Russia is slowly moving towards liberalism, even if it seems otherwise. An interview with political analyst Vladimir Pastukhov
The outgoing year proved to be a politically memorable: the growth of civil activity noted across the country. Protests engulfed the capital, North and North-West, Caucasus, Central Russia, the Volga region, the Urals, Siberia, Primorye. “The limit of patience in the social sector are exhausted”, — sociologists. Develops professional solidarity: the baton of protest, the truckers took doctors, journalists, artists. Revealed the new heroes and martyrs, the most striking of them — Yegor Zhukov. It was his generation will be the gravedigger of the current political regime, says Vladimir Pastukhov, a political scientist, essayist, lawyer, author of “Revolution and Constitution in post-Communist Russia.” We discussed with Vladimir Borisovich logic and mechanisms of the liberal revolution and the subsequent construction of the national constitutional state.
“In the USSR revolutionise society was just three years”
— Vladimir Borisovich, in a previous interview Znak.com you were talking about 2-3% of the “thinking reed”, who with their curiosity, their intellectual work and civil activity program future of liberal change. Is it necessary for the success of these changes to “the thinking reed” was joined by representatives of the political elite?
— When I talk about 2-3% of the “thinking reed”, I turn back and part of those you call “political elite”. I don’t deny the right to be a thinking part of society those who, for example, does not share liberal ideas. They also think, but not as we know it. In the late Soviet Union thinking part of society was not only Sakharov and other dissidents, it was also part of the higher bureaucracy — Andropov and his Kovskoe the environment, diplomats, and intellectuals. Equally it is a mistake to deify the bureaucracy as the “salt of the Russian land” and, conversely, to say that it consists of idiots and enemies of the Russian people. And Arkady Raikin — is not “thinking reed”? But was he a dissident? Was not. And there were all dissidents creative people? And are those all of today’s opposition? In the opposition because a lot of people obsessed, fanatical. Did a little necessiry in the Russian revolutionary opposition movement? Therefore, speaking of “thinking reed”, I don’t divide it into grades if the grade is revolutionary, it is definitely the thinking, and if bureaucratic, you will certainly not think.
Elite stands out not by social status, the elite are the people capable of creative thinking, but just the portion that was lucky to realize (because a significant part to realize itself just fails). [Killed during Stalin’s repressions priest, philosopher, poet] Pavel Florensky in his book, which he wrote in prison for half-blind, ingeniously remarked that creativity is a natural quality that belongs to one of the 10-15 thousand completely independent from belonging to certain class, social stratum, education. Creative can be a bandit who created mafia group. Among those who are called “criminals”, there are people who under other circumstances could lead the Academy of Sciences. The elite is broad — it includes those who support the regime, or close to, and those who oppose him.
At some point within the elite ignition occurs. It starts with the part of the elite, which is an acute inflammation of conscience.
Conscience being the key word. Plus the obsession with the idea that they dedicate their service and courage. No wonder in the book that Lyudmila Ulitskaya wrote about [the dissident, human rights activist, poet] Natalya Gorbanevskaya, a common definition of “bezbedna”. This is very important because not only the love boat rests in the life, but also the political boat too.
Such a little. A normal person (and I am no exception) — collaborator “animal collective”. If the person was not the instinct of collaboration, humanity would never have survived. Conversely, the ability to resist the collective opinion is to some degree deviant behavior, this is why people who are in any of the authorities take extreme positions can never be many. Otherwise, no society has lasted a century. Please note: none of the representatives of human rights, the dissident movement did not come to power and do not convert in significant benefits to his political capital. So God conceived, because those people have another function: they are charged with moral perfectionism, and they are counter-government, trust them with nuclear stuffing — and they’ll blow it.
Julia Vishnevskaya, Lyudmila Alexeyeva, Dina Kaminskaya and Kronid Lyubarsky. The Soviet dissidents in exile. Munich, 1978.Julia Vishnevskaya / Wikipedia
This small layer of yeast. It is impossible to bake a good cake without yeast, but a crazy cook who believes that it is possible to bake a cake of the same yeast. Therefore, your question “do I need for the success of the liberal policy to liberal ideology drew the attention of political leaders?”, the answer is simple: if yeast are unable to get all the dough to ferment, they are pointless will dry up and die.
So you need the starter and the engine. We now have more clarity with the engine and much less with the starter. In Soviet times, the civil rights movement was a moral side, and now the situation is more reminiscent of tsarist Russia: what is considered the opposition, more like the Bolsheviks, some tools that were created by the secret police in rescue mode and then turned out to be its gravediggers.
— As far as the assimilation of dissident ideals of political leadership is important to its belonging to a particular generation? Gorbachev and Yeltsin both belonged to the “sixties generation”, but one broke the Bolshevik totalitarianism, and the other pushed through the Constitution, you are in my book compared to the Nikolaev Manifesto of 1905, where autocracy was “decorated” constitutional elements.
— I believe that belonging to generation important. And I agree with Theodore by Sananim, who says that political development has a generational step. It is tied to generations, but in Russia it is expressed most vividly. We have development always hopping, jump tied to generational change, and sometimes one or two generations because of the historical circumstances are “excess”. The idea of the “superfluous man” in Russian classical literature of the XIX century in the XXI century has been developed and embodied in the idea of “extra generations”. For example, my generation, which according to the American classification is called generation X (those who between the baby boomers and Millennials), from my point of view, was “extra”, unused.
Those who in Russia is called “sixties generation”, in the American classification — the generation of baby boomers, the first post-war generation. It is a joyful, optimistic generation: whatever happens, in comparison with the war — fine. This is a generation that has grown in white light, not black like the generation before him, the silent generation. And this led to the fact that life in General they tried to change a light side.
“There is nothing surprising in the fact that Gorbachev and Yeltsin, belonging to the same generation, have supported the line for change”Russian7.Ru
But the significance of the generation ends, because in every generation there are those who are “for” and those “against,” romantics and pragmatists. This structure is reproduced from generation to generation. At the Congress of Khodorkovsky in Berlin [the analyst] Kirill Rogov cited interesting evidence that, despite the change of generations, the ratio of conservatives, liberals and radicals in every generation remains approximately the same. There is therefore nothing surprising in the fact that, on the one hand, Gorbachev and Yeltsin, belonging to the same generation, have supported the line for change and happiness each of them understood very differently.
— And yet, without the support of the masses the reformers not do. You write about the need for deep moral change “in the minds and hearts of millions of people”. Petr Aven in a recent interview recalledthat when in the early 90’s the head of the Russian Ministry of foreign economic relations, it was found that from the Soviet predecessors had not the money necessary for procurement of imported insulin. The economic collapse of the modern Russian autocracy, the same depth as the bankruptcy of the Soviet Union, is a prerequisite for the enlightenment of millions, for aging their willingness to fight for a new, liberal state?
— My idea about the reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union is very different from the views of Peter Aven. I do not understand on what is based the assertion that the Soviet Union collapsed because of economic problems. I believe that the Soviet Union collapsed for non-economic reasons. The Soviet Union was the iceberg that breakaway from Antarctica and could have lost 20-30% of its power, after all, to swim to the Equatorial waters. It was definitely unbalanced, but a powerful economy. Yes, the Union has spent insane resources in the military-strategic parity and had suffered from a hidden internal corruption, but in General, these problems have been solved. Today the same “floats” North Korea. Petr Aven is trying to say that the economic problems of the USSR exceeded the economic problems of today’s North Korea? I will laugh in his face.
First, obviously, is not exceeded. Second, the real problems started when it was the government, which was attended by Pyotr Aven. Before the reform of 1992, I lived quite acceptable, normal reducing ends, while being an ordinary employee ordinary academic institution. But after 1992, I just stopped fixing them up. So there is nothing on the Soviet Union to blame, if its biography is crooked.
I think that if Gorbachev had not started to poke a stick in an anthill and continued the policy, conceived Andropov, 20-25 years the USSR would have been.
Design rested on the support of several generations of survivors of the strongest post-traumatic shock that was the result of a double effect of the great terror and the great war. The shock was so powerful that on the pillow of political security could swim and swim, absolutely no fear. And then who knows what would have happened with the West. Largely we have extended the well-fed Western life, because a huge flow of money, which sailed from the collapsed Soviet Union, among other things, allowed the Western system out of the protracted crisis of the 80s, the West returned to a point of crisis in 2008.
From my point of view, the collapse of the USSR was caused by reasons that we discussed above. Gorbachev was the product of two trends — growth of natural humanism (this was the contribution of the dissidents, the human rights movement, expanded its marginal humanistic philosophy) and the common growth of consumerism, of what Trotsky would call “bourgeois degeneration of the Communist society”, in consumerism “invested” the whole country. How much boundaries do not close, the difference in quality of life between Europe and Russia was absolutely obvious and beat in the eye, and it’s more revolutionized society than anything else. Soviet Union, winning the rockets lost in washing machines imported was better, and that everyone has seen and understood. It turned out that from the point of view of state security washing machine is more important than the missiles.
“That is revolutionize society occurred almost overnight, in just three years, from 1986 to 1989″”Discover Moscow”
On this wave in the minds of one individual and his entourage switch toggle. And they his own hands began to shake up the mass, which was ready to endure for decades. They abandoned the handicaps that they inherited from Stalinism, which has led to serious genetic mutations of people survived only conformist generation. They could experiment like in the movie Zakharova Dragon experimented on scientist Fridrichsen, before the removal of his pants, and nothing bad would have happened. And suddenly the Dragon itself begins to teach Fridrichsen, how embarrassing it is to stand with bare ass. And that’s crazy because he must obey and the Dragon and his instincts. Instincts say that the pants should be removed, and the Dragon, for which he takes off his pants, said, put back, asshole.
And when deviant behavior becomes mass, it’s that painful state of society, which we call the revolution. As soon as the mass stirred up, the System went off the rails because she was tough and did not allow any independent initiatives. She went Hawking, primarily because there is a new economy, which almost instantly became a criminal and started to blow up all the existing mechanisms, and off we go. That is, revolutionize society occurred almost overnight, in just three years, from 1986 to 1989, our society has made a way that the other society took 50-60 years. This led to the collapse.
In the Soviet Union for many years, there was a hidden advanced development philosophy, ideology, psychology, from time to time, it did not find a way out, because everything was frozen. The Antarctic cap, and beneath it, surging gas cloud: growing temperature, pressure. And here comes a man with a soldering iron: guys, now I will experimentally make a small hole and give you freedom! Well, and datacase, it exploded. That’s the reason for the collapse of the USSR.
But economic deterioration was only the trigger, not the cause. But he, of course, also necessary because today the smartest people in Russia are actually no less than before, the brain is swollen with oil. When, pardon the phraseology, “money is rushing out of his ears,” no philosophy will not penetrate inside. Like and want to be a humanist, but when the stomach is full, more sleepy. This makes it difficult to develop liberal processes. Therefore, some relative economic stress is necessary. But it will not lift the masses, the masses will endure to the last, because it may seem strange to those who have almost nothing, suffer longer than those who have almost all there, because what’s scarier to lose the last piece of bread than the fifteenth Mercedes. When in the hands of a single crust of bread, the price rises incredibly: can win but may be without bread to stay, so it is better to sit on the cork. A little economic tension will inspire to think only a small group, those 2-3%. The brain is activated — the tube from the ears out.
If we talk about society, we don’t know what it really is. Mutually exclusive and any of its assessment — “Russian society is absolutely conservative and archaic” or “Russian society is ripe for liberal change” — only hypotheses that life will either confirm or deny. Therefore, in their personal estimates I’m careful.
— Some leave the current political regime a few years, others speak of him as “the eternal engine”. What are your feelings?
— I think for a noticeable change takes substantial time, at least 1-2 of generational step. Only in a fairy tale everything happens from today to tomorrow. At the same time is not infinite time. The living conditions in Russia are changing rapidly, creeping Europeanization occurs giant steps. It goes through the Internet of things, financial technology, and so on.
But most importantly — thanks to private ownership, which has revolutionized social relations. This Genie released from a bottle by Gorbachev and Yeltsin, will play tricks on the country and will not rest until they get somewhere. Private initiative was to be liberated from the mid 80-ies and mystical time of Moses, 40 years, who have to go through the desert, coming to an end. Between 20 and 30 years, in five years, will begin to steer the generation 2000, generation of Yegor Zhukov, which is totally free of Soviet complexes. And then this regime, nothing will help. This generation will become the gravedigger. And to steer it in the direction of Dugin archaic, and in the direction of European ideology. The main fifth column — our children.
“There is an accumulation of new constitutional ideas, and then a new jump”
— This week, the country quietly celebrated the Day of Constitution. In “Revolution and Constitution”, arguing on the constitutional movement as the movement towards the values and principles of Western political culture, you’re talking about a necessary cultural revolution, the transition from traditional, Patriarchal society to a modern, civil, Empire and autocracy to the national constitutional state, from the class “concept” — to the rule of law, binding on all, from Unitarianism to a real federalism. That is, the step that Europe did five hundred years ago — from the middle Ages to the present time. That Russia should finally emerge from its dark Ages. We didn’t used to think about yourself, about the country, a member of the “big twenty” of the most developed economies in the world. Next to what “medieval” today countries can, for clarity, to put today’s Russia?
We do often think we are the most advanced country, the Motherland of all elephants. There is another point of view that we the most that neither is a terrible country and homeland of all cockroaches. To answer your question, I come to the refutation of both of these notions: and not all of our elephants, and cockroaches too, not all. We are in the tail of the leading group.
European and then Euro-Atlantic civilization took the lead in the end of XVIII-early XIX century. Mankind has had many of these historic segments, and each had its own leader. There was a time when Europeans went to the skins, and the Arabs invented higher mathematics, and there were times when the Arabs went to the skins in the desert, and the Chinese at this time to literally reinvent the wheel. But the leadership of Europe was the most important phenomenon. Before that, few knew about leadership in other cultures and civilizations in prior periods, as the world was torn apart, no one knew what was going on in the neighboring civilization to the apartment. The leadership of Europe was global, it felt all Europe has United the whole world and forced it to move in a comfortable pace. Europe has developed eurocentrically view of history and culture, became the standard measure, measure progress, all the achievements and failures of mankind. In fact, in the European paradigm in the European paced lives a very small part of the countries, 30-35 of the 200. Hundreds of Asian and African countries live almost in dosrednevekovye the state or a state early middle Ages.
Russia is not so Medieval. From the time of Ivan the terrible and Ordin-Nashchokin (head of the Posolsky prikaz under Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, a supporter of strengthening ties with Europe, a forerunner of the reforms of Peter I — approx. ed.) we consider ourselves part of Europe and Europe measure yourself, have with it many similarities. Yes, the current government to find support in the marginal layers, artificially animates the archaic myths, as in his time “the sorcerer” Yuri Longo tried to revive the corpse. But this is a temporary phenomenon. Basically, we have quite a developed country, is quite a modern society, located somewhere between the third and fourth dozen countries, where are India, China, Brazil, Argentina. I believe that historically we are “strong middling” and look pale, only when we compare ourselves with the leading group: our institutional development really lags behind technical.
“We always consider ourselves part of the leading group, even when they come back on the only military criterion of”White House / Flickr.com
The problem is that our internal view of ourselves does not match our present the way, quite honorable, objective position. We always consider ourselves part of the leading group, even when they come back on the only military criterion. For some of Brazil its place in the ranking of countries is quite organically, it corresponds to the self-perception of the Brazilian people, who do not see themselves Messianic, and does not set a goal to save humanity. We constantly claim to spiritual leadership for all humanity, and for us any location below the first is considered humiliating.
The constitutional construction in Russia will be better if Europe will give us active support. But before we do her now that she is experiencing a migration crisis, the degradation of the welfare state and the middle class, the rise of nationalism? And can we count on her sympathy and attention after the story with the Crimea and Donbass?
— I think that the constitutional development of Russia is an internal business of Russia. It is enough that Europe is not harmed, because the European intervention in Russian Affairs, as a rule, leads to a result opposite to the expected. Bad role played by, for example, excessive and inappropriate expectations of Europe that Russia, by magic transformed from “evil Empire” to “greater Switzerland”. In the 90 years they entered in resonance with the illusion of a small radical part of the Russian elite, which believed that it is enough to formulate the new narrative and to tell them how to live, and they immediately begin to live in this narrative. Most interesting is that those who formulated how to live, have always believed that they are in their everyday lives from having to live according to their professed principles completely released. The duplicity of our radical liberal elites have played an unpleasant role in discrediting the European values.
Today Ekaterinburg became the center of the mythologizing of the 90s and make them an apologetic look. The ideologist of this process was the Petr Aven began a “crusade” for the whitening of the 90s book “Berezovsky”, and then he continued sponsored by the alpha group stocks and publications. But in my eyes, Aven doesn’t look the bearer of Western liberal values, of which he speaks. The words of these men and their actual Affairs, the algorithm of their economic behavior, often controversial, it is not consistent with what they had. It is no coincidence, because Europe relied on these people and supported them, ignoring the warnings of those who talked about the danger of illusions about the need for a gradual movement, taking into account the Russian cultural heritage, very much a “brake”. This has led to the crisis. Good European intentions road to hell Russian. So I’m a big skeptic about the need of positivity and the intervention of Europe.
Valentin Yumashev, Pyotr Aven and Alexei Venediktov in Yeltsin Centreareas Novels / Znak.com
— I often hear that if in 90-e Europe more actively integrated Russia into its institutions, for example, the North Atlantic Alliance, Russia would have gone very differently, liberal way.
— I think that’s a large part of the Russian myth, which has roots in the tale of Ivan the fool, who is lying on the furnace. First, no one could invite Russia in any Alliance and no one would not go there, because this step at the earliest stages would have caused tremendous internal conflict in Russian society. This would lead to anti-climax before it happened.
Andrew Illarionov (although I do not support him, as for his antihidrotics obsession) has published a document that made a strong impression on me. If I’m not mistaken, it was a private letter, in accordance with which whether in 1991 or in 1992, when the country was in ruins, Gaidar felt it necessary to allocate 200 million dollars to support the Russian military base in Cuba. If this cohort was in the plans of joining NATO, at a time when the Professor made missiles sold cigarettes on Tverskaya, the 200 million spent to support some of the physics Institute, and not on a military base in Cuba. Her, curiously, closed with the coming to power of Putin.
And if Europe Russia has had massive financial support, could happen the same as with Ukraine, it would lead to even more large-scale theft. It is not about how many resources Europe had at the time to give Russia. The question is, how many Russian body in the then it was able to absorb. Doctors say that the one who drinks too much vitamins, produces the most expensive urine in the world because the body absorbs as much as able. If Europe had in the 90s Russia a large economic assistance, Russia would be the country with the most expensive financial “urine”. The money pumped into Russia’s help, output would flow back to Europe.
Civilization as a “cousin” of Europe, we, naturally, always look at the “motherboard”, much of our humanitarian, socio-political decisions is a requirement, we develop our civilization priglyadno. However, attempts to mechanically move the European decision on its soil bring us disasters. But when we do it creatively, introducing European ideas of ways and pace, appropriate to our own culture, this gives a positive result. So I think the best than can help us Europe is not blessed itself, to develop its humanitarian thought, that we was that she had to look. But today, Europe, especially its liberal ideology, itself comes in quite a profound impasse, and we may find ourselves in a situation where spying is nothing, it will be sad.
— We are able to pass their constitutional way, instead of relying on the European experience and not appealing to him?
— And the last may become first. Basic philosophical principles of liberalism is inherent in the gospel, everyone is free to interpret and develop them for themselves, no restrictions. Theoretically such a possibility. How high is its practical possibility? Probably not very big. Will Russia develop in a constitutional way, is unclear. But no direct relation to the constitutional development of Russia from Europe, its relationship to us and her help, I do not see. If Russia will not support Europe, then we will suffer a fiasco — I would not say. It is a question of the growth of consciousness of the Russian elite, to increase their own cultural layer and the formation of a liberal constitutional ideology. It’s all about what will be elite and will it be your prophet.
Yes, indirectly it depends on what is happening in Europe, but with the current scale of globalisation — and what’s happening around the world. The development of a healthy liberal thought in Europe, whether in Turkey, in Japan to promote the development of accounting thought in Russia.
In “Revolution and Constitution”, you emphasize that the progress of Soviet power in comparison with the tsarist government — in the formal recognition of constitutionalism as an idea, in the transition to a Republican form of government. The progress of the current government — in the same formal recognition of the principle of separation of powers in denial of the unlimited, the total of state terror: repressions of the Putin regime are point, selective. Does this mean that for centuries the Russian constitutional movement was going on, and the progress that the values of Western liberalism and constitutionalism become our closer?
— Yes, I believe that, despite all the horrors and institutional degradation, if you look at the situation in large periods of history, long distances, progress is being made. It is something like investing money in a good Bank that this year the yield growth in the next fall, but those who can afford to live a long time and a long wait, always win. And Russian constitutionalism: if to judge on individual periods, it seems that it only degraded, but if you look over 150 years, notice that we have gone from a complete, total denial of the constitutional idea to its approval. In Russia it is necessary to live a long time.
Today’s distinctly anti-liberal and anti-constitutional regime, which in his heart believes democracy and elections most harmful invention of mankind, liberal ideology — poison, destroying Russian society, however, dares to take a chance to formally cancel elections and democracy. He may be perverted, but the thought that they can cancel already can’t think of anyone because the idea of democracy and elections has become part of mass consciousness, with the attempt on this idea, the society will not accept. Compare with the times of the Decembrists, when the idea that someone can choose, it seemed unnatural.
Constitutionalism is not only the text of the Constitution, without it is possible to do. It is not only the actual Constitution plus a number of laws which it is framed. This is not only a constitutional practice that is able to kill any constitutional provision. Constitutionalism is first and foremost a constitutional ideology, philosophy. We have a constitutional idea often comes with strong ahead of the constitutional practice norms. In certain periods this advance is through the roof, waiting in the wings for their opportunities. The gap between the constitutional idea, which is embodied in even broken the constitutional arguments and the norms and constitutional jurisprudence gradually increases, and then what seems to be eternal and immutable, is collapsing like a sand castle in a day, and starts building a new one. The canopy ahead of the constitutional thought POPs forward, and the new is under construction on other principles.
The practical constitutionalism of the tsarist government (which could give odds to not only the Soviet government but also to the current regime — for example, how was the way the Duma, as he worked the bar and the court) rested on the ideological ceiling. Then put into practice European, humanistic norms and institutions, but this “pool” was covered with a lid of Russian autocracy: autocracy continue to think was impossible. When the Soviet government decided the Bolsheviks formally recognized the constitutional idea of the Republican form of government, the sovereignty of the people, removed the lid of autocracy, but tied weights to the feet. No cover, but to emerge, no one can.
However, it appeared theoretically possible to jump out of the “pool”. All of the dissident movement of the 60’s was developed around this theoretical possibility. Planted them, declared insane, sent out of the country. In the end none of them became king of the world. But the result grew into the philosophy, which, as I said, ultimately possessed the brains Ckowski elite, and there appeared a galaxy of hidden liberals Bovina, Burlatsky, Arbatov, Yakovlev, Chernyaev and others. In the end, this ideology was captured by General Secretary Gorbachev. Similarly, once an ancient Christianity captured the Roman aristocracy by the Emperor Constantine and his family and of the ideology of the lower classes became the reigning ideology of Rome. Western propaganda, of course, influenced by Soviet political leaders, but we should not overestimate its influence. No one would have listened to “Voice of America” if it were not for the internal intentions to think in this direction.
The almost always came through the back door and did not knock on the front door as the mailman. But the progress was, he was with the advanced development of constitutional ideas, although superficially there were periods when it was not observed absolutely no progress, and have experienced setbacks. Then came leap, we immediately jumped to 150, and then it turns out that these 150 years was running ahead, and we fell again, but never to its former level. I think this will continue. Now there is an accumulation of new constitutional ideas, while in marginal circles “of the early opposition.” And to a certain point, these ideas will be completely useless. But then a new constitutional leap.
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