Staunton,November 5 – Irina Pavlova, a US-based Russian historian, has often called “Russianfundamentalism” the ideological foundation of Vladimir Putin’s regime and thereason why his overarching vision in this regard ensures him overwhelmingsupport by a wide swath of the Russian population at the present time.
Onthe occasion of the Day of National Unity, she provides a succinct definitionof what she has in mind. It merits extensive quotation (ivpavlova.blogspot.com/2018/11/blog-post.html#more).
The currentideology of the Kremlin involves a commitment to “traditional Russian greatpower, cleansed from communism and dressed up in Orthodox clothing.” Its basicproposition, that “Russia is surrounded by enemies and must assert its statusas a great power in the world” has the support of “the majority of thepopulation” even if some object to this or that policy.
“In Soviet times, the mostconsistent representative of this great power approach and state nationalistwas Stalin.”That provided him with supportand it provides Putin with support as well.Russians as a nation are “prepared for hours to speak about thegreatness of Russia, its unique spirituality, and its special feeling for justicein contrast to the mercantilist West.”
Attachment to this idea of Russia asa great power “unifies the powers that be, the elite, the people of Russia andalso a significant part of ‘progressive society’” whatever the last may sayabout Putin’s specific actions or policies.He knows that even if they often do not recognize the fact.
This Russian obsession with greatpower-ness had its beginnings in the idea of “’Moscow as the Third Rome,’” anidea formulated in the early 16th century. “For centuries of itsexistence, this idea has been transformed into an ideology and today after the Dayof Victory has been confirmed as the foundation of Russian national consciousness,it is completely appropriate to speak already about Russian fundamentalism.”
Accordingto Pavlova, its basic features are on public view: the notion that “the Russianpeople is a state-forming people and the bearer of a unique morality and uniquefeeling of justice,” “a rejection of the West because of its lack ofspirituality as a model of social development,” “its vision of the future Russiaas a unitary centralized state and as an empire, and “confidence in its specialhistorical role.”
Putin promotes all these ideas ascan be seen by anyone who reads his speeches over the last week alone.