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RUSSIA XXI

< Issue No 2 from 2002 yr. >

Humanism and Post-modernist Degeneration of Politics

The author expounds his opinion of neo-Eurasian movement, its participants and those who oppose it. At the present time the neo-Eurasian movement can be considered as an experiment aimed at synthesis of Islam and Teutonic component. Its main potential danger for the contemporary Russia consists in the fact that from a marginal doctrine it may emerge as the state ideology. The history of neo-Eurasian movement starts in the 1960s when people who looked for alternative to the Communist ideology emerged within the Russian elite. After collapse of the USSR new participants joined veterans. These newcomers arrived from the circle of those people who previously were pretty satisfied with the Soviet official ideology. The author emphasizes that despite their obvious anti-Semitism (which is particularly strong among the Islamic part of the movement) the present day Eurasians are ready to embrace Jewish «zealots» in order to legalize their doctrine with the help of Jewish participation. The danger posed by this rapprochement is beyond any doubt for the author. Reaction of A. Dugin, a leader of Eurasians, to the article which was initially published in Tel-Aviv newspaper «Vesti» and rejoinder by D. Kontorer form the logical conclusion of the publication.
The article which is based primarily on materials that are brought in scientific turnover for the first time is devoted deals with one phase of Saint-Petersburg (nowadays Russian) Academy of sciences which still remains practically unstudied. At the end of the 19th century and in the early 20th century an attempt of a major scale reform of this oldest scientific establishment of the country was undertaken. K.K.Romanov, the president of the Academy, initiated the reform in 1890. The essence of the reform consisted in replacement of the Academy’s obsolete charter of 1836 with a new legal act which could invigorate activities of the 'primary scientific estate'. It was planned to represent new disciplines in the Academy, increase number of «chairs» and scales of the budget financing, make the election process more democratic etc. The document was being elaborated for more than 12 years and only in 1912 the single result was achieved: the Academy got a new budget but it was obtained only at the expense of scholars' refusal to proceed with a radical reorganization of the Academy.

Does a serf need the art of fencing?

The author emphasizes that the word «reform» permanently used in various combinations long ago has severed from any specific meaning. So called «reform of education» is no exclusion. The fact is that under Eltsin the branch experienced major changes that touched millions of people (pupils, their parents, teachers). However a future historian will in vain investigate official documents, verbatim accounts and materials of discussions in search of the concept of transformations. He will discover just a set of general, senseless words about «democratization», «humanitarization», «advanced experience of other countries» etc. all of which are practically irrelevant to the real politics. Nobody has substantiated or explained the real politics in the sphere of education. Nobody has discussed the real politics at pedagogical councils. It was simply implemented. The author demonstrates that the last combination of moves promoted by the Ministry of education (the single exam for the school-leaving certificate and for admission to the higher educational institution; 12 years term of secondary schooling; tests instead of traditional exams and the state financial obligations towards those particular persons who perform superbly) is not some new politics developed under Putin and subject to his aims but the direct continuation of the politics developed under Eltsin. A researcher sometimes has to reveal the true aims of this politics by comparing declarations with the specific actions and extracting information between the lines of official documents and interviews given by ministers and other high officials. It is precisely what the author undertook in the article.

«The Slavic tsar… will establish the Socialist form of the life…»

Just a few persons know of forecasts of Russia’s future that were done by the Russian conservatives long before collapse of autocracy. As the author demonstrates, Konstatin Leontieff whose works were many times republished and still is unread was by far more deep and far-sighted than his (and some our) contemporaries. Being aware of inevitability of the social revolution Leontieff tried to find in Socialism some conservative traits and to combine it with the monarchy with the framework of Orthodox religion. Leontieff proposed to settle the social issue by the existing authorities without changing the established social and economic order. Leontieff planned to devote a special work to Socialism but died before he could carry out his intention and his followers (one may wonder whether he had genuine followers) proved to be less original. Leo Tikhomirov was one of a very few of those who understood but did not accepted 'conservative Socialism' annunciated by Leontieff. «Patriarchal» defenders of autocracy depleted themselves in their struggle against the Socialist idea and did not understand a concealed typological affinity to Socialism. Affinity which, besides all other things, implied presence of the common enemy presented by liberalism and capitalism.
The author tries to clarify the situation around Leo Tikhomirov and elucidate, from a new angle, his role and place in the political life of Russia. Peculiarity of Tikhomirov’s position was determined, first of all, by the fact that in the revolutionary camp he was perceived as a «conservative» of a sort because he advocated traditional values while in the monarchist camp he was perceived as a «revolutionary» — and not just by the label attached by ill-wishers but due to his inner conviction in necessity of serious transformations, decisive movement along the path to construction of the ideal monarchy. This image of «the conservative revolutionary» made him repugnant to contemporaries. Though Tikhomirov really and essentially was «a man of Alexander III reign» he might be called a fore-runner of the European (German) conservatove revolution and of the Russian Eurasians. Leo Tikhomirov’s destiny reflected complex and contradictory tendencies of the Russian social and political thought development. As a prominent ideologue, talented publicist and very attentive, sensitive observer Tikhomirov left a rich literary heritage.

Comments on the Lyrical Poetry

Poets are not done, they are born but in all times there are multitudes of those who are eager to pass for poets. The author undertakes an attempt to demonstrate what the spirit of true poetry is and in what way one may discover paths that allow become closer to the poetry. The author is sure that many our contemporaries who offer their intellectual experiments as innovations understand the poetry as a sort of intellectual industry for making a human being a more noble creature. On the contrary, the author thinks that the progress in the sphere of poetry is the cultivation of artistic intuition which connects us to out ancestors. At the same time the author does not call us back to caves but protests against dehumanization, degeneration of a human being and lack of spirituality.

Etiology of Sin: the Popular Morals in the Folklore Legends

The article has been initiated by materials presented for discussion at the scientific conference «Concept of sin in the Slavic and Jewish cultural tradition» (the conference was held at the Institute of Slavic studies, the Russian Academy of science, in November, 1999). Being one of the main concepts that were actively comprehended and interpreted within the framework of century-old Judeo-Christian intercultural dialog «sin», as investigators of the both traditions demonstrate, represents a multitude of its aspects: as a violation of taboo system, as a concealment of the truth, as «natural» or «ethnic» quality and as some material substance which might be calculated, measured, estimated and even sold. The Slavic material (the folklore legends and beliefs, system of taboos and prescriptions, rites and rituals) shows, the popular morality as well as the popular religion expands and at the same time makes the Christian concept of sin more specific, i.e., materializes the concept. The author analyses traditional society’s attitude to the original sin and incest, to concepts of «sin» and «soul», to the problem of atonement of the sin or to the issue of the sin allowed from the above. A separate layer of the Slavic folklore is composed by legends about «sinful» animals, plants and whole nations, about sin (violation of prohibitions related to the traditional rites and the subsequent punishment).