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601 NIKOLAI I. BUKHARIN THE MUTUAL PERCEPTIONS OF POLES AND RUSSIANS THE DIFFICULT PROCESSES of the transitional period in Russia and Poland have significantly altered the perceptions each has of the other, as well as of itself. The collapse of the Soviet Union meant a loss of the former national identity for residents of the Russian Federation. Therefore, the emergence of the new Russia in 1992 raised a question about the new identity of Russian society. On the one hand, today’s Russia is a new state, while on the other, it is the successor to the thousand years of history of the Russian state that existed in various historical guises. In contrast to the Soviet period, today’s new national identity of Russia has a greater number of sources. It is formed on the basis of the history of Kievan Rus, the Russian principalities, the Golden Horde, the Grand Duchy of Moscow, the Russian kingdom, the Russian Empire, and the Soviet Union. Different religions play an important role in shaping that identity, especially Orthodoxy, which has strong Byzantine roots, as well as Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism. The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) has claimed the role of the most important factor in the formation of a new identity, and, in the coming decades , this role will obviously increase. In the new historical conditions, the role of the ROC as the traditional religion of the state-forming peoples and their relationship with the government has been restored. The Church again performs the symbolic function of memory and culture for Russian society while it is in search of national identity. The hierarchs of the ROC put forward as the most important task of the Church the establishment of a moral and ideological base that could serve as a foundation for the nation’s new identity. Ideological sources of the new Russian identity also come from the traditions of Westernism, Eurasianism, and Slavophilism. As is well known, during the Russian Empire, Orthodoxy dramatically contrasted itself to Catholicism, which is closely linked with the Polish national origin. In the new Russia, this problem has lost much of its relevance, 602 NIKOLAI I. BUKHARIN but the old tradition to some extent can influence the attitude of Russians to Poles and Poland. An important role in the formation of a new Russian identity is played by the process of the de-Sovietization of society in the course of political and economic reforms. This process was controversial and extremely lengthy. On the one hand, the political and economic system of the country has changed. However, the movement toward a democratic constitutional state is slow. If the Russian Federation is already fairly advanced in the development of a market economy, democratization is quite a long historical process, as the country’s democratic traditions are very weak and one cannot demand the immediate introduction of Western standards in this area. Lustration of the Russian elite has not been undertaken. Due to the fact that many of the Soviet elite were associated with the KGB, Boris Yeltsin and his entourage considered it was not worth aggravating the situation because it was difficult in the new Russia, and he refused to conduct a cleansing. As a result, de-Sovietization was inconsistent and left unfinished. The persistence of a postideological consciousness, a prolonged transition to modernization of the new Russia, and the global economic crisis make it difficult to return to this issue. However, a dispute about a new national identity was quick to appear in post-Soviet Russia. The fight over it is still ongoing. In the early 1990s, the ideological political movement known as Democratic Russia urged a break with the past, both tsarist and communist, and the building of a new Russia from scratch based on the ideals of freedom and human rights. In connection with a post-Soviet ideological vacuum in the 1990s, the government of Boris Yeltsin tried to formulate an idea that would give the country a new identity and cement its people as one nation. However, the attempts to develop a Russian national idea failed. In recent years, the country has continued the dispute between supporters of following the Russian way and those who favored the choice of developing a closer association with the European identity. That discussion has seen the communists recommend that the path to development would lead to the restoration of the Soviet Union, while the nationalists recommend the revival of the empire (including a tsar), suggesting an inevitable return to an...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780822980957
Related ISBN
9780822944409
MARC Record
OCLC
914230098
Pages
704
Launched on MUSE
2015-08-17
Language
English
Open Access
No
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