Police arresting Putin opposition protesters in Moscow, Russia. May 6, 2012. The rally participants are protesting against Vladimir Putin’s new term as the Russian president. (Image: TASS)
Putin’s attention to and approval of ever more distant if equally odious figures from Russia’s medieval past show that he is committed to the idea that “mass repressions and terror are no more and no less than ‘the secret code of the Russian nation,’” the Russian commentator says.
And the Kremlin leader is adopting this position because he sees clearly that “each new modernization transition gives rise to a serious civilizational crisis,” one that can be addressed by those who want to build an authoritarian or totalitarian state only if there are constant appeals to the justice of the medieval system modernity undermined.
“Such reference to the Middle Ages is not something new,” Skobov continues. Conservative romantics appealed to it in reaction to the French revolution, and then fascists like Hitler did so in reaction to the modernization of society that had occurred as a result of the industrial revolution.
According to the Russian commentator, “fascism began the extreme form of the revolt of the archaic against modernization in the era when the industrial transition had already been accomplished.” It did not return society to its old forms but did return it to its old values as far as the state’s right to use its power against individuals and groups.
“In the post-industrial transition,” Skovoc says, “much is being repeated. “A medieval esthetic is to be found in all the culture of the post-modern world.” Not surprisingly, Putin is playing to this and gaining support from a people many of whom have been left wounded and angry by a transition they don’t understand and believe can be reversed.
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