Aljaksandr Zgerski: WHAT BOTHERS RUSSIA OR THE CULTIVATION OF RESSENTIMENT
(Abstract, magazine “CULTURE, NATION”, December 2014, issue 8, pp. 16-35)
It is discussed the reasons why the majority of Russian population supports the Crimea annexation and the war in the East of Ukraine provoked by Putin’s government. Why Russians think that the only fascists live in Ukraine and the whole world wants Russia misfortune?
Author analyses this behavior from the point of view of “ressentiment”. A ressentiment is the term of philosophy which defines the morality of slaves, negative human complexes based on envy towards the more powerful and successful ones, and the cultivation of image of the enemy. Such system of human values can’t create anything of his own while destroying the value system of the enemy. Ressentiment morality opposes the noble morality of freedom-loving person.
Russia began the aggression in the neighboring country by rising, using and at the same time cultivating a large resentment chauvinistic complex which dreamt until the time in the mysterious Russian soul. Going back to history the appearance of that complex might be observed during the reign of Ivan III in the end of 15 century, Ivan IV in the second half of 16 century, and later. As Karl Marx wrote, “Muscovy was raised and grew up in a horrible and infamous school of the Mongolian slavery. It became so strong due to absorption of virtuosa art of slavery. Even after its release from Mongols, Muscovy continued to play its traditional role of servant who became the owner. Then Peter the Great combined the political art of Mongolian slave with the proud aspirations of the Mongol ruler, to whom Genghis Khan bequeathed to carry out his plan to conquer the world”.
Such sort of mentality continued then after revolution and how it is reasonable indicated by Berdyaev once again won the “mass”. It appears it was directed by ressentimental slogans of Bolsheviks: all the land to the peasants, factories to workers, and peace to the nations. From other side, according to slave morality there were found the enemies, the aristocracy, the bourgeoisie, kulaks, intellectuals, imperialists and so on. In general, the enemies were needed for the Soviet Union to his existence as well. Discussing the morality in the Soviet Union the author referred to the experience of Russian writer Shalamov who spent many years in the GULAG. It was clear that in a certain extent prison terms and orders, together with prisoners who have served their term, came gradually in a civil society. Over the hundreds of years, the authorities in Russia cultivated the complex of a person which is lackey, liar, thief, and as a consequence that’s why it is necessary to have a strong hand, Lord, tsar who will keep everyone in the correct order.
However, the mentality of Russians and mentality of people from other post-soviet countries, in particular Belarusians and Ukrainians, are different. Mental-psychological map of nations formed over the centuries, this process is not always in sight. Over the past 200-250 years Belarusians often suffered defeats in nation-state building. Although not everyone want to see the national peculiarities of the peoples of Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. Again, there are a lot of examples to show how ressentimental complexes of Russian people were cultured and then deployed towards their neighbours, in particular Belarus and Ukraine, during the last 10-15 years. It is necessary to understand that the “Russian World” that Russian propaganda offers to modern neighboring nations will hold only a dictatorship, militarism, repression and suppression of freedom. People who want to live in independent democratic countries should be aware of this and stand together against the strengthening of the dictatorship.