Voices in the Russian government are raising the level of tension and calling on Russian citizens to fight a holy war against the devil. According to their own terminology, they describe the ongoing “special military operation”, which was supposed to last 2-3 days, as a fight with Satan. One can understand them: the Russians are losing the war and are being forced to raise the degree of tension.
A fight with Satan is not a new idea in the world, even in the modern world. Many terrorist regimes are built on it. They burn U.S. flags and say they’re waging a holy war against evil.
But there is a paradox: today’s Russia and Russians are too rich and educated for such statements. Those regimes fight against Satan, but their populations don’t even have three years of schooling and are very poor. And Russians, especially those in big cities, are still wealthy.
Thus, it is possible to fight against Satan. You can be rich. But you can’t fight against Satan and live in a rich country at the same time. It doesn’t work like that.
The rhetoric of a fight against Satan is alien to most Russians, regardless of what we think about their mental abilities and moral qualities. It is especially alien to the inhabitants of Moscow and St. Petersburg. Moscow is not Palestine. This means that this population will not be happy with the decisions that are made to ensure this holy war.
If the Russians start to support this rhetoric, it will mean a completely different level of moral downfall on the part of this population and another level of poverty. This is theoretically possible if the idea is to force all more or less smart people to leave the country – which is what the Bolsheviks did in 1918. Back then there was huge potential for future urbanization in the Russian Empire, when they could bring people to the cities and discover new talents.
Now you can find only drunken Buryats (Mongolian people who live mainly in the Republic of Buryatia) in the villages. Therefore, there is simply no talent potential and, consequently, no economic potential. The emigration of intelligent people –and internal migration will no longer work – will result in a sharp economic downturn.
And here it seems that Western sanctions even help Dmitry Medvedev and co. The Russian economy is slowly but inexorably sinking, and the level of prosperity of Russians is falling as well.
But there may also be a trap here for the regime. After all, if the Russians sink to an economically acceptable level of faith in their fight with Satan, this will greatly increase the risks of protests and instability. The example of Iran is indicative. Iranian women are bolder than Russian men. Why? Because they have nothing to lose.
Decades of sanctions accompanied by catastrophic devaluation and inflation have made Iranians very poor. And the poor can start a revolution. It is the poor who are capable of organizing a senseless and merciless rebellion in Russia. As a result, the fight with Satan and the high degree of tension open up Pandora’s box for Russia’s leaders: further internal sanctions that can lead to tighter external sanctions.
By adopting the rhetoric of marginal men, the Russian government makes itself weaker, forgetting that these people will willingly burn all the rich on the pyres of their hatred. And who are the richest in Russia?
It is a trap. Crazy fanatics are dragging the Russian authorities further and further into their territory. But in the end, they will eat away this power.
Paradoxically, you fight with Satan, and then it turns out that you are Satan himself. And you can’t even argue.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post.