|Geert Lovink on Tue, 30 Mar 1999 15:01:22 +0100|
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|Syndicate: Bloody Russian Soul/Irina Aristarkhova|
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Irina Aristarkhova) Bloody Russian Soul 1. Naturally, we must be unconditionally against NATO's bombings of anyone. However here I would like to elaborate on what stands behind the Russian support for and obsession to defend the Serbs. In order to think through why Russians defend Serbs so much I must refer to the so-called Russian Soul. 2. As has been the case in Russia many times in the course of this century, it is the communists with their duplicitous simplicity who have best expressed the multi-faceted essence of our Russian Soul. Recently they had clearly embodied the anti-Semitic feature of the Russian soul and its nationalist rhetoric, now Zuganov adds another feature: "Serbs have Kosovo, we had Chechnya. So what - we could have been bombed too?" Here he invokes a mythical, no doubt Slavonic, brotherhood with the Serbs. By linking Russians' and Serbs' relation to their 'others-within' through a comparison of Kosovo and Chechnya, Zuganov points out that the possibility of our brotherhood comes not so much from any mythical historical, ethnic, religious or other grounds, but from the similarity of our strategies of denying the 'others-within' our national polities. 3. Thus, the widely spread defence of Yugoslavia, Milosevic or Serbs in the name of 'our common Slavonic roots' cannot be sustained. In fact it has nothing to do with those people who are killed by NATO and/or by the Yugoslavian army. It's only a useful tool to defend ourselves, Russians, and our history of repressing ethnic minorities. To defend our Russian self from the weight of history and empire. Many in Russia have expressed it like this: 'We are next'. But why us you might ask? Zuganov's articulation of the Kosovo/Chechnya connection as basis for possible persecution by 'the West' answered that question. 'Us' because of the way we deal with our own ethnic minorities. 4. Brotherhood based on the blood of Kosovo's Albanians and the Chechen people - this is what seems to ground our national imaginary as and with the 'Russian Soul'. It also seems to ground Pan-Slavism today. By 'cleaning' the Serb killings, Russians try very hard to clean our bloody Russian Soul and thus retrospectively articulate the war in Chechnya as a legitimate "defence of Motherland". 5. Thus the constitution of the Russian soul through metaphorical articulations of 'blood' relations with other Slavs enacts a strategic erasure of the very real bloody sacrifices of its others such constitution is based upon. That is why ultimately "soul is only a word that refers to something about the body". And the notion of the Russian Soul historically is used time and again to protect and empower Russian bodies within our heterogeneous land.