Many commentators suggest that what Vladimir Putin is doing is restoring Sovietism, but they are mistaken, Aleksandr Skobov says. What is occurring is the final triumph of the ideas of what has been called “the Russian Party” that existed within the KGB and the Komsomol in late Soviet times.
The Moscow commentator’s observation in this regard was prompted by a remark Yevgeny Ikhlov made in a recent article. Ikhlov argued that “the communist restoration did not happen because instead of moves toward revanchist communism, [Russia] moved in the direction of fascism.”
“In 2000, came to power an intra-Soviet counter-elite, the very same ‘Russian party’ from the Komsomol and KGB about which historian Nikolay Mitrokhin has written. It should have won in 1986-87, but Gorbachev, Yakovlev, Sakharov and Yeltsin gave [Russia] 14 more years just as Weimar secured 14 years between the kaiser and Hitler.”
Skobov says Ikhlov’s comment “shows precisely how pathetic and inadequate any suggestion that the Putin system is ‘a revenge of sovietism.’” Because in fact the KGB and Komsomol-organized “Russian Party” was never “a party of communist fundamentalism” with “a cult of ascetic anti-bourgeois attitudes.”
Instead, the ideology of the Russian Party was a synthesis of Stalinism with good old fashioned pre-Soviet imperial-monarchist nationalism” which dispensed with all that was genuinely communist. Skobov argues that “Stalin himself went along this path, but it was completed only by the ‘great’ Prokhanov.”
The Russian Party’s ideology was “in the first instance an ideology of state worship.”
It had nothing against social inequality and was only awaiting its time to come out. Consequently it is “no accident” that it was the KGB and the Komsomol nomenklaturawhose members were the first to engage in primitive capitalist accumulation after the end of communism.
As for its “anti-bourgeois” quality, Skobov continues, this was hardly the anti-bourgeois attitudes of communism but rather “classical feudal anti-bourgeois” views.
And now under Putin one can see all “the ornaments” of this set of attitudes: “nationalism, xenophobia, aggressive anti-Westernism and ‘third empire’ messianism, religious obscurantism and so on.”
The Russian Party was and is “a party of ‘authoritarian capitalism,’ which conservative statists oppose to the Western liberal model” and believe can promote “’authoritarian modernization.’” Many deluded people supported this idea until the Russian Party “threw off its mask” and revealed its Stalinist and fascist nature a few years ago.
“Today we observe, the drama of the completion of the most grandiose authoritarian-modernization experiment in history. It is ending in just the same way all such experiments end by a return to the archaic past. It is time in fact to say there will not be any authoritarian modernizations.”
Many who don’t like what the Russian Party is doing think that it is promoting the return of Sovietism, having completely failed to see that the Russian Party has no interest in that but rather in restoring “the monarchy of Alexander III and Nicholas I. This is a revenge not of Lenin and Trotsky but of Uvarov, Pobedonostsev, Katkov, andKonstantin Leontiev.”
Liberals on the right keep fighting the wrong enemy, the return of communism, even as they are held by the throat by “traditional Russian autocracy.” Communism at least, however mistaken and destined to failure, at least was “a modernization project, an attempt at the realization of the most radical variant of humanist and enlightenment ideology.”
Having dispensed with all this, the Russian Party in its victorious Putin form has nothing left but “ordinary fascism, which is an extreme form of feudal traditionalist reaction. That is what the KGB-Komsomol ‘Russian Party’ has been putting in place.”