Victor Loupan, Head of the Editorial Board
From the historical, cultural and spiritual point of view, “values” represented as European are not truly European.
This summer became rich with life-changing events. Let us start with the Olympic Games, Rio 2016, where the Russian athletes competed successfully and took forth place in the overall ranking, and this notwithstanding the fact that almost one third of the Russian favourites did not participate.
Sports, which was traditionally perceived as a pure and honest sphere, has turned to dirty politics. I will never forget how the IOC (the International Olympic Committee) challenged the participation of the entire Russian Olympic delegation in the Olympic Games. However, a portion of the Russian athletes were cut out of the loop. But even those who were finally allowed to compete, survived the dreadful anticipation of the decision: would they be allowed or banned? That was a real mental torture which certainly affected the results shown by most participants. It is clear that it was, first of all, a political put-up job.
No matter if it was related to doping or not. Unfortunately, nowadays doping is an integral part of professional sports. I do not affirm that there is no “clean” athlete, no! They definitely exist, but even they accept so called “legal” medications. For example, Meldonium was considered “legal” before this January. But then it was immediately banned. And Maria Sharapova failed drug tests, and was not the only athlete who failed. I would like to remind you that the Sports ministers of eighteen EU member countries, and Norway, invoked a complete ban of Russia from all international competitions just before the Olympic Games. It has no precedent! The most proactive pursuers were Baltic countries, Poland and Great Britain. Fortunately, their efforts failed. But they succeeded in making the inhuman decision to ban handicapped Russians from the Paralympic Games. This was a hugely dirty trick! Not just because they turned against fragile disabled people. But because, as these people are seriously ill patients who sometimes suffer from hideous pain, they continuously take a lot of medications which may reasonably contain elements of the banned drugs. Based on the arguments presented against the Russian athletes, the entire world of sport could be accused and banned, just due to the fact of pharmacological development which, in recent decades, has been an American preserve.
So, a lot of competitive sportsmen accept illegal medications in all countries of the world, specifically in wealthy ones. Let us note that the tendency to accuse the Russian athletes of taking drugs has deep roots. But Russia failed to react proactively, and it did not start collaborating with international lawyers: it failed to organize an aggressive publicity campaign. Indeed, American or British athletes also use analogues of the banned drugs. But the Russian sport-bureaucrats did nothing. They believed that the danger was over. As a result, WADA and McLaren started to proscribe their conditions to Russia. I would like to remind you that Americans ignore this same WADA when it comes to the imposition of its test conditions, and so on.
For instance, American basketball players whose appearance is evidence of a corresponding drug-usage, refuse any inspection or doping test. How? Why? Just because the NBA is a private institution, a firm which follows its own rules only. Indeed, all the players included in the American basketball team participate in the best NBA League teams. And they are not inspected. They were allowed to participate in the Olympic Games. We know a lot of similar examples.
Of course, this is America. It dictates its rules and conditions. What cannot be cured must be endured. But, excuse me, Russia is also not a small deer. Let us tell it straight, the problem lies not so much in America but in the incompetence, unprofessional performance, awkwardness and – yes! – lack of patriotism of the Russian bureaucrats.
In relation to this, we can recall one more large, but absolutely Russian scandal. I mean the celebration of the graduates of the Federal Security Service (FSS) Academy in Moscow. They celebrated by racing in hugely expensive Gelandewagen and Mercedes cars. FSS Academy graduates are the prospective elite of the Russian intelligence community. They are people who are intended to protect the national interests of Russia. Are they able to do so if their icons and values are Gelandewagen cars, yachts and similar things?
Russian mass media paid a lot of attention to this scandal. People were shocked. They immediately started to talk about the large-scale reorganization of the defence and military administrative organs. They recalled historical events such as: the establishment of the Troops of Marksman under Ivan the Terrible: the army and royal guard under Peter the Great (upon his death this guard was capable of protecting a vibrant Russian, so-called, “petticoat government” led by Catherine the Great, Anna and Elizaveta for almost 40 years). We were reminded about the Red Army established by Lev Trotsky in 1918 and the luckless military reforms of Alexander II in 1874 which finally led to the decline of Russia.
In Russia it’s often like this: naughty youth make a mess and out of this radical reforms ensue.
Well, let us consider more global issues. We wrote a lot about Syria, Turkey, Ukraine, the sanctions, EU-Russia relations. Let us leave them aside. But we know that all these problems and challenges in total make the Russians think on the following simple question: “Why doesn’t the West like us very much?” This is a very serious question and it is not capricious. I will try to answer it even if the term “West” does not fit perfectly.
The West has not liked Russia for a long, long time. Maybe from the time of Ivan the Terrible, or even earlier, – starting from the epoque of Alexander Nevsky. Initially it was related to Eastern Orthodoxy, i.e. non-Catholic Christianity, later with monarchical empire, and then – with the USSR. Perhaps, the Russians are the only “non-Western” European nation, which managed to establish an alternative European civilisation which was not “Western”. Russia has great cultural traditions, strong diplomacy and a powerful army. The latter is the most important. There were good reasons why Alexander III said: “We have only two reliable friends: the Russian army and the Russian navy!”
The West marched against Russia in one form or another quite often. Soviet historiography affirms that Russia has always won. This is not exactly true. However, the balance in military conflicts of the last 300 years is in favour of Russia. Western “values”, such as private property, individualism, the market, were never perceived as values in Russia. Whilst in emigration, the great lyric writer Alexander Vertinsky sang: “We are ‘the other’ for them forever”. There is a lot of truth in this but not the whole truth. Many real admirers and adepts of Russian culture live in the West. In the times of the USSR almost all Western intellectuals were pro-Soviet. So, we have some exceptions. But, mainly, there is a deep gulf between the West and Russia. We may, of course, say that in the 1990s Russia was oriented to the West: meaning that it accepted “Western values” and maintained a pro-Western international policy. In fact, it led to the total decline and destruction of the state.
The situation had changed upon Putin’s rise to power. Even the Russian intellectuals stopped supporting pro-Western ideas, and in this, the West itself is largely to blame. It was very funny for me to listen to a famous Russian “patriot” and an intellectual on radio this summer, who said: “Why does Russia need the love of the West? Do you really want to be loved by gay people: pedophiles: feminists: pan-humans: drug addicts: those who love spiders and worms rather than humans: transhumanists: globalists: and those losers who cannot even protect their women from strangers and are able only to keep house? I definitely do not want this. Let them do their perverted love with some others, being ecstatic on ‘ecstasy’”. Really, that is funny! Funny, because there is a lot of truth in this exaggerated and obviously polemical generalization.
The “West” today is actually a “post-Western”, post-Christian community which is not only incapable of protecting its identity, but is also unable to understand what that identity is.
Many European conservative intellectuals also affirm that the West has already lost its face as a civilisation. I think, they are right. Indeed, the European, “Western” civilisation is initially based on the Christian faith and values: family cult, committal to conscientious work, social discipline, European identity – meaning a national and civilised identity.
Nowadays there is almost nothing of this. The West became, not only post-Christian, but also post-religious. The institution of the family is in a deep crisis. The triumph of LGBT ideology is evident for everyone to see. And the main achievement reached by Obama, Hollande and many other Western leaders is the legalization of same-sex marriages. And as for the labour issue, on the one hand, there are 50 million unemployed people in the EU, but on the other, millions of migrants are coming for low-paid work which native German or French people do not want to do. Life on the dole is common in the US and Europe. The reason for being for many people is unrestrained consumption.
Actually, it all represents the loss of a reason for being. Many people in Europe discuss what is considered a civilised desire (or even will) to die: they think that the right to do abortion or euthanasia embodies goodness, freedom and truth. There is a huge issue which also relates to Muslims in France, it is the affirmation made by Angela Merkel that, by the year 2050, there will be no Germans in Germany but only pan-Europeans – all this points to, if not the elimination, then precisely to the dissipation of national and European identity.
To a great degree, now everything today, which issues from real European values, in old Europe, would lead to being burnt in oil, to the guillotine, to prison, to receiving a life-long sentence in a psychiatric hospital. From the historical, cultural and spiritual point of view, “values” misrepresented as European ones today are not truly European values. There is an obvious paradox: Russia is the only country still keeping traditional European values. But the modern “post-West” is the bearer of ‘anti-values’. And this is very serious!