An Overview of Syncretism in Russia: Orthodoxy and Sovietism

socialist-clipart-K9cR4BbTeBy: Padraig McGrath

The Synthetic Public Ideology of Putin’s Russia

The reconstruction of the Cathedral of Saint Alexander Nevsky is a microcosm of a broad social reality

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OLDENGLIituated adjacent to the Crimean Parliament building in Simferopol, the newly rebuilt Cathedral of Saint Alexander Nevsky is a magnificent structure. Gilded onion-domes, Greco-Roman columns and pediments – it looks every bit as classy as a well financed Orthodox cathedral should be. On entering, a question occurs to me, however – why are the icons not completely flat? The depictions of the various saints seem almost crypto-Catholic, more three-dimensional than you’d expect, not like Byzantine iconography. Novgorod it ain’t.

My friend Nikita explains that the local bishop is a western Ukrainian, so this style of iconography just seems more natural to him. Locals refer to it as “Disney-style.” I smile at this answer – is there a residual attempt toward “Ukrainianization” at work? Nikita doesn’t think so – any Orthodox bishop in present-day Crimea pushing an agenda of “Ukrainianization” on any level whatsoever would very quickly find himself without an office – sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

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The New-Old Left vs. the “Theater of the Absurd”

An Interview with Czech Communist Ideologist Josef Skala – Part 2

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 23.17.54 By: Alexander Gegalchiy – translated by Jafe Arnold

Based out of Prague, Czech Republic, Alexander Gegalchiy is President of the International Russian Award Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting and awarding Russian and Rusyn authors for their contributions to the Transcarpathian heritage of the Russian World. He is also a member of the editorial board of “Western Rus”, a publishing project whose aim is the research and promotion of the concept of the “Russian World” specifically as it applies to Byelorussian identity.  

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Foreword from CSS Research Fellow and Analyst Jafe Arnold:

502377n the below, second installment in CSS’ new series exploring syncretic-oriented themes among the “new-old” left, particularly in the Czech Republic, we are joined by Alexander Gegalchiy, who in July 2016 posed a series of hot topics to Czech communist ideologist Dr. Josef Skala to provide his original commentary. The resultant monologue contains a number of pertinent undertones, including a critique of the modern “left”, an approach to a socialist agenda from both a “pan-European” and “sovereigntist” perspective, a recognition of the changing superstructural manifestation of proletarian issues to involve formerly “reactionary” formations of the “right,” as well as a hint that so-called progressive notions as free migration and multiculturalism in fact have quite different origins and consequences for anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist motives.

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Czech Communists for Donbass and Multipolarity

An Interview with Czech Communist Ideologist Josef Skala – Part 1

Small Logo By: Dr. Eduard Popov – translated by Jafe Arnold

Eduard Popov is a Rostov State University graduate with a PhD in history and philosophy. In 2008, he founded the Center for Ukrainian Studies at the Southern Federal University of Russia in Rostov-on-Don. From 2009-2013, he was the founding head of the Black Sea-Caspian Center of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, an analytical institute of the Presidential Administration of Russia. In June 2014, Popov headed the establishment of the Representative Office of the Donetsk People’s Republic in Rostov-on-Don. He has actively participated in humanitarian aid efforts in his native Donbass and is a key contributor to various Donbass media, such as the Lugansk-based Cossack Media Group. 

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Foreword from CSS Director Joaquin Flores: 

old-english-calligraphy-alphabet-the Center for Syncretic Studies finds great satisfaction in providing the following eye-opening interview, conducted by our esteemed colleague, Dr. Popov of the Russian Federation, who asked a number of pertinent questions to Dr. Josef Skala, a prominent communist leader in the Czech Republic. What the CSS has noted in a number of articles on related subjects is that there has been a steady return to the fundamental principles of worker socialism, while at the same time developing a syncretism with other socio-political phenomenon which previous generations would have, perhaps then correctly, identified as alien-class forces. Nevertheless, the further development of capitalism in the late 20th century and early 21st century has increasingly proletarianized social strata that previously were excluded from the valorization process. But today, these social strata are proletarianized, a process that has advanced in direct proportion to the total subsumption of other facets of society by capital, which may also be described as the commodification of all spheres of life.

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Tragedy & Farce: Reconsidering Marxian Superstructural Analysis of Heterodox Social Movements

Small Logo By: Jafe Arnold 

Tragedy & Farce: Reconsidering Marxian Superstructural Analysis of Heterodox Social Movements 

  • Part II: A Heuristic Reconsideration of Marxism and Modernity in Eurasia 

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502377n the introduction to this series, we presented and provided some cursory remarks on the general topic of our investigation. We drew attention to the problematic application of Marx’s thesis concerning the “poetry of the past” (as presented in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte) and the overriding confusion of the relationship between the superstructure (ideology, the “poetry”) and the base (objective class forces) which manifests itself when Marxists analyze and attempt to identify the trajectory of socio-political movements, particularly those syncretic ones in the late modern and post-modern era which often defy normative stereotypes of aesthetics, presenting apparently “unorthodox,” and perhaps contradictory superstructural “cues,” the latter of which, given the faulty precedent set by Marx in contradiction to this own framework, confuses Marxists in their analyses and more often than not leads to erroneous categorizations of otherwise “progressive” movements or states as “reactionary.”

In this installment, we will delve deeper into the theoretical underpinnings of Marxism as an ideology of Modernity with the aim of uncovering the paradoxes which underly the precedent set by Marx in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. We will then proceed to present the general contours along which our study will unfold as we examine Marxism itself through its own lens, reconsider its perception of heterodox socio-political movements and the theoretical and practical implications therein, and trace the trajectory of Marxism’s paradoxical hermeneutics in the direction of a syncretic political ideology.

Marxism, the 20th Century, and the Fourth Political Theory

It has long since become clear that the First Political Theory (1PT), Liberalism, emerged from the 20th century as the victorious ideology of Modernity. This unavoidable fact and its practical implications have been analyzed by a number of scholars in a wide variety of fields. The other two main socio-political theories, Marxism (with its various offshoots) and Fascism (along with its various strains), were played against each other, demonized from all directions, and dealt decisive defeats in crucial spheres at different times by the massive ideological, political-economic, and military complex of the 1PT which since the 1990’s became the nightmarish norm for massive swathes of the world’s population. Now, however, as this “End of History” has revealed itself to become increasingly untenable, intolerable, and undesirable, growing attention has been turned towards the various anti-liberal ideologies of Modernity with an eye towards scavenging and critically analyzing their nominal as well as paradoxical anti-Liberal and anti-Modern elements.[1] Continue reading

Tragedy & Farce: Marxian Superstructural Analysis of Heterodox Social Movements

Small Logo By: Joaquin Flores

Tragedy & Farce: Reconsidering Marxian Superstructural Analysis of Heterodox Social Movements

  • Part I: Utopia vs. Myth,  the Poetry of the Past, and Social Revolution –  a general introduction to this series

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Introduction

Old_English_Let us begin by resolving that there were three socio-political ideologies of modernity – liberalism, communism, and fascism; the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd political theories, respectively.  New developments in the global arrangement of socio-economic, ideological, and geopolitical forces in recent years force us to examine these with fresh eyes. On the one hand, we need to recognize the common philosophical heritage of all of these three ideologies in modernity, and thereby reveal the instances in which they consciously or unconsciously collude, while on the other hand delineating between their respective understandings of their roles as ideologies. In particular, the aim of this series is to reconcile the Marxian analytical framework with the base and super-structural features of new and syncretic socio-political movements, in their purely aesthetic form, as well as in their deeper ideological aspects.

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