So, today is Russia Day (little yay), and I am continuing with this piece from VZGLIAD, written by reporters Andrei Rezchikov and Oleg Moskvin. Yesterday we talked about different interpretations of the concept of “patriotism”, as understood in such completely divergent “civilizations” as Russia and the USA.
According to Rezchikov/Moskvin, the ВЦИОМ pollsters were not specific about which exact group of “Russians” raised the level of patriotism from 80% to 90% in just two years! Manager of Research Sergei Lvov ascribes this effect to a “distant echo” reverberating from a series of significant events starting in 2014: The [Sochi] Olympics, the reunification with Crimea, military victories in Syria, and the apparent growth of Russian influence on the world stage.
Lvov: “I am not even referring to the economic indicators, a sense of economic security, social optimism and so on. Russians are ever more frequently regarding their country as a great power [on the world stage], and this factor is confirmed by [sociological] surveys.”
Another person interviewed is Ekaterina Shulman, Dean of the Department of Government of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, which goes under the scary Russian acronym of РАНХиГС. According to their website, this institution was founded in 2010 by decree of the President of the Russian Federation. Who happened to be Dmitry Medvedev at that time. This behemoth of an institution was actually not built from scratch, but constituted a merger of several existing institutions, including the Academy of National Economy of Russia (founded 1977), the Russian Academy of State Service (founded 1991), and twelve other similar institutions operating at the Federal level. All of these institutions had the same goal, which was to produce high-level cadres specializing in business, economics, and government service. They boast of being the “forge of leaders”, and their laudatory mission statement consists of these three points:
- Preparation of globally competitive and adaptive managerial cadres for state, social, and private sectors, with the aim of solving problems for the innovative development of society;
- Conducting fundamental and applied scientific research and projects in the social-economic and humanitarian spheres;
- Scientific and expert-analytic guidance to the organs of governmental authority of the Russian Federation.
So, anyhow, Katya Shulman is one of the Deans of this Institution, therefore we can assume that she is highly proficient in the science of Statistics, and this is what she had to say about the survey: “To experience patriotic feelings — is normal. It is a certain basic of the human condition. If a person has a healthy sense of self-worth, then he is more or less satisfied with himself, and with the place where he lives. If he is not satisfied, then he takes some active measures to correct the situation.” Shulman went on to say that the growth in patriotic feelings is not due to media influence [to which Russians are presumably immune], but due to social normalization.
Interviewee Anna Fedorova, Vice President of the “Open Democracy Foundation” and political pundit, has a slightly different interpretation of the growth in patriotic feelings; she ascribes it to the up-and-coming younger generation. “We are talking about that so-called notorious generation about which people say they knew no life before Putin. Plus or minus a certain age. My instincts tell me, that the growth [in patriotism] would take place precisely in this milieu.” Fedorova goes on to say: “I myself communicate quite a lot with these people — with students, with young people and so on. I notice that they are quite patriotic. Of course, this is not the Hurrah-patriotism that some of our older patriots would like to see. But simply a quiet, dignified feeling, that they love Russia, are proud of the good things, and want to fix the bad things.”
In the next installment of this post, we will get into more depth with this issue of “good things” and “bad things” and what a love of country truly means, in the Russian civilizational sphere.
[to be continued]