Sunday, May 28, 2023

Putin Promoting Rudeness as Part of General Attack on Russian Culture, Pastukhov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 23 –Rudeness and incivility are spreading through Russian society not as a result of some natural and spontaneous process but rather as part of a conscious policy by Vladimir Putin to destroy the traditional cultural space because he views the broader culture itself as a threat to himself and his rule, Vladimir Pastukhov says.

            This “promotion of rudeness,” the London-based Russian analyst continues, is seen by the Kremlin as “a kind of artillery preparation” for Putin’s offensive against the leaders of the cultural community, many of whom oppose his war in Ukraine and other policies (

            “The regime’s list of approved communication standards isn’t very extensive, Pastukhov says. Insults, humiliation, boasting, envy and hatred form the new moral code of the builder of ‘the Russian world,’ a set of qualities that do more to destroy Russia and Russian culture than to build it up whatever Putin believes, Pastukhov says.

            Such rudeness by itself, he argues, “has the effect of activating the most archaic structures of the brain, releasing the most primitive instincts people have, and stimulating the most superficial and often obscene associations that civilization people have been trained to keep under ‘lock and key.’”

            And “that is why formal politeness is the most important sign of a developed society, both in the West and in the West, and why blatant rudeness shows the primitiveness of societal organization,” an end to which the government and its media have set as goals and means to an end.

            This state-promoted rudeness “clogs the synapses in the brain of the ordinary citizen and completely obstructs return signals from the conscious to the subconscious,” the analyst continues. And lays the foundation for the destruction of culture as such – or at the very least its “most fertile layer.”

            In short, Putin is carrying out the kind of “cancel culture” he is constantly complaining about and blaming others for doing. In this, there ia a fundamental difference between what the Bolsheviks did a century ago and what the National Bolsheviks of today with Putin’s assistance are trying to do now.

            According to Pastukhov, “the former brought with them a different culture, but in spite o that, they carried a spark that flared from the fires of the European enlightenment.” As such, it was “a highly perverted but modern culture.” The latter, in contrast, “lit their torch from the  primitive barbarism” of the past.

            “It will take decades of intensive effort just to restore the capacity of culture to reproduce itself,” he concludes. Tragically, although Pastukhov does not address this fact, such promotion of rudeness is not limited to Putin and Putinism but is part and parcel of the broader populist assault on culture by the radical right in all too many countries.

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