The Center for Syncretic Studies is honored to present our Russian colleague, Dr. Eduard Popov’s recent article featured in the journal Post-Soviet States: 25 Years of Independent Development published under the editorship of the famous expert on the South Caucasus and Doctor of Historical Sciences, Alexander Krylov (Moscow) from the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences. We thank Dr. Krylov for generously allowing us the opportunity to translate and publish this article by Popov, supplemented and updated specifically for the Center for Syncretic Studies and Fort Russ. This article is based on the findings of expert and sociological surveys conducted by the author in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in 2015-2016 mainly among the military, political, and business elites of both republics, as well as among trade union members.
Russian Spring: The Socio-Political Dynamics of the Donbass Independence Movement
he rise of the protest movement in Donbass (and other regions of historical Novorossiya) which resulted in the proclamation of the People’s Republics, was a reaction to the coup d’etat in Kiev and aggressive Russophobic policies. It is no accident that the first legislative step of the new Ukrainian authorities was abolishing the language law, ratified in 2003 by the Verkhovna Rada in line with the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which effectively pushed the Russian language out of the educational and cultural-information space of Ukraine. However, the popular movement in Donbass at the end of winter and spring 2014 also had deeper motives. The proclamation of the people’s republics of Donbass was a logical reaction to the dismantling of Ukrainian statehood as it had been formed in the framework of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The new Ukrainian authorities violated the tacit social contract of loyalty to the existing state in exchange for a guaranteed minimum of cultural-linguistic rights for the regions of the “South-East” (historical Novorossiya).Continue reading →
The reconstruction of the Cathedral of Saint Alexander Nevsky is a microcosm of a broad social reality
ituated 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.
An Interview with Czech Communist Ideologist Josef Skala – Part 2
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.
Foreword from CSS Research Fellow and Analyst Jafe Arnold:
n 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.
An Interview with Czech Communist Ideologist Josef Skala – Part 1
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.
Foreword from CSS Director Joaquin Flores:
he 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.
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
et 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.