04/12/2022, 10.52
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Moscow's ethno-cultural war

by Vladimir Rozanskij

New law proposed to protect "Russian" values over Western ones. "Denazify" Ukraine and "de-Westernize" the entire Russian world. Originality and "superiority" of Russia extolled.



Moscow (AsiaNews) - The presidents of the Duma and the Federation Council, the two chambers of the Russian Parliament, Vjačeslav Volodin and Valentina Matvienko, have proposed a new law on the "intangible ethno-cultural heritage of Russia". The sense of the initiative is to preserve and strengthen the spirituality of the Russians using an official federal register, where all the "authentic values" of the different peoples scattered on the immense Eurasian territory can be summarized.

Apparently, the law looks like yet another bureaucratic list of artistic and cultural assets to be protected, but in the intention of the legislators it aims to stimulate a new "sense of the earth", the "počvenničestvo" that was one of the great ideals of nineteenth-century Slavophile thinkers. The ultimate goal is to "build a spiritual foundation to oppose the West and its pseudo-values," one of the reasons bandied about to justify the invasion of Ukraine.

Matvienko, former governor of the Leningrad region and one of President Putin's most trusted politicians, is the main supporter of the campaign, to which she has joined some of the most influential senators. The idea of the new law was launched by her in September last year, at the parliamentary forum in Yaroslavl dedicated to the "cultural and historical heritage of Russia".

The prologue of the text makes it clear that Russia's "intangible heritage" is "an important part of the common heritage of the whole of humanity in so many areas of its activity, a powerful means of unification of the peoples of Russia, ethnic values and affirmation of their cultural identity." The concept is encapsulated in the Slavophile term of "samobytnost" (self-essence), invoked by poets such as Pushkin and Venevitinov after the Napoleonic War.

"Lifestyles, traditions and their forms of expression, and also contemporary trends" are extolled. The list presents the various types of folk folklore, collectives of dancers and singers, the many museum exhibitions, the oral tradition and much more. The bureaucratic process involves the intervention of the Ministry of Culture, which will grant the right and impose the obligation to include the various dimensions of ethno-cultural heritage in the federal list, and will have funds and financial means dedicated to this great work, to which Putin has already dedicated 2022 as the "year of the cultural heritage of the peoples of Russia."

The overall sense of the project is bound to expand beyond the articles of law themselves, or the initiatives that will manage to be organized during the year. Both Matvienko and Volodin insist these days on the need to realize a radical critique and effective replacement of the "so-called Western values" that have been poured into and imposed on Russia over the past decades with money and global information dominance, "when we already have so many values of our own of great significance, and we don't need theirs."

To the war of "denazification" of Ukraine with soldiers and weapons, corresponds an even more radical and "metaphysical" war of "de-Westernisation" of the entire Russian world, to be fought with arts and dances, museums and exhibitions that exalt the originality and superiority of the soul of Russians, and of the peoples aggregated to them.

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