The dark side of the Power in Russia.
This is a Russian poster that says, "Children, kitchen, church. The greatness and meaning for a Russian woman". It represents the epitome of old fashioned values Russian women should aspire to and, sadly, it's not that original. They just copied it from the German slogan, "Kinder, Kuche, Kirche", which was used during the 19th century German Empire and later in Nazi Germany's, Third Reich.
Then we have a photo of Putin and other political leaders that he hangs out with: his buddies, Kim Jong Un and Alexander Lukashenko. A band of dictators riddled with toxic masculinity. I think it goes without saying that Putin wouldn't make a good father, partner or even a friend. When people are giving votes to their leaders they keep forgetting these roles are essential in life and the way these leaders behave in such roles defines also what kind if leader they will make and what values they will follow.
Putin might not have friends, but he certainly gets inspiration from women when it comes to beauty treatments. Just look at his puffy face. Botox treatment much? Maybe, after all, he is not such a misogynist... but I could be wrong.
We know from the past how this form of power and propaganda works. They didn't even upgrade it. It's the same old rhetoric, symbolism and visuals and it feels like being hurtled back into the dark ages. Putin is fighting a war of the past. As he's living in the past - the past of the defunct Soviet Union.
Sometimes the best way to describe certain things is through art. Shortparis is a Russian band and their song, "Govorit Moskva" (This is Moscow speaking) describes the culture of oppression and toxic masculinity. They are really good, you should check them out. They definitely represent today's Russian Intelligentsia and they are worth to follow.
We already know that there is a "macho culture" in Russia. And unfortunately, over the years under Putin's rule backed by Orthodox Church it's getting only worse. Russia has one of the lowest birth rates. So it's very obvious that they are hopeful that such propagandist posters could make a change. They need taxpayers. And obviously men for war. The population is getting old. And it costs money too.
January 2017, Russia decriminalized domestic violence that does not cause serious injury like broken bones or a concussion – for first-time offenders. Since most victims do not report their abuse, most "first-time offenders" are actually long-time abusers. In addition, police officers routinely ignore domestic disturbance calls. When officers do respond, they often refuse to criminally prosecute instead of telling victims to prosecute privately which logically can cause even bigger danger to the victim. Decriminalization of domestic violence has rendered the statistics on it unreliable, but statistics have shown that most cases do not end up in court. If women cannot receive the assurance of their physical safety under Russian law and society, their overall rights are under severe threat.
Women earn on average 30% less than a man, one of the largest wage gaps among high-income countries. Even in professions where the wage gap is the smallest, like in the education sector, there is a 20% difference in average salary.
Every Russian man that the independent sociological agency Levada Center polled, regardless of age group, responded that the most desirable quality in a woman was that she had to be a good homemaker. This attitude pervades across gender lines: younger Russian women answered that attractiveness was the best quality, but by age 30, the women agreed that their most desirable quality was to be a good homemaker for a man. When pollsters asked the equivalent question about desirable qualities in a man, both men and women ranked intelligence as the most important trait in a man. Men, however, ranked intelligence in a woman as sixth or seventh on their list of 15 traits. But before one can solely cast the blame for gender inequality on men, women ranked independence as least important for themselves. Older women's answers matched that of the men– the mothers and grandmothers teaching the sons their societal values. No one gender is at fault for the perpetuation of gender inequality; instead, it is a product of Russian culture and society that each generation has passed on to the next.
When I was going to high school we had few Russian girls attending our school. Understand me well - they were really nice girls and we liked to hang out with them a lot. But we could see the cultural difference, where good looks were n.1 priority for them and to such extent, that by age 17-18 they had already done a few plastic surgeries or at least Botox, which meant that their mothers supported them in doing such things and at such a young age! And their fathers had to pay for it. It was completely unthinkable for us and quite shocking. Our parents would never allow anything like this, it would be seen as superficial and basically just completely crazy (and they would be seen as bad parents) because the style of Czech parenting was more about to keeping us focused on our education, having some hobbies and quality time with family and friends, and being content with our natural looks and actually being thought exactly the other way around that looks are not the most important thing in the world and you should be content with yourself the way you are. There was a bigger probability of teenagers trying to convince their parents about rebellious tattoos or piercings than thinking about getting botox. And even though when we were younger we were more vulnerable towards media brainwash where is portrayed a big pressure and expectations about women's look and it was causing us lots of insecurity about our bodies, I don't think any of us really wanted to be so objectified in the eyes of boys and even during our first loves we wanted them to like us for other things than just for our looks. For example, that we are funny, intelligent or talented in some way.
Here I share with you another expression through art. It's a Czech band of folk music that consists of five female members. Three of them are Czech, one is Slovak and one is Russian. They represented with this song ( My sister's crown) the Czech Republic in the Eurovision contest 2023. I very quickly realised that most of people didn't fully realise how deep meaning this song has. But it seems that in Russia they did - because just after they released the song there was put a censorship in Russia over this song. The song definitely has a feminist message, the "crown" refers to a symbolism of authority and empowerment, it has a message that if the feminine rises up it stops the oppression and toxic masculinity ( "we are not your dolls"). The "sister" doesn't represent only other women in a sense of sisterhood but also the Ukraine and that she should not loose its sovereignty ("My sister's crown, Don't take it down,Nobody has the right to do it") and refers to Russia ( "You can take your hands back, No one wants more boys dead"). The song lyrics are combination of Czech, English and Ukrainian language.
Quasi Intelligentsia and the end of era of Russian intellectuals and artists like Tolstoy, Dostoevsky or Tchaikovsky.
Even though Russian Intelligentsia played an important part at the birth of Bolshevist Revolution, unfortunately it was also the start of a Russian Intelligentsia decay. Russian Intelligentsia could see the dark side of the Revolution and what was happening, but unfortunately instead of listening to them, the fanatical fight against a "bourgeois" wiped them out, which was basically almost everybody who had a critical opinion and didn't join the Communist party. It all culminated by Stalin's regime that was purely totalitarian , and has been widely condemned for overseeing mass repression, ethnic cleansing, wide-scale deportation, hundreds of thousands of executions, and famines that killed millions.
The Czech Republic (former Czechoslovakia) was not part of the USSR, but was part of the Eastern block and we did experience the Communist ideological brainwashing too. They had their ways to hold the power centred in Moscow. Lots of people ended up in prison, very often tortured to death or executed or sent to camps in Siberia. Also, another tactic to suppress Intelligentsia was to ban educated professionals from their jobs. And so lots of lawyers, doctors, engineers, artists and public figures were forced to do basic jobs like to work in factories or as miners etc., and their children were not allowed to study what they wanted but again just some lower education that was being forced upon them. It affected my family too. Lots of writers and artists emigrated to the West instead, especially after an Invasion of the Soviet army 1968. We experienced 3 generations under such conditions and after the 1989 Velvet Revolution the situation revitalized. During the 90's everybody was "drunk" by freedom , especially in the circles of Intelligentsia because it meant the end of censorship and ideological freedom for journalists, politicians and activists and creative freedom for writers and artists.
I don't want to say there is no Intelligentsia in Russia, in fact the education is definitely more accessible than before the Revolution. But while education, especially in humanities was significantly altered to serve ideological needs of its time, after the fall of the USSR, Russia did not really have time to revitalize and re-define itself. Communist regime has exchanged with the regime of Oligarchs and gangsters on top with a totalitarian psychopath, ex KGB agent Vladimir Putin. Vladimir Putin continues with totalitarian censorship, it's over 100 years since the Bolshevist Revolution and it seems there's nobody left from the old Intelligentsia at this point. On the other hand the "New Intelligentsia" has to comply with the atmosphere of today's Russia, which means they do have to stay in line with their opinions and expression. Also, many young people in Russia want to emigrate. And young people are the future. Surveys conducted by the independent sociological agency Levada-Center note a gradual increase in the wish to emigrate among people aged 18-24 years, on the rise since 2014. In September 2019, more than half of the respondents (53 percent) of this age group expressed a desire to move abroad permanently. The trend is also visible among the middle-aged population, although to a lesser extent. On the top it is estimated that 200,000 scientists leave Russia every year. It is widely believed that the real volume of emigration is three to four times higher than shown by official data.
Russia should focus on the development and support of their Intelligentsia to make their country more successful, respected and also attractive to the rest of the world. But you can't do that without freedom and getting rid of their gangster leaders. Unfortunately, even though Russia wants to be respected as a modern European country, because of their mentality, they were not even able so far to successfully implement a democracy. They always just fake it and pretend that they do. Communists with just one allowed political party pretended that it's a rule of people. And today's Russian oligarchs that hold the power in Russia are also faking a democracy. It's the same thing as that most of the Russians believe in their delusional understanding of their history. Most Russians don't admit that under Stalin's rule around twenty million people were killed which is more than what Hitler achieved... That's why human life in Russia has such a little value. And if ex USSR and ex Eastern bloc countries don't really like Russia, they have a good reason for it. And of course, it doesn't help that Russians don't own their mistakes but instead, they repeat them with a big dose of entitlement over and over.
After the downfall of the Tsar they didn't developed a society based on freedom and equality. Of course, it's impossible to get it right straight away, but at this point one century has passed and not so much changed. Majority of them still believe in propaganda. In reality they just developed different kinds of inequality, oppression and totalitarian leaders and then they collectively justify it , therefore they can't correct themselves and they repeat their mistakes over and over, because their intellectual elites are gone because of perpetual oppression. This is not a society of the future. This is a society of the dark past.