Like sunrises and sunsets everyday, there is never an end to the predictions of Russia’s demise. The west cannot contempt the very thought any part of the world – humanity itself – could willfully and consciously refuse to emulate its superior civilizational mission. Messianic worldviews cannot accept exceptions and anomalies. To a large degree this explains the west’s destructive obsession with Russia. This is a grave mistake and we are witnessing the consequences of this error.
Russia has its own long history and civilizational awareness, be they a hybrid of many temporal experiences. That history and civilization form the bedrock of an identity. For most Russians identity exists in the realm of the sacred. In the west national identify is deemed as an idea that is backward looking and archaic. National identity must be replaced with a civic definition of the person. Culture is consigned to the dustbin of history. Not so in today’s Russia – as anyone who is aware of the disastrous impact of western-driven globalization.
The failed Soviet experiment assaulted the Russian identity with horrific glee. Nazi invaders attempted complete destruction of it. Russian liberals of today are dismissive and loathsome of their Russian identity, admonishing their people to blindly copy their western betters. Western elites are contemptuous of any state and national expression not in compliance with their self-defined “will of history.”
All these catastrophes and threats only refined an elemental characteristic of the Russians – “we will survive.”
In the west Russia is described as the loser in the Cold War. Most Russians don’t see it that way. Did the Soviet Union lose in that ideological conflict with the west? The answer is “yes.” But that is the wrong question to ask and irrelevant today. The right question to ask is the following: Do the Russian people believe they were defeated by the west? The answer in the case is ”no.” Russia as a civilization and a very board cultural expressions were not defeated, actually both were liberated. This is something the west refuses to understand – even conceive as possible.
The west’s fundamental misunderstanding of Russia is its conception that ideology will always trump culture. The Russians see this assumption in reverse – culture will always and should trump ideology. Thinking in this way assures they survive in a very hostile world.
Much to the annoyance of the west, Russians simply will not accept the west’s project known as “post-modernism.” This project aggressively attempts to destroy identity, while the Russians very much want to preserve and enrich their own.
Western politicians and its infantile controlled media endlessly wax and wane about “Russian aggression,” “Putin’s authoritarianism,” and “Russia’s yearning to re-built its former empire and the Soviet Union.” All of this is a sideshow. For the Russians it’s all about who they are and not about what the west thinks they should be.
Peter Lavelle is host of RT’s political debate program CrossTalk. His views may or may or reflect those of his employer.