01 September 2005

Off-color commentary on color "revolutions"?

Was reading a not-too-reputable (in my view) ePublication utro.ru today and came across an interview with political scientist Mikhail Leont'ev, in which he made a number of curious comments in regards to the post-Soviet space and consequently the countries that had hosted recent "color revolutions", the Baltics, as well as the relatively "new" states of central Europe such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland "to a certain extent". Interestingly, he classified most as artificial and having no basis for existence other than the self-establishment of the new nationalistically-minded elites. He used Kievan "dislike" of Russia as such an example and located the foundation for this type of nationalism in, and I quote, "the dumb contrasting of themselves to Russia. After all, they have nothing else!"

Furthermore, Leont'ev highlighted the type of special status that Georgia enjoyed as a Soviet republic due to having rather favorable climatic and financial market factors (tourism and export of goods such as tea, tangerines, wine, and tobacco). With the fall of the USSR, Georgia had been left in shambles; by extension, without its massive neighbor Russia, Leont'iev's prognosis for Georgia was highly negative. He noted that its reliance on American aid as the means of underscoring itself as an entity separate from Russia, is too near-sighted, because Americans are only interested in using Georgia as a transit zone and a pawn in political manipulation (implying countries that truly matter on the world scale, i.e. Russia.).

One could question the man's background, motives, and most important - funding in order to situate this somewhat extreme analysis. This is not my concern. It suffices to state that I am in agreement with a somewhat more moderate variation of this view. It, however, is somewhat bothersome, that Leont'ev lumped countries that had been part of other empires (hence his emphasis on a search of an ethnic identity) like that of Austro-Hungary (or the Russian empire itself) for most of their existence with others, like Poland, which although had been part of the Russo-Germanic power struggle for a considerable time period, had also functioned as an empire itself.

As much as I gloat at his "scholarization" of what I always refer to as the chihuahua syndrome (the smaller and less important is the country (see Baltics)), the louder it has to proclaim its nationalistic values, real or perceived), Leont'ev seemed to have left the justification for a country's existence unclear. That is to say, ethnicity, one of the primary bases for state formation (in the "Old World"), translating into customs - cultural and religious, does not seem to satisfy his requirements for a "non-artificial" country (particularly in the cases of a nation, whose core values were maintained, rather than being assimilated into those of its ruler.)


Anonymous said...

wowawiwa, for the first time on this topic you actually seem 'objective'. Leave Poland from this discussion and for the most part I agree with you especially on the ending about these 'ethnic groups', maybe too small for you to care about (at one point big haha) but Poland also has ethnic groups in Poland which want to seperate and they hold their protests and scream very loud about the 'Polish oppressor' - I find these people funny for the most part.

If you want FULL independence go ahead but if you will still cling on like lice on a dog then it is quite a joke.

See you soon...hopefully!

ninaKay said...

One man's "objectivity" is another man's investment, and therefore not a concern. What is left is to make one's own reality and judge it accordingly.

The reason I contrasted Poo-land to Ukraine is the fact that the latter did not even begin using its very name, which means OUTSKIRTS, in ANY capacity until the mid-1850's! Therefore, the concept of national identity out of negation that the author suggested seemed to play quite the role here.