostile to all non-settlement phenomena, something that broke through in the 1990s in the publicist works of A. Prokhanov, Yu. Vlasov and collage-sharped little speeches of S. Govorukhin.”

No comments:

Post a Comment