The Prince of Nationalists: Vladimir Putin Wins His Fourth Term
Posted by Steve Turley ● Jun 11, 2018 3:45:09 PM
CNN is reporting that Putin won the election by an astonishing 70 percent vote, actually it may turn out to be more like 75 percent. And so, Putin will be president of the Russian Federation for the next six years, until 2024; he is already the longest serving leader of Russia since Stalin, serving now as president for 14 years, and of course he was prime-minister for several years as well. The presidency of Russia was extended from a four-year term to a six-year term during Dmitry Medvedev’s term back in 2008. Adding another six years to this astonishing tenure, by the end of it, Putin will have ruled Russia for over two decades.
Despite all of the Western elite’s and Eurocrats’ hopes that Putin would be voted out of office - ‘this time, people are really going to rise up and get rid of this dictator, this neo-Soviet autocrat,’ for all of these ridiculous notions, Vladimir Putin remains extremely popular among the Russian population, and for good reason. For example, survey after survey indicates that young people in Russia are the single most pro-Putin element within the Russian population. They are also the most patriotic, the most nationalistic of Russians, as well as the most optimistic for their nation’s future. Just prior to today’s election, The Washington Post published statistics showing that 81 percent of Russians approved of Putin as President; for those between the ages of 18 and 24, that number rose to 86 percent. 67 percent of young people believed the country was headed in the right direction, along with 56 percent of the population over all.
How did Putin achieve such incredible popularity? Well, it is not what neocons, the likes of John McCain and Lindsay Graham think; they think Putin just intimidated and threated his way to the top and maintains his dominance through Stalin-like fear, killing off everyone who disagrees with him. I tend to give Putin the benefit of doubt in most of these cases; Paul Robinson, a Canadian professor in Russian studies who blogs over at Irrusianality.com, has documented how more journalists and political dissidents were killed under Boris Yeltsin’s tenure than Putin’s administrations. Now, granted, the latest poisoning attempt in Britain on the Russian official with a nerve agent that was traced back to Russia was just a little too obvious, that is a hard one to argue, but regardless, I do tend to give Putin himself the benefit of the doubt.
Nevertheless, the studies have been confirmed over and over again: Vladimir Putin remains a very, very popular president among the Russian population. And why is that?
I would argue that it is because since the year 2000, the turn of the 21st century, President Putin has brought Russia out of the confusing fallout of the collapse of the Soviet Union, where everything Russians had believed for 70 years imploded overnight as A BIG FAT LIE, and instead he gave them back their Russian heritage, their faith, their culture, their religion as a revived metanarrative that can lead them into a flourishing and prosperous future; and he did it all the while under constant pressure by the secular globalist West to turn Russia into just another standardized, multicultural, liberal, globalist enterprise.
What we have to remember is that with the collapse of the Soviet Union on Christmas of 1991, Russia lost its unifying metanarrative: the communist vision of dialectical materialism, the belief that the capitalist vision of the world was doomed to failure and an inevitable global communist utopia was the end of history, this belief fell apart, and the Russian world suddenly found itself devoid of any ideological or cultural glue to hold its society together. …. Boris Yeltsin attempted a Western-inspired civic Russian identity, rooted in a new commitment to democratic freedoms and statehood, but that faltered about as quickly as it started; there just was not any real moral foundation that could sustain this globalist metanarrative of unending progress and free markets and liberal democracy and human rights.
But then, Vladimir Putin came to power, and as the Russian philosopher Alexandr Dugin has written about, Putin recognized that Russia had to rediscover a compelling metanarrative that could bind the nation together into a single, unified civilization once again. With communism dead, something even more compelling, more deeply rooted in the Russian soul would have to take its place. And THAT is the real contribution of Vladimir Putin; he found that the way forward for Russians would be a return, a retraditionalization that would involve reawakening Russia’s pre-Soviet history, her culture, traditions, customs, and religions that would serve as the foundation for a rebirth and renewal of Russian civilization.
I think this makes Russia a very powerful example for other nations and civilizations. Russia is a pretty amazing place: although Russia remains primarily ethnically Russian, about 78 percent, it is a nation that has over 190 nationalities. In many ways, it is a bit of a microcosm of the whole world; what is often called Eurasianism: it spans Europe proper to its west all the way to Japan to its east. It borders of course the Middle East and India and China to its south. Russia spans from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the north pole to Afghanistan. While predominantly ethnically Russian, the federation remains very densely multi-ethnic. This of course has been a point of contention within Russian society, particularly after the fall of communism. The Baltic nations were the first to assert their nationalism and national sovereignty with the collapse of the Soviet Union. And so, what would Russia do to keep these multi-ethnic factions and enclaves a part of the Russian Federation?
The answer that Vladimir Putin came up with was to begin to see the nation of Russia as a ‘multinational nation’, which is a distinct vision of Russian nationalism. This is where we can see the real genius of Putin. What we hear throughout Putin’s speeches is the notion that Russian culture is a gift to the world; Russian CULTURE, that is key, the CULTURE is a gift, a free gift to the world; so Russian literature, art, music, Orthodoxy, customs, and traditions, and Russian heroism and protection of peoples and nations, this is a gift to the world. Russia is a culture that is a divine gift for all peoples, nations, customs, and traditions; and therefore, by definition, Russian culture is multi-ethnic. This seems to me to be key to Putin’s nationalist project; Russia by its nature is a multinational nation; Russian culture is a gift to the world, and thus by definition requires the participation of multiple nations and ethnicities.
Now, right away we can see why Putin would be so problematic for the secular globalist world order. You will notice, Putin does not celebrate human rights irrespective of culture; he does not affirm a set of common civil rights completely devoid of race and religion or time and place or sexual orientation; rather, the rights, protections and freedoms experienced by citizens of the Russian Federation are the direct result of distinctively Russian culture, religion, society, and Russian sentiments. THIS is the key difference I think between the new nationalism that is rising all over the world and the neo-con, neo-liberal center-right, center-left globalist politics that have dominated the world stage since the early 1990s. With the fall of the Soviet Union, the political language that dominated the geo-political scene was reflective of a one-size-fits-all political, economic, and cultural system for all peoples, times and place. Liberal democracy, corporate-based free markets, human rights, and lifestyle values, they were the new norms for every single nation on the earth; secular globalists both on the right and left do not give a rip about culture, religion, race, custom, tradition, history, language, ways of life. No, all of these things were irrelevant to a set of political, economic, and cultural standards that overruled any and all religions, customs and cultural traditions. That is why religion is irrelevant in the globalist world order; why culture is irrelevant; why custom and tradition are irrelevant; why traditional moral codes are irrelevant; or better, increasingly, they are actually denounced and rejected as homophobic, racist, xenophobic, nativist and bigoted.
This brings us to the next part of the ingredients for Putin’s success; because civil rights and freedoms and economic and educational opportunities are all part of a culture rather than some transcultural, transnational set of standardized protocols and norms, because all Russian freedoms are derived from the specifics of Russian culture, then BY DEFINITION, this emphasis on culture necessitates a commitment to traditional values, since traditionalist values protect and perpetuate a culture. You see, unlike the center-right or center-left coalitions that focus solely on individual rights or group rights, identity politics and the like, a multinational nation – as Putin calls it – requires traditionalist values to protect and maintain the culture that’s the source for the rights and freedoms experienced by its citizens regardless of their own cultures or ethnicities.
And this of course is where the Russian Orthodox Church comes in. If Putin’s multi-national Russia, by definition, requires traditionalist values to maintain and protect it, then there has to be a cultural source for those traditionalist values. That is where the Russian Orthodox Church comes in. The Russian Orthodox Church provides the moral foundation necessary for the protection and perpetuation of the culture that is a gift to the world. This moral foundation, interestingly enough, is the way in which Russia avoids collapsing into multiculturalism. Both President Putin and Patriarch Kirill warn of the harmful effects of multiculturalism, which they see as destroying the majority culture in favor of absolutizing minority cultures through civil rights which inevitably end up clashing with one another, since there is no meta-culture that serves as their common ground. There is no metanarrative to sustain multicultural societies; whatever metanarrative might be put forward will eventually be rejected by one of the minority cultures; which of course is what we are seeing here in the States and throughout Western Europe.
And so, what we have seen emerge from Russia over the course of nearly two decades is nothing less than a new metanarrative that is replaced the old communist one; the new post-Soviet Russia is a return to Holy Rus, traditional Russia, where Russian culture, religion, and society offers to the world a very particular way of being human that invites all nations, cultures, and traditions into itself for a flourishing and prosperous future. It is the success of that metanarrative that I believe is ultimately behind the astonishing success of Vladimir Putin.