When we are trying to understand the "philosophy of Putinism" today, if we can call it the worldview preached by "collective Putin", it should be admitted that the first steps in this direction were taken back in the time of Boris Yeltsin. Of course, the creation of an "imperial constitution" actually designed not for the president, but for the emperor of Russia, played a huge role. Many then thought that it was necessary, as it allowed Boris Yeltsin to fight the communist contagion, but it turned out that the very means of fighting the Communists were no better than the Communists themselves.
The second problem of Boris Yeltsin's survival in power was the renaissance of "stagnation", which gradually became one of the messages of power: thus Yeltsin's team tried to seize the initiative from the Communists. NTV TV company was actively working on this topic at that time, including using the nostalgia of the "Our Cinema" channel.
I don’t think that the original goal of Yeltsin's PR specialists was to return to the Soviet interpretation of the war of 1941-1945, but in the end, it objectively turned out that the main "battlefield" "for" and "against" "stagnation" was not the period of "stagnation" itself, but the war of 1941-1945.
I want to draw attention to the very interesting opinion of the Russian publicist Nikolai Epple. I will give a long quote from the site POLIT.RU:
"Historian Nikolai Epple described the goal pursued by the Russian state during the "battles for history." This goal is to "disable the skill of critical attitude to yourself. The state cannot be wrong. If it makes any mistakes, it's excesses on the ground. But in general, everything is fine. And it's broadcast further: I can't be wrong myself. I don't let you talk about my family's past (as something problematic). And it's better not to go there at all, as suddenly there may be something complicated and requires the inclusion of some critical apparatus. This manipulation of the past is designed to block a critical conversation and twist the narrative of pride to the maximum."
Of course, throughout the history of the USSR, "battles for history" have become the main content of ideological companies. "Putinism" in general can be considered as a similar campaign, but "Putinism" as a post-Soviet phenomenon, for all its external similarity, is very different from its Soviet heritage. But let's turn to history.
Strange as it sounds today, the topic of the war of 1941-1945 was on the outskirts of public discussion during the Thaw period. The thaw became the impetus for the emergence of "prose of lieutenants" - such as Bykov, and Bondarev (there were a lot of them - a whole literary trend). But not only the former front-line boys who miraculously survived this horror became a literary sensation of those years. And the writers of the older generation - Vasily Grossman, Konstantin Simonov, Viktor Nekrasov - were at this time that they finished their books, and only a few of them reached the reader at that time.
But in the years of Thaw, there was no discussion about military literature. It should be understood that Nikita Khrushchev, like Stalin in his time, tried to bypass the topic of war. There was no single official concept at that time. Those books that gave rise to the authors of the cheap oak official (the then famous magazine "October" - the main enemy of the "New World") were of such low quality that in fact there was no confrontation.
It is after Leonid Brezhnev came to power that the same Soviet military official appears - the main achievement of the official "stagnation".
And if Stalin's repressions became the main unspoken topic in Thaw, then in Perestroika (Reconstruction) after total criticism not only of Stalin and the repression of the 37th year, but of criticism of Bolshevism as a whole, the public discussion spread to the war of 1941-1945.
During the years of Perestroika, one of the main objects of criticism was the image of war in the period of "stagnation". Here it is necessary to recall the course of events, and the history of Soviet officialism in the coverage of the war during the period of "stagnation". The official new (Brezhnev) historiography of the war began with a sharp rise after Brezhnev came to power. This is both the recognition of May 9 as a day off and the creation of a whole network of monuments to the Unknown Soldier throughout the country. This is also a real conveyor of thousands of official books about the war - an avalanche of "correct" textbooks, anthologies and encyclopedias, "Danish" " chronicles" and ... memoirs ... Memoirs written by people who have been taught to "be silent and not stick out" for decades under the fear of These former generals and officers knew perfectly well that the main task of their books was to bypass all the "sharp corners" of That War.
It is quite obvious that Lies in half with silence gradually kill any thought. If at first, this official was still somehow similar to the truth, by the early 80s it had degenerated into a boring funeral ritual.
It is no coincidence that by the end of the "stagnation", with an infinite number of books and films "about the damned fascists", youth groups of Nazis and fascists were born in the USSR. Propaganda degenerated, and the official completely killed any sincere faith in justifying That War. Lies killed the remnants of truth in the official and died herself, no one needs without these pieces of truth.
Already the first publications in Perestroika of several once-banned books dealt a crushing blow to the official cult of war, which was cherished by all Brezhnev's quarter of a century. It seemed like one or two more steps, and the truth about That war would wash away all the lies with a spring flood. However, this did not happen.
The mere publication of prohibited books written under total censorship could not become the basis for a new truth about war. Historical research, publication of documents, frank memoirs, and much, much more were needed. And it takes time. And open archives. But everything was bad here!..
Even the collapse of the USSR and the rise of Boris Yeltsin to power in Russia had little impact on archival affairs. In addition, it took time to process the data. And if during the years of Perestroika the wave of truthful publications about the war, which was long called "Domestic", did not meet an answer from the heirs of the Soviet era (in fact, the entire post-Soviet official degenerated), then in the 90s the picture became different.
Today, when Russian publicists and philosophers are trying to find the roots of the emergence of "Putinism", they often refer to the suppression of the putsch in the autumn of 1993 by Boris Yeltsin. In many ways, this point of view is based on the positions of European socialists and American Democrats, who always stand only for a democratic electoral system, and any use of force to suppress opponents is considered unacceptable. However, this is a very controversial argument, as it is difficult to imagine that Francisco Franco or Augusto Pinochet had other opportunities to stop militant left radicals, with rifles and submachine guns in their hands. I do not doubt that those who take up arms should be answered with weapons. But the politician who gave such an order must also think about its consequences. Alas, as Charles Louis de Montesquieu wrote in his book about the Romans, the first rulers create the tradition on which their heirs then rely. And Boris Yeltsin in the autumn-winter of 1993-1994 followed the easiest path - he decided to rely on the military and KGB elite. Russian society turned out to be unnecessary to him - it became superfluous at this "holiday of life" - in Boris Yeltsin's policy. And this, in turn, gave rise to "Putinism", and not the use of force in suppressing the putsch.
And after the autumn-winter of 1993-1994, when the army elite became the support Boris Yeltsin, the military archives became a quiet boot to wage war with civilian historians. All this prepared the ground for the subsequent restoration of the Soviet official, but... already at a new level.
It was clear that by opening the gates of truth, they could no longer be closed. At that time, no one thought that the Russian authorities would return to the practice of the Bolsheviks of the 20-30s, who declared war on those who brought the truth to readers. In the 90s, it could not occur to anyone that the president could declare any truth about That War - slander, and put him in prison for any publication of this truth. All this was ahead, but no one could have thought of such a scenario at that time.
But Boris Yeltsin's decision to rely on the top of the military establishment did not go unnoticed. In the 90s, many of those smart and cynical people who managed to take off on the wave of Perestroika (criticizing the Soviet official), decided that sooner or later, the authorities would need a new official history of the USSR, not as oaky as in the years of "stagnation", more complex, more competent, but equally devoted to the supreme These people realized that sooner or later, but the Russian authorities will want a story that loves this power. Yes, at first they pinned their hopes on the former Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR. But after Yeltsin's victory in the confrontation with the Supreme Soviet and his policy of relying on the military, these "smart" "modernizers of history" turned their attention to the former oppositionist, who became a typical Soviet chief.
In the wake of nostalgia for the "stagnation", which was supported by many security forces from Boris Yeltsin's administration, a movement of "modernizers" of "stagnation" was formed.
(To be continued)