One thing the West doesn’t want you to know about Russia

Progressivism and modernization are dicredited concepts for the mass of Russians throughout history

What politicians and media in the West consistently refuse to recognize — and don’t want you to know — is the truth about progress.

The path of progress and modernization obliterates most of the world and their cultures. Karl Marx was very outspoken in describing how it happens. The growing realization of this is behind the wave of nationalism across the Western world, with Brexit and the rise of the far-right in Eastern and Southern Europe as fresh examples.

The US and several other Western nations achieved their global standing thanks to trade, innovation, and the rule of law protecting private property.

This impacts how Americans and Europeans view other nations around the world in a very, very progressivist manner. Even their conservatives are too progressive! Their advice on how other countries can achieve the Western level of prosperity and power has long been very consistent:

  • Exchange ideas, protect free speech, innovate
  • Protect individual rights, ensure the rule of law and independent courts
  • Keep the rulers accountable
  • Give everyone education, clean water, enough food, protection from diseases
  • Protect and emancipate women and the minorities
  • Trade

Now, to Russia. The Russian State has consistently been the main and almost always the only modernizing force in the country. Every time it undertook a major energetic push for modernity, it resulted in misery and death for the mass of Russians.

  1. Ivan the Terrible’s first known attempt to modernize the state administration and the army. Nationwide devastation follows, resulting in the Time of Troubles.
  2. Czar Alexey’s and Patriarch Nikon’s modernization of Russian Orthodoxy results in Raskol. Hundreds of thousands of faithful Starovers go into a prolonged internal exile. The sustained hostility of Starovers to the House of Romanovs was possibly the tipping factor in the demise of the Russian empire in 1917.
  3. Peter the Great’s Westernization push reduces the population of the Russian heartland by 1/4. He leaves the country in a state of exhaustion. It takes an entire generation before empresses Elizabeth and Ekaterina the Great start capitalizing on the results of Peter’s achievements.
  4. The Communist modernization. A civil war, millions to exile, three major famines during peacetime, Gulag.

No wonder “revolution”, “reform”, “modernization”, “turnaround”, “breakthrough” are dirty words for most in Russia. The sustained popularity of President Putin comes from him rarely, if ever, saying these words. His interest in keeping the Kremlin coincides with the instincts of the majority who know all too well that a government dead bent on major changes is indeed a very bad omen for the mass of Russians.

This is how Putinist Russia became the face of anti-modernism across the world. A great irony is that many Western conservatives view Putin as their friend. They have no idea how obnoxiously progressivist the likes of them are for the man in the street in Russia.

russian commoners prepared to face down modernizers
A group of Russian seniors preparing to greet modernizers and progressivists in the government service.

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