Monday, March 27, 2023

To Succeed, Opposition Must Offer Not a Copy of Europe but an Alternative Russian World, Pastukhov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 24 – The development of Russia up to now has been more about the struggle of ideas than the competition of social classes, Vladimir Pastukhov says; and consequently, if the opposition is to be successful, it must offer to realize in Russia not a copy of European ideas but rather a Russian world at odds with the one Putin offers.

            Unless it develops a uniquely Russian response to current challenges, the London-based Russian analyst says, the opposition will remain marginalized and ineffective because it will not be able to attract most Russians to its side. Instead, it will appear to many of them precisely the foreign agent the Kremlin calls it (

            More than 20 years ago, Pastukhov says, he began to argue that Russian historian development is defined to a greater degree by the clash of cultural classes rather than economic ones, that is, less by the clash of interests than by the struggle over ideas. That led him to conclude that the lumpen proletarian was the chief beneficiary of Putinism and its Russian world.

            According to the London-based analyst, “the antipode of the lumpen proletariat in Russia is the cultural class of ‘Russian Europeans,’” a group which has lost its fight for power “precisely because it failed to create their own image of ‘a Russian world’” at odds with the Russian world offered by the Putin regime.

            Indeed, Pastukhov says, Russian Europeans have not been able to “offer Russian society anything but a mechanical copy of European liberal ideas” or form a significant group of people “for whom the implementing of their ideas” would be the goal rather than “vice versa,” having forgotten that “ideas are a means for seizing power.”

            If Russia is to be transformed, it will have to be transformed not by some new economic class but by “a new cultural class, one grouped around the idea of an alternative image of ‘the Russian world.’” Indeed, “to preserve Russian civilization, it must offer an alterantive not so much to Putin as to the notional Dugin-Strelkov thinking.

            Pastukhov concludes: “we need such an alternative vision of Russia, one that allows us to form ‘an anti-Crimea consensus’ with the prospect of organizing an alliance of social forces around it.” Unfortunately, “the liberal mantra” now on offer doesn’t provide that for Russia since for it “Russia itself does not occupy a central place.”

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