Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

The Kremlin’s Cold War with the Modern World

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

“Russia is the least statelike, the most anarchistic land in the world. And the Russian people is the most apolitical of peoples, never having managed to set its land right.”

-Nikolai Berdyaev

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche

I despise all wars, especially those of the initiatory variety. I’m not exactly a pacifist but I am a very strong believer that there is never a good reason to throw the first punch. With that being said, when it comes to understanding warfare, it is of the utmost importance to understand the so-called enemy, especially when you exist within the walls of an empire that thrives on assigning them daily like math homework. Sometimes this means struggling to comprehend what can bring even the most honorable of people to throw that first punch that initiates a war.

Imbeciles on the right have long condemned this form of politically incorrect critical thinking as sympathizing with terrorists and dictators but sadly, increasingly, once wise people on the left have joined these imbeciles in rejecting the hard work of asking ‘how the hell did it come to this?’ When I was first initiated into the antiwar movement as a pissed-off teenage dirtbag, I was enlightened by left-wing firebrands like William Blum and Ward Churchill who dared to put themselves in the uncomfortable shoes of the men who hijacked four planes on September 11th to initiate a holy war.

They weren’t justifying such clearly despicable violence; they were attempting to provide context on how it became inevitable. Now, whenever I attempt to do the same thing by comprehending the equally despicable actions of Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, I get accused of being an apologist for authoritarianism and, all too often, the person hurling this insult at me is a fellow self-described anarchist.

The most frustrating thing about this is that the motives that inspired the unspeakable acts of barbarism on 9/11 are actually shockingly similar to the ones that convinced Russia to commit the unspeakable act of invading their own brothers and sisters in Ukraine. Islamic fundamentalists don’t hate the West’s freedom any more than Moscow does. What they hate is the decadence we obnoxiously flaunt as the world’s indispensable empire and our insistence on pushing this morally bankrupt culture down their throats at the expense of the traditions that they hold dear.

I may disagree strongly with both of these people’s values regarding my sexuality and my gender identity but I’m not going to sit here in posh first world judgement and pretend that these people aren’t 100% right to fear the modern world when that modern world has brought us all nothing but pain and misery with the Westphalian nation state and global capitalism. The truth is that what inspires Pashtuns to join the Taliban is precisely what inspired a Queer pagan anarchist like me to join the antiwar movement. I don’t want to see my people assimilated into a soulless empire any more than they do. And this is also precisely what drives your average Russian, who once raped and pillaged the Pashtuns, to support a decadent neoliberal ass wipe like Vladimir Putin in raping and pillaging Ukraine.

Russian culture is one that is uniquely defined by its deep and almost mystic reverence for its own history. Your average Russian does not live in 2022 alone. They live among the Pagan Rus of 922 and the Orthodox Old Believers of 1322 and the Bolshevik jihadists of 1922. The Russian soul exists in a museum in which time is not linear but rather a seamless continuum. This existence stands in direct opposition to a world that has long since lost any use for history.

A world defined by a mutated interpretation of progress that valorizes an endless and often mindless push forward into the abyss of monolithic global universalism and endless technological expansion. The Russian soul looks upon the modern world with its paved forests and stadium temple marketplaces with horror and sees the western imperial forces pushing it towards their borders with righteous fury. It is this fury that has been the driving force behind most Russian aggression towards the outside world, whether justified or not.

This includes the supposedly modernist Russian Revolution. What ultimately convinced the devout serfs to back the godless Bolsheviks in their putsch against the Tsar was the Tsar’s embrace of modern globalism at its baptism by blood during the First World War in which the Russian people were demanded to forfeit the lives of their children on the altar of some western global order that was totally alien to them. Your average Russian didn’t give a flying fuck about internationalism or dialectical materialism. They were revolting against the imperial schemes of modern warfare and the spiritually bankrupt specter of capitalism that possessed it.

This honorable spirit of resistance to the demonic forces of progress defines Russian Orthodox culture but it also transcends and predates it. It is the spirit of the lonesome heathen who first tamed those wild steppes. It is the spirit of the village resistance to the Mongol Hordes and the Nazi Stormtroopers. And tragically, it is also the spirit that was abused to build a state and an empire that stood in utter contradiction to these values. The same spirit that serves Vladimir Putin in his suicidal conspiracy to build a new one on the graves of his own people.


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