Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Russians More Apocalyptic than Other Nations and Thus More Often Wrong, Inozemtsev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 13 – Disasters of all kinds generally lead to apocalyptic predictions that the world will never be the same as it was, Vladislav Inozemtsev says; and in almost all cases, such prognostications are wrong because they ignore the fact that the world is always changing and that people learn from disasters as well as suffer from them.

            Those cautionary notes are especially important in the Russian case because Russians, the Moscow economist says, are particularly given to apocalypticism now because they are falling behind much of the rest of the world and hope for some single transformative event that will bring low their enemies and thus benefit them (

            Combined with the near universal tendency to pay more attention to bad news than to good, that gives a particular cast to much of Russian discussions now, with predictions ranging from the total collapse of globalism to a radical return to the medieval period, with few qualifiers.

            Those who encounter such predictions and those who make them should remember, Inozemtsev says, that “there is nothing more mistaken than to judge about history from the perspective of today. And there is nothing more senseless than to frighten people with the future. Because the future is our life.” It is, no matter our ages, “all we have.”

            And when confronting what appears to be transformative change, he suggests, such people – and that includes all of us – should never forget the wisdom of the author of Ecclesiastes: “There truly is nothing new under the sun.” What appears to be quickly turns out not to be or at least not to be in the way we imagine.

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