Friday, May 13, 2022

Russian Society is Fragmented, Cynical, Atheistic, Nationalistic and Angry, Zolotaryov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 1 – Muscovites both the powers and the opposition are “completely cut off” from the realities of the country, Yaroslav Zolotaryov says. Sometimes these realities appear in scholarly studies but few read those and so the country is being led by people who have little or no idea about its population.

            The Tomsk entrepreneur and promoter of a distinct Siberian language makes four points about what the situation of the population of the Russian Federation really is based on his experiences interacting with the lower and middle ranks of the social pyramid (

            First, Zolotaryov says, no one believes in any religion: “for the poor it is simply one of the free and traditional distractions” and for the middle class, “priests are simply fraudsters who are potentially dangerous for business.”

            Second, the population is dominated by narrow nationalisms with residents of one region often viewing residents of the latter who are nominally members of the same nation as aliens.” Talk about some kind of “all-Russian nationalism” is nonsense, “the dream of an insignificant group of Moscow fools.” Instead, everyone hates everyone else.

            Third, he continues, “all social strata hate one another: there is no social contract, and all together hate the powers.” They get involved in all national “cults of victory” as a form of entertainment rather than commitment.

            And fourth, “the only morality which Russians profess is corporative: that is, one must help one’s own and harm others.” If no one interferes, that is what they will do in both directions. The Russian language could help unify Russians but few Russians take any note of that possibility.

            In this situation, Russia is held together not only by the propaganda of the regime and its willingness to use force but also by the West which finds it less expensive to get the natural resources Russia has from a single country than from a plethora of them.

            But if that should change and it turns out that it will be cheaper to keep the oil and gas flowing “without Russia – and Putin [unwittingly] is helping to create precisely that situation” – then, Zolotaryov concludes, the West will not longer support “the unity of this country” and it will disintegrate all the more rapidly.

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