Slavophilic Russian Ideas Vs. The Research Paper

Length: 10 pages Sources: 6 Subject: History - Asian Type: Research Paper Paper: #57183615 Related Topics: Russian Culture, Russian, Urban Geography, Nation Building
Excerpt from Research Paper :

This similarly encourages modest investment in Russia, a market of 150 million, even in the face of continuing economic difficulties and political uncertainty (Saunders, 105).

According to Sunders, the strategy developed to "globalize" Russia was known as "shock therapy." And its implementation began with the January 1, 1992 elimination of price controls on most goods. The objective of "shock therapy" was, in essence, to create a market economy in Russia as quickly as possible. Sunders claim that this was to be achieved by freeing prices and liberalizing trade policies, which would stimulate competition; and by privatization, which would create private property with all its attendant behavioral incentives for enterprises. At the same time, it was essential to make the ruble convertible and ensure that its value remained relatively stable. This meant controlling inflation and, therefore, keeping tight control of currency emissions and government spending.

Consequently, Saunders appreciates that successful economic reform was to create a new middle class that would become a powerful political constituency favoring the consolidation of economic and political reform in Russia. As Anthony Lake suggested, this would serve larger American interests by promoting peace between Russia and other democracies and, therefore, enhance American security.

Russian Perspectives

Anton Steen's work which was funded by the Norwegian Research Council as part of a bigger project on elites and democracy in Russia, involved 980 interviews with members from regional, cultural, political, business and spiritual elites. Between 1998 and 2000, the statistics on attitudes, including trust and confidence revealed a major shift in attitudes. In 1998, 'only 28% of the elite overall; and 17% of the regional elite wanted a greater centralization of power' (112) but by 2000 this had almost inexplicably leapt to 54% overall. By 2000, 75% of the elite supported Putin compared to just 33% that had supported Yeltsin who had enjoyed just 13% support amongst Duma deputies. Slade declares that this was shown by the Federation Council's (FC) attempts to impeach Yeltsin in 1999. Besides, the 1998 Presidential Administration (PA) was given the least confidence by respondents in Steen's study.

Hoffman declares that Steen's research affirms that 'the orientations at the elite level are reflected in mass attitudes thus, indicating that there has been a deep distrust of institutions across the whole spectrum of elite groups in Russia. In 1998, the Russian people also held the PA and President himself at a very low level of trust, only 9% trusted Yeltsin' (147). It was also established that as much as 20% of the population was fiercely opposed to national government'. In addition, support for the PA and President jumped by 2000. Moreover, Sakwa claims that "the first three years of Putin's reign saw his approval ratings stay between 65-73%, with 60% of Russians believing that Putin puts Russia first; and only 28% believing that Putin is more worried about his own image" (70).

Therefore, Hoffman claims that the rejection of revolution and change by Russians shows that Putin was effectively trying to establish a discourse focused on unity and stability knowing that the binary oppositions of politics during the Yeltsin era had created a situation where the state was unable "to muster a critical mass of leaders who articulate[d] one or another political discourse that resonate[d] in political society." (198). Putin was establishing autonomy by going beyond the already given political visions in order to address the rifts of political society, to 'assuage the more liberal communists and traditional nationalists and pre-empt the extremist Red-Brown ideologues….to heal or pacify the whole nation.'(134). Putin wants to establish a national interest and deny 'the abyss between elite and mass interests and ideologies, the amorality of the new elites and the alienation of urban and rural masses.'(138). Hoffman further suggests that the idea of a 'national interest' was 'virtually inoperable' in 1998, and it is with this in mind that we can understand Putin's purpose in bringing in a new Russian idea below:

The Russian Idea

In Putin's Vital Speeches of the Day 66/8 in 2000 that was (and is) dubbed the 'Millennium's Manifesto', he gave his new Russian idea below:

Another foothold for the unity of Russian society is what can be called the traditional values of Russians. These values are clearly seen today.



This term is sometimes used ironically and even derogatively. But for the majority of Russians it has its own and only an original and positive meaning. It is a feeling of pride in one's country, its history and accomplishments. It is the striving to make one's country better, richer, stronger and happier. When these sentiments are free from the tints of nationalist conceit and imperial ambitions, there is nothing reprehensible or bigoted about them. Patriotism is the source of the courage, staunchness and strength of our people. If we lose patriotism and national pride and dignity, which are connected with it, we will lose ourselves as a nation capable of great achievements.

Belief in the greatness of Russia. Russia was and will remain a great power. It is preconditioned by the inseparable characteristics of its geopolitical, economic and cultural existence. This determined the mentality of Russians and the policy of the government throughout the history of Russia and this cannot but do so at present.

But Russian mentality should be expanded by new ideas. In the present world the might of a country as a great power is manifested more in its ability to be the leader in creating and using advanced technologies, ensuring a high level of people's well-being, reliably protecting its security and upholding its national interests in the international arena than military strength.

Statism. It will not happen soon, if it ever happens at all that Russia will become the second edition of say, the U.S. Or Britain, in which liberal values have deep historic traditions. Our state and its institutions and structures have always played an exceptionally important role in the life of the country and its people. For Russians a strong state is not an anomaly which should be got rid of. Quite the contrary, they see it as a source and guarantor of order and initiator and main driving force of any change.

Modern Russian society does not identify a strong and elective state with a totalitarian one. We have come to value the benefits of democracy, a law-based state, and personal and political freedom. At the same time, people are alarmed by the obvious weakening of state power. The public looks forward to the restoration of the guiding and regulating role of the state to a degree which is necessary, proceeding from the traditions and present state of the country.

Social solidarity. It is a fact that a striving for cooperative forms of activity has always prevailed over individualism. Paternalistic sentiments have struck deep roots in Russian society. The majority of Russians are used to connecting improvements in their own condition more with the aid and support of the state and society than with their own efforts, initiatives and flair for business. And it will take a long time for this habit to die.

In conclusion, according to Hoffman, Putin's manifesto is rich in inter-discursivity, appropriating elements from competing ideologies and rejecting binary oppositions in order to win the war of position within the discursive field thus creating 'an all-national spiritual reference point that will help to consolidate society, thereby strengthening the state.' (135).

As Slade puts it, this reference point, a new Russian idea, helps construct an image of the state as a nation of people represented by a spokesperson, the president. Slade comprehends that any state-building project must construct principles of identity for the people of the nation and this was (and is) a major aspect of Putin's manifesto. Therefore, Slade figures out that Putin overcame (and still overcomes) the legacy of the previous principles of division contained within the Russian past, the scars of previous suturing of society.

The effects of Russian Slavophiles Ideas to the Modern World

According to Saunders, the eventual outcome of Russia's reform process is all the sadder when one takes into account the fact that, from the vantage of 1992, Russia was supposed to be an "easy" case for globalization. At the time, in addition to having plentiful natural resources and a highly educated population, Russia was blessed by a vibrant free media; a leadership determined to pursue radical economic reform and rapid integration into the global economy; and a population eager to soak up American culture in any and every possible form. After a decade, Russia should have been well on the way to becoming a prosperous and friendly democracy. The fact that a country having so many advantages has failed to follow the course projected by globalization theory should raise serious questions.

Professor Waliki claim that 'it is difficult to overestimate the influence, direct and indirect, of Russian social and political ideas, especially those which rose during the hundreds years that followed the Decembrist revolution, upon the way Russia live and…

Sources Used in Documents:


Batygin, G. S. 'The Transfer of Allegiances of the Intellectual Elite'. Studies in East

European Thought 53 (2001)

Boris Yeltsin quoted in Urban, M. Re-mythologizing the Russian State. Euro-Asia Studies

50/6 (1998): 969
February 4, 2010. March 28, 2010. -- westerner-ideals.
Russia Travel Guide. Russia. March 28, 2010. March 28, 2010.
Slade, G. Deconstructing the Millennium Manifesto: The Yeltsin-Putin Transition and the Rebirth of Ideology. May 31, 2006. March 28, 2010.

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