Belarusian historian Pavel Tserashkovich, who has recently studied the ideology of "Russian peace", thinks about this and other things.

Briefly

  • Russia invented a new postmodernist ideology of the 21st century.

    This ideology created the most powerful propaganda system in human history.

  • It can be assumed that Russia planned to attack Poland in 2022, around October-November.

  • There is no need to rush to hide the "Russian world" and the new Russian ideology.

    Despite its certain amorphousness, it is very, very powerful and works quite well.

    And what is very dangerous is that it works very well outside the borders of Russia.

  • What happened in 2020 is a phenomenal event in the history of Belarus.

    Belarusians demonstrated for the first time that they are the subject, not the object, of history.

  • The year 2020 will be a part of such social Belarusian national capital, which is absolutely unique and unlike anything else.

Ideology without its manifesto

- What is happening with Russia?

What is the name of the ideology that governs the processes that are currently taking place in this country?

There are many opinions.

Someone says that this is fascism, racism, Nazism, a war against civilization.

Or maybe it's just ordinary imperialism?

Conventional colonial warfare?

- Russia is at war.

Moreover, the kind of war that has not been seen in Europe since the Second World War.

I spent a significant part of my life in the Soviet Union, where the main refrain was: "The main thing is that there is no war.

The Soviet Union always fights for peace."

Of course, in reality this was not always the case, but this was the ideology.

But today she is not there.

Today, Russia is waging a war and the majority of the population supports it.

And it is certain that there is an ideology behind it.

The ideology is strange, it did not exist before, it is not like the ideologies that existed in the 20th century.

See.

This ideology has no proper name.

It has no corpus of sacred texts, no "Manifesto of the Communist Party", "Short Course of the CPSU(b)" or "Mein Kampf" or "A Brief Collection of Quotations of Mao Zedong".

This ideology was not a monopoly until recently.

Russian society lacked alternative sources of information.

TV channel "Rain", radio station "Echo of Moscow" and other mass media legally existed there.

Pavel Tereshkovich

But from such inaccuracy, lack of formation, it can be seen that this ideology is surprisingly powerful, as it is able to mobilize the majority of Russian society to support the war, as well as a significant part of the Russian-speaking diaspora that exists outside of Russia.

It is impossible to unequivocally adapt this ideology to some patterns of the 20th century.

It is absolutely clear that this is not fascism.

If we consider the ideology of National Socialism to be fascism, then the current Russian one is not similar to it.

It is not similar to imperialism either, because, forgive me, there is no emperor - what is an empire without an emperor?

This is a new type of ideology.

They often try to call it racism, and it is understandable.

Here the emphasis is on the fact that this is Russian ideology, but it is not quite so.

Many analysts draw attention to the fact that there is no sense of Russian exclusivity.

Ethnic non-Russians Shaigu and Matvienko had exceptional careers in Russia.

So racism doesn't quite fit.

The same with the term "Patinism", which is more or less common, especially in Germany.

It is clear that this ideology is not built on the personality of Putin alone.

The name "Russian peace", which was built as a soft power, is not suitable either.

But this soft power was very quickly transformed into a very, very hard power.

Therefore, it seems to me that those analysts are right who believe that this is a new type of ideology - a post-modern ideology of the 21st century, which does not have such rigid forms, but has an assortment of tools and works very well.

And most importantly, this ideology created the most powerful propaganda system in the history of mankind.

Because the propaganda of the Soviet Union or Hitler's Germany is in no way comparable to what Russia has today.

"The attack on Poland was planned in October-November 2022"

- We, of course, all watch the instrumentalization of history in Russia.

But I have the impression that although they know history there, they interpret it according to the approaches of the 19th century.

How would the 20th century be with its new historical concepts and achievements of the science of history?

And what do you think about it?

- It is obvious that what we can conditionally designate as the ideology of modern Russia, very actively uses the instrumentalization of historical narratives.

One can have a different attitude to their quality, but if we take the most famous of them - for example, Putin's article "On the historical unity of Russians and Ukrainians", which appeared in July 2021, or Medvedev's article about the fact that there is nothing to discuss with the leadership of Poland - so both of these articles were clearly prepared by a large circle of authors, excellent speechwriters, and the hand of professional historians is visible there.

It is clear that those who prepared these articles are very familiar with the historical texture and use it very well.

Another matter is how true this interpretation is, but it is used very successfully.

These articles were not taken very seriously, but in fact they played a major role in mobilizing public opinion in support of military actions.

— After the publication of Putin's article in the summer of 2021, about six months later, Russia's war against Ukraine began.

Medvedev's article about Poland appeared in the spring of 2022.

Do we have to wait for some movements of Russia against Poland?

Is there a pattern here?

- I think that Putin's article was the starting point that launched the mechanism of ideological and military mobilization.

And the war started after 6-7 months.

Unless the Olympics delayed it a little, obviously, Putin expected Xi Jinping to give him the go-ahead for the invasion.

And Medvedev's article, which appeared at the end of March 2022, is very similar in content, and it can be concluded that he also launched the mobilization mechanism.

All the more so since after its publication other statements appeared that Poland is Russia's next target, that denazification should be carried out there as well, and so on.

From this we can assume that Russia planned to attack Poland in 2022, around October-November.

"Don't rush to hide "Russian peace"

- I recently read a book by a historian who predicts the inevitable collapse of the "Russian world" and the transformation of Russia into an ordinary peripheral nation-state of the Western European type.

What do you think about the prospects of "Russian peace", how long will it last?

- I would not rush to hide "Russian peace" and the new Russian ideology of the 21st century.

Despite its certain amorphousness, it is very, very powerful and works quite well.

And what is very dangerous is that it works very well outside the borders of Russia.

A large number of Russian speakers and Russians living outside Russia are influenced by this ideology.

Therefore, you should know that the Russian diaspora (those who were born in Russia and now live abroad) is the third largest in the world after the Indian and Mexican ones.

Even fewer Chinese live outside China than Russians live outside Russia.

And here we must add followers of this ideology who live in the former Soviet Union and in European countries.

For example, Germany has a large number of Russian emigrants and repatriates from the former USSR, who are also under the influence of this ideology.

Therefore, I believe that the historian's optimism here is groundless.

"No one knows how long the period of reaction in Belarus will last"

"Russian Peace" is now also in Belarus.

At least a significant part of the power apparatus of Belarus is under the influence of his ideas.

What are the prospects for freedom in Belarus?

- Of course, our prospects are very, very difficult.

And it's not just that part of the power bloc openly supports Russia's aggression against Ukraine.

We are talking about the fact that today Belarusian propaganda is almost indistinguishable from Russian propaganda, they work in unison.

And it's not just about that.

For example, starting from the 2022-2023 academic year, geopolitics will be taught in Belarus as part of the modern political economy course.

And geopolitics is the discipline that was promoted by Alexander Dugin in Russia, he managed to make it a mandatory discipline for a number of specialties, including training specialists for public administration.

Today, geopolitics is very often called a pseudoscience and it has been forgotten in many places, but now it is precisely this that prepares the mental space within which it is believed that war is the main instrument in international relations.

That's the point.

And this will involve Belarus in the web of Russian ideology and "Russian peace".

"In 2020, Belarusians demonstrated for the first time that they are the subject and not the object of history"

- But these are precisely the ideas of past centuries.

I think that the war today is not only unpopular all over the world, first of all in Europe, but also in Belarus itself.

I can't help but ask you a question as a historian, as the creator and first head of the Department of Ethnography of the Faculty of History of BSU.

What happened in Belarus in 2020?

In your opinion, has a collective "we" emerged, or is there a Belarusian nation?

- In my opinion, what happened in 2020 is a phenomenal event in the history of Belarus.

After all, at least during the last two and a half centuries, Belarusians were not a subject in history, but an object.

And if something happened to us, it was an echo of some events that happened outside.

So the uprising began in Poland, and we also supported it.

Did the first and second revolutions begin in Russia, and we too, whether we wanted to or not, but something had to be done.

Or the First and Second World Wars, or the collapse of the Soviet Union.

All these vital situations were created from the outside.

And in 2020, for the first time, Belarusians demonstrated that they are a subject, not an object of history, capable of making this history independently.

At the very least, Belarusians demonstrated that they want to live in a sovereign, democratic, independent state in which there should be no dictatorships.

Today, there are different opinions about whether this revolution has ended or whether it is ongoing, but in any case, 2020 will be a part of such social Belarusian national capital, which is absolutely unique and unlike anything else.

It is very difficult to say how soon the changes will take place.

This can depend not only on us.

And if they say that Belarusians are not the only ones in Eastern Europe who found themselves in the shackles of a dictatorship, then let's take the federal land of Mecklenburg in Germany.

How many years have the people of Mecklenburg been living in a democracy?

A little over thirty.

And when did Germany begin its path to democracy?

It is clear that this is the "spring of nations" in 1848, when there was also a revolution, a large number of victims and a large emigration.

So the path can be very long or very short.

But I have to say it again.

What happened in 2020 is absolutely ours, Belarusian, which is no longer connected with anyone.

  • Siarhei Ablameyka

    Radio Svaboda journalist

    ablameikos@rferl.org

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