Sunday, 2 February 2014

Russian Justice

People occasionally ask me what history book they should read in order to increase their knowledge of Russia's past, and my reply is always, "NONE!" If you wish to understand Russian history, you should read the spiritual counsels of Theophan Zatvornik, the epistles of Nil Sorsky, and the novels of Ivan Turgenev.

How could you fathom the idealism of the Narodniki, the young aristocrats who went to live amongst the peasantry, unless you understand what Sorsky has to say in regard to renunciation? And how could you discern the rationale behind the heavyhanded approach of the Bolsheviks unless you understand why the Narodniki were hounded out of the countryside by the peasants whom they held in the highest esteem?

The ignorance of the Russian peasantry is legendary. Well-meaning doctors who went to the villages to attend the sick were often accused of being witches and murdered in the most barbaric fashion. When Russia lost the war against Japan in 1905, there was the widespread belief amongst the Russian peasantry, that the Japanese had transformed themselves into microbes and crawled into the boots of the Russian soldiers, thus rendering them motionless. Russia had been defeated by occult means. How do you deal with such astounding nescience? There were two solutions:

(i) Let the peasants continue leading a life of blissful ignorance. You will do them no good by educating them. After all, as the Bible says, "he that increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow."

(ii) The second solution was that of Stalin: the Russian peasantry would have to change its ways - by force, if necessary. As Marx had pointed out during one of his truly Hegelian moments of inspiration, "the classes and the races, too weak to master the new conditions of life, must give way." The despicable creatures who have never read Marx, and who are too stupid to understand Hegel, see in these words a call for genocide on the part of Marx, whereas, to the contrary, Marx is merely explicating the laws of history. The races who would be vanquished were those who remained ignorant of the mechanisms determining the course of history, and this tragedy could be averted by educating the masses so as to enable them to pursue a line of action in accordance with their own best interest. Stalin saw it as his sacred mission to guide the Russian peasantry out of obscurantism; thus he sought to ascertain that the people whom he loved were not sacrificed on the altar of history. And those, such as the feudal Kulaks, who resisted this act of liberation, would have to be crushed by the iron fist of the state. Stalin knew very well that what he set out to do would be controversial, and he had the following to say to his detractors: "when I die, my people will defile my grave with litter; but much later they will understand that I did the right thing."

This conflict between those who wish to let things remain as they are and those who wish to bring about a revolutionary change to the Russian society is at the heart of Turgenev's novel Fathers and Sons. On one side you have the weary generation of the fathers, whereas on the other you have Yevgeny Bazarov, a character as inritiguing as Ivan Karamazov. Bazarov excels as an intellectual, and he intimidates his foes with his extensive knowledge of the different branches of philosophy. Not only does Bazarov embody the Russian ideal of ferocious intellectuality; he is also a precursor to the Bolsheviks.

People who think that Bolshevism was some sort of a Jewish conspiracy betray their appalling ignorance of Russia's history. 80% of the officers in the Red Army were former Czarists. Furthermore, without the support of the Russian people, there is no way the Bolsheviks could have defeated more than a dozen foreign interventionist powers along with the Whites. Even the two symbols adopted by the Bolsheviks were as Russian as they could get: the hammer signifying the urban workers of Russia and the sickle signifying the peasantry.

The Bolsheviks were deeply Russian. They personified the Russian ideals of universal learning, and they displayed a genuinely Christian sense of justice, as outlined in the epistles of Sorsky: "do not waste your money on the decoration of the churches; distribute it amongst the poor instead."

The messianic sense of justice dictated that the Bolsheviks bring redemption not only to the people of Russia, but to the whole world. The Bolshevik hatred of Russia's feudal lords would be extended to the ruling elites all over the world. The world had never seen anything like the Bolshevik scourge; one day this scourge shall return.

It is incumbent on the young Russians to follow the example of Lenin and meditate on the toughest works of philosophy: Kritik der reinen Vernunft by Kant, Phaenomenologie des Geistes by Hegel, and Das Kapital by Marx. Great philosophical ideas engender great men. Once this knowledge has been assimilated, the gates of fury shall once again burst open, the Scythian hordes shall once again lay siege to the world, and any force impeding this sacred onslaught shall be pulverised.