Sunday, June 16, 2024

Patriotic Education in Russia Both Broadly Similar and Very Different from Its Soviet Predecessor, Vinogradov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 11 – Mikhail Vinogradov, head of the Petersburg Politics Foundation, says that the content of patriotic education in Russia under Vladimir Putin shows 10 important continuities with that of Soviet times but varies in 20 equally important ways by what it leaves out and what it includes.

            The continuities ( include:

1.     Positive assessment of country’s past rulers except for immediate predecessors,

2.     Identification of the country, state and people with the current regime,

3.     Emphasis on country’s exceptionalism,

4.     Ideological loyalty based on birth or citizenship,

5.     Presenting West as main threat to the country,

6.     Emphasizing weakness, injustice and approaching collapse of opposing countries,

7.     Support for countries in the third world who are opposed to the colonial and imperial west,

8.     Glorification of military service,

9.     Government pressure on family to promote these values, and

10.  Avoidance of any reflection of social stratification or divisions within one’s own country.

The 10 features of Putin-era propaganda that were not found in its Soviet predecessor.

1.     Promotion of patriotism as the key ideological element,

2.     Promotion of traditionalism and emphasis on threats from minorities of various kinds,

3.     Promotion of cultural homogenization as an ideological goal,

4.     Backing for geopolitical rivalry and the creation of a multi-polar world,

5.     Emphasis on and unconditional priority for national interests that remain undefined,

6.     Appeals to the use of nuclear weapons as the argument of last resort.

7.     Playing down of the value of international partnerships,

8.     Presentation of China as the primary ally,

9.     Moral sympathy for those who engage in violence, and

10.  Support for the idea that the previous century was “golden.” 

And the 10 principles found in Soviet patriotic propaganda that are not found in the Putin-era variant:

1.     Internationalism,

2.     Atheism,

3.     Humanism,

4.     Progressivism,

5.     Anti-Capitalism,

6.     Criticism of consumption,

7.     Collectivism and egalitarianism,

8.     Any talk about the obligation of the state to the citizenry

9.     Encouragement of social mobility, and

10.  The struggle for peace and disarmament.

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