Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Now that War in Ukraine has become an End in Itself, Putin Seeks to Destroy Russians’ Love of Life, Nemtsev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Aug. 1 – Putin’s war in Ukraine no longer has as its real goal victory over Kyiv – only a few fanatics and paid agents of the Kremlin believe in that anymore --  but rather the defeat and even destruction of the love of life and its routines that Russians like other peoples show, according to Russian philosopher Mikhail Nemtsev.

            In an essay on the Important Stories portal, he argues that “Russian militarism requires that people stop loving life” and accept the notion that “the main thing is to fight, if not at the front then at home to strengthen the power of the country” and that “everyday life is petty and pitiful” (

            Now that what is going on in Ukraine and Russia is “not a war to win” but rather a conflict whose purpose is its own continuation so as to transform Russians from people who care about their own lives into those prepared to kill others, Nemtsev says, “it’s necessary that a sufficiently large number of them get used to treating life as something secondary.”

            In sum, “Russian militarism requires that the inhabitants of the country unlearn the most important things and somehow fall out of love with life. Perhaps not to fall in love with death” but to forget why they love their lives and the routines that make ordinary life not only possible but important.

            “It is surprising,” Nemtsev says, “that any people can be taught to forget their lives on order.” And it is important that people recognize that this is what is going on because to have a future, Russians must reject this rejection of the importance of life itself, something that will be far more difficult and more important than simply acknowledging a defeat in war.

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