Posted 29 декабря 2021,, 08:00

Published 29 декабря 2021,, 08:00

Modified 25 декабря 2022,, 20:57

Updated 25 декабря 2022,, 20:57

2021 will be remembered as the year of total splits

29 декабря 2021, 08:00
Андрей Колесников
The outgoing year 2021 has become the year of splits, polarization of opinions and their radicalization, the year of hate speech and general hating.

Andrey Kolesnikov, Head of the Domestic Policy Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center

In the dialect of power, this is called "the unity of the nation": the majority is obliged to hate minorities, this is its civic duty and the state-imposed Gleichschaltung, pre-established obedience and readiness to meet the expectations of the authorities. As a result, those “who are not with us” are declared those “who are against us” and are marked with special analogs of yellow stars, the main of which is the status of a foreign agent, synonymous with the concept of “enemy of the people”.

Social and political minorities, in turn, are more than ever capable of solidarity and collective action. They are demoralized and disoriented, "the narcissism of small differences" engenders mutual hatred - no less, if not more, than toward power.

The social environment is divided into: the indifferent majority that lives adapting to the proposed circumstances and even evaluates the deterioration of their situation as new normal; an aggressive minority that fiercely supports an authoritarian regime and hates everything liberal and Western; democratically oriented citizens, that is, civil society itself. The aggressive pro-state minority in Western scientific literature has recently been called “conservative civil society” (something like the Cossacks, at the call of the heart of the attacking events in the Sakharov Center), although the language does not dare to call these characters a civil society. There is, after all, Stephen Kotkin's term "non-civil society", although it could rather be used to mark that swamp, that indistinct conformist indifferent majority that remains in the middle. It, in fact, is just a society.

But even within this deeply paternalistic-minded “simple society” there are colossal cleavages. They were revealed during the 2021 parliamentary elections. Along with the conformist paternalism, there is the irritable and the disillusioned. Two paternalisms competed in the 2021 elections: the conformist, represented by United Russia, and the other, irritated and disappointed, by the communists. Moreover, in voting for the second option, many motivations converged - dull discontent, protest sentiments, the search for a more just system (this is not necessarily a left turn, even if many citizens are oriented towards a mythological communist retro-utopia).

The hate speech used by the state to mobilize emotionally around the flag is surprisingly reflected in the frustration experienced by minorities. The social media environment turned out to be an area of open hating. It is clear that the core of Alexei Navalny's supporters is most frustrated by the events of 2021. However, courage and consistency in the fight against the corrupt government gave rise to an incredible degree of intolerance in the same logic "who is not with us is against us." Everyone who did not follow the canon of "smart voting" was declared fools, as did everyone who dared to rejoice at Dmitry Muratov's Nobel speech. The cleansing of the Yabloko party from Navalny's sympathizers is a phenomenon of the same order. The only problem is that split minorities are becoming even smaller in size and political (and even civic) weight.

And yet, the glimmer of solidarity that civil society showed in connection with the persecution of Memorial (recognized as a foreign agent in the Russian Federation) gave rise to weak hope that there are truly important, fundamental values that can unite.

Original: telegram channel "About the country and the world".