Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Unlike Russia, Ukraine Escaping from Orwellian World, Klyamkin Says

Paul Goble


            Staunton, December 30 – Unlike Russians who will call white black one day and then reverse themselves the next, Ukrainians are on the way to escaping that Orwellian world and are no longer prepared to make engage in such mental acrobatics to fit into their society, a fundamental shift which gives hope for Ukraine’s future, according to Igor Klyamkin.


            Russians, the senior Russian commentator points out, become uncomfortable when they are offered “various points of view relative to the general order of things” and thus are prepared to go along at least in public with whatever the leadership says is the case even if this requires accepting as true what was rejected as false (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=54A042072AAC9).


            This does not mean that “people do not have their own senses about what is correct and what is incorrect,” Klyamkin continues. It simply means that “they do not trust their own senses very much. They can distinguish black from white when the two are next to them,” but when they are far off, they aren’t certain and thus follow what those they assume know better say.


            Unfortunately, that in turn means that “the white of today will be viewed as black tomorrow -- and the reverse as well.” Thus, those who are called fascists now “will begin to be considered heroes” and so on.  Because of their dependence on rulers and TV commentators, Russians are like soldiers who may get doubtful orders but cannot doubt them.


            They go along, Klyamkin says, not simply out of fear of punishment, although that can play a role, but out of “a fear of ignorance about the common interest of the country and the common views of the command.”


            In Ukraine, it seems, the situation is different. There, ideas about what is correct do not always correspond but do come “upwards from below. Slowly, without complete confidence and with breakdowns, but they have come.” As a result, Ukrainians are not uncomfortable with what appears to be “anomalous.”


            What that means, Klyamkin says, is that Ukrainians have become citizens rather than soldiers, people with their own ideas who are not afraid to express them rather than those who keep their mouths shut and await orders about what to think and what to do.


            The reaction of Russians to what has been going on in Ukraine is “traditionally that of soldiers,” of a society that awaits orders rather than one that thinks for itself. That is why the Russian analyst says today, almost his only hope is that Ukraine will succeed in making this transition from an Orwellian world complete.


            “2014 was in European history [Ukraine’s] year,” Klyamkin concludes. “Let the same be true in 2015.”


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