07 May 2006

A National Idea

Komsomol'skaya Pravda.
12-Oct-2005
Searching for a National Idea.
http://www.kp.ru/daily/23594/45470/print/
Translation: mine.


Writer Mikhail Veller: Maybe we should swap the Kuril islands for Crimea and implement a Christian dictatorship.

Having completed his new book The Last Great Chance, this renowed author visited Komsomol'skaya Pravda and told us what this chance entails.

-Mikhail Iosifovich, please tells us - are all of us rossiyane (Note: Russian citizens) or Russians?

-Russians, of course! Because the Russian nation is collective in origin. Even "Moscow", rather than being Slavic, is a Finno-Ugric word "Moskova". Here we have Mordovians, Turkic peoples, Caucasians, and guys of northern Germanic-Scandinavian descent. All of this had been melted together and became the Russian peoples. All great nations have always been collective. Even the concept of "Russians" only emerged under Ivan the Terrible.

-Then why didn't Russians melt Ukraine into their pot? Or at least tiny Estonia?


-Had the Soviet Union existed for another thousand years, then one may have anticipated the assimilation of all people. Because when a person was worth anything or wanted to have a good career in the Russian Empire or in the Soviet Union, he inevitably underwent russification. Everything passed through the Russian language, Russian culture, Russian capital. The Baltics were joined to the Russian Empire somewhat late. And the Soviet Union led rather sparing national politics there.

-What about Ukraine?

-Well, Ukraine is not simply russified, this was the original Rus' - Kievan. If it weren't for the Tartar-Mongolian invasion, this would have been a unified pot of culturally equal slavic principalities. And as a result, all of this would have been baked into a single state, like a layered cake.

-Why did the Empire collapse?

-Because it exhausted itself. Keep in mind that Russia was initially created via the force of weapons, as were all empires in history. Not otherwise. For a thousand years our national idea was the unification of principalities, then the takeover of new territories, then - their "digestion".

And then all of a sudden, the Empire informed all of its subjects that it just so happens that imperial politics are bad, and we are giving up on them. What was there left to do? Only let itself dissipate.

A thief must be jailed

-And what now?

-And now everyone rushed to create a new national idea. But you cannot just make one up. It has to be natural, a problem projected onto psychology of the people.

This problem is yet to be posed. We are offered the following: let us live comfortably with our bellies full, dear Russians. Thanks a lot. Consumerism cannot embody a national idea. Then it's more beneficial to steal a bunch of goods and say - okay, guys, I think I've fulfilled my idea!

Even a mouse wants a good life - to live in a warm burrow with a full granary and to comfortably produce its offspring. Therefore today's idea is simply that of a mouse.

-In that case, please suggest to us something more interesting.

-Russia's national idea can only arise with departure of liberalism, which is the cause of Europe's current demise. An accelerated demise. Because liberalism states: everyone is equal and identical.

In a normal country, however, a murderer hangs, a thief is jailed, a hard worker lives well, while a lazy worker lives poorly. And the one who does not work at all gets the hell out, without stinking up the country or mooching off the welfare system. Or goes to live in a shelter. Into reservations.

-One who does not work, does not get to eat?

-Yes, something like that. As a result, liberalism cultivates parasitism. Not unlike the Roman Empire - bread and entertainment. Where is this empire now? Modern social parasites in Europe are the classic Roman plebeians, who do not wish to work, but wish to lives in accordance with their desires. They demand this via demonstrations. And the government flirts with them, because it wants votes.

-Exactly. People vote for this type of government. Therefore, they must like it.

-Russian people are not fully spoiled by this. They have a different idea. I doubt that you'd print it...

-...well, now we'd certainly have to print it.

-We'll see. To quote a vendor [I met] by the subway - she will be completely satisfied, when oligarchs and parliamentarians are strung up on light posts along the street. That's the kind of national idea that's blooming from below.

Europe will sell us out

-Is Russia not Europe?

-No, it is not Europe, because the very posing of the question garners doubts. No one asks: is Germany - Europe?

-Do you seriously believe that this [concept] is good for Russia?

-Forty years ago it would have been very bad - that we are not Europe. Today - it is good. Today this is our chance. If we were to join Europe, we would not have a single chance left.

When we say that we want to be part of Europe, we really mean that we want to be wealthy and live freely. At the same time we don't want to change our mentality. We do not feel insecure about all things Russian in front of all things French and German.

And if we do join them, do you really think that our mentality would immediately change? No. This [union] will only result in diminished customs control at the border. This is only beneficial to those who send oil, gas, forestry products, and metal to the West.

It, however, is not beneficial to the rest, because our manufacturing sector cannot handle a competion with Europe. We will ultimately become a source of natural resources and nothing more.

-But is it not better to sell ourselves to Europe than be swallowed by China?

-China will compromise with Europe. Europe does not want to fight or even save itself from complete islamification. And when Europe is face to face with a powerful totalitarian state armed to its teeth, it’ll hand Siberia over to China, and that’ll be the end of it. Back in the day, it handed the Czech Republic over to Hitler. Europe does not give a damn about Russian interests.

-Then maybe America will save us?

-Riiiight! America is also afraid of China. But America does not need Europe as a competitor. America would prefer to have Russia against China and Europe. Therefore in reality, Russia is a strategic partner for America.

-But for now it looks like we are better friends with China against the U.S.A...

-That’s just for show. America does not have any territorial grievances with Russia. No ideologic disagreements. Russia does not participate in anything that would outright horrify America. And further more, it is America, not Europe and China, that above all respects power. Russia’s nuclear arsenal is still present. And for the U.S.A. this is a big argument in our favor.

Eastern Orthodoxy must have fists

-What specifically should our national idea involve?

-The preservation of the Christian civilization.

-What are we going to do with muslims, jews, and atheists? Send them to Siberia too?

-They don’t have to be sent anywhere. And no one should be baptized by force either. By “Christianity” I don't refer to the type of religious worship, but rather - societal values. But they are loosened. Why did Christianity conquer ancient Rome? Because Rome became liberal and allowed everything. While Christianity said – none of this crap. This you have to do, but that will send you to hell. Christians had a definite set of values – what is good, and what is evil.

Europe and Russia no longer follow them. This is why Islam is winning. It has definite values. Islam tells you what is allowed and what is not.

This is why, among others, Russia needs an Eastern Orthodox reform. Orthodoxy must become a living religion, rather than a ritual, as it is now, when bureaucrats hold candles next to their lenten mugs, while yawning priests stand nearby, having successfully purchased a candle factory for the occasion.

-What should we do in particular?

-We must walk one step ahead of destiny. It is unnecessary to wait for inevitability. Kuril islands are already lost for Russia. Today we have absolutely no useful purpose for them. We don’t have the money or a reason to maintain serious bases there. And today we can still bargain for these islands, but in 15 years they will be gone free of charge.

The same applies to East Prussia - Kaliningrad region. Its residents don't need Russia. If the EU tells them, "Hey guys, have dual citizenship, have social welfare up to our standards"; oh my God, what a celebration this would cause! Today we can still rent East Prussia to Germans for 49 years. And milk German blood and gold with tankers thanks to this [transaction]. But in 15 years it will leave on its own, and nothing will get milked.

-You are suggesting that we give them away....

-I am suggesting that we receive the maximum out of what we can hope for. These territories are suitcases without handles for us, regardless.

-But when Abkhazia cries out to us, "Hey guys, we are your brothers, we want to live in Russia", for some reason we think, "What would Georgia and Europe say?" Who gives a damn about what Georgia and Europe would say! All that they can really do is freeze our guys' bank accounts in the West. Well, then, we just need to warn our guys - let them return their money to Russia. Otherwise it will be too late.

-What else are you offering to trade?

-Eastern Russia. It is not ours. Only 145 years had passed since Vladivostok's foundation. We need to give up this stuff as concession to the Japanese and the Koreans against China. We need to create a standard brawl between one type of barbarians against the other on our borders. This is how all shrewed governments acted.

However, that, which is ours and is located nearby, becomes part of Russia, without giving a damn about political correctness.

-Crimea, for example...

-Crimea first and foremost! They need to have a referendum. People, of course, will vote for unification with Russia. Then Moscow imposes a visa regime, which must be satisfied. And then there will be a celebration that will greatly exceed that in East Prussia after its return to Germans.

All skin, but no kielbasa

-What will then happen to the organization of the state?

-For now, it has to be a dictatorship, I'm afraid.

-And democracy is absolutely impossible?

-Democarcy is an optimal speed for a car. But when you are stuck in mud, you need extreme measures in order to get back on the road.

-It seems that certain individuals already scream that we almost have a "bloody regime"

-What regime? Please. Our dictatorship is like kielbasa - we've got the skin, but not the kielbasa itself.

-Who will elect the first dicator? The government or the people?

-Representatives of all parties and movements are locked up for a week. They are not allowed to come out, until they elect someone. Otherwise in France we easily find pedigree-lacking corsican Napoleon, while here we get Ryurikovich - prince Trubetskoy, who does not at all show up to Senatsky square during the Decembrists' rebellion.

-Does the dictator have to be Russian?

-Ideally, it's better for him to be Russian and Christian. But, you know, if he really needs to, he can get baptized himself.

-Wouldn't all of this result in ordinary fascism?

-There are 10-12 chances out of 100 that we will reach a dictatorship of a fascistic nature, and this will be very bad.

-What is your dictatorship like?

-Constitutional. My dictator is an unconditional ruler. Not a tyrant, but rather the highest executive person in possession of emergency powers and specific targets for the duration of a rigidly defined term. If you don't leave on the day your term ends - you are outside of the law, have no civil rights, and are an enemy of the people.

-This sounds like GKChP (Note: leaders of 1991 Russian coup)

-GKChP is the diminution of people's rights and the expansionof authorities' rights. A constitutional dictatorship, in contrast, is the rights' reduction of the very bureaucratic apparatus in question. Because in this case the will of the people directly transforms into action via the dictator's will, instead of being skewed when passing the bureaucratic ladder along the way. It is the bureaucrat, who loses his rights.

-And then we will become the greatest country in the world?

-Greater than America - doubtful. America is like a combined world team. It is difficult to compete with such. With China as well. That, however, which was once Europe, can exist in Russia in its best manifestation, once Germany and France no longer exist. It's most important for people to live like people. Throughout history our nobility and later the party elite lived like Europeans, while the rest of the people - like Russian "aboriginals". Essentially, there have always been two peoples within Russia. Euro-Russians and simply Russians. Today this must no longer be the case.

1 comment:

Anna said...

M.Veller's "Everything about Life" and "Kassandra" are one of my favorite books. I recently read "The Last Great Chance" and was stunned by the depth and accuracy of this prognosis for the world and societies! Thank you for translating this interview with M.Veller in English! I live in New York, and I was telling few of my American friends of this book, always feeling bad that they can not read it themselves. Now at least I could show them your translation, so they can get some idea about Veller's view of the future.