A prominent Russian philosopher Ivan Ilyin, whose precious archives have recently been returned to Russia, tried to understand the essence of Europeans’ attitude to Russia when he was spending many years of his life living in Europe. According to the philosopher, the Western nations could not understand and tolerate the Russian diversity. “They use Russia as a dam to spread their trade, language and conquests. They want to dismember Russia to take it through the Western style of equality and destroy it completely,” he once wrote.
Of course it would be stupid to say that many German or French citizens, for example, see Russia on fire every night in their dreams. On the other hand, one has to acknowledge that the majority of Europeans have mixed feelings of squeamishness, intellectual predominance, animal fear and incomprehension towards Russians. It is very important to add here that most Europeans do not feel hostile against Russia , but they do have the combination of those feelings in their hearts to this country.
Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov touched upon the issue of relations between Russian and European civilizations in his article “We and the West” which has been published in the Rossiyskaya Gazeta. Luzhkov was not the first Russian politician to express his views on the matter. However, it was quite a detailed opinion from a top official of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party.
According to Luzhkov, the West does not want to see Russia as a unique independent country. The impossibility to crush the Russian sovereignty seems to be quite irritating for the Western world, Yuri Luzhkov believes. “The West called upon Russia to return to progress and democracy by means of gay pride parades held in the center of Moscow, on the holy place in the very heart of the city – the Grave of the Unknown Soldier. Such appeals seem to be an expression of despair and insane hysterics,” Luzhkov wrote in the above-mentioned article.
It brings up the idea that we are witnessing the continuation of the Cold War era. The West - not only Europe but the USA too – demands the world should be protected from Russia’s expansion in the energy field. Such anti-Russian sentiments leave Russia perplexed. Russia would like to discuss the mutual questions without abstract phrases, fantasies and double standards. Otherwise, an open dialogue between Russia and Europe seems to be impossible, as Yuri Luzhkov believes.
The Moscow mayor stated in the article: “There is no new “Empire of Evil.” There is no “authoritarian monster.” There is Russia that comes back to the realization of its national interests, being ready to defend them. It is neither worse nor better than the USA, Europe, or any other country of the world.”
Yuri Luzhkov tried to find an excuse for the imperial Western logic. “The proclaimed doctrine of the “end of history” stated that the Western world, its values, economic structure and the political system built on this basis is the ultimate achievement of human civilization. Other countries and systems will be drawn into this logic within the scope of globalization, following the West. This easiness of existence allowed the West to disregard the rest of the world and gave rise to global selfishness - a right for almost every Western country to interfere in any situation in any part of the globe being moved with humanitarian values,” Luzhkov wrote.
It was the USA first and foremost that tried to force several countries and even regions to establish the Western style of democracy under the guise of “promoting democracy in the world.” European missionaries were acting similarly pushing savage American tribes towards civilization with the help of swords. Likewise, the USSR tried to take several countries out of their feudalism and put them straight into communism. As a result, the USSR was labeled as an occupant state. Nowadays, this label has been “awarded” to the “stronghold of global democracy” – the USA.
It goes without saying that Germans, super-patriotic Americans and Russian patriots do not need this “war of the worlds” to break out in the near future. Luzhkov then cited Francis Fukuyama, who said that the USA is doomed to become a common country – a country with more precise interests and weak points. “It will not be a superpower that can create the new structure of the world in which it exists.”
This can be said about not only the USA alone, but about the Western world on the whole. US President Ronald Reagan once urged the USSR to become a normal country. This is what Russia is nowadays – a normal country. The West needs to undergo the same procedure and come down to earth, Yuri Luzhkov thinks.
The Moscow mayor is certain that the standard version of democracy applicable to any country does not exist. Every country needs to combine the values of its history, culture and mechanisms of democracy. Therefore, democratic processes in Russia have their own peculiarities.
Nevertheless, there are some Western politicians who have absolutely no wish to accept this thesis. Some of them think that the Cold War is over but the boxing continues.
If Russia and the West want to play an honest game, a lot should be changed in their relations. The dark legacy of the past should be pushed aside and forgotten. The bilateral relations should not be viewed through the prism of ungrounded suspicion and containment.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
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