Oleg Kireev on Mon, 5 Apr 1999 21:51:38 +0100

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Syndicate: mailradek no. 14 (I.Aristarkhova on the Russia's support of Serbia)

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							Text no.76 			                          			            Bloody Russian
        Naturally, we must be unconditionally against NATO's bombings of
However here I would like to elaborate on what stands behind the Russian
for and obsession to defend the Serbs. In order to think through why
Russians defend 
Serbs so much I must refer to the so-called Russian Soul.
        As has been the case in Russia many times in the course of this
century, it is the communists with their duplicitous simplicity who have
best expressed the multi-faceted essence of our Russian Soul. Recently they
had clearly embodied the anti-Semitic feature of the Russian soul and its
nationalist rhetoric, now Zuganov adds another feature: "Serbs have Kosovo,
we had Chechnya. So what - we could have been bombed too?" Here he invokes a
mythical, no doubt Slavonic, brotherhood with the Serbs. By linking
Russians' and Serbs' relation to their 'others-within' through a comparison
of Kosovo and Chechnya, Zuganov points out that the possibility of our
brotherhood comes not so much from any mythical historical, ethnic,
religious or other grounds, but from the similarity of our strategies of
denying the 'others-within' our national polities.
	Thus, the widely spread defence of Yugoslavia, Milosevic or Serbs in the
name of 'our common Slavonic roots' cannot be sustained. In fact it has
nothing to do with those people who are killed by NATO and/or by the
Yugoslavian army. It's only a useful tool to defend ourselves, Russians, and
our history of repressing ethnic minorities. To defend our Russian self from
the weight of history and empire. Many in Russia have expressed it like
this: 'We are next'. But why us you might ask? Zuganov's articulation of the
Kosovo/Chechnya connection as  basis for possible persecution by 'the West'
answered that question. 'Us' because of the way we deal with our own ethnic
        Brotherhood based on the blood of Kosovo's Albanians and the Chechen
people -  this is what seems to ground our national imaginary as and with
the 'Russian Soul'. It also seems to ground Pan-Slavism today. By 'cleaning'
the Serb killings, Russians try very hard to clean our bloody Russian Soul
and thus retropectively articulate the war in Chechnya as a legitimate
"defence of Motherland". 
        Thus the constitution of the Russian soul through metaphorical
articulations of 'blood' relations with other Slavs enacts a strategic
erasure of the very real bloody sacrifices of its others such contitution is
based upon. That is why ultimately "soul is only a word that refers to
something about the body". And the notion of the Russian Soul historically
is used time and again to protect and empower Russian bodies within our
heterogenous land.

Irina Aristarkhova

INFO: Many political manifestations in March were connected with the
criminal case provoked by the Krasnodar FSB. Three young people are
imprisoned for several months for the accusation of an attempt to explode
the Krasnodar governor Kondratenko's office. One of them is Larisa Romanova,
an anarchist zine editor, who is pregnant and is kept in monstrous
conditions, two others are younger then 20. The case against them is
extremely weak, says Romanova's lawyer S.Markelov. The regional press had
broadly proclaimed the history of Kondratenko's assassination attempt (even
before the court). He himself made a show of personal greeting the
militioners who arrested these people. No doubt, the populist-nationalist
governor Kondratenko benefits very much from this case: the regional
elections are on their way!

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