Political mythology and democratic transit in modern Russia
Voronezh State University
Major –political science
3rd year student
Leader: Valery Ledyaev
Political mythology and democratic transit in modern Russia
In everyday conscience myth – is a fairy tale, fiction. A modern human regards himself as a reasonable creature and is unable to admit that his actions and way of thinking could be determined by myths. However, on closer examination, our rationality tends to be just a rationalization, a desperate attempt to hide by sensible arguments actions and thoughts which were suggested by impulses, coming from the deeps of the unconscious. Our notions about outward things have mythological type. All the same we do not realize it. And this is natural-for a person, living in the myth, the mythology is the only possible reality.
What power drives us to myth? A human cannot live in the world of strict facts or in conformity with his wishes and needs. In other words, between the stark realities of life and human should be something else. A mediator is necessary, which would help a human apprehend reality in this or that form, create an attitude to it. One of the forms for covering the reality is a myth.
A real life does not suit the stereotyped patterns. The fullness and complexity of being are transmitted with encoded messages – the myths. An everyday conscience from the ancient times till nowadays lives in the world of myths.
The myth has got an enormous reformatory effect. Usual things turn into symbols and signs. An inanimate nature revives. A human becomes familiar with the world of mythical gods and heroes. A word – myth creates a reality.
The myth not only helps to provide a communication with outward things. The myth creates a human. A design of a human presupposes shaping of his inner life. In other words, the myth is not just a mediator, a link between human and reality. The myth rules the minds of humans, programs them. The myth rules a person, integrating him in unusual, mythological reality.
Today it is difficult to talk about existence of any “objective reality”. Endless streams of different information, a huge amount of symbols, images, ‘pictures’ creates feeling that outward things continuously and in leaps and bounds changes right now. Everything is changeable, the constant are only the changes. One “picture” changes another and it is impossible to detect an “objective reality” in that kaleidoscope.
An abundance of “pictures”, in turn, tends to devaluation of images. A person has not digested this or that image yet, while he is offered another one. Like an experimental animal he ‘belches’ an old bait and swallow a new one. A mind is left in the wilderness because it is not given any time to process the streams of incoming information. Human obeys his primitive reflexes, like Pavlov`s dog. A crazy whirl of events furthers a fragmentation of consciousness of today`s human, because the myth is a stable structure and allows to add an order in chaotic human being. The myth is somewhat a “reality”, which is sincerely believed by the human.
In information warfare the winner is who is able to impose his own way of thinking on select audience. But the “the way of thinking” appear in form of myth therefore the winner is who has his myths believed in by the nation. Thereby the political myth is required to assure orderliness in political reality. It acts as a tool of interpretation of reality.
Today Russia is at the crossroads. It has three possible alternatives of development. The first way – is integration into Western community. The second way – is using its own power, isolating from the West. The third one – is resurrection of an empire, a confrontation with West.
Integration into Western community means not only a modernization of economics, upgrade of law but another collapse of values. Accomplishment of that project requires a renewal of democratic mythology, new outstanding figures, establishing democratic institutes. This is unlikely in modern Russia. There is no mythological foundation for this turn in Russia. Religious mythology – all people are brothers; all are equal before God – copes with that. But Russia is not influenced by Christianity too much. If want to live like Europe, you have to rebuilt yourself. Russia is not ready for that.
The second alternative is supported by national archetypes, the mythology of unique way. In practice it means it means an establishing of a nation state. As far as it would come into conflict with globalization, Russia would separate from the West. It could well exist at the expense of its resources, while Hi – Tech would be exchanged for oil and gas. In other words, it is repetition of Brezhnev`s model but with national mythology. National bourgeoisie would be a ruling class, instead of party class, as in the USSR. The shape of future is to live according to traditions, unlike others.
The third alternative – is an attempt to resurrection of empire. Imperial archetypes are quite strong in Russia. It does not matter, resurrection of Russian or Soviet Empire. The same mythological images are the basis. Practically it would turn into intensification of power of bureaucrat staff, submission of oligarchs by state. In foreign affairs it would mean confrontation with the West, attempts to return its influence on Former Soviet Union, building anti-western alliances in the East and the South. The shape of future is to live in the USSR or even Romanoff Empire. There are some options but the main idea is the same.
Nowadays in Russia all three scripts are being carried out. To be more exact, there is a battle between different political forces for a new Russian way. Medvedev is trying to combine all three alternatives. Frankly speaking, he makes a step forward, and then one back, changes a road. As a result, no movement forward.
There is no ruling class in Russia as a subject of History. According to Alain Touraine “ruling class is a particular social group, which takes a heavy load of historicity, particular actor, which exerts the most common influence over functioning and transformation of society. That ruling class, which identifies itself with historicity all the same time, identifies itself with its own particular aims. It is “progressive” as far as it operates the highest level of society influence on itself and fights against previous ruling stratums and old instruments of social control; on the contrary, it establishes barriers in order to defend its benefits”.
Russian ruling class cannot take a “heavy load of historicity”. It cannot form a new mythology. Furthermore, it always feels a threat of losing the power. So that avoid it, it tries to identify itself with the state. As far as governing class is a ruling class, the state is unable to be a subject of reforms, subject of modernization of Russia.
Even Marx wrote the being determines the consciousness. Political consciousness of Russians consists of archaic stratums, while History urged us on forming of authoritarian methods of governance, high - developed culture and weak civil society. Under such conditions there is no difference which political regime is used because the political genotype cannot be overcomed.
There is, to my mind, only one way of it – this is careful analyze. It is necessary to estimate, what reforms could be legitimized, what needs additional work. It is not a secret that liberal figures sometimes were idealists and dogmatists, were isolated from common people. Enlightener work was established badly so people did not know concrete, everyday advantages of democracy. However, without the legitimation cannot be without illumination, without legitimation democracy is nothing but window dressing.
On the other hand we cannot count our authoritarian political mythology as an eternal one. Political mythology – is a compilation of paternalism and liberalism, patriotism and cosmopolitism. Every day in wits, hearts and souls of people is taken part a fight for new world order. We can make our country, attractive for life; compile wealth historical heritage and the present.
Contemporary political elite of Russia understood that it is necessary to create impersonal political institutes, optimize Russian political system, and make it renewable. Putin, talking about governed democracy, told that deviation from real democracy, tampering by mass – media are a forced action. Political system should be legitimate, only in this case government has got a power. 1990-th showed that unreasonable and obscure liberal reforms furthered the discredit liberal ideology as it is. I suppose that nowadays the main task of liberal forces in Russia is creating of educational projects for pupils, students, those, who are not infected with corruption, do not have criminal connections. The youth is a gold which is ready to assume the shape of anything while smithering. Taking all disadvantages into consideration we live in the most democratically developed Russian for all its history. We have an opportunity to open the world for ourselves, communicate with foreigners, and above all look our own place in united democratic breakthrough. Our mission is not to trigger a backflash our ancestors – we should not deny out historical heritage, but we have to reform our “governed democracy” regarding our historical experience and Russian History, also we should regard regularity of democratic transit in South and Eastern Europe.
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