In one of his journalistic articles, the famous Russian writer Alexei Tolstoy wrote the following sentence: “Russian people are savvy because they live with the tsar in their heads.” It is not hard to understand what in these words, one of the most beloved writers of Stalin himself tried to express and present Bolshevism and the Russian revolution in 1917 overall, as the people’s will which should be accepted and comprehended by the Russian intelligentsia.
Incidentally, his historical novel “Peter I», for which the writer received the Stalin Prize as well, perhaps the most famous example of this genre in Soviet literature, contains full justification for the strong and violent reformist power in Russia. If you recall the days of Stalin’s era and his love for the tsar, as a “collector of Russian land“, you begin to understand why nowadays Russian public is so brainwashed to adopt Putin’s image as their “modern collector of the same land“. For the current leader of Russia, a former staff officer of KGB, the collapse of the Soviet Union became his personal tragedy and he then accused corrupt liberals who launched the restructuring of the state instead of continuing autocratic rule of Moscow, under the protection of retributive heirs of “Iron Felix” .
From the history of Russia, we know that since the second half of the 1810s, part of the Russian intelligentsia, military and some nobles believed that autocracy and serfdom detrimental to the country’s future development. In their midst, there was a belief system, which was to change the very foundations of Russian life. And if, through their struggles, serfdom in Russia was abolished, the concept of autocracy over the past 200 years has got nowhere from the mentality of Russians living in the mass, with the “tsar in their heads.”
If with the tsarist regime the concept of autocracy was more understandable as it happened historically in Russia, Bolsheviks who came to power after the October 1917 coup on the slogans against that autocracy just changed the tsarist regime and continued to steer the country in the same manner of autocratic rule. In the beginning, such an autocrat was Lenin, and then after his death, his legacy was carried on for decades with an iron hand, by “the father of all nations” , comrade Stalin, whose spirit still has not disappeared either from the Kremlin, or from the corridors of Lubyanka, including many more from the older generation, who still keep his portrait at their homes to this day and on occasion take it with them to demonstrations.
The French have a saying: “Devil’s servant is doing more than the one is told.” In my opinion, this phrase very accurately describes the mass brainwashing of Russian public by its media, fully under tight control of the Kremlin. But unlike past years, when indoctrination of population’s brains was metered by “portions“, in today’s Russia, there is a total indoctrination of Russian society that notorious propaganda minister Goebbels, perhaps would be greatly surprised to see that his ideology is in the hands of those people who Nazis considered subhuman.
It becomes clear that with all these “Kisilevs, Mammontovs, Leontyevs or Solovyovs” under the authoritarian regime to argue for any morality from Russian television screens today is equal death for all of them. And if you add to that an almost perfect implementation of the main postulate of Goebbels: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”, Therefore, these “Devil’s servants” are all very well paid by the Kremlin and there is nothing surprising about that.
And what about the Russian society itself, especially the part of Russian society which is considered to be elite? How will it respond to the rollback to the notorious Soviet obscurantism? Whether such elite understands its responsibility for the country and for the future generations as well, and whether it is able to do something in a growing authoritarianism of the autocratic Putin‘s regime?
In this regard, I was very interested to read an article of Doctor of Law, Professor S. Chernichenko, who is Director of International law and humanitarian problems of the Diplomatic Academy of Russia. Chernichenko was trying to answer, from a legal point of view, the question of whether Russia is the legal successor of the Soviet Union? And summing up his argument, he concluded that the Russian Empire, RSFSR, USSR and the Russian Federation is the same party/the same subject for the international community which didn’t stop its existence with the collapse of USSR but quite, on the other hand, successfully adapted and the same autocracy continues to this day just in a different form!
Consequently, we shouldn’t be surprised when the State Duma and the Federation Council in the best traditions of Party Congresses, unanimously voted for the invasion of the Crimea, with its joining to Russia. On the queue after Ukraine, as I understand, there is Moldova, Transnistria and the list will go on after that as well. So, while the Russians will live with “the tsar in their heads“, an autocrat, entrenched in the Kremlin, won’t wait and his neighbors shouldn’t expect any good from his ruthless actions. As one Russian classic said: “Russia has two misfortunes – roads and fools”. This saying greatly reflects the current political climate in Russia by the same French stating that “the most loyal servants of the devil are the fools …”
Ramis Yunus is political expert, former Chief of Staff of Government of Azerbaijan and former Chief of Staff of Parliament of Azerbaijan.