This is a second part of my review, “Ukraine Gives World a Chance”. The first part had “What is going on in Ukraine and around now?” and “Kyiv is older than Moscow by Hundreds of Years” sections. In this part, the “imperial slave and master” mentality in Russia is explained.
The “imperial slave and master” mentality
There is a well-known quote from famous Russian poet Tyutchev – “Russia cannot be understood with the mind. ” Well, that is not true.
The mentality, a.k.a. mindset, of people inside Russian territory is the so-called “imperial slave and master” mentality. Such a mentality is a strange alloy of different components. The phenomenon of the imperial “imperial slave and master” mentality is known but is poorly studied and understood.
Carriers of this mentality know that they live within a particular empire, in this case, within the Tatar-Mongol khanate, which was often known as the Tatar-Mongol horde.
People know that this empire is a brutal power, that society under this power’s rule is defective, not free. Yet, those people acquired the so-called “learned helplessness” through generations of suppression. Those people never tried to organize and fight with the empire because they sincerely believed that any such effort was useless.
There is a bureaucratic ladder within the empire, with different levels of power and comfort in life. Many people work hard to step up this ladder. They find it natural to crush and oppress people on lower levels of this ladder. They also do not trust this power and believe they have a right to steal whatever is possible from this power. The main thing is not to get caught red-handed.
The relationship with people outside the empire
On the other hand, they are proud to be citizens of an extensive, brutal empire, frightening the outside people. At the same time, all those people were envious of “others,” of people living outside the empire, of freer people, who, in many cases, had a more comfortable life. Such envy is ingrained into the minds of carriers of the “imperial slave and master” mentality. What is the solution to that envy? The faithful servants of this empire see the answer in expanding the empire, ideally to the whole planet. In that case, all of Earth’s population would live in the same bad or even worth society. There would be nobody to envy outside the empire.
The “imperial slave and master” mentality carriers believe the whole world should be afraid of them. They think that they have a legitimate right to conquer other people to force foreigners to become similar imperial slaves as they are. The carriers of the “imperial slave and master” mentality are especially cruel to so-called “traitors,” “others” within themselves – people who were inside this empire and managed or just tried to fight and get out. The carriers of the “imperial slave and master” mentality believe it is their sacral mission to force such traitor people back into their defective empire. Examples are the suppression of the rebellion in Tver in 1327 and aggression against Ukraine in 2022.
Such an “imperial slave and master” mentality is still flourishing in modern Russia. Let us listen to what a modern Russian historian, Evgeny Ponasenkov, tells us about one side of the current psyche of people in Russia. E. Ponasenkov is the author of the book “The first scientific history of the war of 1812” . On March 10, 2022, in a YouTube video, E. Ponasenkov discussed how the Russian aggression against Ukraine became possible.
What is the base for Russian aggression against Ukraine?
Here is a quote from Ponasenkov’s video .
“Why did all this become possible? Who does not just support all this, but who longs for [this]? Not a single tyrant, not a single despot could start an adventure if there were no base.
What is the base? These are envious losers, the mob, who live so badly because of their mediocrity that they cannot let [live] people who can live well, who are talented, beautiful, who can live. And they won’t let them. Let them themselves have nothing at all, but they will give nothing to those who can live. They dream that it all explodes, and especially where such beautiful lawns, films, cars are shown, where these soulless people live so well, blow up so that everything burns down there. It’s all because of them [envious losers].
The great genius Albert Camus in his great diaries, says that it is the little man who is the most dangerous; he starts bloody wars and revolutions. He [Albert Camus] did not decipher in such detail and beautifully as I did.”
That is a quote from 2022, more than seven centuries since 1327. For many centuries that mentality was ingrained into people’s minds inside the borders of the former Russian empire.
The other quote is from a March 31, 2022, Forbes journal interview with Natalia Zubarevich, professor at the Faculty of Geography of Moscow State University . “What is going on [with nationalist frenzy, with mass support for Russian aggression against Ukraine]? Why do people react this way? Mass support [is in] all the peripheries, medium, small cities. We endured – and we will endure; well done, [Putin]; [You] brutally punished them. Why exactly do the peripheries demonstrate this behavioral mode so vividly? Poverty, the habit of survival, and a very strong compensatory sense of belonging to a great force that can brutally punish [other people].”
If somehow the enslaved person managed to become the emperor, he would continue the tradition, be crueler, and expand his empire as much as possible.
Conclusion: In essence, many centuries over, Russia is a transformed Tatar-Mongol horde, with a different name, boundaries, technology, tools, phraseology, and with oppressors delegated from its people. Those, who lived long enough inside this empire, became faithful carriers of an “imperial slave and master” mentality. Any interaction with such an empire, with such people, should consider their mentality and history.
The question is what are consequences of such mentality to the world and does the West understand it or not.
— Go to “Ukraine Gives World a Chance. Part 1” —
— Go to “Ukraine Gives World a Chance. Part 3” —
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4. Понасенков Евгений Николаевич, АСТ, 2021, Первая научная история войны 1812 года. Третье издание, АСТ, 2021, стр. 1 – 89. – in Russian -[E. Ponasenkov, The first scientific history of the war of 1812. Third edition, AST, 2021, pp. 1–896.]
5. Евгений Понасенков о войне в Украине (продолжение), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7uyyvPeCOg – in Russian – [Yevgeny Ponasenkov about the war in Ukraine (continued), from 13 min 28 sec]
6. Технологическая отсталость, безработица и давление на бизнес: сценарии Натальи Зубаревич, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iSroKG1mBo, – in Russian – [Technological backwardness, unemployment, and pressure on business: scenarios by Natalia Zubarevich, from 57 min 11 sec]
For my book “Subsurface History of Humanity: Direction of History” – go to amazon marketplaces (paperback, Kindle book, and audiobook), and for the audiobook – go to Audible or iTunes. The audiobook comes with a supplemental digital booklet.
2 replies on “Ukraine Gives World a Chance. Part 2”
This is pretty stark Victor, as I’m sure only someone with first hand knowledge can know. Reading it, I wonder, is there any way to help people climb out of that mentality?
It seems like all of humanity once had a similar mindset, all used to living under monarchies or other dictatorships. Yet most of the developed world worked themselves out of it over the centuries, but it was a very gradual process, developing institutions along the way. Russia seems like it resisted those institutions for centuries, and as a result was fertile ground for the Communists. But the Communists ended up just being autocrats of a different flavor. And after their fall, within a few years, a new autocrat was running things.
Is there any hope for change in this type situation?
I do not know the answer. First, I’m not sure if anybody studied this phenomenon as a historical one. Monarchies or dictatorships are different. Second, I’m unaware of any related studies from psychology/ sociology viewpoints.
As far as I know, the concept of the “imperial slave and master” mentality was first introduced by me in this article.
Individually, people could be cured of it if thrown into a free society. The process is slow and, in many cases, could give positive results in subsequent generations. My observations in the USA are anecdotal, but they show that the first generation, in the majority of cases is, still has that mentality.
For big congregations of people, the process is even more touch. Even after the victory over Russian aggression, the Ukrainian people will have a very difficult and very long path forward. If they succeed, then, in about 1 -2 generations, we would know. That could be a path for tens of millions of people. However, the Ukraine case is a special one, as it goes through the nation’s birth and brutal war.
One thing is clear to me. Seven centuries of Russia show that such a mentality does not dissolve by itself over time. The opposite is true. It is getting worse. The size of this entity (Moscow to USSR) in 700 years grew 1120 times, up from 20K to 22,400K square kilometers, which is 1/6 of Earth’s land.