In this volume of “OZ”, we are presenting and provoking a discussion of what we understand to be a “Russian worldview”, or how the world is seen from Russia. Studying this phenomenon has at least two dimensions: it is supposed to add to a better understanding of global problems – and to seek some clarification of the much spoken of, but little studied, Russian mentality (which may or not be the same as the proverbially enigmatic Russian soul). We present articles on how we view both particular countries and global processes, and on how we understand ourselves as Russians. We do not pretend to address the more developed theme, at least by foreign thinkers, of how the rest of the world views Russia.
As our Editor-in-Chief Tatyana Malkina mentions in her article “Black Square. Everyone Draws His Own Picture”, each of our contributors writes about himself, his own preferred or rejected myths, phobias, and hopes. As a result, we are able to present a collective “painting” of the world as seen from a Russian perspective. Perhaps, understandably, it happens to appear mainly as a Russian world, a Russian universe.
Even if you only knew where Russia was located on the map of the world, you would most likely find this issue of interest. It is about traditional and new, Russian and global problems – written by philosophers, sociologists, ethnologists, historians, philologists and other specialists who are all doing their best (or almost their best) to shape a substance that is hard to define – the Russian idea.
In the “Geopolitical Mythology” section, you may read two analytical articles and a reference on how geopolitics is constructed and what it is used for.
Is Russia a danger or an angel-savior to the world? Political scientist Tigran Lersarian reflects on how Russia’s geopolitical mythology influences its geopolitical behavior.
How well is the average Russian citizen informed about foreign countries? Russian politicians want to learn how to use public opinion to achieve their goals. Sociologist Vladimir Kolossov, Public Opinion Foundation, wrote an article “‘Low’ and ‘High’ Politics: Foreign Countries’ Images As Viewed by Russian Citizens”, rich with empirical data and raising vital questions.
Articles in the “Looking For Ourselves” section elaborate issues of a Russian national character. The section is also complimented by reference material.
Are we overcoming the painful identity crisis that has formed the popular negative image of ourselves? Ethnologist Svetlana Lurie analyzes this and other problems and complexes of Russian culture in her “Looking for the Russian National Character”.
Philosopher Dr. Ruslan Khestanov, The University of Fribourg, Switzerland, in his “Russia and the Global Apartheid” states that the egalitarian ideology of globalization will no doubt play a pivotal role in the controversy with the two most popular alternative ideologies, namely historiosophical and geocultural ones, and examines these two ideologies. The author raises vital issues such as Amerocentrism as an obstacle to the process of globalization.
Dr. Lev Goudkov’s “Russian Neotraditionalism and Opposition to Change” diagnoses the contemporary Russian society and meditates on the reasons for the impotence of Russian intelligentsia.
In her “‘We’ and ‘Them’ Yesterday and Today”, sociologist Svetlana Klimova finds that social institutions and individuals in Russia still exist at parallel levels, without interacting much with one another, which is not improving the economic situation in the country. If the elite wants to mobilize social loyalty, provide stability and cure national economic problems, it has to come up with a new citizen-oriented agenda.
The “Russian Project” section fosters a philosophical and sociological debate on Russian nationalism.
First, we present an essay by philosopher Alexander Dugin called “Evolution of Rus’s (Russia’s) National Idea”. The author finds that most works by Western researchers on the topic have a hidden geopolitical motive. He suggests his original viewpoint on the matter.
In his “Is the Russian Project Possible in Russia?”, philosopher and translator Vladimir Malakhov argues that making people who have a non-Russian cultural loyalty politically loyal to the state implies making the country and its institutions minority-friendly and acceptable to the minorities.
The section is continued in an article called “The Russian Nationalism: An Aborted Advent” by philosopher Igor Chernyshevsky, Moscow State University. Based on the overview of ideas of nationalism in the short and in the long run, the author shares his views of the contemporary Russian nation and Russian nationalism.
Sociologist Ivan Klimov, Institute of Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences, contributed to the section his “The Patriotic Grounds of Contemporary Russian Identity”. The author writes that traditional version of patriotism does not fit well into the process of social adaptation going on in the country.
Our “Publication” section presents excerpts of a book by a world renowned sociologist Dr. Randall Collins who is Professor of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, prefaced by Dr. Nikolai Rozov, Professor of Philosophy, Novosibirsk State University. In his book, which is a huge compendium of the world’s main philosophical schools over 25 centuries, Dr. Collins gives a wealth of non-trivial conceptual models supported by a detailed comparative historical analysis. Dr. Rozov professes that the book will bring about a new level of sociological reflection. He is quite sure that when the international intellectual community becomes familiar enough with the book, philosophers and philosophy will both “mature sociologically”, and today’s patterns of intellectual behavior will seemingly belong to the past “sociologically antereflexive” age, as well as being perhaps even naive.
In the “Point of View” section, you will find “Interview That Might Have Been Given” by sociologist Alexander Oslon, Head of the Public Opinion Fund and a piece by Alexander Filippov, Chair of the Sociology Faculty, Moscow Higher School of Social and Economic Sciences.
In the “Symbolic Systems” section, we publish articles on some current domestic linguistic and cinematographic problems.
“The Key Ideas of the Russian Worldview” by Anna Zaliznyak, Irina Levontina and Dmitry Shmelev draws the world as Russian linguists see it.
Supposedly, the genre of classical Hollywood action film is designed not merely to entertain but also to channel some undesirably excessive (and potentially dangerous) human energy. Russian cinematography is now developing its own version of the genre. Historian of philosophy Vitaly Kurennoi explores the social functions of Russian mass cinematography in his “Russian Action: Structural and Social Analysis”.
The “Myths” section contains articles on the Soviet and Post-Soviet ideology and propaganda.
Historian Nikolai Mitrokhin describes myths created by Soviet bureaucracy to justify some strange decisions made by the Soviet authorities that would seem to contradict the official Soviet ideology in his “Ethno-Nationalistic Mythology in the Soviet Party and State Machine”.
Doctor of Ethnic Studies Gassan Gusseinov, Heinrich Heine University, Dusseldorf, is examining the notion of shooting as an important element of Soviet and post-Soviet ideology.
In the “New World” section, we have collected essays on terrorism and other outstanding events happening today in the world and involving Russia.
In his “Terror” piece, Yegor Holmogorov compares the new terrorism with an epidemic and argues that we need to create a comprehensive system of anti-terror prophylaxes.
Mikhail Ryklin’s “Apokalypse Now, Or Philosophy After September 11” attempts to summarize views of the world’s eminent philosophers (Jacques Derrida, Jean Baudrillard, Paul Virilio, Richard Rorty, Slavoj Zizek, Susan Buck-Morss, and Boris Groys) on the meaning of the Event for the world and for the Western civilization.
What are the perspectives of Russian-American relations? Should Russia become a NATO member? Anthony Salvia, who served in the Reagan Administration (1981-1988) and as Director of the Moscow Bureau of Radio Liberty/Free Europe (1993-1996) analyzes the views on these questions of Dr. Henry Kissinger and Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, politicians who still influence Washington’s decision-making process.
We carry on the debate on the reform of the Russian language in our “The Language Debate” section with an article by Dr. Sergei Romashko called “If That Moment Is Happy…”
We also continue the story of Pavel Svinjin who was the creator and editor of the XIX century’s “Otechestvennye Zapiski” with a text by historian Irina Kulakova that she called “The Domestic Dreamer”. Please find it in the “Old World” section.
“The Country of OZ” contains a lyrical essay “Cosmos, Eros and Logos of Russia” by Doctor of Philology Georgy Gachev, and a feature story by a modern Russian writer Boris Yekimov, “Meditations on ‘Earth’ and ‘Liberty’”.
Learn about some new books in “Book reviews”. Yaroslav Dobroliubov reviews Noam Chomsky’s “9-11” in his “Cost of Kindliness”; geographer Vladimir Kagansky speaks about the monograph “Town and Village of European Russia: A Century of Change”; and Vitaly Kurennoi’s “Power As Communication” introduces a translation of Nicholas Luman’s “Power” to the Russian reader.
As our “Archaeological Book Review”, please find Igor Chernyshevsky’s “Between an Animal and a Child” about a book called “Sociology Based on Ethnography” by sociologist, doctor, pedagogue, and Professor of Anthropology in Paris, Charles Letourneau (1831 –1902) that came out in St.-Petersburg in 1897–1898.