Russian liberals attack current regime but defend foundation of regime as such, Birna says

The crown of the Russian Empire (political cartoon)

The crown of the Russian Empire 

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One of the fundamental weaknesses of liberal Russian thought and behavior, Irina Birna says, is Russian liberals are always ready to criticize the current regime but defend the basis of that regime as such, refusing to see the links between the two and thus manifesting “a latent imperialism.”

They do not recognize the reality that a liberal Russia might be possible if it were finally shorn of its imperial possessions, something that was not completed in 1917 or 1991, but that a liberal Russia with those possessions still inside its borders could never exist. In more lapidary language than she uses, a liberal Russian empire is a contradiction in terms.

The criticism of the current Russia regime by liberals is “rational,” the Moscow commentator says. “It is the result of the scholarly, professional or social activity of the individual, the experience of confrontation with reality, and an analysis of the state of those spheres of activity close to him.”

But “the support of the regime” in the form of its existence as defender of the Russian state “is instinctive: it is the result of education, training, and the formation of the personality in an atmosphere of all-penetrating imperialism, patriotism, ‘national’ pride, ‘Orthodoxy’ and other things” said to bind the individual to that country.

“The entire history of Russia is a bloody path of incorporating territories and a no less bloody process of holding on to them,” she says. “And those ‘democrats,’ ‘liberals,’ and ‘opposition figures’ who do not understand this yet and continue to call for ‘the preservation’ of the country, the return to the traditions of ‘real’ Russia, ‘killed’ supposedly by the Bolsheviks are calling for a continuation of this path.”

Such people fail to understand that criticizing Stalin while defending the empire is to fall in the trap of defending Stalin’s purposes because he spent his entire career working to promote and defend the empire that Russian liberals implicitly or not so implicitly – Birna discusses four examples of such an approach – are promoting and defending it as well.

“It is time to understand,” she says, that a Russia run as a prison, including the Russian people, cannot rise to the levels of civilized countries. It will remain on its “traditional, military-political path of being a permanent threat to the occupation of neighboring territories, the enslavement of their peoples, and the blackmail of another war anywhere on the planet.”

“The number of victims of this or that era is a function of the state of the Power in a specific historical reality: if in one era, it is sufficient to slit the throats of several thousand Bashkirs, in another, it may have to destroy 70 to 80 million people, and then again can limit itself to the Kursk and Beslan.” But the underlying impulses do not change.

Unless and until Russian liberals – and not just them alone – understand that reality, all too many of them will in fact be defending and promoting, on the one hand, the very system they think they are attacking, on the other. That reality may please the powers that be; but it will not promote the values the liberals say they follow.

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Edited by: A. N.

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  1. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

    One individual that typifies Irina Birna’s assessment of many in the liberal Russian intelligentsia would be none other than Aleksandr Navalny. He praises the virtues of liberalism and criticizes the cronyism of Putin but then he goes on to support the Russian “Anschluss” of Crimea. That in itself is the height of hypocrisy and could only suggest that Navalny would not be a great improvement over the current Russian dictator should he ever come to power.

    1. Avatar Screwdriver says:

      Who in Russia would vote for someone who is against Crimea reunification with Russia ? Think about it. Ain’t happening.

      1. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

        There is no love lost between the fox and the hound. Try thinking about that.

      2. Avatar focusser says:

        “It’s not the people who vote that count. It’s the people who count the votes.” (Joseph Stalin)

      3. Avatar RedSquareMaidan says:

        There are Russians that support international laws and want Russia to become civilized. ..think about it.

        1. Avatar veth says:

          That 40 people will not have any influence on that…….

      4. Avatar Brent says:

        Let me guess…’re still drinking the “96% of Crimean residents voted to join Russia Kool-aid”????

        THINK ABOUT IT “Screwball”. IT NEVER HAPPENED. Yet you’re gullible enough to still believe in the “great and wonderful Russia” and the “glory of Putin”….all while living in South Philly!!!!!! Be delusional, gullible and making living in South Philly….you’re living the dream!!!

        1. Avatar focusser says:

          I thought it was 125% that voted to join the Russia.

        2. Avatar Screwdriver says:

          Go see the doctor.

      5. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

        RuSSians only vote for Putin.

        1. Avatar focusser says:

          Even dead people get to vote in Russia.

          1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

            Stalin voted for Putin, about 200 times…

        2. Avatar Screwdriver says:

          Believe it or not Stalin is more popular in Donetsk then in Moscow.

          1. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

            According to whom? RT “News” and/or its affiliates? The Kremlin? Vladimir the Fascist Zhirinovsky? The local bandits or did you just just make up another fairy tale?

          2. Avatar Screwdriver says:

            Just my personal observation.

    2. Avatar Fortranz says:

      “- He praises the virtues of liberalism and criticizes the cronyism of Putin but then he goes on to support the Russian “Anschluss” of Crimea. -”

      I agree that this is hypocrisy, however, to be fair to Navalny can we be sure that this is his true position on the Crimea? He is trying to become president of Russia and his position on Crimea is the popular position of Russians. Perhaps he takes this position only for political popularity rather than ideological reasons.

      1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

        It has been mooted that the Kremlin is offering Ms Sobchak as a deflection and distraction for the RuSSian shitizenry from Navalny. The domestic media now has someone else to focus on, someone young and attractive. Sounds like typical Krumlin machinations. All RuSSian ballot papers will contain a couple such candidates to keep up the pretence of democracy, when in fact only Putin can win.

        1. Avatar Fortranz says:

          Sure looks that way to me.

      2. Avatar Scradje says:

        Navalny is not and never has been a liberal. He’s an imperialist. He is on record describing Georgians as ‘cockroaches’. The only positive thing you can say about him is that despite being a despicable person he’s still 100 times better than fuehrer pootler. As for his anti-corruption stance; all very laudable if genuine, but the chekist rodent campaigned on anti-corruption too.

        1. Avatar Fortranz says:

          “- The only positive thing you can say about him is that despite holding some despicable views he’s still 100 times better than fuehrer pootler. -”

          No doubt of this, too bad Russians can’t get anything better to chose.

    3. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

      With Navalny, there may be the possibility of dialogue. With anyone from the siloviki, or from the previous Soviet political apparatus, there is none.

  2. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

    It takes a jackhammer to get anything fresh into the skull of a russkie.

  3. Avatar veth says:

    Be carefull, the Russkies will steal the drilling equipment………….