Instead of working on the book...
From the Russian Book
"Russia is a country with an unpredictable past." (Yuri Afanasiev, May 1993)
* 2007 -- Книга Дурака *
WE, THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE
THE FAILURES OF THE RUSSIAN IDEA (questions)
FORMAL, SYMBOLIC AND REAL POWERS
SummaryКогда я писал, а потом осваивал интернет, я ждал, что меня "откроют"... Прошло много лет. Интерес мой к завершению книги (книг) падал и окончатлеьно упал.
QuestionsЗачем заканчивать? Не лучше ли оставить "открытые" тексты (в советские времена я помню это звали "незавершенка")...
NotesВот так стали доступны всем эти недоделки, которые и дураку показывать не стоит.
... Страницы из "Русского Дневника" ()
Существо "Русский" (мед.) -- Культурная антропология.
Что такое "русское" (Лимонов)?
Смотри, вот вылезло оно наружу, разбирайся!
А что если СССР не "империя зла", а ЗЛЫХ?
2004 & After
А что если "русский = злой"?
Злоба, не злость.
Who are you, Mr. Russian?
Very old page.
One of the first chapters I started "Father-Russia" with.
[ sister-page @ filmplus.org/frussia ]
Beginning of this chapter is at Russian Being...
A Russian Being? Oh, there is such a thing as a "Russian soul." The special regime of time, different temporal scheme -- the Russian soul was behind the Soviet drive, noted Berdyaev. He was there, the one who controls the sense of time, speed, space, controls everything! Most of the Russians never were Europeans. By their situation or intentions.... Does this principle stand after communism? What did I see? They are still divorced from the West by different relations with time, but it's a matter of one generation. Maybe two.
"Russianness" is a historical product.
The Russian ethos -- this collective national mind: EVERYTHING IN EXCESS. Montesque thought it was the climate. Maybe the size. We, humans, are radical, Americans or Iranians. But Russians thought that they were God's chosen people. Not in the Jewish appreciation of being blessed, not in the practical gratefulness of the Westerners, The Russians were ready to lead. Not Europe or the East, but the whole world. They have the new, the third, the Russian way! Oh, they were the Orthodox, communists and intelligensia, they were together in dreams and ambitions.
The intense optimism of the Soviet propaganda must be a reaction to the Russian individual pessimism. A single Russian loves to cry. Alone he is lost, he needs a brotherhood and comrade to face life. He never learn how to hide his fears on his own. He didn't learn the art of the Oriental indifference and the Western suppression of the horror. Two Russians will sing sad songs; they'll never switch from minor to major. I never learned the major guitar cords, I had no need for them, I grew up before the era of Russian Rock. If I only knew that poetry could be optimistic! That the lyrics could be positive! Well, then I would be an American.
....The train was stopped somewhere in Siberia and the local mafia was expecting it. Natasha and he talked about what to do, then, she, good wife, and his sons, went out. There was the usual, the cameras, local bums, the officials and the bandits who didn't know what they wanted. To show their power, to show off. There was no presence of the central government; Moscow didn't know what to expect from Solzhenitsyn. The Kremlin kept a respectful distance, they sensed that he will be their critic. This commotion at the small station in Siberia was resolved in a few minutes and the train went on -- to Moscow. It takes up to two weeks to cross Russia from corner to corner the old way.
[ image ]
HISTORY REVISITED"History"? What a nice tourist destination! You can travel there by train, we have other means of transportation. The History channel and the nightly news.... Russia is losing it, history; there is no such a thing in the postmodern world. The American Age is too civilized, too humanized to have history. You can't have it both -- history and peace. The Russians are crazy but they are not masochists. We choose peace. The hell with history.
At first, the communists replaced history with a fictional history, when interpretations took place of the facts. Reality was devaluated; the invented history was the actuality the Soviet people lived in. Who would trust history after that? But it was the war over history and history fell a victim to this global war, known as the Cold War. In this war all local histories have died. Global history is a history of peace -- or the constant war for peace.
WWII with its continuation as the Cold War was the conflict about the model of the world government. We have several social formulas offered. Each of them was a mass-designed program -- fascism, democracy, socialism. Each with the aim of universal domination. They had to merge at some point and this point is now. We take the best of each project. We know the result: the American Age = "democratic communism" with socialist and fascist elements. Here I have to disagree with those who do not see the results of the end of the Last War in America. We have to understand the different forms of victory in such a unique war as the Cold War. In Russia the consequences are obvious; they are on the surface (changes in the state structure). In USA they are of a cultural nature; we must look at the state of mind of an American. No, not here, this is the subject of my American Book.
When history collapsed, it became a museum of history. Since the history of peace is static history, all known forms of history came to actualization. Within the framework of this global history we have several histories with relative independence from each other; social and technological, cultural and commercial. Their interplay is the life of history after history. When we talk about the end of history, we mean the end of the human history. The New Russian history is about to become a safe history, it lives through the last stage of domestication. The history of Bosnia today is the best example of the new history. It always takes place in new historical time.
A few words about the idea of Reversed History: from Modernity to Classical history, and so on. You don't know that we go forward by going back into pre-history, do you? The new historical time goes beyond the linear. Our cultural wars are about exploration of the past no less than the future. We have to turn history into our property instead of being a property of history. It could look like the end of history the way we know it. The last Russian attempt to have traditional history ended up in fiasco in Chechnya. The wars can't be won in the new history. Vietnam or Iraq. Or Israel. The controlled history could be fully deterministic and unpredictable at the same time -- as long as it's a domesticated history.
The Revolutionary Age came to its natural conclusion. The Russian revolution was a long one but it has to come to its national limits. What takes place today in Russia or even China is "national" only in forms, not the essence. The proliferation of English in Russia is an indication that it's a cultural revolution and the only hope for the Russian. In the past the French cultural domination proved to be very productive. The Russian culture was born in part because of it.
Oh, the Age of Enlightenment: American and French revolutions! Natural Man was a good man; too bad he was a fiction. The good guys in our movies were made out of the sentimental philosophers' minds. But modernism has its limitations. The communists took it to the extreme and turned it into the opposite. We can't appeal to man anymore. An individual is not the best model for the universal future. A single man is abnormal in techno-culture. The postmodern conditions ask for de-individualization. American popular culture or communist doctrines require the same. We can't rely on a mortal in paradise. To be an individual is his personal preference.
YELTSIN CALLS FOR RECONCILIATION. After he signed a decree declaring 7 November a Day of Accord and Reconciliation, Yeltsin issued a statement calling for unity, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 November. "We are one nation. We have one fate, a common future. And we are all from the same past."
... OFFERS VIEWS ON HISTORY. (...) Chernomyrdin observed "this is our history. We had the October revolution, 1905, the February revolution. History must be valued and loved, it must be approached calmly, respectfully... recent events of 1993, it is all our life, our history. The people who made this history must be remembered." He continued: "Russians today have been scattered throughout the world [for example] in the Baltic, Caucasus, Kazakstan. We must love all Russians, they are all our people."
The major problem in writing about Russia is that there's no Russia to write about. Even geographically we are not so sure what to consider as "Russia." This phenomena isn't a new one. For decades sovietologists wrote about the project which took place in Russia. To what degree of actuality was there the "Soviet Union"? Only a project?
To understand post-communist state of the social, we have to go beyond the post-modern. Communism was a negation of the modern, an attempt to create the virtual (ideal, utopian). Do the Russians need Russia? How much are Americans in need of a country? The country is a burden for us, something we inherited and keep out of sentiments.
Baudrillard is right -- the Gulf War demonstrated a remarkable lack of patriotism. Iraqis, Kuwaitis, Americans and numerous allies didn't care much for loss or victory. What about the war in Chechnya? We can't take any war seriously anymore.
Russia was discovered by Europe around the time of the discovery America, in the sixteenth century. Russia always wanted to be an island. China built the Great Wall, Russia -- Iron Curtain. Where is the bridge? Window into Europe? Why not a part of Europe? Today; NATO without Russia.
The idiots call themselves nationalists and patriots. Who would call himself an idiot?
Tracing Russia. The organized crowds before and now -- the organized crime. Heroic crowds -- war is natural when the madness is sanctioned. Where this war goes when the crowd is disorganized?
Oh boy! The Russian Book is the most difficult one to write. There must be an unknown theory of pomism (postmodernism) in it. Seriously. We used to believe that order of some sort is a must for a country. Is it really so? Not any more, not in the Global Village situation. The first discovery that the Russians made was that they can live without the state. By the end of the eighties there was no Big Brother in Russia -- and nothing happened! Nobody looted the empty stores, people continued to go to work and do nothing there. Russians had to get used to the fact that they are law abiding citizens; the citizens of the state which disappeared. Perhaps, it was a discovery that electricity works without the Party orders and they do not need the KGB to protect gravity. Only a Russian could fully comprehend the shock of this revelation. Yes, they suspected that the sun rises in morning outside of the Socialist system machinery, but they never experienced it -- the sun was rising day after day because the Soviet Union was there. They, the bosses and the masses, didn't know that there are many levels of order, which only look like a chaos.
Second, Russian Communism asks for a new thought. There were too many defenders and attackers of communism. It was impossible to think straight because it was a political act. Intellectually, the subject was never established. Moreover, I feel that I have no mechanism to analyze the subject. A different apparatus of seeing it. Let me explain it.
Living outside of Russia made me realize how shockingly little I know about Russia. Russian theatre, history or culture, the books on Russia. I don't have an expertise in "Russian" not because it wasn't my profession, but because I never was Russian. I was a Soviet, which resembles a Russian, of course. Children do look like their parents, don't they?
The New Russians are not Russians, they are "Russians" like Americans.... Don't we know that History is irreversible? There's even less "Russia" in New Russia than in the Soviet Russia. Perhaps, Rus? Before the fifteenth century.
I have not much of a Russian heritage, only my Soviet experience. Although we keep the names. Nobody calls me "Soviet American." We thought that was citizenship. (See Alexander Zinoviev -- "Homo Sovieticus")....
Being arrogant is a trademark of the Soviets; they believe that only they indeed know everything about Russia. "Did they really experience Russia?" I ask myself.
Nothing is extraordinary about my experience; only a step ahead of them. But little I have to tell them, and nothing they want to hear. The new generation has no social drive. They live this way without pm readings, they learned it from living. Are they young? The division between young and old applies no more; nor does the idea of generation. How to talk about them? Music and video. No words, no discourse, no thoughts allowed. Electricity and electronics are the Dark Ages....
I left my homeland in the hands of idiots. I know them -- I have a lot of relatives. I know who they are, my numerous cousins; that's why I never kept in touch with them. I had nothing to do with them thirty years ago, never mind today. I exited the circle of family to discover in ten years that I have to exit the family of Russians. They walk the streets of Moscow, they live there without me.
On my return, often, I felt so out of place. Vinogradov's visit, he was my friend, one of very few who knew that I plan to defect. I wish this meeting would never take place. Why didn't I leave them alone? Like Brodsky, his school friend. What did I want when I called him? I did. How stupid! Like an attempt to see your friends from the sixth grade. I embarrassed myself and them.
Does it really matter what is to happen to Russia? Why shouldn't it be ignored? Well, like India. There are dozens of countries with this size of population, and bigger. Pakistan or Bangladesh. Territory? Canada is big. Why didn't the USSR go into full nuclear WW III? What else was the super-state for? The force was there to use, what stopped them? The crazed revolutionary died. Who was there to drive the country into the final battle? Was WW II too much for the Russians? I was five when Stalin died. The country couldn't recover for ten years after the war with Germany and Stalin. After Ivan IV and Peter's death -- Russia was exhausted. It couldn't support its ambitions....
In 1848 Marx wrote of communism as a ghost of Europe. Now we can say that communism dominated the century and we only can talk about the ghost of Europe. The ghost of a nation behaves differently from a real country.
The nations of Europe were aggressive, their ghosts are united. They don't fight wars, they're not even sure of their own existence. Europe learnt it from the big baby brother -- USA. Being a ghost of a nation takes a lot of pretending -- you have to act as a real one. You have to be more real than the real one. You have to convince everybody that you're real, to make yourself forget that you are not real...
The most interesting -- the details -- that's where the time power, the culture is. Only literature can do it. My mother ironing the silk red pioneer tie. Why is this memory less important than Stalin's death, or the Battle of Stalingrad? At least, we should establish the equality of "personal" and "historical." Again, I come back to my old sensation that the unknown moments, when the actual historical changes take place, are not even acknowledged. It always starts small, the rest is a result of inner, "subjective" motions.
If only I could find the synthesis of thought and image! The divine simplicity of the past seems impossible. Look at the writing -- you can see anything. What is this blind drive for "understanding"? As if I fully understand anything and all I have to do is to "communicate" the "knowledge"! What a nonsense! No respect for the unknown, for undiscovered, not noticed...
[ image ]
WE, THE RUSSIAN PEOPLEWhy are Russians successful, optimistic, positive, creative, competitive, and even joyous outside their borders, where they miss their home land? They are the same people in both places. Why can't their energies be freed where they are without a brain drain to the motherland? Why do Westerners, who are successful outside Russia fail inside Russia? They are the same. Could it be that something within the borders is the problem? If it is not the Russian people then what and who is it that is causing so much difficulty? (Dr. Pyotr Johannevich van de Waal-Palms)
To remember the good I have to break up the "Russians" -- to see the faces, people I knew. Those almost invisible little, somehow they were almost small, men, who wrote poetry and made no money. I forget the name of the man who ran the small literary group at the Moscow Aviation Institute. With two wonderful collie dogs and young slim wife he rarely published his poems about the war and was proud knowing the big guys in the Writers Union. Once a week we, a dozen or so "writers," would get together to read and discuss what we wrote. A few of us were privileged to be invited to his home, I and Victor Korkia. Or maybe, it was Korkia and I. I don't know how much he was a learned man, whether he graduated from the Institute of Literature with a degree in poetry -- I don't remember. He loved poetry, his wife, dogs, his country, his youth which was the Great War. He survived the hard time, he lived his life to write his poems which I didn't remember even then, thirty years ago. I have many faces with forgotten names in my memories; they were in my life which wasn't Soviet or Russian. Most of them must be dead by now. If only I could remember them to prevent myself from the anger at "Russians."
A single Russian and the Russian people -- the old dichotomy of Russian history. If the togetherness, this curse, could be broken -- would they be still Russians? Were these personal qualities a compensation for everything evil they did together? I'm a single Russian, and the hatred in me is from the same source. What was their poetry if not love of country? The same force which brought so much tragedy to them and others. One and many. The old disposition. According do Dostoevsky, no Russian man is possible outside of Russia. A Russian means living with Russians. Yes, "right or wrong" -- Russia was outside of questioning. Like God. "Holy Russia" wasn't an intellectual definition but a divine value. Russia was a feeling, the only ground for my identity.
This puzzling duality of Russians was felt by the Russians themselves in different forms -- we were divided into "us" and "them"... of course, we were "them" as well. Russians have this ability of forgetting and forgiving themselves. Forgetting or ignoring really bad things. The evil of the Stalin's era was left behind, nobody was punished. Maybe the innocent people executed by millions were guilty of the same sin of indifference to good and bad? Or is it a sin at all? Perhaps a virtue?
And what is now? The "System" we liked to blame is gone... or maybe not? Not the communists but Russians are still there. The extremes of the state organized "Russianness" is gone -- and to the surprise of many Russians many good features of living together are gone. The state which treated its citizens as criminals was their expression of being together. The Western mind with its distanced love for the near doesn't understand the Russian childish attitude. Who ever heard about "Mother England"? The British are proud in different ways, without losing their individual borders. A Russian is proud for being from a family of Russians, not for what he is but for Russia. He doesn't value his own individual qualities.
It's not the Westerners are unsuccessful in Russia, the Russians themselves fail, too. Unless they are criminals. They, the mafia, are the same as before when they were known as party bosses. They always were in control. Maybe not always, just since the end of the revolution. I know them, I was one of them. Or at least, I thought that I could be one of them. I left Russia, because I was about to be one of them -- People of power. Yes, this million of Russian millionaires who run Russia as they did it before under the banners of communism. The same one per cent of the population, as it was for centuries. One out of hundred. They are predators, they never worked, they take it from the others. They replaced the Russian aristocracy with its rights to live off Russia. What are their rights? Force, the only right known to a brute.
And why not? The rest of Russians takes it, as they did before. They are "theirs" -- it's not a foreigner who does it, their sons in black Mercedes sent Russian mothers on the street to sell vodka and cigarettes. "Ours" -- as Russians say, the family. The communists of the seventies and eighties weren't anything but the gangsters, why not translate the power into international currency -- dollars. They drop the skin of Marxism -- there is no opposition left in Russia, no conscious Russians left. This is the final victory of the Dark Russia. The Whites and the Reds are gone. Russia descended down into the Moscovia of the middle ages.
...Isn't it incredible that Russia has reached a stage of scientific development which allows it to enter space, yet like a Neanderthal man, its people still believe it is witchcraft to own land. (Dr. Pyotr Johannevich van de Waal-Palms)
Too many times I was wrong -- I though that people would leave the cities, but the land reforms never came and nobody wanted to go back to the country life. The farmers' movement died before it became a movement. I don't believe that during the revolutionary manifestations of the past Russians really asked for land. The 1861 emancipation of serfs was landless. Land is a property, land ownership would make Russia into a western nation. The communal spirit of Russia would be broken, they wouldn't be Russian anymore. I don't believe that the masses were asking for freedom also. Bread, maybe.
How to speak about Russia? In Russian -- literature. They already did it. In English -- something of a police report. The facts? What do they say, your facts! Love insists on non-understanding, but a full trust, without reason and knowledge. A child loves his mother, mother loves her child. Love needs no response, it's a reward in itself. By understanding we destroy love. Russia must not be understood! No wonder that they love poetry. They like to sing. Drinking too makes a lot of sense.
And why did we decide that Russians want markets and democracy? Because we have it? Because they say so? There are many thing I need but do not want....
The reaction of Russian writers to the revolution was as to a return to a kingdom savages. What they experienced we only can imagine. And they, the voice of Russia, didn't want to believe in what they say. The beast, who is always inside, rules. Disintegration of Russia to the regions and cities? Mafia wars over the turf indicate the re-territorization of Russia. The map of the space is re-drawn economically. The power is in the hands of the locals. There are absentee owners in Russia. The Troubled Times are only ahead? I refuse to believe in what my mind tells me. I can't accept the facts! Very, very Russian.
[Solzhenitsyn on moral politics. (see Review) How much is he a Russian? He tries.]
My guest, Feodor Mikhilovich, looked at my lap-top computer on the table.
"Any good news from Russia?"
We were in Russia, he was selling the newspapers, what news was he talking about?
"The future," he said, "There must be some good news in Russia."
"Like what?" I looked at my computer. "What future?"
"I don't know. A year. No, maybe two-three years."
Most of the time my computer is on. Even when I sleep. So, I clicked the
directory in my wp51.
"It's in English," he said.
"I have the Russian version," I replied.
"I can read English but can't speak," he said, exactly like my father. "What is that?" He pointed at the directory
on the screen.
I clicked. I kept two directories -- the Russian and the English. A lot of files, you know.
"R-Idea? What is that?" He looked at me.
"Russian Idea," I said.
"The Russian Idea?" He looked again at me. "What is there?"
I clicked on. There was a file I haven't seen! I looked at the date -- 1996! Jesus! There must be something wrong with the memory. I bought the cheap lap-top from the Israelis in Manhattan, under a thousand bucks and bargained hard.
"Did you write it?"
I didn't know what to say. I looked at the screen....
[ pix ]
THE ENDLESS FAILURES OF THE RUSSIAN IDEA
YELTSIN CALLS FOR NEW IDEOLOGY. President Yeltsin called for the creation of a "national idea" in a meeting with his campaign workers on 12 July, ITAR-TASS reported. He said that the various stages in Russian history--monarchy, totalitarism, perestroika--each had their own ideology, but that the current democratic path of government does not have one. He called for the new ideology to be defined within one year. -- Robert Orttung.
This is not from a novel, this is the news. The national idea has to be invented within one year. What a leap from the kingdom of ideas (ideology) into a state with no words for its national anthem! Democracy (as a concept) happens to be not good enough for the Russians; it came from the west (again), an American product. Did Russia ever have its own original ideas?
Maybe, it's not so bad -- without it, ah?
QUESTION #1: Could an ideological society have ideas?
The problem is lack of understanding. Or is it a will to stay ignorant?
What the hell did actually happen over there? What to expect now? How to understand the changes? Who rules Russia? Who governs her? What is ahead? How to "read" it? What is the method to apply? Cultural, economic, political?
I read it all right.
"You wrote it," he said.
We were sitting in a small apartment in St. Petersburg, it was a spring day and I could hear the sound of traffic on Nevsky.
"Why don't you write a book?" Feodor Michilovich had this strange gaze, as if he was looking through you. "Why don't you answer your own questions?"
The water was dropping in the sink. It always does it in Russia. The water was almost free, like air. At least, in 1994. I don't know about 1996.
"What is your answer?" he said, because I was silent.
"Do you care for a drink?" I said. "I need one."
"Could I?" he got at the computer and scrolled down the text....
[ pix ]
TOPICS as questions: PLAYING RUSSIANSAlright, this non-fiction proposal on *habitual Russian nationalism*, what it would look like? Soft nationalism -- patriotism? Wait... I guess, I should mention that I am still Russian. My American idenity didn't replace this Russian man in me. Transformed? Maybe. My friends in New York went silent when I said that I would support a nuclear strike on mocsow (it was Reagan's years). They didn't know that behind this statement of a New American was a Russian with his radical relations with the world. I didn't know that I became American in order not to give up on idea of communism, when Russia was about to abonded it. I know that you don't understand it; that's why i wrote this book and another one, American Book. To explain to myself American patriotism and a new life of communism after the end of the State Communism in Russia.
In _The New Russians_ by H. Smith, there's one chapter on nationalism ("The New Russians" are the ex-Soviet Russians). Perhaps, first, the evaluation of Russian communism is needed, but we can't do it -- "communism" is a political subject, outside of our intellectual inquiries. Communism is anecdotal, something of McCarthyism. There are many jokes on that kind of communism.
Can they be Russians without the Empire?
Communism and nationalism: love-hate relations (Stalin & Hitler). Competition of two super-ideas (behind every super-power is some super-idea). Why can't we say that communism is superior nationalism, when all humans become as a nation? no, ladies and gentlemen, nationalism is no match for the Communist Idea! New Russia is falling back into primitive nationalism only because Russians didn'[t deliver the magnifisant utopia, they didn't have American technology to make it work. They had no Americans! The communists gave up because America proved to be a better road to communism. Oh, no! Again I got myself into my American Book territory! No, no, go back to your Russian land!
Wait! National economics at the times of multinational corporations? What is that? The Phillips Store on Sovetskaya Street. There are nine of them (the "Soviet" streets), one after another. The St. Petersburg City Hall stopped renaming them -- many of them didn't exist before the Soviet era. The committee got tired and bored.
QUESTION #3: Visual Ideas ....
"What was the second question?"
I tried to figure it out, the whole situation. If this Feodor Michilovich is indeed Dostoevsky, I must be a madman. If he is, then a lot of things would make sense. Like the file on the screen. I didn't remember writing it. But I could forget it, too. Maybe, I did, maybe, the machine's memory freaked out and dated it 1996? So, I got two glasses and the bottle. And looked at the screen:
"...From imitation of ideas to mimesis of styles. They act Russian, they act American. Very postmodern, very chic..."
Did I write it?
The Russians are supposed to drink. So we both did. Pardon me, I've misspoke -- Russians are supposed to get drunk. Even if it's not the cocktail hour, even if it's in the middle of the day, in the middle of life...
So, I wrote it:
"The American Idea of ethnicity (yes, there is The American Idea, why not?) -- an *international nation* (anti-nation sort of nation). Global resentment of Americans is based on reactions to natural qualities of "American Nation," including universal desire to have everything "American." It's a cultural resistance. Because if American movies can't be shown somewhere on the planet, we send the American marines."
"I never been to America," Feodor said. "Is there America out there?"
"Yes," I nodded, "I live in America."
"I don't believe you," he said.
"Don't start it again," I stopped him.
I had to tell him who knew everything about what I knew. I wrote it, it was my computer. What could he know about computers! So, I read what I wrote:
"The ever new old idea that one of many nations could be chosen and/or blessed v. the New "American" Idea that nations could be born! (Sometimes -- when? -- the American history brings up biblical connotations)..."
"You are drunk," he said. "You were drunk when you wrote it."
I didn't want to get into fight with him. Even if he is Dostoevsky. Not into a drunk fight. Besides, he was older. Much older. I knew that he thought that only the Russian were blessed. He had never been to Jerusalem, a jerk! What did he know? Does he know what's happened to me because of him? Do you know what you did? Do you?
"What was the question?" Dostoevsky looked at me, he was drunk too. So, he was drinking. Drinking and gambling!
"The question number three is for Gertzen," I said.
"Alexander?" Feodor got the salami from the plate. "I remember him. What about Gertzen?"
"Read it," I said.
Alexander Gertzen: "Russians are natural communists"... (Communal economy before the collectivization). Why wasn't the Soviet agricultural policy a success story? The only thing that was missing during the Stalin's kolkhoz -- the landlord, the master, the aristocrat, the manager. Where are those American communes Tocqueville mentioned in his book? Too late for the times of the global village?
"What do you mean `too late'?" He looked at me. "What is the `global village'?"
You see, that's the problem with the Russians. They don't know a lot of things. They believe that you don't have to know everything, you just get it somehow. He didn't know about the global village? What kind of Dostoevsky is he? He, who wrote all this stuff about super-Russians, never thought of the global village? What did you think it will be?
"I'm sorry," he said. "Sorry."
I will tell you about the questions somewhere else, later. Now I have to get rid of him. What was he doing all those years? Didn't he read the papers he sells? This anti-American attitude was getting me. That was the next question.
QUESTION #4: COLD WAR AND HOT PEACE
Conflict between two so-called super-powers never was rooted in military competition as such; the arms race was the most visible expression of ideological confrontation of Russian and American Ideas. This conflict is far from being resolved. The Russian bear is sick. We only could dream and wish for American occupation of Russia. There's no money (Marshall Plan). Money wouldn't help (Russia is no Germany).
There was nothing original about the Bolshevik revolution (imitations of European history). Nothing original is in "market economy" and "democracy" in present Russia. Russia, according to Hitler, cut her own head -- what new or innovative could be expected of her?
The Pan-Slavism wasn't some local intellectual exercise of the late XIX century Russia. Serbs are ill with the same virus of "mission." If prosperous Japan isn't an open country, imagine what sick closed Russia could do. This sense of mission is killing the PM America, too...
"You know what is your problem?" He poured vodka in his glass without even asking me.
"Yeah, you tell me, what is my problem?"
"You don't write," he drunk up his glass. "I don't know what is your problem. Why don't you write?"
You know, I had enough of him. He came uninvited, sits here, drinking my vodka, eating my salami and insulting me! I don't care if he is Dostoevsky or Shakespeare, I am a writer, too! I am not a shit!
"You have to slow down," Feodor said. "Slow down, understand?"
"What do you know?" I was getting really angry. "You can't even speak English."
"I can read," he smiled at me, with one side of his mouth. "And I am a writer. Where is the bathroom?"
It was right there, behind him, the door. And he went there, to leak. I knew that he was right. I can read myself.
QUESTION # 5: Why communist Russia had no guts to start nuclear WW III?
The Federal government is Russia's biggest liability (PM micro-political situation everywhere). How could the local population benefit by associating with Moscow? The security isn't an issue, since every possible national neighbor has (the same) weak government. The international community is more interested in preserving Russia's unity than the Russians themselves. Chechnya, a message which Moscow intended to send to any separatist group, showed that the central government is very limited in its capacities to rule. One way or another, any region could gain high levels of independence. (The same process is taking place between Ukraine and Crimea). In actuality, the Russian Federation is a combination of self-governed zones. An economic re-integration of Belarus and Russia is nothing but a confirmation of the existing situation.... But without the state where's Russia? No, not enough culture, techno-structure to have a democracy....
"Christ! What kind of writing is that?" I poured myself another shot. "He is right."
Think! Something of astonishment -- 100, 200, 400 years ago Russia lived through her wars with Chechnya, Crimea, Ukraine. The Baltics were integrated for centuries -- and lost. Without much of resistance. Even Tatars or Kazakhs? What are those cultural powers resurrecting the past? Archeology of experience....
I looked again at the screen:
"America is the next (last super-power) to pay the price for globalism. This International "activism" literally did cost the USSR an arm and a leg. Do you know the top USA secret? America, too, has no national idea, Boris. Relax, man, have a drink. It's not your problem anymore. You're a tsar, not an emperor..."
He disappeared. I looked for him in the bathroom, even opened the front door. Maybe I was too drunk to notice him sleeping on the sofa, I don't know. Did you see a drunk Russian American? Or was it an American Russian? Maybe both, the two, the many....
FORMAL, SYMBOLIC AND REAL POWERS (overview for myself)(Just Notes)
What is it, the "presidency" in Russia? A communist for president! Hitler did it.
Who rules Russia?
Communists or Yeltsin? Both! In spirit. (Both have the same numbers -- one third of the nation, and how is the situation in USA different?) The particulars of Russian politics means little. Whoever would represent the phantom of Russian psyche the central government will maintain the same non-working status. There is no mechanism to make the Russian government work. What's going to happen if by some mysterious powers the government would work? Soviet economy had to be in non-working condition in order for the Party to exist. Government isn't interested in successful economy. Any government. Russian economy must be in a sick condition to be "assisted and corrected"-- therefore a government must keep distracting it.
Russian society proved to be very socialist (if not communist) in its inclinations; six years later since the official end of communism, the Russian Duma voted on no land sale (in contradiction to their constitution). Democratic force lost its momentum and practically vanished from the political arena. Could Russia be a republic? Yes, maybe. Democratic? It all depends. On your understanding of words. Iran is a republic.
Nemtsov (deputy PM) openly calls Yeltsin a tsar. More than a president...
Is Russia a democratic monarchy? Could be. Didn't Mother-Russia always live under the autocratic rule? So-called "Stalinism" is the one of the traditional Russian pillars -- the monarchy.
The second pillar, according to Konstantin Leontiev; the Russian Orthodoxy, which the good communists replaced with the ideology. "What and where is this ghost now?" Yeltsin asks.
The third one: the "Narodnost" -- peopleness. The biggest secret of all -- the people. What is that? Nationalism, patriotism? Go and ask them, the ideologues of the Russian Idea. They all from Tolstoy to Dostoevsky and Solzhenitsyn religiously observed this cult of the Russian people. To the communists the people became masses; you take the adjective "Russian" away and you got it -- the revolutionary masses.
How real (powerful) are those symbolic powers?...
"O Father, grant unto me, Thy servant, all which I cannot ask...."
They, blessed by the Orthodox God, received it. "Done," said the voice. What voice? I don't know. And then there was a silence. A Russian silence.
[ pix ] Painting: 1000 years of Russian Orthdoxy. Oil on canvas. 36X48. I painted it in New York, 1985-86.
There are a few fragments I have (without much logic in selection). I'll come back to Russian Book when I'm done with the H.I.M. I hope I can do it before Russia will hit the screens big time. Russian problems are not solved by any means and can't be solved by the Russians alone. Russian troubles are not Russian in their historical origins. The great experiment with communism was a global experience. It was just a beginning.
I wrote Russian and American Books at the same time. I don't think that one can be understood without another.
Sept. 12, 1998 @1998-2001 father-russia *
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