Collection of Articles on the Justice of Traditions
E. A. Belzhelarsky, M. K. Kantor, I. D. Potapov, V. T. Tretyakov, M. A. Tyurenkov, S. F. Chernyakhovsky, A. V. Shchipkov
Compiler: À.V. Shchipkov
If you analyze Russian political jargon, you will notice a set of repeating and long-lost concepts: "reforms" "reactions" "thaw" "freezing." Liberal rhetoric succumbs to patriotic rhetoric and vice versa on an all too regular basis. This empty verbal recirculation is generated by the deplorable condition of our political state. As usual, a pathetic sense of protection and strengthening of the government follows after a period of half-baked reforms and disruption of social ties.
Russia’s political history has forever been repeating itself and not one "national" problem has ever been resolved. But just as the reasons of this constant and meaningless déjà vu are being figured out, the habitual verbal political clichés are stirred up. Critical thinking is blocked while a set of misleading alternatives are forced onto society. For example, liberalism and government patriotism (which is just liberalism in patriotic camouflage) do not exist as two separate ideas in Russia, but rather as the form and content of a singular idea. But opposing the state is considered absurd, while the political structures built on the principles of antithesis are absurd in and of themselves.
The categorical concepts that we have grown accustomed to are not suitable to describe Russian socio-political and socio-cultural situations. Society intuitively understands this but is scared to admit it. Essentially, we now find ourselves in a state sociologists have named "the spiral of silence." This occurs when the majority of a group is aware of its own rights, but psychologically still cannot say "no" to the minority who continue to control the situation and manipulate the majority. But this spiral is never-ending. It is impossible to obtain a reliable picture of events while in this distorted framework.
Another tragic peculiarity of our history is the repeating disruption of tradition. This disruption has long ago become a tradition in its own right. And until this is overcome, the country will not escape from this historical and political dead-end. Therefore, it goes without saying that a necessary reset of traditional social mechanisms in Russia needs to be discussed.
This reset should carry society onto a single and normal road of self-organization and thus require a transition to consistent conservative politics. But at this point a serious problem arises: What exactly is there to conserve in Russia, a country that has repeatedly had its traditions disrupted? Perhaps this very disruption itself? The monarchy and other obsolete institutions that did not make it through the 20th century? The collapsed Soviet project? The neo-liberal course of the current government?
The resurrection of historical relics is a losing strategy. Nostalgia can be tended to for admiration but never be applied in political construction.
Something else must be done: restart the code of tradition itself, which begins to self-reproduce. In contrast to conservatism, this process can only come from the bottom. It is necessary to build national civil society. And this implies that ideally, the government should not protect traditions, but rather tradition should produce government institutions.
So what exactly is this tradition?
The Russian mindset is not anarchic by a long shot. It is religious in the broadest sense of this word ("longing for the sacred") and also moral, in spite of all the present-day amoralism spreading from television screens and computer monitors. The basic Russian moral value is justice. Social equality and justice is held close by society. This is tied to the pre-Revolutionary serfs and the majority of the population of modern Russia.
Inherent Russian conservatism has always combined ‘tradition’ and ‘justice’ with an "eternal price" and aspirations towards social equality
Nowadays this unity can be identified as the ‘left-conservative consensus.’
The left-conservative consensus is indispensable for a nation to be able to find a foothold in the onward historical movement. Such a platform reflects the Russian majority’s point of view without splitting it into a left and right. It accounts for the present political situation.
The time is perfect now to discuss the justice of traditions, however paradoxical this combination of words might seem at first.
The road out of this dead-end requires certain conditions to be met that will impose a national morally ethical basis for Russian society.
National ethics were destroyed by way of turmoil and revolution. This process has gone on since at least since the 17th century. The most significant moment was in 1917, when the concepts of "tradition" and "justices" were artificially torn apart from each other by the revolutionary Bolshevik ideology. Russia lived with a tragically split conscious with divided social morals for many decades after this disruption. The problem has only exacerbated in the post-Soviet period.
But today the long-awaited fracture is visible, which should unite the two ethical origins and awaken the historical memory of the nation. Exiting from this fracture requires restructuring the traditional Russian character of the civil consciousness and building adequate national interests of civil society that would determine the state of affairs in the political information, cultural, human rights, and economic spheres.
We need to find ways to build a moral government with an actual class-structured democracy.
It is necessary to revive aesthetic criteria in art that were neglected in favor of political gestures. Obviously, what today’s "contemporary art" offers are products of political and commercial orders no different than the ideological self-restrained art of the Soviet times.
It also requires an adequate understanding of the unenviable role of the intelligentsia that shows a complete dependence on the political establishment. The dissolution of the intelligentsia is a cold hard fact. Realizing and accepting this is required. The only question is who will show up to replace this social category: the organically intellectual European type or the "creative class" that is lifting society to unprecedented levels of consumption.
The problems indicated are in the immediate interests of the left-conservative thought. In and of itself the convergence of conservatives and the left-wing intellectuals is unavoidable. It will give rise not only to political alliances but also new social implications. The doctrine of the moral government has already risen and developed. On the agenda is the birth of social Soteriology – a humanitarian direction which will unite the question of religious morals and social justice.
The left-conservative movement’s concern can be called "preservation of the people" but with one single asterisk. Today, there is every reason to discuss the "self-preservation of the people." History shows that no outside forces can save the nation. No authority, no opposition, no biased expertocracy, no international oligarch.
Russian society needs a fundamentally new ideological and political layout in place of the one it has today. A fundamental change in the public consciousness is already happening – today, right now, even as this collection is set to be published.
All of the articles here were specially prepared for Fracture over an 18-month period. The authors, a majority who do not know one another, differ in religious, political and aesthetic views. But inherent in them is a new perspective on the problematic field of Russian politics, in particular, the new understanding of the role of justice and tradition. In addition, all of the authors share a love for their country and a feeling of responsibility towards it.
The exit from this ideological looking glass into the world of actual history is inevitable. And the sooner it happens, the less painful it will be for us. We do not need any upheavals. We need tradition and justice. We need a normal Russia.