Add news
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010June 2010July 2010
August 2010
September 2010October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013August 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013January 2014February 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014June 2014July 2014August 2014September 2014October 2014November 2014December 2014January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015November 2015December 2015January 2016February 2016March 2016April 2016May 2016June 2016July 2016August 2016September 2016October 2016November 2016December 2016January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017May 2017June 2017July 2017August 2017September 2017October 2017November 2017December 2017January 2018February 2018March 2018April 2018May 2018June 2018July 2018August 2018September 2018October 2018November 2018December 2018January 2019February 2019March 2019April 2019May 2019June 2019July 2019August 2019September 2019October 2019November 2019December 2019January 2020February 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020August 2020September 2020October 2020November 2020December 2020January 2021February 2021March 2021
News Every Day |

As column in Moscow's top progressive newspaper labels West 'New ethical Reich,' are Russian liberals turning away from EU & US?

As column in Moscow's top progressive newspaper labels West 'New ethical Reich,' are Russian liberals turning away from EU & US?

When a high-profile Russian theatre director is using the house journal of the country's liberal class to describe today's Western Europe as a "new ethical Reich," there is clearly a challenge emerging to the traditional dogma.

“The Russian liberal is a thoughtless fly buzzing in the ray of the sun; that sun is the sun of the West.” So said the nineteenth century Russian philosopher Pyotr Chaadayev. If the basic position of the Russian conservative is that Russia is different from the West and should follow its own distinct path of development, that of the Russian liberal is that the same rules of historical development apply to all nations, and that more backward countries, such as Russia, in their view, are therefore bound to follow the same path as more advanced ones – i.e. the West.

It’s a short step from this to a belief that the West is good and Russia is bad. An example of this sort of thinking appeared last month in the online newspaper in the form of an article by Dmitry Gubin, a Russian journalist living in Germany who has a regular show on the liberal radio station Ekho Moskvy.

Gubin wrote:

“I’m not a patriot. I don’t love Russia. … I don’t love the Russian people, and I don’t consider it great. For the simple reason that there is no Russian people, at least not in the way that the people exists in the West. … If the main instrument of survival for Western peoples is fighting for their rights, then for the Russian people it is conformism, opportunism and double-think. … The greatest achievements of Russian culture happened only when it was open to the West and learnt from the West.”

Read more
A view shows Kremlin on a cold sunny day in Moscow, Russia. © Sputnik
Kremlin says Russia wants to improve ties with EU, not break them off, but must prepare for worst as Brussels threatens sanctions

Gubin’s position is a bit extreme, but not untypical. For the Russian liberal, the West is everything that Russia should be, but unfortunately is not. All of which makes a new manifesto published in the liberal newspaper Novaya Gazeta all the more explosive.

Written by theatre director Konstantin Bogomolov (also known as the husband of socialite and one-time presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak), the manifesto, entitled “The Rape of Europa 2.0,” uses quite inflammatory, indeed offensive, language to lambast the modern West as a model that Russia should discard in favour of a “new right-wing ideology.” 

Bogomolov nods briefly in the direction of his liberal friends in Russia’s “creative classes.” He expresses a love of the Europe that he and others longed to join in the 1990s. He expresses his hatred of “the spirit of violence and atmosphere of fear” in Russia. And he says that people like Gubin are partially right in denouncing the “prison guards and slaves” who make up the Russian people. But he then heads off in an entirely different direction. Using language that would see him expelled from polite society in much of the West, Bogomolov writes:

“The contemporary Western world has turned into a New ethical Reich with its ideology of ‘the new ethics.’ … We face ethical socialism, queer socialism. Siemens, Boss and Volkswagen have turned into Google, Apple and Facebook, and the Nazis have given way to an equally aggressive mix of queer activists, fem-fanatics, and eco-psychopaths, who have an equal desire to totally transform society.”

Bogomolov asserts that the Nazis controlled what people said but modern Western totalitarians also want to control how people feel.

Also on
(L) Josep Borrell © Reuters /  Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS; (C) Sergei Lavrov ©️ Reuters / Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS; (R) Alexei Navalny ©️ Reuters / Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS
‘If you want peace, prepare for war!’ Lavrov says Russia ready to break off relations with EU if Navalny sanctions target economy

Transgression leads to the loss of one’s job, or even worse, with social media companies acting as the new “Ministry of Truth” to enforce compliance. Sounding remarkably like the reactionaries of Russia’s conservative Izborsky Club, or far-right thinkers such as Alexander Dugin, Bogomolov continues (referring to the character Schwonder in Bulgakov’s novel Heart of a Dog):

“I loathe the spirit of violence and the atmosphere of fear [in Russia]. But that doesn’t mean that I accept the transformation of the country of prison guards and slaves into a country where … multicoloured (including white) Schwonders from BLM enter houses and demand that the professors kneel down, share their living space and give money to help the starving Floyds.”

The ultra-conservative Dugin once said, “I love the West. … Until a certain moment when this liberal, globalist ideology triumphed, the West was a jewel. … I consider that contemporary Europe is anti-Europe. I simply cannot accept the West in its current condition.”

Read more
FILE PHOTO. The Russian Foreign Ministry, February 05, 2021
Borrell visit fallout: West has failed to realize that Russia has given up on ‘greater Europe’ & no longer cares what EU thinks

The notionally liberal Bogomolov agrees. “In the 1990s Russia strove to be part of Europe … to return to European values, the values of the beautiful pre-war Europe,” he says. But that Europe has gone, he laments. Denouncing the historical determinism that says that Russia must follow Europe’s path, Bogomolov writes: “Russian intellectuals tell us: Russia is in the tail end of progress. No. Thanks to a confluence of circumstances we have ended up in the tail end of a mad train, steaming to a Hieronymus Bosch-style hell where we will be met by multicultural gender-neutral devils. We simply have to unhitch the wagon, cross ourselves and start building a new world. To rebuild our old dear Europe, the Europe we dreamed of, the Europe we have lost.”

While Novaya Gazeta did not endorse Bogomolov’s manifesto, the fact that the newspaper considered it acceptable to publish the article tells us something that people in the West perhaps don’t understand: On occasion, Russian liberalism can be very illiberal.

In the eyes of Russian liberals, neither Bogomolov or Sobchak are entirely “handshakeable”, as the expression goes. For all their notional dislike of the hated Russian state, they’re seen as far too ready to compromise with the authorities (Bogomolov, for instance, joined anti-government protests in the early 2010s, but later supported Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin during the 2018 mayoral elections).

Still, they’re part of the family of the liberal intelligentsia, a fact that makes Bogomolov’s piece all the more shocking. If it had come from Dugin, it could have been shrugged off as reactionary nonsense. But coming from a highly decorated theatre director, and being published in the flagship of the liberal press, Novaya Gazeta, it’s like a big sharp knife in the back of Russian liberalism.

Bogomolov’s timing is also significant. The protests that followed the arrest of Aleksei Navalny last month were supposed to provide an opportunity for Russians to come together to fight the state. But quite the opposite has happened. First, the founder of the liberal Yabloko party, Grigory Yavlinsky, denounced Navalny for his supposed authoritarian tendencies. And now Bogomolov has come out and challenged Russian liberals’ most basic belief – the superiority, and inevitability, of the Western model.

Another nineteenth century Russian philosopher Stepan Shevyryov remarked that, “in our frank, friendly, and close relations with the West we have failed to notice that it is like a man who carries within himself a dreadful contagious disease … We kiss him, embrace him … and allow the delights of the banquet to mask the odor of decay which he emanates.” For two hundred years, this has been the mantra of Russian conservatives. It would be far too early to say that Russian liberals have fallen out of love with the West, but when Novaya Gazeta now starts talking in the same way, something strange is definitely going on.

If you like this story, share it with a friend!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Read also

WATCH: Minneapolis battens down the hatches with extreme security ahead of trial of George Floyd’s alleged killer

During the pandemic, women are less likely to ask for raises and promotions

Gay couple’s fury after being forced to give adopted baby BACK after just 12 days after ruling by ‘homophobic’ judge

News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here
News Every Day

Pep Guardiola insists ‘no problem’ with Man Utd rival Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after duo’s heated touchline row