Posted 1 июля 2021, 14:49

Published 1 июля 2021, 14:49

Modified 25 декабря 2022, 20:57

Updated 25 декабря 2022, 20:57

Mutual cover-up as a state idea

1 июля 2021, 14:49
Алексей Цветков
Timely and proactive denunciation has always been a prerequisite for self-preservation for Russian citizens.

Alexey Tsvetkov, poet

The endlessly quoted Dovlatov was interested in who wrote the 4 million denunciations - he himself came up with the figure for intimidation, but it turned out ridiculous, at least an order of magnitude more.

All these denunciations are a direct consequence of the phenomenon called “mutual cover-up”. In a state where state institutions proper were absent for quite a long time, the power, that is, the sovereign, did not have any instrument to test the loyalty of the entourage, and mutual responsibility, primarily among the boyars, was the only guarantee.

A person was responsible for his neighbor and not even a very close neighbor with all his property and head. Sometimes the boyars had to make huge collective pledges for one of theirs, vouching that he would not flee to Lithuania, and in case of a puncture - sit down on a stake, excuse the pun. Or even in case of suspicion. In such conditions, timely or even anticipatory denunciation was a necessary condition for self-preservation: they say, you see, sir, how I try, how I follow them all.

And this mutual responsibility stretched vertically down through all layers of society, because there was no police supervision at the bottom, and the state had to survive, at the very least to collect taxes and fight robbery. This is roughly how the mafia works, in which non-reporting is considered the equivalent of complicity.

Isabelle de Madariaga believes that such a guarantee existed in European states at the dawn of their formation, perhaps it came from the Vikings, but as the state apparatus was formed, trust in him increased both from above and below, the need for preventive denunciation weakened, the investigative apparatus worked everything it is better.

Whereas in Russia the state began to really take shape only in the 17th century, and among the broad popular masses the mutual responsibility, in the form of a peasant commune, survived until Stolypin, and Stalin's social engineers did not have to make any special efforts to revive it. It is quite possible that their heirs will not have to.