Posted 2 февраля 2022, 08:18
Published 2 февраля 2022, 08:18
Modified 25 декабря 2022, 20:56
Updated 25 декабря 2022, 20:56
Dmitry Shusharin, historian
There are plenty of studies on the sacredness of autocracy, on the tsar-primate of the local church, not in the Protestant, but in the pagan manner. But if we talk about the foundations of the Judeo-Christian civilization, then we must refer to the times of the existence of monotheism in an absolute pagan environment. When people talk about Passover as a holiday of freedom, they mean the exodus. Meanwhile, the guarantee of freedom is in the acquisition of land and a state based on law. This is what distinguishes Israel in the surrounding ocean of polytheism and the sacralization of power, which is why monotheism lays the foundations for freedom and human rights as the highest value of the Judeo-Christian civilization:
“But when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he must copy for himself the list of this law from the book that is with the priests of the Levites, and let it be with him, and let him read it all the days of his life, so that he learns to fear the Lord his God and tried to do all the words of this law and these ordinances; lest his heart be puffed up before his brethren, and lest he deviate from the law either to the right or to the left, so that he and his sons may dwell in his kingdom for long days in the midst of Israel”. (Deut 17:18-20)
Russia has always been alien to this. The appearance of an icon depicting Stalin and the calls of one of the ideologists of the "Young Guard of United Russia" to canonize Putin in his lifetime were absolutely logical and organic. Like the bright images of Putin and Stalin in the painting of the main temple of the Russian Armed Forces, and as a relic - Hitler's cap. Not a temple, but a shrine.
The clericalization of power and society has been going on all these years, but it did not mean its Christianization, rather, it referred observers to the synodal period of Russian history, which now seems too liberal in relation to the Church. Russian parliamentarism was anti-clerical: although before the revolution there were many different convocations of priests in the State Duma, they were represented in different factions. There were quite a few of them among the left - the famous priests with red bows on their cassocks. An attempt to create a church faction was made by the Synod, but this was opposed by Archbishop (future Metropolitan) Evlogii (Georgievsky), who was a deputy of the II and III State Dumas. He refused Chief Prosecutor Sabler, calling his plan “a mistake and terrible harm to the Church”: “The clergy in all parties must work in good conscience. It is more important that it be interspersed in all political parties and in them already defend church views. His influence will be wider and his moral authority more stable”. As a result, the Synod banned Archbishop Evlogii from running for the IV State Duma.
Thus, the idea of a unified representation of the Church in the legislative power belonged to the secular bureaucracy, which ruled the Church on behalf of the monarchy. But Bishop Evlogii warned against this: “The priests have got into the Duma”, “the priests are pursuing the interests of their pockets...” – this is how the people will perceive the emergence of a clergy faction in the Duma”.
The Synod intended to turn the clergy into a special social group, thereby devaluing the sacrament of the priesthood, which has no socio-political dimension. Vladyka Evlogii did not speak about this directly, but such a thing would be contrary to church dogma. In the twenties of the twenty-first century, we are witnessing the transformation not of the Church, of course, but of its hierarchy into an instrument no longer of internal governance, but of external expansion from Ukraine to Africa.
At the same time, the authorities consider their own sacredness insufficient and vulnerable. In one mass publication, they stood up for Boris Gryzlov, stigmatizing the authors of a comic strip about him as monsters and enemies of the people: “They don’t like power in Russia, but it, power, is sacred. It is from God, even if it is the power of atheists… Actually, now we have got to the essence of these strange comics, their deep meaning – the desacralization of power with the help of elementary methods”.
Something similar is stated in the dissertation of the director of VTsIOM Valery Fyodorov:
“The most authoritative representative of power is V. Putin. And this is largely due to the fact that he returned to the Russian government its sacred foundations, thereby reviving Russian statehood.
These foundations, in his opinion, were undermined by the media criticism of the nineties. It is noteworthy that the apologists for the sacralization of power do not see in this contradiction with Christian feeling and church consciousness, they do not think about what the status of the Church becomes in this case.
Sacred power, power from God, is power not from the people. All this is aimed at overcoming the concept of popular sovereignty. This is done quite deliberately, it is pointless to expose the authorities in attempts to auto-sacralize - they do not hide this. But at the same time, he is in no hurry to fix his sacredness in written law, following the model of the Russian Empire:
“The Emperor of All Russia owns the Supreme Autocratic Power. To obey His authority, not only out of fear, but also out of conscience, God Himself commands... The person of the Sovereign Emperor is sacred and inviolable".
Any legal formulation would require clarification of the subject of power. As long as this is not the case, all the defenders of its sacredness talk about power in general, turning it into an unknown and secret force. This is the fundamental difference from the interpretation of the autocrat as God's anointed. In modern Russia, despite aggressive clericalism, the sacralization of power (NB: it is not even called state power) takes place in pagan, magical formulations. The appearance of God, combined with the cult of ancestors in the so-called constitution, is another step in the paganization of Russia and Russian self-consciousness, an even greater distance from Christianity and the Judeo-Christian civilization, another step in the depersonalization of Russian self-consciousness.
The collection "Milestones" can find a second life after one of the vices of the Russian intelligentsia - its alienation from the Church - has been seemingly overcome. That's just the point, it seems to be. Christianization has been replaced by clericalization; Christian personalism, which could form the basis of a new Russian identity, is not understood and rejected by the intelligentsia. As a result - the same disgusting revolutionary democracy in everything, including the criteria for evaluating art and culture, not to mention the political component - aggressive empire, monarchism. Stalinism.
The Moscow Patriarchate no longer lives up to its name. This is in fact a new Synod, and the Patriarch functionally (I in no way question the sacrament of the priesthood and the grace of the Church) has become the chief procurator of this Synod, and in a much worse version than in tsarist times. At that time, this position and others in the church administration were sometimes occupied by independently thinking, talented people, far from reptilianism and sycophancy. It is impossible to say the same about the current absolutely controlled hierarchy.
At the other extreme - aggressive atheism, pedocracy, approval of political violence, willingness to support terrorism, national self-abasement.
And the general rejection of any manifestations of personalism. There can be no independence in Russia, and dependence on the opposition can be steeper than dependence on the authorities. Life as an indie project is impossible here. The very word "independent" excludes both a person and what he does from social ties, from cultural and intellectual circulation. And they will not accept him back into any dependence, they will bury him during his lifetime.
Power in Russia has always been considered positively demiurgical, except for brief periods when it allowed itself to doubt it (thaw, perestroika). Reflection for such power is destructive. This was perfectly understood and perfectly formulated, for example, by the authors of the resolution of the Organizing Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPSU, who branded Eisenstein for presenting "Ivan the Terrible, a man with a strong will and character, weak-willed and weak-willed, something like Hamlet".
Russian totalitarianism is internally invulnerable. The only thing that can shake him from the inside is the recognition of power in his own mistakes at the highest level. It is becoming more and more obvious that we owe all the dosed, limited, short freedom that people have had over the past sixty years almost to one person and one event - Nikita Khrushchev and the Twentieth Congress. Once, one person committed an act that was in no way compatible with everything that happened before and after that in his life. Once the system failed - it admitted that it was not perfect, allowed itself to reflect and correlate itself and its leader with values incompatible with itself.
The hatred of the current leaders and conductors of the general line towards Khrushchev is obvious. It breaks through constantly, although it was Khrushchev who was the first real Russian imperialist, a merciless punisher, the persecutor of freedom of creativity and freedom of speech, the initiator of political murders outside the country. He achieved military parity, opened the way to space. He consolidated the elites and society, launched a powerful expansion in the third world, created a new, very attractive image of the USSR in Western countries.
But the Twentieth Congress will never forgive him. After him, not a single ruler of Russia will have such power as is needed by those who strive for it. No matter how much you call Putin a saint, because of Khrushchev and the Twentieth Congress, everything is now not real, as Sharikov complained.
The new Russian pantheon will be headed by those who were in power, not allowing the slightest game of democracy and openness. Therefore, Stalin will take an honorable place in it. Khrushchev will head the new Russian pandemonium, nothing will help him. Even the fact that he turned the USSR into a superpower. And even the fact that he gave the order to kill Stepan Bandera.
In archaic societies, there was also an inverse relationship - in any natural disaster, the leader lost his charisma, became desacralized. For example, the transformation of the Soviet regime, its partial desacralization in the fifties and sixties can be judged by the secret Ashgabat earthquake of 1948 and the propaganda campaign around the Tashkent earthquake in 1966. Totalitarianism became mature and partly rationalized, learned to turn to its advantage what it had previously feared.
But only partially, because, as Ortega y Gasset said: “Both Bolshevism and fascism are false dawns; they herald not a new day, but a return to the archaic, long gone, they are primitive. Totalitarianism, which is a return to the archaic, makes impossible what Max Weber called the disenchantment of the world and what underlies the modern European modernization. This disenchantment does not occur in modern Russia, where re-archaization is observed.
The most important step in the paganization of the country was the destruction of food prohibited from being imported into Russia by the Kremlin anti-sanctions. Such bans began a long time ago - with Georgian and Moldovan wines, with Riga sprats. Very smart people came up with these moves. And it was not fools who consistently implemented these decisions. Everything related to food is not just sacred. This is the lowest and most archaic level of sacredness, going back to totemism. And this is the most conservative and the most massive part of everyday culture. Riga sprats and inexpensive Georgian and Moldovan wines have always been a subject of mass consumption for Russians, moreover, festive, joyful. And suddenly they became a poison, a way of invasion, and even a diabolical communion, a kind of attribute of the black mass - no more and no less.
It was not just poison that was burned, but what connected the Russians with the outside world. Under the ban is a joint meal with European peoples. Unity with Europe is being destroyed massively and at the most primitive level. The new version of Russian totalitarianism is closer than the Italian fascist model - aesthetic, racially non-aggressive and ecclesiastical loyal; and the Nazi one, with its hostility to Christianity and its focus on world domination, genocide and, quite naturally, suicide.
Overcoming democratic consciousness and democratic self-identification, totalitarianism in the early stages appeals to rational logic, trying to rebuild the ideological system. Further, a mythopoetic picture of the world is formed, in which the individual vision, personality, its judgments and views are dissolved. Content is secondary. The main thing is to prevent individualization of perception and judgment.
And that is why it is more accurate to speak of myth than of religion. Totalitarianism is essentially hostile to Abrahamic, monotheistic religions based on the transcendence of God and interpreting His relationship with man as interpersonal. The spirit of totalitarianism is close to the complex of pre- and non-monotheistic practices.
Now in Russia a syncretic pagan cult is being formed on the basis of primitive clericalism, occultism, astrology, magicism. In a country of endless, cyclically renewed horror, which is Russia, an attraction to a terrible end is inevitable, which gives rise to a cult of the end of the world, and not at all the second coming, in various subcultures. Waiting not so much for Christ as for Antichrist.
Messianism has long been noticeable in Putin's speeches and deeds. So after all, he can consider it his mission to cleanse the world in a nuclear fire lit by the Russians, who finally realized their destiny with its help. And I find it very likely. Putin is a false messiah of a new type, the era of mass culture. And even for her, he is an innovator. She has given birth to a fair number of preachers, charismatics with secret knowledge, and other scum. Putin is different from them and from his predecessors among the leaders. He should, like a Chekist, portray a bearer of secret knowledge and a sage. But Putin is "any one of us is a little he." And already from these positions, he gradually enters the sphere of the sacred as a neophyte. He invites all of us to follow the path of his discoveries, but does not broadcast. This is something fundamentally new both in leaderism and in mass culture.
New but archaic. A study by the Levada Center (recognized as a foreign agent - editor's note), conducted in the summer of 2015, showed that 56 percent of Russians believe that Putin's entourage does not provide the president with a complete picture of the situation in the country. That is, the majority of the population, as in ancient times, believes that the evil boyars are holding the priest for an idiot. This is still the same popular monarchism: in the sacredness of the king there is a little foolishness, childish innocence and naivety. After all, the king should cause not only reverence, but also tenderness to tears, the most august mimimi. He is not only the father of the people, but also the child of the people. It must be admitted that Putin confirms this image with a bathyscaphe, amphorae and Siberian Cranes.
And not only these amusements. In his speeches, he never associates failures and failures with his name and with his reign. Here is an example from 2019, that is, before the pandemic, when Putin stated the collapse of medicine in the regions, without thinking that this was the result of his twenty-year rule, especially the propaganda and impracticable May 2012 decrees. Obviously, the connection between power and responsibility is beyond his understanding. More precisely, his power and his responsibility. This is not hypocrisy. Apparently, it is impossible to explain to him: much of what he falls upon is the result of his own activity. And this is not the property of Putin, who has no personal properties at all. The connection between power and responsibility is absent in the minds of both the elite and society, as in the ideas of some primitive tribes there is no connection between sexual intercourse and the birth of a child.
However, it must be admitted that despite all the attempts of the most zealous servants, the sacralization of Putin did not happen. Nothing like even moderate praise of Brezhnev in the last years of his rule. Something else happened, perhaps more important in terms of strengthening the system. The triumph of one-man rule, its highest stage, is not the deification, but the demonization of the leader. It is not enough to achieve the love of the masses. It is also necessary that the dissatisfied reduce any opposition to a vilification of the ruler, not paying attention to the system of government created by him. So that all hopes for change are associated exclusively with the displacement of the person at the top of the pyramid. Even the content of the changes is unimportant.
Therefore, the Belarusian booze in the summer of 2020 was a triumph for Lukashenka, who reached the highest power. Therefore, the bulk show, which will be discussed in the following chapters, is Putin's triumph. To pass for the leader and the face of the opposition, you do not need anything but one thing - to become a mirror image of the head of a totalitarian community. At the same time, the power hierarchy headed by him, the social organization, the entire totalitarian community remain in the shadows, turning the leader into a lightning rod.