The correspondence seemed remarkable.
— Dear Alyosha! Happy New Year! Now, probably, the only thing I can wish for is the end of the war. Happiness to you!
– Happy New Year to you too! I want your country to die!
– Thank you. A country is not a country, but if Putin were dead, it would be nice. They write, he coughs.
– Not Putin, but your entire horde! You are all orcs and you have no right to be!
– Do you provide any exceptions? I’m, let’s say, a citizen of Israel and in exile – won’t it work?
– We are sitting without electricity, without water, without heat, under rockets – what kind of exceptions do you want? You all need to be exterminated, along with your bastard Pushkin, the abomination Dostoevsky, * the wounded f * d * rum Tchaikovsky, the twisted nit Brodsky – all of you, burn in hell so that there will be no ashes left!
And what about Pushkin?
“Son of a bitch because. All sons of bitches, because Russia is a bitch.
– Logically. But you and I are actually brothers, although cousins. Should I burn too, so that there is no ashes?
— Did you hand over your Russian passport? Do you pay taxes to Putin from your remote location? It’s your rockets that fly to me. There are no good Russians. A good Russian is a dead Russian.
– The position is clear. In vain I climbed with this New Year. Well, in any case, greetings and congratulations to your mother, wife and daughter. Sorry for disturbing you and good luck.
– Why in vain? My five-year-old daughter sits on my lap and writes cards “Happy New Year! Russian – death! Happy holidays. Breathe!
I literally quoted “selected passages from correspondence with a relative”, removing only obscene vocabulary, to which he gave congratulations a New Year’s ringing. As they said in the past, the kind reader can think it up on their own.
Actually, I don’t like being rude to me, but here I endure in self-repentance. Take these taxes that my employer probably pays for that hack that continues to come from Russia. Indeed, if he did not pay them, I would be better off. And I have become more or less accustomed to this rudeness – the Kyiv brother has long spoken in the same sense.
But Pushkin, Dostoevsky and Brodsky were new – before he thought little about them and did not recall these names in any context. Hatred has undergone a creative development.
From time to time I try to find some thought about what is happening, coming from my homeland. And it doesn’t come out. As shown Mikhail Yampolsky in a New Year’s essay (himself Kirill Rogov called it the pinnacle of Russian thought in 2022), official thought is a classic case of empty space semiotics. (As I understand it, he was also looking for some meaning, found nothing and decided to at least describe the process of searching.) Unofficial, using his semiotic terminology, has not yet adjusted the plan of expression.
Russia now is such an organism that has a body in Russia, and a head abroad – everything that says and thinks does not live in Russia. And the head to Pushkin has accumulated.
Between ourselves, she overestimates the cultural level of the Russian president. How would something grow out of him because the boy read a lot of Pushkin, Dostoevsky and Brodsky, and little-known unsuccessful works from the second half of the collected works. But anything can happen, and in order to avoid recurrences of authoritarianism in the future, this must be stopped.
Offhand: here is the professor Mikhail Lotman from Tartu, he considers Pushkin undoubtedly guilty, recalling not only the “Borodino Anniversary” and “Slanderers of Russia”, but also the disgusting “Refutation of Mr. Germany and in 2022 in Ukraine: they raped, killed and robbed civilians. And he even recalls that his father, the great Russian scientist Yuri Mikhailovich Lotman, adhered to the same position, although he did not express it publicly and publicly appreciated Pushkin. The intonation is characterized by an appropriate bitterness of repentance, not without notes of vanity in the sense of the exemplary nature of one’s own Europeanism.
Essay Ekaterina Margolis Brodsky and the Colonialism of Russian Culture was the most sophisticated intellectual event of the summer. There, by the way, not only Brodsky flew in, but also Akhmatova, and Brodsky not only for the imperialism of thinking, but also along the feminist line – whoever likes this is the highest grade. Alexander Etkind (and this is like the Bolshoi Theater on the square of Russian thought), although he notices that with Pushkin it is not so unambiguous, but it is necessary to understand that the entire “Russian canon” has now been deconstructed, and it is necessary to build anew on overcoming imperialism.
I chose according to my taste, but actually this reassessment of values now unites all thinking Russians, strikingly distinguishing them from the hardened rogue collaborators. This is a big and exciting program where there is a place for everyone – I think to modestly deconstruct imperialism in the populist “theory of small deeds.” But in principle, a wider perspective opens up.
Stuff for a civic nation
You yourself know that the concept of “people” is obscure. Elements of historicism are outlined in it – let’s say, these are the nasty things the Roman emperors did, according to Suetonius, and it never occurred to anyone in history to accuse a simple Roman of sexual perversions of Heliogabalus. Yes, and for Ivan the Terrible, so far none of the ordinary Russians XVI the century did not get (as, incidentally, neither Kurbsky, nor Adashev, nor Sylvester did).
Now it is not so, now the people’s wine has become collective. Depending on the context, the people can be called the electorate, the cattle, the deep people, the population – these concepts intersect in accordance with the logic of fuzzy sets. In this text, I understand by this a certain part of the collective body, the collective head of which has now found itself in a foreign position. And this part of the body was very disappointing.
Before the people, there were exorbitant claims – take at least the Stalinist repressions! — and lately he’s been acting like a real dick. They chopped off the Crimea – he is in euphoria. The war began – he is more likely to the TV, as if not to miss the climax. Mobilization was announced – he went like a nice little one. And then there is the difficulty that, for example, I am for democracy. And there, after all, not only the change of power, there is also the free expression of the will of the electorate. So what, you ask, will he freely express his will? Even thinking is disgusting.
But for the Russian intellectual tradition, the cause of the people is important. “We live without feeling the country under us” – this state, as the poet Mandelstam showed, significantly worsens the quality of life of an intellectual. It is all the more acute when the head is separated from the body by the internationally unrecognized border of the Russian Federation. The concept of the people phantom itches. And here – watch your hands – a somersault is possible, which can be considered as a positive scenario for the future. Simply put, the most subtle intuitions of Lotman and Margolis, and even the exciting project of Etkind, can be understood as a philosophical and political reflection of those experiences that the Kyiv relative outlined in the New Year’s communication.
“Nikanor Ivanovich … did not know the works of the poet Pushkin at all, but he knew him very well and every day several times uttered phrases like: “Will Pushkin pay for the apartment?” or “So Pushkin unscrewed the light bulb on the stairs? ..” – this is from Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, which today is subject to rethinking as a shameful renegade from Kyiv, who sold himself to Moscow and from there wrote a vicious libel on the history of Ukrainian statehood under the guise of a novel ( “White Guard”) – just like the vile Josephus wrote the immortal “Jewish War”. I am not here to denounce Bulgakov, but simply to remind that such an attitude towards Pushkin was widespread among the people. I would say that the very difference between, say, Professor Mikhail Lotman and a certain person from the doorway was that this person, in the heat of, so to speak, door-to-door controversy, could yell in his face: “Pushkin, …? Fucking bitch!” – which partly showed the difference in social status. And there were quite a lot of such unidentified persons from the gateway. Why go far, President Putin is just from the Leningrad gateway, which somewhat undermines the thesis about the harmful influence of Pushkin, Brodsky and Dostoevsky on him.
Under no circumstances and in the slightest degree is it impossible to identify the current anti-Pushkin, anti-Broad, anti-Chaikov and other anti-moods of the Ukrainian people with the spiritual bonds of the Russian cattle, which are the basis of its self-identification. If this is not yet legally enshrined in Ukraine, it must be urgently done so that it is criminally punished, as in Russia the comparison of Stalin and Hitler is punished, so that their striking similarities are less conspicuous.
However, these sentiments can be seen as the development of deep aspirations of those times when the Russian and Ukrainian people were not as far apart as they are today? Let’s take a stand for a moment in sober behavioral analysis. The motivations of the cattle from the alley of pre-war times and the current freedom-loving Ukrainian demonstrate a certain similarity. Pushkin turned out to be a “bitch shit” as a protest of a person from the gateway against the social order of the state, where the person occupied a low social position. The definition of Pushkin as an “imperial bitch” carries the same meaning – this is a protest against the state, the value of which Pushkin is from the Ukrainian point of view, caused by the desire to hit this state on the forehead.
That the sociocultural dynamics from “Pushkin the fucking bitch” to “Pushkin the imperial bitch” is a fundamental breakthrough that marks the birth of a new Ukrainian political nation is a no-brainer. But from what material is this gratifying phenomenon born? If only you knew from what rubbish political nations grow without shame! Purely historically, the starting point is “a new historical community – the Soviet people”, which, by the way, has already condemned the poet Brodsky as a parasite. His imperial traits were not then recognized by the short-sighted Soviet court, but the generally negative meaning of the aesthetizing renegade was qualified, as it now turns out, correctly. If he had been packed more tightly then, he would not have written poetry at all, and “On the Independence of Ukraine” in particular.
And why did such a joyful breakthrough to the civil consciousness, burning with a noble desire to incinerate the imperial bitch, take place? Because a certain part of the aforementioned historical community, together with its spiritual bonds, has separated into Europe, has now become a completely European political nation, has been correspondingly transformed and is incinerating from there. So this was the program of the Russian intelligentsia, which did not work out for centuries! And to become Europeans herself, and the people to remain the same as they are, but only a completely European people. Then it will be possible to talk about democracy with much greater confidence.
And look, it all worked out. The head is abroad and the people are abroad, and all that remains is to attach this head to this body so that it perceives it as its own reflective organ – and that’s it. Here it is, the positive scenario! So far, experiments on transplanting the head of one living being to another body have not worked out. If we take into account the Haeckel-Muller law on the repetition of phylogenesis in ontogenesis, we can assume that they will not ask. But hope who will forbid?
Why is this important? Alexander Baunov here subtly dismantled the differences in Europe’s attitude towards various villains, and proved that decent European people treated Franco in Spain, Salazar in Portugal, Papadopoulos in Greece very badly, but still not like Gaddafi, Ayatollah Khomeini and Saddam Hussein . As if it was believed that these are terrible delusions, but it is possible and necessary to talk with them, albeit strictly pointing out the depressing imperfections in their character and behavior. But with Iran and then Iraq it is different, there is nothing to talk about. This is just an enemy, it must be destroyed, not persuaded.
Russia today, not from his, but from a European point of view, is precisely Iran. And there she would have a place with her KGB ayatollah, but these little respected personalities, from Pushkin to Brodsky, interfere. There are so many Nobel laureates, and this is a worldwide question! And note that Sholokhov, Solzhenitsyn and Brodsky are well-known first-class imperialists, and Bunin and Pasternak simply did not get their hands on it. But in the course of the campaign for the deconstruction of the Russian Empire, they will definitely reach, let them prepare. As people in the know say, the millstones of sanctions work slowly but inevitably, and it is the same story with cultural sanctions. But we can assume that if we do not carry out appropriate cultural and educational work, then they will crawl through again, push through with their overestimated artistic level, and again money for fish.
And if they are, so to speak, cleaned up – they are all incinerated, to zero – then just a pure sample of cattle will turn out, and it will be possible to treat it accordingly, without experiencing a shadow of moral discomfort.
Not a shadow. Is not it?