RUSSIAN WORLD The war in Russia and distraction as an escape

The exaggerated tones and the emptiness of the contents have produced a soporific and deadly effect on the souls of Russian citizens, plunged into discouragement by fear of new compulsory conscriptions. And a surreal discussion on the web about gorgonzola cheese shows, better than any other example, the Russians’ desire to “lay back”, to rebel against feelings of guilt and to distance themselves from the rhetoric of “traditional values”. .

The first anniversary of the Russian invasion has passed, and the entire world is anxiously watching Ukraine in the hope that the second will not be reached. Interventions and appeals from the highest and noblest instances are multiplying, from the constant appeals of Pope Francis to the UN resolution to put an end to the conflict that all supported except a few countries friendly to Russia, to which Russia has joined. Mali, testimony to the successes in Africa of the Wagner Group, much more resounding than in Ukraine. India and China again abstained, and Beijing has drawn up universal peace proposals, saying Ukraine should be protected but not condemned Russia, since the war was instigated by the United States.

G7 leaders meet at a distance with the hero of the West, Ukrainian President Zelenskyj, a modern icon of the values ​​of freedom and democracy, against whom the increasingly frantic Putin lashes out from the stands of the Senate and Luzhniki Stadium from Moscow. It seems evident that no peace negotiations are possible between the two great antagonists, who recall with grotesque overtones the confrontation between Churchill and Hitler. In any case, there could be a global agreement between Biden and Xi Jinping, in the wings of Roosevelt and Stalin, to inaugurate the new cold war of the third millennium, perhaps meeting again in Yalta, Crimea, the scene of “armed neutrality” between the East and the West.

Putin’s proclamations take on Grand Guignol overtones in Soviet-era folk songs rewritten with gloomy, haunting verses, like postcards of the “European dance macabre” reminiscent of the end of World War I, which the trenches so closely resemble. Russians in Ukraine To the hundred thousand drunken supporters, gathered with generous incentives at fifteen degrees below zero, Putin offers mystical visions of the “Our Father”, a prayer with which we become a true Homeland and a true Family, not like the “gender” god. fluid” of Anglicans, whose liturgies would turn men into depraved pedophiles. Patriarch Kirill blesses the president on the Day of “Defenders of the Fatherland”, a new title for the Red Army holiday, which in Soviet times marked February 23 as the “triumph of the man”, before state feminism of March 8. According to the head of the orthodox patriots, “thanks to the great sacrifices of our ancestors, the right to life, liberty and independence of our country was defended, over which the wind of imperishable glory blows, imprinted forever on the pages of the history of the homeland… we honor the memory of those who forged the gold of victory, from the rearguard to the front lines, with courage and audacity, giving their lives in the service of the homeland”.

Next everyone is waiting for the breakthrough of Putin’s army, finally entering Kiev like Marshal Žukov’s battalions in Berlin in 1945. Yet the supreme leader falls short of promising so much, merely whimpering over America’s slights. and unleashing the wrath of the “cook” Prigozhin, who, to demonstrate his superiority over all the Russian generals, lashes out with his mercenaries against another miserable Ukrainian village, lost in the mud of the Don tributaries. Putin spoke for hours without arousing any real emotion in his audience, and only the tight control of the photographic and television services prevented the yawning of the hierarchs chained to the seats of the Federal Council, beginning with the patriarch Kirill. Putin’s biggest threat was a refusal to admit Western inspectors to atomic weapons arsenals, perhaps to spare himself the embarrassment of poor maintenance.

The exaggerated tones and the emptiness of content have produced a soporific and lethal effect on the souls of Russian citizens, anguished by the shipments of corpses arriving from Ukraine (mostly Asian and Caucasian soldiers), fearing new conscriptions and the difficulty in finding other escape routes, and by the inevitable economic crisis that Putin’s empty promises of an autarkic revival of trade and industry could hardly avert. Boredom and depression lead most Russians to live like zombies, taking refuge in ostrich politics, pretending none of this concerns them, and seeking sacred and profane distractions so as not to get caught up in this never-ending nightmare.

Orthodox Lent is approaching, the faithful are dedicated to frying the blinis that they love so much and that they consume with sour cream, caviar and raw fish, well washed down with vodka, before the formal start of the Great Fast. The Catholic variant is dedicated to pončiki, the traditional Polish fritters, sweeter and lighter than the indigestible Russian pancakes. That is why in the days of the hysterical celebration of the Patriotic War, the most popular meme on which the attention of the Russian population was concentrated was the “gorgonzola war”. Twitter users went wild commenting on the “dramatic” confrontation between popular journalist Alena Donetskaya and publicist Nikolai Solodnikov on the latter’s YouTube channel. Under the title “Beauty and shame”, the advisability of using the smelly moldy cheese to fill pancakes or pancakes is discussed. Nikolaj even dares to propose the tasting of the gorgonzola combined with the exotic fruit of the passion fruit, provoking Alena’s indignation: “You can’t mix two dramas, the gorgonzola kills everything that is alive, even the aroma of the passion fruit…! At most this one can be combined with a young Gruyère!”.

Many comments noted that it doesn’t seem appropriate to discuss implausible tastes so passionately when the majority of the population “don’t even have a chance to taste these ingredients.” In other words, the scandal is not centered on the drama of the war and the deaths, but on the snobbery of “escaping with strange foods”, while many users intervene to indicate the addresses of the shops where, despite all the sanctions of the world, “you can buy both gorgonzola and passion fruit, and at quite acceptable prices.” Alena and Nikolaj face each other in an elegant room, smoking one cigarette after another and accompanying the dispute with classical pieces played on the piano, precisely favoring the escape from reality, from blood and ice, from bloodthirsty songs and sacrilegious blessings. in the stadium.

The gorgonzola discussion describes, better than any other example, the desire of Russians to “stay out of it,” to rebel against feelings of guilt, and to distance themselves from the rhetoric of “traditional values” by substituting flavors that do not they have nothing to do with any morality or culture. Another symbolic image that aroused widespread hilarity in the networks is that of the deputy of the city of Samara, Mikhail Abdalkin, who published a video where he was watching Putin’s speech before the Senate from a computer, with boiled noodles hanging from his hands. ears (in Russian “to put noodles in the ears”, lapša na uši, means “to fill them with nonsense”), in which he affirms that “I agree with everything, it really is a good speech”. Local communists called for him to be removed and arrested for “defamation and treason against the state.” If the Ukrainians discover the heroism of the resistance, the Russians react with the farce of indifference, which more than anything else demonstrates the ineffectiveness of Putin’s aggression, destined to be extinguished between pots and pans in the kitchens, or in the living rooms. , from an increasingly cynical population and distanced from their “spiritual guides”.

Dissent in Soviet times took two forms, a public one well known in the West, that of writers and poets like Sinjavskij and Solzhenitsyn, who recited anti-Soviet poems in Moscow squares or denounced the crimes of Stalin’s concentration camps in large novels. It was also the political and liberal dissidence of Ginzburg and Sakharov, who called for the end of totalitarianism, and which today are once again condemned and repressed in the few heirs who have had the courage to publicly raise their voices.

But there was also a silent and internal dissidence, which was based on non-resistance (nieprotivlenčestvo) and which was already preached in the 19th century by the great writer Leo Tolstoy. The rejection of the dictatorship was not expressed in clamorous actions directed at the “free world”, which were actually almost despised, which were considered a way to seek fame and success, and which were directed at people who in any case did not know or understand to Russia. It was the dissidence of university professors who dedicated themselves to the study of literature or physics in search of a truth superior to ideologies; but it was also the dissidence of the common people, office workers and housewives, aware of being subjected to the fanaticism of the powerful but reluctant to grant satisfaction to both their jailers and the alleged liberators, bearers of equally vain and high-sounding slogans and ideologies. . It is deep Russia, surviving in the torpor of the enmity of the world, waiting to come back to life.


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Written by Editor TLN

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