The ‘crack’ created by the war… Putin must realize

I stayed in Russia from 30 June to 1 August last year. This article is a record of what I saw and felt at the time. [편집자말]

If there is a legacy from the Soviet past that must be remembered, it is the aspiration of ordinary Russians and Soviets to create a better society free from widespread oppression, rather than an oppressive system that relies on abstract ‘national glory’ or the charisma of a single leader. will be. But in today’s Russia, the memory of such aspirations is cleverly circumvented and managed. Now that the past aspirations of overthrowing tyranny and building an egalitarian society by overthrowing national barriers have become something that needs to be thrown away, the current government is a leader borrowing the past glory by bridging the gaps in the values ​​and directions created in the hearts of Russians. engraving allegiance to

Just as the dictatorship was not the only problem in Korea in the past, the militaristic dictatorship is not the only problem in Russia. In addition, it should always be remembered that war is not a problem to be solved by criticizing Russia alone, as war is not the intention of one nation’s people or leaders alone, but is a product of the international dynamics of various nations. However, a real resolution of the war will be difficult unless there is a growing voice within Russia critical of the way war is justified in Russia’s current regime. For a war can only be truly ended by the resistance of the people, not by more violence and more weapons.

It may be difficult to achieve in the near future. People who have been living since the Soviet era usually thought that it was okay, as long as it wasn’t as when the Soviet Union collapsed. The situation of young people was not much different. The young people I met in Russia seemed too busy to endure the immediate difficulties they faced, such as job difficulties and the hardships of living due to inflation, rather than expecting the political situation to change. Russia, visited during the war era, was spending its daily days without the fuss of the Western media, who said that the country would collapse at any moment. was becoming

‘Glorious days’, that vain dream

A young man I met on the train said, frankly, that most young Russians are not interested in politics, and that they do not have time to think about such things because they are so busy with food. When I asked an acquaintance who was surprisingly awake by Russian standards, who used to study women’s studies at an overseas university, about the anti-war resistance of Russian feminists, the answer was unexpected. To be honest, I don’t know if I’m the right person to discuss ‘Russian politics’. I no longer feel Russian, I have no interest in Russia, I just want to leave Russia.

He had long since found a job that had nothing to do with what he had studied. A friend of mine, a socialist and feminist, has been plagued with anxiety since the outbreak of the war that one day he might go to the army or prison. The people being detained now are mostly pro-Western liberals, but he thought there was no way they would ever be anyone else.

Despite continued announcements that there would be no conscription, rumors continued to circulate in Russia that one day there would be a conscription. ). But in the face of increasing economic pain, the fear of imprisonment and conscription, many were choosing to either endure or leave.

From brutal serfdom and tyranny, post-revolutionary invasions of neighboring countries, World War II, the repressive former Soviet system to extreme poverty after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russians have a long history of hardship and have specialized in enduring injustice and suffering. , the current regime seems to think that the Russians are also accustomed to endure it now.

Putin’s Russia promises to recreate the history of Russians who experienced ‘glorious times’ by escaping poverty and hunger, and tries to calm dissatisfaction with militaristic policies through the revival of Russianism. So today Russia spends more time honoring not only Stalin, but also the ‘great’ tsars, including the Romanovs and Peter the Great.

No matter how much the tsars strengthened serfdom and rejected democratic and emancipatory values, in any case, the tsar era was a ‘glorious era’ of the Russian Empire. Putin seems to believe that instilling hope for a ‘glorious time’ will naturally rekindle his attachment to a powerful leader who will bring that glory back to life. As the Russians loved Stalin, Lenin, and the Tsar. The sarcasm that Putin is not the ‘tsar’ of the new era may be his intended identification.

But he will also have to remember again that tsarism fell on its own at its peak. Long ago, in pre-revolutionary Russia, no one believed that a revolution could succeed in such a backward country. Even on ‘Blood Sunday’ in 1905, the crowd believed in the Tsar and only begged ‘Father, take care of the people.’ However, when the tsar betrayed their beliefs with guns and swords, and after the sufferings of World War I reached a climax, the revolution began only with the strike of women workers on International Women’s Day.

The agitation caused by the war is bound to change the lives and thoughts of Russians in one way or another. The war has already brought rifts in Russian society, and no matter how much you use the word ‘special military operation’, there is no way to close the gap that has already begun to split. Even if the crack is only a very small one.

Likewise, one cannot expect people to remember only a part of the past by recalling it. As if singing the song ‘I want a change’, I can’t help but think about it. The war transformed Russian revolutionaries who supported the socialist anti-war theory into the intellectuals needed for the current situation, not just the symbolic figures of Russia.

Few people paid attention to the Russian left or Russian feminism before the war, but the war also opened up an opportunity for Russia’s progressive politics to come into the spotlight again. The declaration of anti-war by Russian socialists and feminists immediately after the start of the war served as an opportunity to re-establish the existence of progressive politics in Russia, and they are still active despite the oppression. Their activities are still weak, but if the war becomes a long-term war, there is no reason why they should not engage in a long-term war.

From tsaristism to the promise of an equal society of the Soviet era, Russians have endured many lies, but in times of change, they always have the power to overcome them. The loss of the old also means the possibility that the new can be used based on the past. Putin’s Russia would have to realize that the void in the values ​​and direction created by the collapse of the Soviet Union could be filled by the people themselves, not just the dictators. And that no lie is forever.

The song “Who you are, whatever you do, there is war between heaven and earth”,
Some of the lyrics of Kino’s ‘War’ are as follows:

“…but some must be the door,
Others have locks,
And another will have to be the key to the lock.”

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