We live like during e war

02 December 2009
Article

Russians regard everything happening to them as a natural calamity, from train explosion up to neonazi attacks, hoping that all problems will be solved by themselves.

Published at
Eurasian Home

If a train was blown up in Western Europe (as was the case with the “Nevsky Express” train when it travelled between the capital Moscow and St Petersburg last week), the railway companies would suffer in a much larger measure – many people would return the tickets they bought. In Russia the situation is totally different, and nobody is going to induce the passengers to buy tickets offering them the New Year discounts. The Russians believe that “the same trouble cannot happen twice”. We live like during a war, so we take losses easily enough. The tragedy did not come as a shock to the society, the Russian people were not terror-stricken or panic-stricken. After all, the terrorist explosion on a railway bed does not differ from the industrial explosion in the ammunition depot in the Russian city of Ulyanovsk.

While the investigating agencies are establishing the explosions reasons, the social catastrophe spreads to dozens of Russian cities where the production stopped. This is not a misfortune either. It appears that people can live even during the social catastrophe, they are lucky to have the 1990s experience. The Togliatti motor works “AvtoVAZ” female workers take maternity leaves on a mass scale. Here is the birth rate explosion that the officials and patriots wanted. True, the social programmes, which are expected to stimulate the birth rate, are considered to be just a protection against the crisis consequences. But, in any event, the results are achieved.

The people regard everything happening to them as a natural calamity and conceal themselves, or if they can’t, they endure that. Endurance is a kind of a national sport in Russia.

Meanwhile, not only concrete culprits are behind each trouble, but also the troubles have common reasons. Neither explosions nor crises occur by themselves. What is happening to us would depend on how we take the events.

Certainly, the train passengers cannot avert the explosion of a bomb put on the railways. But they can come out against the ultra-right ideology whose followers assumed the responsibility for the terrorist act. It would be quite wrong to think that the Russian society is completely infected with racism and nationalism, although those reading some liberal editions can have such an opinion.

The lack of the population's support for the nationalistic propaganda makes the ultra rightists commit terrorist acts – the explosion of the “Nevsky Express” train ranks with the murders of Stanislav Markelov, Anastasia Baburova and Ivan Khutorskoy, which have undoubtedly been committed by the ultra rightists.

The society’s indifference to the Nazi ideology entails the society’s unwillingness to withstand it. The people do not support pogrom-makers and murderers, but, at the same time, do not support those fighting against them. Now that not only foreign workers and students or anti-fascist movement activists, but also ordinary Russian people fall victims to the assaults, the situation is unlikely to change. The people believe that the government will address the problem (that they “will address” rather than “will solve” it). The people do not have confidence in the government, but they have got accustomed to allow only the government to take necessary steps, while realizing that the government will act inefficiently and, probably, not in our interests.

The extremism fighting experts, who went so far to declare fascists and antifascists to be two equally dangerous groups of the society enemies, show again that they are unable to control the situation. Maybe, this inability implies unwillingness.

The Russian authorities’ efforts to fight extremism have yielded only one result – the quick growth of the number of extremists on whom dossiers are opened. The more such dossiers exist, the more officials are required to work for appropriate agencies. The more officials work for those agencies, the higher the heads of the agencies have ranks.

It is clear that the current Russian government will never regard the informal antifascist movements activists as their allies, and the left radicals themselves would not like to be the government’s allies.

It is obvious that the officials, who are responsible for the society’s security, should see the difference between the terrorists blowing up the trains and the young people protesting against the murders of unarmed migrants. Or am I in the wrong?

The “fight against extremism” concept, which equalizes the terrorist activities and any kinds of protest, including the legal ones, was invented by the Russian authorities for fighting against social movements. The problem is when clever spin doctors were thinking up the “fight against extremism” strategy, the ultra rightists posed a much less serious threat to the society. So, one could speak about their activities as an example that would make it possible to discredit any unofficial social activities. Now the situation has changed. The right threat is real because the neonazis kill people regularly and, in the main, with impunity rather than because they win ideologically. This annoys even apolitical citizens, they do not like murders especially if other ordinary people kill each other, not the government kills them. That’s why even the apolitical society expects that the authorities will take some measures. If the war is declared and started, it should be waged, shouldn’t it?

Alas, the authorities have neither a strategy nor resolution to wage this war, nor wish to win it. The authorities react to the rightists threats in the same way as they react to the economic crisis – they act unreasonably and at heart hope that all the problems will be solved by themselves.

In a sense, such an approach is understandable. Sooner or later, all problems are solved by themselves. The question is when this will happen and who will govern Russia at that time.