Does Liberalism Have a Future in Russia?

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Does Liberalism Have a Future in Russia?

Participants of the discussion forum; We in St. Petersburg look at the prospects of this political direction with restrained optimism

At the end of June this year, in an interview with the British newspaper Financial Times, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the liberal idea has outlived its usefulness..

Reducing liberalism to the politics of multiculturalism and freedom of immigration for immigrants from the Third World, Putin, in particular, said: “The liberal idea assumes that nothing needs to be done. Kill, rob, rape – nothing to you, because you are a migrant, you need to protect your rights. What are the rights? Violate – get punished for it. ” And he summed up: “The liberal idea is outdated. It came into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population “.

Even earlier, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill spoke extremely critically about liberalism. In particular, during a visit to Serbia in 2013, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church said: “Today we live in an era of militant atheism. It grows out of the philosophical ideas of liberalism, but it distorts these ideas and tries to force people to abandon the Cross of Christ, from the faith that it symbolizes, and from the fundamental moral values ​​contained in this faith, which were once laid in the foundation of the great European civilization. These godless forces try to dull in people the desire for the Kingdom of Heaven prepared for them by the Father in Heaven and at any cost to turn them away from the millennial foundations of Christian morality. “.

A critical attitude towards liberalism has become dominant in Russia in recent years. Moreover, the attitude towards this philosophical and socio-political trend is often reduced to a set of stereotypes that are very far from the true essence of liberalism..

Migration, demographic problems and technological progress

To figure out what liberalism is and whether it has a future in Russia and around the world, the participants of the St. Petersburg club called the Forum “We” tried during their regular meeting.
In particular, Professor of the National Research University Higher School of Economics Mark Urnov noted that over the past five and a half centuries, liberalism has been the dominant system, thanks to which the states of Western Europe, North America, as well as Australia and New Zealand have achieved political influence and economic power.

Mark Urnov

But the continuation of this trend, according to Urnov, is against the growing migration from Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as the unfavorable demographic situation in developed countries. The expert noted both a tendency towards an increase in aggression and a tendency to search for simple solutions. In general, Mark Urnov believes that liberalism will weaken under the pressure of authoritarianism..

The Dean of the Law Faculty of the North-West Institute of Management of the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration has a different mood Sergei Tsyplyaev. Having made a historical excursion into the times of Ancient Greece, England of the XIV century and Austria-Hungary of the XIX century, he concluded that progressive ideas, sooner or later, will still make their way. “Now is a period for lowering liberalism, but in the long term, a change in this situation is inevitable,” the dean of the law faculty of the north-western branch of the RANEPA is convinced.

In the course of the debates, the direct Russian topic regarding the prospects of liberalism – as an ideology of the relationship between the rights and freedoms of the individual in society and democracy, as a form of government – was very rare. Therefore, after the end of the debate, the correspondent of the Russian Service of the Voice of America asked the participants to share their thoughts..

Interest, the “liberal fountain” and new generations

Does Liberalism Have a Future in Russia?

Mark Urnov recalled the data of his research on the value preferences of Russians. “About four years ago I found out that about 65% are inclined towards what can be called right-wing authoritarianism. That is, the state dominates, and at the same time, inequality of state is assumed. Approximately 20% prefer left-wing authoritarianism of the communist type, that is, the state again dominates, but at the same time property equality is mandatory. And, finally, 15% gravitate towards some ideas of a liberal nature. And the firm liberals – from three to five percent, “- said Urnov. And he adds that these percentages are concentrated mainly in cities with a population of one million.

“And there is a problem here: when the“ liberal fountain ”begins in the capital, how will it be supported where there are no liberals at all?” The HSE professor asks. And he concludes: “In order for liberal ideas to prevail in our country, we need a generation to come to power that has mastered, recovered from the disease and filled up with bumps and accepted this idea. And this can happen in thirty or forty years “.

Revolution, restoration and leapfrogging

Sergei Tsyplyaev refrained from making an accurate forecast regarding the victory of liberal ideas in Russia. But regarding the fact that the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, and the President of the Russian Federation, in fact, put an end to liberalism, he objected: “They can put an end to anything – both the patriarch and the president. They are just people, and ideas are stronger than any opinion..

Does Liberalism Have a Future in Russia?
Does Liberalism Have a Future in Russia?

Sergey Tsyplyaev

As for the current situation – yes, we live in the era of restoration, as it should be after any revolution. This is always a very difficult time for people who talk about moving towards liberalism, and now we are in a downward phase. But after that, surprisingly enough, a new generation always comes, which will again begin to move towards liberalism. This is what happens in Russia, we move in leaps and bounds all the time. Nevertheless, step by step we are moving forward, and what was impossible yesterday is possible today. Yes, we want more, we look at the best examples of liberalism – of course, we are very far from them. It must be remembered that this movement requires perseverance, endurance and understanding that it is given to us to work, but it is not given to complete our labors, “Tsyplyaev said..

Liberals, Nationalists and Socialists

For some clarifications and additions, the correspondent of the Russian service “Voice of America” ​​turned to a professor at the European University in St. Petersburg, the author of a number of works on the history of liberalism Dmitry Travin, who attended this discussion.

First of all, the expert noted: “It is very important for a liberal to be free, to have the right to join any party, vote for any party, and at the same time not to be manipulated. And today there is a lot of manipulation in politics in many countries, and there is nothing to say about Russia in this respect.!

In economics, liberals say: no need for paternalism, no need for the state to protect you. Unleash your own strengths. Someone will benefit more, someone less, someone may be bad, but in general, liberalism contributes to the development of society. But not everyone agrees with this “.

Dmitry Travin explains the difficulties of Russian liberalism by the fact that its bearers have to seek compromises with both socialists and nationalists. In the first case, the so-called “left liberalism” is obtained, and in the second – “right”. “But basically, they are still liberals. If a liberal is more inclined to redistribute the product between classes and to state statism, then he is no longer a liberal, he should be called a socialist, “concludes Professor Travin.

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