Sometimes when I feel the need to see the world through very strange eyes indeed, I wander over to the Pravda website for a bit of paleo-collectivism using language little different from Soviet days. I am rarely disappointed.
There is a splendid example of entertaining pretzel logic in slightly fractured English called West against Russia. The article discusses that the fact many articles appear in the western media which are critical, unflattering and disparaging regarding modern Russia and particularly Vladimir Putin. The author of the article, Mikhail Chernov makes it clear that the western reports are not just reportage but are a campaign and ‘Russian experts’ know why this is happening:
The main task of the new media campaign is making Vladimir Putin (who will probably be elected for the second term) not legitimate in the minds of Western audience. Meanwhile, some Russian experts believe that toughening the position of the West did not result from Russian political events and certain economic interests in Russia. The EU and the USA increased their criticism of Russia because of the crisis of the “Western” model of social order and simultaneously express their rejecting Russian social order model in this way.
So western criticism actually has nothing much to do with Russia, it is just a facet of the crisis of our social order, hence…
Many Russian experts believe that moving Western politics into anti-Russian direction is inevitable. Director of Pamir-Ural research group Alexander Sobyanin said that there is no special plan to undermine Russia. Western elites do not think bad about Russia and are not going to bring Russia down.
Quite so, there is not much interest in ‘bring Russia down’ anywhere other than Chechnya. In truth, western elites (whatever that means) do not really tend to think overmuch about Russia at all. But the fact Russia is seen as a far of basket case by most western elites is not the thrust of the article at all. Quite the contrary in fact.
According to Mr. Sobyanin, sharp increase of anti-Russian propaganda resulted from the crisis of the Western society elites. “The elites of only three countries were in the mainstream of the global economic and social development in the last century – Russia, the USA and Great Britain. The world entered the stage of changing dimensions – it has to abandon outdate absolute “financial criteria” and elaborate the new paradigm of development. Implementing changes will be accompanied by wars and social conflicts. Anglo-Saxon elites are not ready for this yet”, said Alexander Sobyanin. He believes that there is a chance that Russia can elaborate new, alternative algorithm for global development (in last century it was socialism), and for this reason the West perceives Russia as the dangerous ideological competitor.
Well I did tell you that I go to Pravda because I enjoy reading things that are surreal. This appears to say the thing that is wrong with the Anglo-Saxon model is that it looks at the ecomony in economic terms! And so what is this ‘new paradigm of development’? It is not spelled out so let me guess: economics must be managed politically for fairness and efficiency in order to avoid ‘wasteful competition’? I am just speculating here but who feels brave enough to disagree and tell me this is not at the root of this ‘new paradigm of development’ being hinted at? The notion that Russia is a source of a viable economic algorithm likely to challenge ‘Anglo-Saxon’ capitalism is quixotic to put it politely… laughable to be a bit more blunt.
As Russian civil society exists only precariously, the Russian social model is simply that of subordinating ‘social’ interactions to politically regulated interactions strongly influenced from the top. In short, the Russian social model is ‘people being told what to do’. The socialist ‘ownership’ based method of doing that has simply been replaced with the more effective fascist style ‘control’ based method. Which is to say, rather that nationalising everything, the Russian state simply regulates things and imposes controls on what people can do with what they nominally own.
This is of course also the approach of regulatory statists even in Britain, the USA and elsewhere in the west, but unlike those places, Russia has the ‘advantage’ of a civil society with no significant intermediate organisations between it and the state, moreover it is a society conditioned to a top down approach by centuries of Tsarist autocracy followed by Communist totalitarianism. The article then goes on to talk about how in the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ way, it is competition which defines our civilisation:
Western model” implies having certain “agreement” accepted by the society. One of the backbones of this agreement is competition between individuals. Russian tradition does not recognize competition as positive factor because competition awakes low instincts in people and does not improve the quality of products, but, on the contrary, worsens their quality.
Which no doubt explains the huge flood of high quality Russian products sweeping the world. That pesky toleration of individualism will be the undoing of us poor Anglo-Saxons. In reality, that there are any successful businesses at all in Russia is testament to the ingenuity of individual Russians and their ability to operate in spite of the ‘Russian model’.
Quite apart from the fact this utter tosh claims to be ‘reasoned analysis’, the fact that the people who think of themselves as Russia’s elites still think in such delusional terms shows the extent to which things have not yet recovered intellectually from that nation’s poisonous past. Who needs The Onion when you have Pravda? Sorry, but there is only one kind of Russian model that has any interest for the rest of the world.