“Russia arrived at postmodernism via post-Soviet cynicism”

Peter Pomerantsev speaking to Ukrains’ka Pravda. Excerpt One (dark blue, translation mine), no comment for now:

It’s not that the Kremlin has built a political system around Baudrillard’s ideas.

Russia arrived at postmodernism via post-Soviet cynicism. It followed its own odd route through to a sense of total relativity of all things, and its route coincided in time with Western postmodernism, which is why we are observing certain parallels.

In the past decade, Russia has given a lot of thought to its survival in the 21st century, as Russia puts it, or to conquering the world, as everyone else understands it. The Kremlin cannot compete with NATO militarily or with the EU, financially.

The Russian government’s own military theorists are looking for revolutionary ways to convert the state into a major, fearsome force of the 21st century. One of those ways is the idea of a hybrid, non-linear, psychological war. The Kremlin has bet in History’s casino that the West has fallen behind, that nobody needs all those institutions from the second half of the 20th century: NATO, the EU, and international agreements.

In the 21st century, the agenda will be set by semicriminal authoritarian regimes, by large state companies and by terrorists. If China and South American countries adopt the Russian approach, they will be in the lead and the West will truly fall behind, still trying to build frameworks for international trade and law.


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