Sunday, August 21, 2022

Putinism an Extension of Leninism but Not Marxism, Verkhoturov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 25 – Because Lenin presented himself as a Marxist and Putin does not, most analysts see a sharp break between the two; but in fact, Dmitry Verkhoturov says, Lenin had broken with Marxism on many key issues and was informed instead by the ideas of Russian philosopher Nikolay Fyodorov (1829-1903) – and Putin is as well.

            As a result, in important ways and especially in terms of his attitudes about Russia’s relations to Europe and the rest of the world, Putin is an extension and development of Leninism, itself a development of the ideas of Fyodorov’s cosmism, rather than a break with the ideas of the founder of the Soviet state (

            The Soviet idea of world revolution is usually believed to be rooted in Marxism, the commentator says; but in fact, there was “an essential difference” between Lenin’s position and that of classical Marxists. He was open to the idea of a revolution in economically backward countries, including Russiaa, rather than only in advanced capitalist states.

            According to Verkhoturov, the only possible source of Lenin’s transformative ideas in this regard was Nikolay Fyodorov and his Philosophy of the Common Task, a work that informed the thinking of many Russian thinkers in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Lenin was clearly familiar with his work but his links to it have been largely ignored.

            Fyodorov posited a religious renewal of the world led by Russia against the West. What Lenin did was to strip the religious component of that vision but to follow the principle that Russia must stand against Europe and the West more generally. Seen in this light, Putin is a direct continuer of Lenin’s and Fyodorov’s ideas.

            More than that, Verkhoturov argues, cosmism or what may be better called “Russian universalism” continues as the foundation of the existence of Russia, “as the first source and motherland of this idea and as the designation of its role in the world now and in all future times.”

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