Sunday, September 12, 2021

‘Hurrah Patriotism’ Last Thing Left of Soviet Ideology, Sitkin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Sept. 12 – The restoration of the politruk system in schools represents a major “decisive step into the past,” Makar Sitkin says; but it also highlights how much the ideology such people will be promoting has changed, with the only thing left of the Soviet one being a vulgar “hurrah patriotism.”

            Soviet ideology, the Novaya gazeta commentator says, required not just patriotic education. It also included internationalist ideas, a sense of comradeships and mutual assistance, a commitment to a respectful attitude toward the property of the people and the works of others, respects for elders “and on and on” (

            At present, “the advisors on education,” as politruks are now being called, are “a very strange occupation.” Their role and training is not clearly defined, and the only thing everyone seems to be able to agree on is that they will promote patriotism and involve schoolchildren in the Russian Pupil’s Movement, “something like the scouts or Pioneers” and the Youth Army.

            So far, this is only a pilot program operating in 10 regions, and there is a great deal of discussion about how this new system will work. But the fact that it has narrowed to patriotism alone increases the likelihood that it will insist on unquestioned support for the government and repression against anyone, pupils or teachers, who raises any questions.

            In short, it institutionalizes the very “hurrah patriotism” that Soviet ideologists condemned so often and dispenses with the promotion of other things, like inter-ethnic and inter-religious tolerance that the ideologists of the past at least gave lip service to. This is not a recipe for anything except a militarized and authoritarian regime.

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