Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Russia’s Fundamental Problem isn’t Lack of an Ideology but Lack of a Goal, Inozemtsev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 28 – Many Russians are obsessed with the idea that their country must adopt an ideology in order to overcome its current problems, but that is “irrational,” Vladislav Inozemtsev says. Russia’s fundamental problem isn’t its lack of an ideology but rather its lack of a clearly defined and expressed goal.

            Ideologies by their nature are universalist and define what an ideal society should be and what steps are needed to achieve that end, the Russian economist and commentator says. Just being against something, like anti-communists or anti-globalists are, doesn’t by itself constitute an ideological position (

            “Therefore,” Inozemtsev says, “attempts to elevate anti-Westerism to the rank of an ideology appear somewhat insane.” And consequently, “if Russian society wants to restore an ideological character to itself, it can do so by choosing one of three paths:” adopting one of the universalist ideologies, creating an entirely new one, or substituting for ideology banal Nazism.”

            This third path, of course, is “the simplest” and involves opposing Russia to the rest of the world “on the grounds of religious or ethnic exclusivity.”

            What everyone needs to keep in mind, Inozemtsev suggests, is that Russia’s fundamental problem isn’t the absence of an ideology – many countries lack one and as Daniel Bell argued ever more are likely to. Russia’s fundamental problem is that “after the collapse of communism, our society has been trapped in discussions which are essentially meaningless.”

            “Today,” he continues, “we position ourselves as a post-Soviet (post-communist), anti-Western and pseudo-democratic country.” But these negative positions have no positive content concerning how we are different from others, what our goals are, and what we must do to achieve them.

            In many ways, this recalls what led to the rise of Nazism, as Peter Drucker, “quite correctly in my view,” Inozemtsev says, presciently observed in 1939: “fascism is the stage reached after communism has proven an illusion” [The End of Economic Man (New York, 1939, pp. 230-231.]

            “If Russia wants to overcome the problems which have plagued it for 30 years,” the analyst says, “it must select not an ideology with which the country wants to associate itself but a goal which it intends to achieve.” That goal must be clearly defined and articulated and not be confused with talk about processes.

            In this situation, “the goal is everything; movement is nothing: that is the imperative which can save our society” because otherwise leaders will not do what is necessary to reach it but only to maintain themselves in power.

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