Monday, August 28, 2017

Gordon M. Hahn — Putin, Stalin, Orthodoxy, and Russian Traditionalism

Much Western media and many observers of Russian politics are fond of playing up an ostensible revival of Stalin – his ‘rehabilitation’ as it were – under Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rule. This is not just inaccurate — as I have written in the past, the Putin era has seen numerous anti-Stalinist and non-Stalinist state-funded projects including mass audience films, television serials, museums and monuments — but it dangerously distorts our understanding of contemporary Russia. Moreover, many of the same observers are also fond of emphasizing the powerful role of the more traditional – some would say retrograde or reactionary – Russian Orthodox Church. This is often exaggerated, but this is not the most interesting aspect of such a focus. The latter focus is often made by the very same observers who decry Putin’s alleged rehabilitation of Stalin. The more revealing phenomenon is the political tension between these two positions; something that might suggest Putin’s less than dictatorial powers and the syncretic and more inclusive nature of his somewhat moderate Russian traditionalism. Thus, anti-Stalinist, anti-communist, Tsarist, and projects of other ideological, cultural, religious, and ethnic orientations often coexist in Putin’s Russia, with the state giving space, albeit often strictly limited, for their expression. This is a function of a supra-national identity still being in development, Russia’s multi-communal character, and the interplay of various orientations and of those orientations within the state....
The US and Europe are now going through similar conflicts between traditional and liberal views and factions representing them. Every nation's character is a melding of historical forces through the historical dialectic. History is path dependent.

Furthermore, it can be argued that countries like Germany and Russia have dealt more openly and rankly with their unsavory past than countries like the US and Japan.

Russian and Eurasian Politics
Putin, Stalin, Orthodoxy, and Russian Traditionalism
Gordon M. Hahn, analyst and Advisory Board member at Geostrategic Forecasting Corporation, member of the Executive Advisory Board at the American Institute of Geostrategy, a contributing expert for Russia Direct, a senior researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies, Akribis Group, and; and an analyst and consultant for Russia – Other Points of View

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