January 15, 2004
"THE STATE SHOULD SUPERVISE - AND THERE WILL BE NO CENSORSHIP"
The Russian Path: mobilizing culture itself
Author: Yuri Bogomolov
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
[The success of nationalist parties led by Vladimir Zhirinovsky
and Dmitri Rogozin at the recent Duma elections is a sign that
public attitudes have shifted towards national patriotism. From
there, one can see Russian chauvinism and fascism looming in the
near future as official policy.]
Analysts, experts, and journalists do not get tired of making
their forecasts, based on election results, with regard to the
political and economic consequences of the triumph of. The risk
group, as is easy to guess, aside from the economy, foreign and
domestic policy, and democratic institutions also includes arts
and culture, the position of which in this situation seems to be
quite unsteady. Now the agenda is most likely to raise the issue
not simply about limiting its masters as to morals, vocabulary, or
ideology, but also about mobilizing culture itself to address
objectives useful from the standpoint of a "nationally oriented
state." This issue has actually already been raised. And now real
preconditions can emerge for its settlement. Including legislative
It has been talked for years that our culture, like the
society, has been left to the mercy of fate, which implies the
absence of a nationwide ideology, the presence of an anti-
patriotic orientation, prevalence of values that are alien to the
Orthodox people, and so on.
...Members of the Motherland bloc (Rodina) have barely
adjusted to their new seats in the Duma when some of them
announced their intention to introduce compulsory Orthodox studies
in schoolS. They also told the public, representatives of other
denominations did not object.
There had been a lot of speculations on this subject before,
too, but now, under the patriotic alignment that has presently
taken shape in the parliament such initiatives have good chances
to be put into practice.
About year ago, a bill was tabled in the Duma on quotas for
foreign movies in theaters and on television. It also provides for
some ideas about introducing "mild censorship" on television via
setting up supervisory boards. So far, they were somehow happily
ignored, but it looks like nationally oriented Duma members will
find time for them, too, this winter.
Time will also be found to rewrite school textbooks in
history, which was also extensively discussed in the recent past.
Manna from heaven is expected to fall unto national movie-
makers in the form of government contracts for historical
patriotic movies. The manna will come in plenty, as the 60th
anniversary of victory in the Second World War is approaching.
There are preliminary funding plans in the Culture Ministry. Sixty
percent of all launched movies will be funded completely. Genre
and subject applications will be examined by one of the
presidential culture boards.
There is a plan to nationalize the movie theaters. Culture
Ministry officials reason sensibly: if the state funds movie-
making, then it should have the chance to earn on it. Patriots
from culture such as Nikolai Burliaev go even further in their
dreams: they insist that the entire movie industry should be
nationalized. For it is all about spiritual security of the
What is left on the side-tracks of nationalist patriots of
both the leftist and the rightist trends? On the one hand, there
are "storm troopers" of skinhead gangs. On the other, there are
moralists "walking together," "culture carriers," a sort of police
vice squad. After all, they are also storm troopers, only in white
The specter of state nationalism seems to be more and more
The question is: how serious is the danger of the impressive
victory of Zhirinovsky's and Rogozin's nationalist patriots at the
recent election for democracy as a whole? Aren't we dramatizing
the situation? Aren't we blowing on cold water after someone
somewhere was once burnt by nationalism?
Strong-nerved democrats are trying to comfort nervous ones:
nothing terrible has happened; what kind of nationalists can
Glaziev and Rogozin be - let alone fascists? How can Viktor
Gerashchenko, a banker and simply an intelligent person, be a
fascist? Let alone General Varennikov, who took part in the attack
on fascist Berlin...
To tell the truth, not these guys should be feared, for they
are only trimming their sails to the wind of some social moods;
but these moods that should indeed be feared.
It has presently grown completely obvious that the specter of
anti-democratic comeback is haunting Russia. The specter of state
culture walks arm-in-arm with it. Meanwhile, as is know, it is
typical for specters to assume material form from time to time.
After all, the matter under discussion is not about how much
some or other elected representatives of the people identify
themselves as fascists or anti-fascists.
The emotional background is also demonstrative, which is not
exhausted by TV news about racially-based crime. One can also come
across quite respectable manifestations of Russian chauvinism.
At a talk show on TV, a patriotic movement representative
asks the public to pay attention to the fact that not actually
Russians head the democratic parties - Nemtsov, Yavlinsky,
Khakamada. He was pulled up, and the subject was hushed up, too...
However, it is impossible to shut up Mr. Dorenko. In Zavtra
newspaper, he articulated quite distinctly: "The state and the
society ought to recognize it as the absolute priority to
reinforce and develop the self-consciousness of Russia's residents
as ethnic Russian citizens."
In fighting for a downstage place at the Bolshoi Theater, the
ballet dancer Anastasia Volochkova draws public attention to the
fact that the theater director's first name and patronymic are
profoundly non-Russian - Takhir Gazildiaevich - and he is
allegedly preventing her, Volochkova, a truly Russian ballet
dancer with a Russian surname, first name, and patronymic, from
presenting her art to the world. That's a sort of ethnic grievance
against Mr. Iksanov.
In fact, the originality of the "Russian path" announced by
our patriots consists in the prevalence of the State over the
Society as a whole and over an individual in particular. In the
service of the latter to the former.
In reality, our nationally oriented patriots repeat the old
stuff of theoretical outlines of the "German path." One can found
theses in Mr. Podberezkin's works that say state should be in
control of the economy, high technology, and faith ("the most
There are some options in fighting capitalism. The Bolsheviks
once tried to develop the economy. However, they acted
approximately the same way as the devil in Pushkin's fairy tale
when he tried to move a mare from one place to another, i.e. in
the most inefficient way. They crawled under the mare of economy
and tried to attach their own legs to it, while national-
socialists provided an example how one can try to submit it and
make it work for the totalitarian state. They mounted it. That is,
they did not fight private property or nationalize it. They did
something greater: they nationalized the consciousness of the
crowd. Or, more precisely, its subconscious. This was enough to
cut unemployment and militarize the economy.
Meanwhile, it is human beings with their consciousness and
subconscious that should actually be completely nationalized.
Material interests of the new human must be placed behind
their spiritual values, and no doubt, the idea of State is the
priority among them, which no doubt must begin with a capital
All this is called a "doctrine of way out of lengthy crisis."
It does not contain those vulgar slogans typical for "open-air"
nationalism. Such as "Russia is above everything" or "Russia for
ethnic Russians." Even if something similar is discussed in
Podberezkin's works, it is almost allegorical: "...It is more
important to establish in the mass consciousness, as part of the
state patriotic ideology, the very right for the name 'Russian'."
What was just timidly formulated in the late 1990s, became
the trump card of the overwhelming majority of political parties
at the 2003 election. And that time, the logic of intellectual
discourse just sporadically prevailed over the wish to look decent
in the eyes of the public opinion. Alexander Dugin ventured it,
and he uttered everything Zyuganov, Podberezkin and even Prokhanov
and Limonov dared not think about. In his multiple studies, he
raises the issue of Russia's new role. It is to carry out the
Third Reich mission, in which Hitler failed.
And the mission did not at all consist in victory of
Germanized Europe over other nations and racial dominance of the
German nation over the entire world, but in triumph of
totalitarian State over market Economy.
Behind the respectable figures of Glaziev, Rogozin, and
Gerashchenko, the shadows loom of people who have been exercising
national-patriotic rhetoric for a long time already - Alexander
Krutov, Nikolai Leonov, Nikolai Burliaev. Alexander Prokhanov,
Edward Limonov, Sergey Dorenko, Mikhail Leontiev, and Alexander
Nevzorov - the singers of national-patriotic propaganda - will
soon join them. In the Duma, they will find support in moralizing
lawmakers - Messrs. Raikov and Galchenko, authors of the law on
quotas for foreign movies.
As for Zhirinovsky with his vulgar demagogy and an animal
hatred of democracy, this Rem from political rhetoric, he will
gradually become marginalized. And regular, friendly work on
nationalization of culture will be launched.
Translated by P. Pikhnovsky
I could not find the link to it on the CDI website, so I pasted the whole thing.