Posted 29 апреля 2022,, 08:48

Published 29 апреля 2022,, 08:48

Modified 25 декабря 2022,, 20:57

Updated 25 декабря 2022,, 20:57

Conquerors without the trousers... How does the Russian empire differ from others

29 апреля 2022, 08:48
Марина Шаповалова
Texts about the “lack of Russian” in the USSR appear massively on the Web. Say, all the union republics had their emblems-anthems and even their own, the national Central Committee of the Communist Party, while the Russians had only "the entire USSR." Itit, what news!

Marina Shapovalova, writer

I wrote about it ten times in different years, but it didn’t come up at all. Unless the commentators habitually came to report what the “author does not understand” due to their wretchedness. Looks like I'm formulating too hard, not all birds manage to fly to the middle of the texts.

But yes, everything is somewhat more complicated than just "imperialism on the basis of the all-Russian USSR". Yes, and imperialism here is not quite common. As the philosopher Mamardashvili once rightly noted - I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the quote - this is not a Russian empire, but an empire "through the Russians". That is, the Russians in it are not the beneficiaries of the empire, not a privileged people, but a means.

Indeed, not only "republican" nations, but also "autonomous" nations in the structure of the USSR had at least something "of their own". More nominal than real, but still. They were territorially localized within conditional boundaries. They were supposed to have a national culture, albeit in the form of a festival costumed style. The Russians, as it were, filled the territorial gaps between the outlined national locations. And "cultural gaps" too.

Even the fifteen "sister republics" were not always depicted equally in national dress. Often there were fourteen of them, and in the middle - a person or a couple in "civilian" clothes - "a simple Soviet person." What did it mean - "Russian", or - "no". Having no national characteristics. And it doesn’t have its own, localized territory: if you sort out Russian territories on the map of the USSR, you get a holey skin stretched over lifeless spaces.

From this follows a not quite traditional imperialism in the British or, for example, French sense.

The Russian imperial “everything around is collective farm”, but there is nothing of his own. He's not supposed to. He is only the "glue" or "shackles" that hold and hold the colonial spaces together. He, as a Soviet collective farmer, was explained: everything around is yours! But! Shut your mouth, don't touch anything with your hands, step left and right - we'll knock your teeth out!

The most terrible thing is that the “Russian imperial” has become accustomed over generations to precisely this position of his. I have never had or thought of anything else.

As for the imperial culture, that's another story.