By Paul Goble
The ideas, now being pushed by the Putin regime, that there is a Russian world which must be defended and extended and that Ukraine must be “de-Nazified” or even destroyed have their origins, Meduza commentator Andrey Pertsev says, in the work of Georgy Shchedrovitsky and his followers, known as the methodological movement.
Shchedrovitsky, a philosopher, attracted followers as one of the first political coaches and political technologists in the Soviet Union’ and then in the 1990s, his followers promoted the idea of “a Russian world,” one then at the margins of the Russian political pantheon but now at the center (meduza.io/feature/2022/06/09/stantsuem-vals-bolshoy-voyny).
In a 7500-word article, Pertsev traces the origins of Shchedrovitsky’s ideas and his movement back to the final days of Stalin’s rule and then how it acquired influence first in intellectual circles and then political ones during perestroika and even more after the demise of the USSR.
For most of this period, Shchedrovitsky and his circle attracted little attention and were assumed to be one of many marginal groupings which existed in the late Soviet Union and early Russian Federation and which consequently attracted relatively little attention from analysts and commentators.
Pertsev’s study shows why that was wrong, and while the details on this he provides are fascinating, what is most important is his conclusion that the idea of a Russian world did not come out of nowhere but had broad support in the country’s intellectual and political classes and that when Putin began pushing the idea a decade ago, there was a ready-made market for it.