Sunday, March 22, 2009

Russia's New Feudalism

http://windowoneurasia.blogspot.com/2009/03/window-on-eurasia-re-feudalization.html

The above article, written by Paul Goble is entitled, “Re-Feudalization Threaten Russia’s Future, Delvagin warns.”

Mikhail Delyagin isn’t in agreement with Yevgeny Ikhlov. Delyagin doesn’t think a new revolution is inevitable. He thinks Putin’s “Re-Feudalization” will go on and on driving Russia back into Medievalism.

Goble writes, “. . . In an article in which he provocatively suggests that Russia’s “administrative system has gone directly from socialism, bypassing capitalism, to feudal times,” Delyagin says that this development is in the first instance the product of trends that are affecting many countries in a time of globalization and also some specifically Russian problems.”

“Beginning in the first years of this decade, Delyagin says, he noted the rise not just of “particular examples” of this kind of personality but rather “a whole wave of people who sincerely did not understand the importance of reality in general,” denying “subconsciously” that it existed independently from “that form in which it exists in the consciousness” of the bosses.

“The rise of such people reflected . . . not just the pattern found elsewhere but also “the general . . . degradation of Russian education” and especially Russian higher education, in which students “frequently do not acquire the minimally necessary knowledge and are deprived of the habits of acquiring new information.”

“These trends are not only mutually reinforcing – why learn how to learn if that is not what the powers that be want and will pay for – but entails other negative consequences as well: a devaluation of knowledge, an increase in corrupt use of personal ties, and a belief that the ability to crush one’s opponents is more important than defeating them through understanding.”

“Over time, this feudalization will destroy the ability of the young to think independently and mean that “science will become socially insignificant, and the preparation of decisions, including the most important government ones, will ever more often be based on emotions and prejudices and not on facts.”

“With the passing of the older generation of scientists who were trained in Soviet times, ‘Russian science will die. And elsewhere fundamental science will be conducted only in the United States and a few schools in Great Britain,” a development that will seriously [reduce] the chances not only for scientific progress but for political progress as well.’

“On the one hand, Delyagin’s article is the kind of rant many intellectuals often make. But on the other, it contains a serious warning not only for Russia but for other countries as well: We are heading toward ‘a new Middle Ages, a new period of barbarism . . .”

COMMENT:

Every nation has its sycophants. I encountered a number of them in Aerospace, but I don’t recall that they fared especially well in that largely meritocratic industry. On the other hand, are Americans still being encouraged to “learn how to learn” in Leftist-controlled American Universities? I have heard of courses being driven by what happens to be “politically correct,” but that is largely in the Liberal Arts and Humanities. In the Scientific realm I can’t imagine how what Delyagin describes would work, even in authoritarian Russian Universities. As long as experimentation is encouraged then new ideas will surface. And they won’t be dependent upon what one’s boss thinks. Russian Professors in scientific fields would have to be providing instruction in the form of memorization rather than any sort of experimentation – sort of like what a technician would need to maintain a machine – not what a designer would need to design a new one. And that doesn’t make much sense. Who are you, Mikhail Delyagin?

“Mikhail Delyagin, an analyst and former government adviser on economic policy,” according to http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/03/putin-medvedev-kremlin

In another article he is described as “Mikhail Delyagin, the director of the Moscow-based Institute of Globalization Problems”: http://www.russiaprofile.org/page.php?pageid=Politics&articleid=a1237228400

Unless I hear more about what is behind Delyagin’s thinking, I’m going to think that Goble should have stopped after observing that Delyagin’s article “is . . . rant. . . .”

1 comment:

Michael Kuznetsov said...

Hi Lawrence,

Your blog is VERY interesting, and I am still here, but simply I cannot afford to write every time, because of the lack of good health and, frequently, of spare time.

I wish you all the best.

God bless!

Michael