Russia returning to Sovietism not because of the dictatorship but because most Russians like it, Vitukhnovskaya says


Opinion, Russia

Edited by: A. N.

The passive aggressive nature of a significant portion of Russian society is the reason that the country has become increasingly Soviet again, Alina Vitukhnovskaya says. The dictatorship is not primarily to blame; instead, the country is moving in the direction the population wants whatever it thinks it prefers.

Such a society is “the only one in the world where these failures can feel themselves significant,” and their attitude toward Stalinism only reflects that they can make themselves feel better by contrasting a time when things were possible and now when they aren’t, the Russian writer says.

The characters in films Russian like pursue money and success, Vitukhnovskaya continues. “But in Russia they suppose that they should not want this seriously because it is a false and not a genuine desire.” But the desires they think people should have cannot be pursued in the existing system and because of that, they identify with the system not with its opposite.

Everywhere in the world, humanity is exhausting its potential “technologically and politically,” at least at the current stage, she suggests. “Logically this agenda should be changed because it has exhausted itself.” But the situation of Russia precludes this because “like a dark engine of retrogression,” it has already reached the bottom and can change only by annulling itself.

That would be worse than what is at least in the eyes of those including the opposition who are part of the system; and this can be seen in the way the regime is seeking to make Alexei Navalny into the embodiment of the opposition because he “does not represent its interests and is a usurper of the opposition movement.”

But it can also be seen in “the childish joy” some in the opposition have in receiving the status of “’foreign agent’ [from the government]. One can, of course, play at being Soviet dissidents. But dissidence at this movement is hardly a political tactic. The status of foreign agent is a diminution of one’s rights and a limitation of one’s possibilities of taking action.”

“It is not ‘a mark of quality,’” Vitukhnovskaya says, “but rather a symbol that at the current political moment you are losing.” And the fact that so many Russians feel this way is a reason to fear that what is on view in Russia today is going to remain there for a long time to come.

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Edited by: A. N.
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