No shortage of points of concern here: vaguely Sovieteque corruption problems, troubling rumours of political assassinations, a hegemonic media consensus and myriad highminded aspirations on traditional values that don’t always appear to neatly cohere with the cut-throat economic system.
Not to mention the high abortion rates, with any vigorous legal reform of abortion laws being constantly kicked into the long, lingering grassy knolls and knottiness of the Siberian steppes…
And yet despite the above, it seems that disagreeing with some of Putin’s ideas or policies, or even questioning the very legitimacy of his rather idiosyncratic mode of governance, is a little too easy for some highminded idealists out there!
Because it does appear they’ve fallen for the trap of ‘Dissident Romance’ laid for them by a certain poorly-tricked-up deep cover fascist of an ‘anti-Putin,’ who is widely mooted as presenting a serious alternative to the current troubled status quo in Russia.
Well, they aren’t wrong about that one!
Alexei Navaly, or as some of us might like to call him, Angry Alex, certainly isn’t Putin 2.0.
HE IS WORSE.
Well, it’s hard to say Navalny’s body count compares with that of a Lenin, a Stalin or a Brezhnev.
After all, he’s never been in power to begin with!
Still, there’s absolutely no doubt that the politically correct hype over Angry Alex is a classic example of naively idealistic intellectuals seeing what they want to see.
It’s not the first time in history, after all; and it certainly isn’t the last!
That’s because from Wanderlust-addled Western visitors raving over Potemkin villages in the Cold War, to the well-heeled Bloomsbury set raving over the aesthetically stirring uniforms and flamboyant anthems of continental fascism, the green shoots of rebellion truly are more exhilaratingly romanticising on the other side…
And why wouldn’t they?!
After all, it’s a lot easier to bestow some lavishly handsome reward of unearned praise upon a fascist or Marxist ideologue when their policies and behaviours only remotely and indirectly affect you.
But it’s a very different matter when the dreams you are in love with as dreams alone, but never wish to become a reality for you personally…
Finally to emerge from the nightmarish streams of Lethe, to trouble the waking minds and bodies of those who dared to dream purely on condition of keeping their dreams at a safer distance than any God of all conceivable Providence could ever guarantee them they should stay!
So it is deeply unfortunate, in this regard, to see many articles that, for example, allude to Navalny as ‘one of President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics,’ or some other euphemistic comment.
For while undoubtedly true, this does appear to be missing a little further context.
Let’s be clear that even if Navalny is commonly idealised by such simplistic characterisations as a ‘muckraking irritant to powerful Russians’ (the Guardian, UK) he is actually pretty notorious for his racist and fascistic tendencies!
Choice cuts include:
‘Stop Feeding the Caucasus,’ or ‘there are also ‘normal’ people in the Caucasus… whose life’s ambition is not about being wrapped up in a burqa and having 25 children, but about living a decent life like humans.’
And yet, in the middle of his troubling 30s-style fascist rants, he has the time and energy to present some rather opportunistic comments about the Russian state’s (genuinely unpleasant and unsettling) treatment of sexual minority individuals.
It must be remembered in this regard that there is no one-to-one fit between fascism/anti-fascism vs pro/anti-LGBT.
The example of Ernst Rohm is a clear example of this, as is Nicky Crane; plus a certain former BNP party princeling whose sexually-obsessed ravings over alleged party penetration and internal disruption by the ‘heterophobic homosexualists’ (sic!) are probably best skimmed over lightly here, as some would say they don’t really add much to the ongoing dialectics on this topic.
But all things considered, and with all due sobriety:
At this point in history, the idea that the post-Putin Russia that might emerge tomorrow will be some kind of liberal market utopia like Canada or New Zealand seems staggeringly unlikely.
The sober truth is that between Russia’s only partially exorcised Communist history and the National Bolshevism of Eduard Limonov, to name just two explicitly authoritarian and indeed totalitarian tendencies, any intoxicating fever dreams of finding a reincarnated Boris Yeltsin to do a fire sale of public property and turn Moscow into New California and St Petersburg into the Las Vegas of Eurasia, seem seriously misguided…
Ultimately, as with other dissidents such as Vaclav Havel (who coined the term ‘humanitarian bombs’ as a pledge of allegiance to help legitimise Bill ‘One Country Under’ Clinton’s neoliberal regime change adventurism) or the Dalai Lama (who presents himself as openminded about the eugenicisation of disabled children), the real man and the media music (certainly in some countries!) are undoubtedly very much at variance.
Méfiez-vous du rêve de l’autre, parce que si vous êtes pris dans le rêve de l’autre, vous êtes foutu.