A Soviet placard featuring Stalin and peoples of the USSR, Ukrainians are represented by a woman in vyshyvanka, traditional elaborately embroidered shirt, on the left. The text reads, "Under leadership of great Stalin, forward to communism!"
New polls show that the share of Russians who would like to go “back to the USSR” is at its highest levels over the last 15 years, a development many find troubling because it will make the future evolution of Russia toward a normal state far more difficult. But Kseniya Kirillova points out that it entails even greater threats than that.
In a commentary for Radio Svoboda, the US-based Russian journalist argues that the foreign policy consequences are both far more immediate and dangerous than those for the domestic situation of the Russian Federation and calls on both Russians and others to reflect on that dangerous reality.
“The idealized image of the Soviet past is” in addition to everything else “a justification of the militarist hysteria, imperial complexes and a surrogate of ‘the ideal future’ to which Russia is seeking but which numerous foreign and internal ‘enemies’ are not allowing it to achieve,” Kirillova argues.
“This myth,” she continues, “is used as a counterbalance to a second myth, the myth about ‘the global catastrophe, the virtual hell in which Russia will avoidably be dragged if ‘the West gets the upper hand.’ Russian TV generously shows pictures of chaos and marauders on the street, poverty, falling bombs, dead children and the destruction of homes.”
In this, “the US is presented as the absolute evil and the sponsor of international terrorism.”
According to Kirillova, “the human psyche is so constructed that even the most horrific virtual constructions seem pale in comparison to wretched reality. And paradoxically even in peace time, with its declining standard of living, lack of confidence and uncertainty about tomorrow, psychologically this often seems more unbearable.”
Russians from backwoods areas have often told her, Kirillova says, that “’better war than such a life.’”
Even those Russians who aren’t prepared to fight a war on behalf of the current state of their country may be prepared to do so for “a semi-mythological image of the USSR as an ideal to which present-day Russia is striving.”
In this situation, Kirillova says, “it is difficult to predict how quickly the refrigerator will gain the upper hand over this set of illusions. However, sooner or later the Russian citizen will come up against the fact that the powers do not intend to lead society into ‘a Soviet paradise.’ Instead, the current regime is ready to spend its reserves on war.”
And that war, despite all Moscow’s propaganda, will be started not by the West, as Russian government propaganda says, but “exclusively” by the Kremlin itself.
- Ever more Russians want to go ‘back to the USSR’ but ever fewer Ukrainians do
- Russians will celebrate return of Crimea to Ukraine if Putin tells them to, Portnikov says
- Moscow increasingly acknowledges it controls Donbas regimes, Kirillova reports
- More fallout from Ukrainian autocephaly: Russians learn Moscow Orthodox hierarchs were KGB officers
- Who’s most at risk of assassination by Putin’s siloviki? Kirillova provides a typology
- Only 3% of Russians say they believe Moscow poisoned Skripal
- Putin views Russians as ‘divided people,’ thus threatening all Russia’s neighbors, German historian says
Tags: polls, re-Sovietization, Russian military threat, Russians, Sociological survey, Soviet imperialism, Soviet mentality, Soviet times, Ukrainians