Monday, September 30, 2019

Russia Lacks a Real Left that Can Resist Right’s Egotism and Aggressiveness, Skobov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 27 – The fact that the Russian regime and the Russian opposition were united in denouncing Greta Thunberg for her message on climate change highlights something many prefer to ignore, Aleksandr Skobov says. Russia lacks the immune system to the egotism and the aggressiveness of the right and makes its recovery that much more difficult.

            Throughout the world but not in Russia, the Moscow commentator says, reaction to Thunberg’s message generally dividing between those on the left side of the spectrum who typically supported her and those on the right who opposed what she had to say (

            In many respects, the young Swedish activist instantly became almost “the situational leader and face of ‘the big left of center camp’ of the world political scene,” a camp that recently has been suffering from “a serious systemic crisis,” Skobov continues.  But fortunately for the left, the right is also suffering from a similar crisis.

            Otherwise, he suggests, the right’s “informal world leader would not be such a clown as Trump. In general, we live in an era of the global crisis of traditional political structures.”  Those on the left unfortunately often play the role of “’useful idiots,’” defending what they should criticize and failing to counter the right’s drive to return the world to “’the law of the jungle.”

            “Gret Thunberg may be mistaken in details,” Skobov says; “but namely the camp which is represented by her defends the values of empathy, solidarity and human rights” that serve as limits to unfettered competition and the struggle for domination and that restrain “the bestial egoistic foundation in human beings.”

            This camp on the left is “the immune system of humanity,” Skobov argues.

            “Many on the left today do not fully recognize what a threat to freedom throughout the world emanates from the regime of the Kremlin Hitlerites. But in the near future, only ‘the left wing’ of Western civilization has a chance to defend this civilization from the aggressive revanchism of traditionalism and its inevitable part, authoritarianism.”

            That those known as progressives in Russia opposed Thunberg so passionately is explained by the fact that “a significant majority of Russian liberals are rightists in their heads. That is, in fact they are not liberals but conservatives. But in fact, the situation is even worse than that.”

            “In Russia,” Skobov concludes, “there are no leftists,” with the exception of some marginal groups.  Instead, there are “’Red conservatives,’” “Soviet traditionalists,’” and “Soveit fundamentalists.”  But all these groups are “archaic and interested in preserving or restoring the past not in moving toward the future.”

            And that means something tragic: “Russia is a country without the immune system” to authoritarianism and egotistical politics unlike other countries which at least have some who continue to campaign for a more humane world in which empathy and human rights have a central place.

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