Putin’s anthropology: who can be called the real Russian

Author : Oleh Panfilov

Source : 112 Ukraine

The glory of Stalin, who was a brilliant Russian linguist, just does not give rest to Putin
09:35, 4 October 2016

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RFE/RL (Elkin)

Vladimir Putin has set an exorbitant task – to explain to the modern the Russian politicians what is “Russian.” What is "Russian culture" and "Russian policy." Who can be called "Russian," and who cannot be called so. How to become a Russian, and who will never succeed in doing this. There is a situation when a dictator is changing scientific statements and adopt the new rules. If the dropout Stalin was an expert in linguistics, why Putin cannot be called a professional anthropologist?

What we had before Putin? For example, the scientific statement that the "Russians are East Slavic ethnic group, the most numerous indigenous and de facto state-forming group of the Russian people (more than 80% of the population), the most numerous people in Europe. In total, there are about 133 million Russians. According to the opinion poll conducted in March 2010, 75% of Russian, living in Russia, consider themselves followers of Orthodoxy. National language - Russian."

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It follows that the 133 million people who call themselves "Russians," have something in common. From the point of view of philosophy, "nation is a historical community of people; socio-economic, cultural, political, and spiritual community of the industrial age." There are two types of nations it may be multi-ethnic nation, consisting of several peoples, or a mono-ethnic one. These people are united not only by the territory, but by their language.  All linguistic references note that "the Russian language belongs to the eastern subgroup of the Slavic languages, belonging to the Indo-European family of languages. The Russian language uses the script based on the Russian alphabet, which goes back to the Cyrillic alphabet."

Average Russian, called “vatnik” (Russian patriotic redneck), believes that "Ukrainian language does not exist," or that "Ukrainian is spoiled Russian." Of course, these claims has nothing to do with science. But the vast majority of Russians are not linguists at all; they come from an ordinary Soviet country, and they allegedly were the most “reading” population of the world, determined by the number of books published. Most of these books were written by Lenin and Brezhnev, and other propagandistic literature.

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Usually scientific questions are resolved in the way of conferences, public discussions, monographs and scientific articles. Science is a hard work, but in Russia journalists become politicians, civil engineers become generals of the army and defense ministers. Sometimes it is vice versa - the head of a small Russian region becomes an academician and professor.

About a year ago, I gave an answer to one of these "scientists," the Russian senator Dmitry Sablin. I wrote an article "Not Russian history of "Russian world." The senator was offended by the fact that the Russian Empress Catherine II (Sophie Auguste Friederike von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg) was called German. Senator was upset and broke rebuke. This time he claimed that the Empress was actually a German, but now the notation of “Russian” has changed (I mean in terms of the purity of blood). It is about the spirit and soul. They could not understand that Princess Anhalt-Zerbst was German, and she came to Russia in the age of 15 years. But Catherine the Great, a German born, became Russian by converting to Orthodoxy, the spirit and customs of the people.

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In fact, to become Russophobe you just have to disagree with the bearer of the Russian world. For example, the surname of your ancestors and your race are not that important. Russian poet Pushkin had dark skin, Russia's current defense minister is slightly slanted, Russian president is rather northerner of Vepsians than the resident of the Bryansk forests.

The glory of Stalin, who was a brilliant Russian linguist, just does not give rest to Putin. The Soviet dictator had good teachers

Ever since the days of Stalin, science has been the service of the dictators. Stalin, who did not have any special linguistic or philological education, was known as an expert in linguistics. 66 years ago, Stalin published an article "Marxism and Problems of Linguistics. On Marxism in Linguistics," in which he wrote a strange phrase "Russian language served for Russian capitalism and Russian bourgeois culture before the October Revolution, and now serves for the socialist system and socialist culture of Russian society." According to Stalin, the language has a direct relation to the state apparatus and the political system. The glory of Stalin, who was a brilliant Russian linguist, just does not give rest to Putin. The Soviet dictator had good teachers.

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Russian language, culture, and history have always been problematic – everything should be invented. Having won another territory, Russian Emperor spoke of the gathering of the Russian lands and the growth of the Russian population. No matter that the names were not Slavic. For example, the Finnish General Carl Mannerheim that had German origin became a Russian officer, whose ethnic belonging to the "Russian" nation was very relative – he had two Russian wives.

Putin and his supporters would like to unite Russian population. Politically, this unity cannot be achieved. They just need to build the columns. Calling the people “Russians” was a very easy decision,  but then the Russian scientists have to think about changing the statement that "Russians" are East Slavic ethnicity. The problem of unification was “invented” in the early 19th century, and Putin only picks up the scraps of the unrealized greatness. It resulted in a population that was forced to forget its origins. And it succeeded to forget it, but nothing new was invented instead.  

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Putin’s Russian world is an ideology without a goal, a task with no way to resolve it. Putin attempts to call more than 100 million people "Russian world." In December 2010, then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has proposed to replace the Soviet people" with "all-Russian patriotism," but Putin’s idea  of the "Russian world" has won.

Leapfrog and substitution of concepts started again: who can be called Russian, how should he look like, shold he be a Russian-speaking Orthodox? And because few people ask of the Slavic origin, the identification deadlock comes. And here is comes Senator Sablin with his allegations that the German Sophie Auguste Friederike von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg was actually Russian empress.

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