Staunton, March 12 – Tragically, Russian nationalist activists say, the elite in their country “professes Western values and is completely cut off from the people.” To counter that, one of their number argues, will require drawing on the ideas of Lavrenty Beria and promoting a new “synthesis of Orthodox Christianity and Sovietism.”
Speaking at a Duma roundtable on Friday, Vladimir Potikha, a leading anti-abortion campaigner in the Russian Federation argued that the traditional values Russians should be following are codified in the Domostroi, Islamic Shariat law, and even in “the Code of the Builder of Communism” (lenta.ru/articles/2017/03/11/skrepanews/).
According to Potikha, “in the 1930s, the pre-war generation dictated the necessity of banning abortions and homosexuality, as a result of which the authorities went along the correct path and began to strengthen the family and stimulate birthrates,” a positive development in 20th century Russian history.
Now, however, Russian elites are following their Western counterparts toward “the transhumanism of world government.” But he said a return to the values promoted by Stalin’s secret police chief Lavrenty Beriya shows that it is possible to escape from this disastrous course and follow a healthy one “if there is political will.”
“Beriya dreamed about shifting to a five-hour work day as a result of increased labor productivity” and about projects that would “transform nature.” Had his ideas been followed, Potikha says, Russians could have “achieved a comfortable level of life” not only in major cities but in the villages as well.
The Orthodox anti-abortion activist insisted that the slogan, “proletarians of all countries, unite!” must be restored in Russia as a necessary step toward promoting “a synthesis of Orthodoxy and the Soviet project [as] the future of Russia.”
Other speakers at the meeting made similar points, albeit in somewhat less flamboyant style. But what is noteworthy is that there is emerging in Russia a sizeable body of opinion that associates traditional values with both the Orthodox Church and the Soviet past at one and the same time and opposes this combination to the supposedly cosmopolitan elites.
To the extent that such feelings spread – and the comments of speakers at Friday’s session suggest that is what is happening – Vladimir Putin’s effort to promote “traditional values” may lead to something he doesn’t want: rising popular anger not just at the West but at Russian elites who share Western values.
On the one hand, the Kremlin leader could use this to tighten the screws on members of the elites who are more interested in the West than he wants them to be. But on the other, Putin may face a situation in which those who accept his notions about traditional Russian values may turn on those elites and even on Putin himself.