The Issue of Westernisation – Russia-Formulated Zapadnisation

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Russia’s relation to globalisation is crucial regardless of its military and economic impotence, moral anomie, (breakdown of normative system of values) and cultural degeneration. It is crucial because if we are not interested in Russia, Russia will always be interested in us – unquestionably. However, Russia’s relation to globalisation is also interestingly inconsistent. The sociological-philosophical reflection of the world’s drift towards global society began with outstanding Russians – Solovyov, who inspired Koyev, who in turn inspired Fukuyama; Sorokin has been mentioned; moreover Berdyayev and others. Today, however, the wide Russian land supports no single important thinker or politician who would accept the idea of globalisation – this is not restricted to the left-right-wing radical Zhirinovsky and traditionalist Solzhenitsyn. The most outstanding and relatively most influential globalisation theory in the Russian world has been presented by a former dissenter, emigrant, and German resident, recently deceased Alexander Zinoviev, an autodidact logician, philosopher and sociologist. In his book Zapad: fenomen zapadnizma (1995), he attempted to generalise his concrete reflection on why the Western democratic and market model is unsuited for Russia (published in Kommunizm kak realnost, 1944) as follows: ‘Westernisation (Zinoviev consistently refers to zapadnisation) is an attempt of the West to make other countries like itself in terms of social organisation, political system, ideology, psychology, and culture. Ideologically, this is portrayed as the humane and liberating mission of the West, which is surely the peak of civilisational development and concentrates in it all the virtues imaginable… But the reality of zapadnisation is different. Its objective is to bring predetermined victims into such a condition in which they lose capacity to develop independently, integrate them in the Western sphere of influence; not, however, as equal and full partners but rather in the role of satellites of colonies of a new kind… What happens in the process is a reconstruction of the very foundations of life in the countries, their control systems, social organisation, and above all, mentality… One of the means of making the population agree to lose its sovereignty and willingly accept zapadnisation is to induce a lasting envy in relation to the Western affluence, evoke the illusion that the affluence is within easy reach… The point of zapadnisation – of creating a global society – is to acquire the planet for itself, not for the others. The zapadnisation of the planet results in no elementary growth cells remaining in the world which would be capable of growing into anything that would be fit to live and orientate itself to a new evolutionary form. The world is turning into an evolution-infertile desert… (Zinoviev 1995)