Russia and the memes of Russianness   (Published: 29.06.2020)

When evaluating human communities and entities, we need to pay attention to four factors - community, state, culture, and the individual. In evaluations of Judaism, its strength is said to be multilayer. When two Jews meet, three opinions emerge — two individual opinions of their own and a third common opinion that unites the two.

The weakness of Russianness, on the other hand, is when two Russians are together, then only one common opinion is allowed. Neither individual’s own opinion matters. The common opinion is expressed by a stronger individual - in the same way that a bear does in the rallies between the rulers of the forest. The original home of Altai was equal for all. Physics and gunpowder had not yet been invented - there was room for everyone. Russianness has gained and influenced the people of the early home of the Altai Mountains.

Russian communality

When these four basic components of life are analyzed, Russian communality arises from the physical environment and its conditions in which the values ​​of Russianness are shaped by the interaction between different parties. However, strong pressure for coherence and concerns about the adequacy of space for the needs of one’s own community reduce interactivity and the sharing of things with others. External and internal threats to the cohesion and continuity of the existing community are also involved in the community consciousness.

The value spectrum of the human community is measured by one segment, with the individual at one end and society at the other. Russia is a community whose relations between the two extremes of the world of values ​​are determined by Russian dynamics. Compared to many other communities, community is emphasized at the expense of individual values. The specific weight of society and community is higher than usual in Russian community thinking and in the consciousness of individuals. International cooperation, which today is based on the rights of individuals / the rule of law, is at odds with Russianness and its own structural dynamics.

In their history, Russia and the Russian communities have emphasized the special legitimacy and starting points of their existence with the power and space management procedure adopted over the centuries. It is a priority for all those who live and share the same space in their own community context without interaction and exchange of information and transparency. Russia and Russianness have also taken care of the availability of the necessary operational resources to sustain such activities. The reform of the armed forces of Peter the Great Russia and of the Soviet Union was based on such thinking and the acquisition of the necessary skills to implement a policy of power in the sovereign state it controlled.

The birth of the Russian state in the 8th century

Russia is also a learning system that has been able to realize its threats and opportunities over the centuries. Throughout its history, Russianness (Novgorod, founded by Rurik) has from the outset been the target of many attacks based on the use of force and politics of force. Russia, in its own spatial thinking, has also been an actor in its own outward-looking policy of force.

Russianness began to develop after the state of Novgorod, founded by Rurik, which expanded into the Kiev region and formed the first purely Russian center at that time from the 9th century to the 13th century. The development of Moscow / St. Petersburg-centric Russia since the 13th century when Kiev Russia and the center of Moscow became competitors. The situation in the region was not stable when the state structure, which was still in its infancy, fought against the crusaders pushing into the region from the west and the Islamic Tatar centers allied with the Mongol rule from the east. Alexander Nevsky made the choice and allied himself with the invaders from the East.

Regional expansion 1500 - 1900

The situation in the core area of ​​the new state system west of the Urals stabilized when the city of Kiev was destroyed in 1240 by Mongols. Moscow-centric Russia had begun to develop into a new regional leader. There are other interpretations of the destruction of Kiev as to who did the destruction of that regional metropolis.

The destruction of Kiev launched a phase of development in Moscow Russia that can be called the beginning of Russia’s colonial policy. It differed from the colonial phase in Western Europe in that the conquests took place on the outskirts of their own territory and not in the overseas countries. During that time, Moscow Russia made conquests between 1500 and 1900 north of its own territory to the territory of indigenous peoples, present-day Finland, which annexed Russia in 1809. Siberia was annexed to Russia in three stages. also expanded from Alaska and the west coast of North America to what is now California territory until trading stations, until Russia sold the area to the United States in 1867.

In addition to these, Russia was in several wars against Turkey in the Black Sea and Balkan region. The Crimean Peninsula was annexed to the Russian Empire in 1783. There was a long war in the Caucasus between 1817 - 1864 between the Russian Empire and the Caucasus Imam. During the 19th century, Russia began to expand in the direction of the states in Central Asia and annexed them in the second half of the 19th century, the last state of Turkmenistan in 1881 in the western south of Central Asia. The motive for the conquest of Central Asia was the availability of cotton and oil to secure Russia's own industrialization efforts, e.g. to control disruptions in the availability of raw materials (cotton and oil) due to the American Civil War of 1861-1865.

The Soviet era 1917 - 1991 in Russia

Throughout its history, Russia has waged a two-front war since the peasant uprisings. In Russian history, peasant uprisings were mainly local conflicts. On a European scale, the largest peasant uprising arose in 1667 and the Cossacks revolted against their masters and the land slaves joined the Cossacks and fled their masters. The hero was a Cossack rebel named Stenka Razin, who still lives in the consciousness of the people and in the history of Russia, even though the tsarist army defeated the rebel movement in 1670.

A new perspective had come to Russian historiography to describe the control of Russia's external threats as described in Nestor's Chronicle and Igor's expeditions, also with descriptions of “brother against brother story telling on the country's internal battlefields through word-of-mouth narration and music. During the reign of Alexander I, Russian troops were asked at the Vienna Conference of 1813-1815 to appease the unrest of the late Napoleonic Wars in Paris. As a result of the “expedition”, a Dekabrists movement was born in Russia, among nationalist officers and soldiers. It sought to reform the country's living conditions and bring the country's development to the same level as in Europe. A revolt broke out in 1825. It was bloodily defeated in St. Petersburg.

It did not stop the development of socialist reform in Europe that began in the 19th century: Russia became one of its experimental countries through state-led socio-economic development. It was renamed in 1922 “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - SNTL”. The Soviet Union was dissolved in December 1991 and replaced by 15 new independent republics to replace the former Soviet republics.

1980s changes in the Soviet Union

Not everything is always going as planned and the Russians decided to abandon state development based on socialism. It was a question of the role of the state in building socialism. The reform policy of the 1990s, together with the Western state donors, was not what was wanted to replace socialism. The transition reform programs included four components: environmental issues, socio-economic development, public administration, and the liberalization / computerization of information in the various business sectors.

The change was so great that the former Soviet republics were unable to formulate their goals and reform priorities even within the framework provided by their own internal reform efforts in the 1980s.

There were too many competing options for reforming the country. Western countries recommended the privatization of industry and public sector institutions across the country, although there were other options if they were to be explored in more detail. One option would have been the granting of licenses (concessions) along the lines of the NEP period as an alternative to privatization in various sectors of industry. The industrial site would have remained state property but would have been available to tenants for a concession fee.

There is one specialty involved. State power in Russia is a sacred thing equated with religious sacraments, the change of which is not desirable. If it is done, then it is done by a “sacred synod” (the tsar’s inner circle and the power elite) modeled on the Orthodox Church at the top of power. The October 1917 revolution must be seen in this context. It was an externally brought process of social change that gave birth to a new structure of power, albeit without an Orthodox church in the 1980s before its disintegration, followed this symbiosis structure of the “sacred synod”.

When the construction of the information society began in the 1990s with the existence of a “sacred synod”, it did not necessarily come from the needs of Russia and Russian society. Western aid programs after the break-up of the Soviet Union proceeded in a way that did not necessarily correspond to the so-called good governance in the country to be implemented. The transitional administrative reforms and the new information systems supporting them were carried out without industry standards (systems theory / cybernetics experience in the former Soviet Union), but with the introduction of a less appropriate PCM / LFA standard.

Knowledge as a community problem

Knowledge management is always about learning new things and passing on cultural heritage to future generations. It requires a unified notion of time from linear time that can be measured on similar common-scale logical scales of the past, present, and future. Consensus should be reached according to Aristotle’s doctrine of drama, whether the past is before this moment and the future is after.

The social knowledge of Tsarism, the Soviet Union, and modern Russia has never been based on an individual’s own experience. The content of the information gets its meaning through censorship and top-down control. Social media does not fit into today’s Russianness. The state leaves no room for silent partners in the reform of society. In the Soviet Union, the value of man was the value of his work to build socialism. In today’s Russia, people’s rights and the rule of law are enshrined in law but not reflected in people’s lives.

The role of knowledge in controlling reality has changed. Instead of two actors, there are several institutional structures that should be able to exchange information with each other within a country and in a world beyond borders. The consensus model has never been the starting point in Russia for reconciling public and private sector interests.

 In social matters, Russia lacks the tradition of running the middle ground. Russia also does not know how to agree on social issues directly, as much is done in the reform of society through non-state mechanisms. The country lacks the tools and procedures for matters of fundamental human rights.

Historiography in Russia

Truth is a very shaky concept in Russian society. In Western countries, historiography has gone through a variety of reform processes. Widespread personal stories and heroic stories from the time of the Frankish Empire were allowed to give way to the Renaissance and the annalist tradition set in motion in France, which in historiography continues to influence the content of historiography in the Western tradition.

In contrast, in Russia and the Soviet Union, historiography is something else. There, the description of past events and the on-line picture of things conveyed by the media are not the same as events. The “Holy Synod” described above is still involved in all the activities around. The state is still involved in official news activities when TV1 plays the Russian national anthem on weekday mornings before morning news and shows the sun rising in the Kremlin, as was done during the Soviet era in connection with the main news broadcast.

Russian culture

Russian culture is three-dimensional: 1) the development of culture in its own tradition in Russia and Russian-dominated areas, 2) the transformation of minorities in Russia and Russia-related areas into an official Russian cultural entity, and 3) the cultural affairs of Russian and ethnic minorities who moved from Russia to the rest of the world.

The contribution of Russian culture to the world's cultural heritage is one of the country's most significant achievements in various areas of cultural activities. The same applies to all areas. Russian literary classicism is a unique phenomenon in the history of world literature. Understandably, there are also both award-winning and non-award-winning artists and scholars among Nobel laureates.

The golden age and the silver period of Russian literature date back to the 19th century and the turn of the 19th and 19th centuries. The birth of the Golden Age was greatly influenced by the writings of Sergei T. Aksakov, the owner of the Abramtsevo manor in the Ufa region. The country needs ideals. One of Sergei Aksakov's works is The Family Chronicle (Semeinaya khronika / A Russian Gentleman), published in 1856. Sergei T. Aksakov's literary work served as the initial impetus for the birth of Russian classical literature.

Loyalty and virtues in Russia

Another notable person who deserves attention for his life’s work and an interpreter of Russian social morality is the work of Soviet-era poet Vladimir Vysotski and other writers who were critical of Soviet-era society and never received recognition for his own work as a reformer of Russian society.

One of his best-known poems is “Lie and Truth,” which is available on the Internet in many languages. It gives the characteristic poet a question and an answer to the question of loyalty and virtues in Russia. Loyalty to the community arises from the human mind, not from status or its external symbols. It is a virtue that a state needs to exist in the minds of its citizens.



© Heikki K. Auvinen / Asumer Oy, 2020 - All rights reserved.

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