Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

THE ANALYST: Russia Should be Prevented From Going Nationalistic




Russia's communists, members of an intellectually bankrupt and morally deca dent movement, have found their domicile behind the aegis of economic nationalism. Now that Marxism is dead and buried, a fact that no communist has the courage to admit, it is behind this shield they will stay.


Nationalism, together with liberalism and communism, is one of the three broad economic systems defined by political scientists. It has in the past been referred to as mercantilism, statism and protectionism, but as Robert Gilpin, professor of international affairs at Princeton University, writes, "all nationalists ascribe to the primacy of the state, of national security and of military power in the organization and functioning of the international system." The interests of the state - and not of capital or a particular class (i.e. the proletariat) - are given priority in a nationalist economy.


It is important to note that nationalism, as opposed to capitalism and Marxism, has strictly defined limits: Whereas capital knows no boundaries, and drifts to where risk is lowest and profit highest, and communism represents a future societal ideal uniting proletariats throughout the world, nationalism maintains a vision that ends abruptly at the border. For nationalists, the international arena is filled with deceit, greed and war, and all efforts within an economy should be directed at protecting the state. As Gilpin explains, this "protection" is normally achieved through coordinated policies of industrialization and militarization.


Marxism, a natural reaction to the excesses of 19th-century industrial England, has long ceased to be a viable economic system and deserves an epitaph as "a ephemeral system of thought created by an overrated German philosopher and taken too seriously by the Russians and Chinese." The emergence of welfare-state capitalism, deemed impossible by Lenin and his apologists, has rendered Marxism impotent.


For Russia, this indisputable verdict has left its communist leaders - a prosaic pack no more inspiring than church pews - with no place to run other than behind the wall of nationalism. The fact that Yury Maslyukov, a hard-core central planner and incorrigible Marxist, can so readily rub shoulders with Sergei Glazyev, a pure-bred nationalist and a leading author of the nation's economic recovery program, shows how far these two ideologies have come toward unification. (Glazyev, contrary to what some analysts have been writing, is not a left-wing economist; he is quite far to the right.) Fifteen years ago, two such individuals wouldn't have been able to sit in one room together.


But now they make wonderful soul mates. Together with their like-minded cohorts, Maslyukov and Glazyev aim to build nationalism's wall high and thick around Russia's perimeter. The economic program leaked to Kommersant Daily on Oct. 1 is an exact reflection of their original nationalist agenda: a ban on the U.S. dollar; nationalization of banks and strategic industries; and a grandiose industrial policy. A nationalistic novelty in the program: the creation of the State Bank for Reconstruction and Development - the Europeans have theirs, so why shouldn't we have one? Maslyukov's flitting from one rocket factory to the next fits in perfectly with the idea of militarism as a basic tenet of nationalism.


One of the central principals of the nationalist economic philosophy - and why foreign investors in Russia have reason to be vigilant - is that economic activity between two states is regarded as a "zero-sum game." What is good for one country is harmful to another. Nationalists such as Glazyev distrust the global economy, since they believe it fosters interdependence (when the primary goal of any nation should be independence). For them, trade and investment can only be conducted if Russia benefits more than its partner. If we take this thought to its logical conclusion, then we may assume that Russia will not see a significant rise in foreign direct investment in the near future and therefore economic recovery is years away.


The inherent danger is a steady drift towards fascism, a possible extension of nationalism's wall. Granted, nationalism can assume either a benign or malignant form, but with the Communists now involved in planning policy, we would be wise to expect the worse. Maslyukov's press secretary publishes articles in Zavtra, a radical daily that has suggested the need for violent rebellion; Communist deputies have declared war on the mass media, and will attempt to wage it over the winter; and an anti-Semitic general has openly called for pogroms, and gone unpunished for doing so. Moral degradation is spreading in Russia.


In the popular psyche, fascism (malignant nationalism) and communism are often lumped together in the same mold, a worrisome albeit understandable tendency. The two systems maintain directly opposite assumptions about human nature and international relations, although their methods - totalitarianism - are the same. Russia is no stranger to one system, and appears to be headed directly into the other, no less terrifying mode.


It is our duty, as free thinkers and Russophiles, to do everything in our power to prevent this from happening.