Russian is not an adjective

In the Russian Federation, Russians suddenly showed up. This is irrefutably evidenced by the new edition of the concept of the State national policy, which will be proposed to the president, who recently called himself the most effective nationalist country.

«The Russian state was formed as a unity of peoples, the Russian people who historically acted as the backbone core of which - says the new document. - The modern Russian society is united by a single cultural (civilizational) code based on the preservation and development of Russian culture and language, the historical and cultural heritage of all peoples of Russia».

It also puts the task of "ethno-cultural development of the Russian people"And"strengthening the status of the Russian language as a state". Among the significant threats are such as “hyperbolization of regional interests and separatism, including through support from abroad“Illegal migration and the imperfection of the system of adaptation of migrants, the formation of closed ethnic enclaves, the outflow of the Russian population from the regions of the North Caucasus, Siberia and the Far East.

Yegor Kholmogorov

One can only hope that this project on the way to a presidential signature will not lose these formulations, on the contrary, they will be sharpened for a better understanding by all (and above all by the officials conducting national policy on the ground) simple truth: there will be no Russia without Russians. For Russia to be, we need Russians, it is necessary that there are more Russians and that we become more and more Russians - a people with a deep and proud historical self-awareness and self-confidence. It is necessary, as Minister of Education Count Uvarov once said, “To develop Russian nationality on its true beginnings and, thereby, to put it at the center of state life and moral education”.

On the contrary, the way to the death of the country is to make the Russians feel that they are a persecuted and oppressed minority, they feel the desire to get on a tractor and “run away from Russia”, and not further into Khabarovsk, but much further.

The fact that part of the Russian citizens had the corresponding mood was also to blame for the power, which for decades had reduced the unity of Russia to "not offend the proud peoples," and many Russian nationalists who clung to the psychology of the minority and began to cultivate it, and the media, with fury, they denied the very existence of Russians - everything is alien, everything is non-bureaucratic, and even there are no Russians as such, Russian is not a noun, but an adjective.

Sometimes this utter game in a fit of national samoyedness was repeated even by some patriotic thinkers. "One of the traits of the Russian character is the ability for the toughest self-criticism. In this respect, we are probably superior to anyone."- noted the famous literary critic-Eurasian V.V. Kozhinov. He explained this by saying that "Russians call themselves adjectives, i.e. there is a certain uncertainty, because Russians appear not so much as a nation, but as some kind of fastening huge subcontinent beginning". Thus, the publicist (however, he is not the first and he is not the last) gave a vivid lesson of the very uncertainty and excessive national self-determination and self-criticism, which he spoke about.

Their root cause, of course, is not in the imaginary "adjectivity", and therefore, the vagueness of the Russian national identity.

On the way to the noun

In the name of the people who created the Russian state, the first few centuries of its history were “Russia” (the correct singular is “Rusin”). The adjective "Russian" was used as a definition with a particular noun - "language" (in the sense of the people, gens), "land", "prince", "people", "ambassadors", "law", "power", " clan "," parish "," party / country "," city "," metropolis "," sea "," rooks "," name "," chelyadin "," sons "," war "," regiments "," holiday ”,“ knowledge ”,“ aspiration ”- all this in the ancient Russian literature of the XI century is defined as“ Rusko ”(the second“ c ”appeared under Western influence only in the XVII century).

This usage was the only norm of the Russian literary language before the reforms of Peter I, extending to any other ethnonyms - “German people”, “Lithuanian people”, “Persian people”, “Turkish people”. “Ellipsis”, as linguists express, that is, the omission of the word “people” and the substantivization of the adjective “Russian”, begins to appear only in the middle of the XVII century, and it can be initially explained by the tiredness of a tautology scribe.

Apparently, the first case of the use of the substantive adjective "Russian" is in the Council's 1649 code of the year:

«Polonianki, who married Russian ... ordered to live in the wild, where someone wants". However, the present linguistic shift refers to the Peter I era, when the Russian language is exposed to the most powerful influence of Western European (primarily German) languages. It was then that instead of nouns with the definition of “Russian” and the forms “Russia”, “Rusyn”, etc., the substantive adjective “Russian” begins to be used as an ethnonym, and prior to the beginning of the 19th century it competes as a phenomenon of low calm calm "Russian".

Characteristically, in the article “On love for the fatherland and national pride,” Karamzin consistently uses the word “Russian” as a substantive, and in “A Note on Ancient and New Russia” and “History,” more and more places are occupied by “Russians”, but until the end Russians "are still not being squeezed out.

It is impossible to explain the age-old Russian inclination to Samoyed by such a relative new language phenomenon as the use of the “adjective” as an ethnonym. On the contrary, in the 19th – 20th centuries, the assertive “Russian” became the banner of the national way of thinking, the symbol of the nationalist direction, denoting itself as “Russian view”, “Russian direction”, “truly Russians”, “Russian party”.

If what we are looking for is the cause of corrosive Russian self-criticism, it’s in Russian intelligentsiawhich is the only bearer of it (in the simple people, if we take the proverbs, epic and historical songs as an expression of their views, we will not notice any national samoedity). And this feature is connected primarily with the fact that our intelligentsia does not consider and would not like to consider the adjective “Russian” itself to be decisive. Part of our intelligentsia wanted and wants to be foreign - universal human cosmopolitan or associated with one or another specific (but not Russian) people.

There is something to reproach not only liberals, but also some nationalists. They often wish to place themselves in the position of a “constructive” nation, and therefore they sometimes deny their historical existence. Russian nationso that such a “trifle” as a thousand-year-old building of the Russian nationality, statehood and faith would not hurt at the “national building” site.

Paradoxically, the thousand-year-old Russian nation and the more than two hundred year history of the conscious Russian nationalism of the “modern” pattern remain among this holiday of self-eating as a poor orphan. Therefore, it is necessary to repeat once again some things that I personally see as self-evident.

Russian nation exists

The Russian nation is one of the oldest nations in Europe, listed in any serious study of the history of nations and nationalism. “The old nations of Europe in the 1789 year were in the west - the British, the Scots, the French, the Dutch, the Castilians and the Portuguese; in the north, the Danes and the Swedes; and in the east, Hungarians, Poles and Russians, ”wrote British researcher Hugh Seton-Watson in 1977.

Russian nationalist thought is at least not younger than German. Her first detailed manifesto, the above-mentioned article by Karamzin “On love for the Fatherland and national pride” with her famous “Russian should know its price”, refers to the 1802 year, without being, of course, the first expression of a conscious Russian national feeling. The tradition of Russian intellectual nationalism includes dozens of names of the greatest thinkers, writers, poets.

The concept of “Russians” means a vast community already in antiquity (especially today) a community of people connected by a common origin, language, self-consciousness and a long-term unity of political fate (if not always relevant, then always shared by this community).

The concept of the Russian nation covers not only the ethnographic group of Great Russians, but all the Eastern Slavs. The groups of Little Russians and Belarusians had particularities in their political and linguistic development, but until the beginning of the era of political construction of nations in the twentieth century they did not break with the self-consciousness of Russian unity (or at least the trinity), and now this gap is in many ways artificial and violent. .

The word "Rus" appears in the historical sources of the 9th century, and already in the middle of the 11th century it refers to a vast historical, cultural and political community attached to which the concepts of "land", "people", "language", and "authority" are attached. There is no reason to deny this community in the name of a "nation", at least in the sense that is embedded in it by the authors speaking of "nations before nationalism."

"Russia is the oldest national state in Europe," noted the outstanding Russian publicist and political thinker. I. L. Solonevich.

The Russian nation appears in the historical arena at the same time as most other Christian nations in Europe. If you look at the map of the continent of the X – XI centuries, for the most part we will see on it The same countries and peoples, as today, with very, very few exceptions. England, France, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Portugal appeared on the map during this period. The kingdoms of Germany and Italy were formed within the Holy Roman Empire, although they did not attain real political unity. In the north of the Iberian Peninsula, the Christians of Leon and Castile led a reconquest from the Moors, preparing the appearance of Spain. This was the period of the “great origin of the nations,” and the Russian nation came to light precisely at that moment.

In none of the periods of their history did Russians lose the memory of their community and didn't forget her name. Neither in the period of so-called fragmentation, nor in the epoch of the Mongolian conquest, the ideas about the Russian land, Russian unity and the all-Russian cause did not disappear completely. "May the Russian land be settled and justice be in it. ”- the merchant Afanasy Son Nikitin, a merchant from Tver, expresses his innermost dream, lost over three seas, in the sands and mountains of the East.

The successful formation in the XV – XVI centuries of a centralized state - Russia - was due to the fact that from the very beginning it acted as an early national state, connecting the national community under a single power and forming its political, cultural and economic institutions.

When Ivan III demanded the lands of Western Russia, captured by Lithuania (in particular, Kiev), he stressed that he was demanding back the Russian land by the right of the Russian sovereign: “The Russian land is all with the will of God from antiquity from our ancestors our fatherland; and we are sorry for our father now, but their father’s land is Lyatskaya and Lithuanian».

Russian identity in the construction of the state was extremely important factor. For centuries, France had to collect from diverse pieces, and Ivan III and Vasily III over half a century collected all Russian lands outside Lithuania - and no separatism was found in them. In total 70 years after joining the Moscow State, Pskov withstands the siege by Stefan Batory, feeling himself as an organic part of a single Russian state. Neither during the Livonian war, nor during the Troubles did Novgorod try to seize the opportunity for separatist encroachments - Novgorod treason is evidently rooted only in Ivan IV's inflamed tyrannical brain. The urban uprisings that are not uncommon in these cities never carry a separatist tint, indicating that the polis beginning took root in them much deeper than a separate state one.

S.M. Prokudin-Gorsky. Young Russian peasant women near the river Sheksna. 1909

At the beginning of the 17th century, the Russian nation proved that it not only exists, but is also capable of independent organized actions even in the absence of a monarch sovereign. Russian communities were able to restore statehood and monarchy in the conditions of political disintegration, and this struggle was realized as a struggle for national, and not just for state. As it was written in 1611 to Moscow from the besieged Smolensk:

“At that time, in Moscow, the Russian people rejoiced and began to talk among themselves, as if in all the land, all people would join and join against the Lithuanian people so that the Lithuanian people from all over the land of Moscow would come out all at once.”

Russian nation, synthesizing the Slavic household and Byzantine religious and humanitarian began, managed to develop original culture and a rather developed civilization, ranked among other civilizations, being exposed to their intensive influence, but not being absorbed by them.

Problems of the development of the Russian nation were created by the cultural pseudomorphism of the XVII – XVIII centuries, connected with the church schism, the adoption of the Russian monarchy and the nobility of Western culture and the actual enslavement of the Russian peasantry. The nation was culturally divided.

At the same time, one should not exaggerate the extent of this split - the absolutism of the XVIII century in all countries of Europe, without exception, created tendencies contrary to nationalism. In the 19th century, both the autocracy, the nobility, and all the educated strata rapidly nationalized, creating in a short time one of the most highly developed national cultures of Europe. From the early national state, Russia was transformed into an empire, which, however, increasingly acquired the character of a national empire.

Count Uvarov, one of the creators of Russian national politics, wrote to Emperor Nicholas I, summing up the results of 16 for the years of management of the Ministry of Public Education:

“The new generation knows Russian better and in Russian than our generation”.

One should not succumb to the propaganda stamps of anti-monarchist journalism, which represented the Romanov dynasty as "the Germans on the throne." Even the most cosmopolitan of the nineteenth-century Russian kings, Alexander I, eventually ended his life as a simple Russian peasant - holy old man (what almost no one of the serious researchers of the Alexander epoch doubts).

Often, in order to present the Romanovs to the Germans, one has to go for a frank forgery, such as the phrase allegedly said by Nicholas I: “Russian nobles serve the state, German serve us". There are no documentary sources for this phrase older than the Soviet journalistic pamphlet by historian A.E. Presnyakov, published in the 1925 year. In fact, the emperor said the exact opposite: “I myself do not serve myself, but to you all". If Nicholas I was angry with the publicist Yuri Samarin, who wrote against the Germans' dominance, then he was under the impression that the monarchy was not faithful enough to the national interests of the Russian people, with which the emperor strongly disagreed. And his grandson, Alexander III, was called the “Russifier of All Russia” at all.

Monument to Minin and Pozharsky in Moscow

"I suggest Minin melt"

The social crisis of the twentieth century caused the Russian nation catastrophic damage, destroying or expelling a significant part of the national intelligentsia, which had the most developed national identity. For a long time, the Russian in all its manifestations was subjected to persecution or distortion.

«Я I suggest Minin to melt", Wrote one proletarian poet. Meanwhile, other rootless officials ordered the destruction of the monuments on the Borodino field as having no artistic value, and Admiral Nakhimov was dismantled in Sevastopol for having insulted the Turkish seamen.

The Bolshevik people's commissar Chicherin was proud of his efforts to dismember Russia: “We gave Estonia a purely Russian piece, we gave Finland the Pechenga, where the population did not want this, we did not ask Latgalia when transferring it to Latvia, we gave purely Belarusian lands to Poland. This is all connected with the fact that in the present general situation, in the struggle of the Soviet Republic against the capitalist environment, the supreme principle is the self-preservation of the Soviet Republic as the citadel of the revolution ... We are not guided by nationalism, but by the interests of the world revolution».

The most terrible consequences were the internal dismemberment of Russia in the republics and autonomy, accompanied by Ukrainization, Belarusianization and the transformation of Russians into “guests” in Kazakhstan, Tatarstan, Bashkiria, Yakutia, etc. Everyone knows what consequences this had in 1991 ( and it could have been even worse if the State Emergency Committee had not disrupted the adoption of a union treaty, which erected autonomy for the status of union republics).

Despite all this, the Russian national consciousness continued to develop even in the Soviet period, retaining a higher tone than the national consciousness of many nations of the West. The war in which the government was forced to turn to Russian patriotism helped a lot. The early Brezhnev years played their role, when the government allowed some forms of national cultural revival.

In view of the ban on the imperial Russian principle, Ancient Russia became a refuge for national identity. People with unprecedented diligence studied Old Russian literature and icons, drove around the Golden Ring. A photo of the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl appeared in almost every Russian house as a symbol of Russian ethnicity.

That is why, when the collapse of the 1990-s shook everything and everyone, the Russians nevertheless survived as a whole, although the rampant Russophobia in the media was such that the nation seemed to die from impotence and shame - or break up into parts. Many then threw up such an idea that there are no Russians, this is an “adjective”, and you have to be Cossacks, Pomors, Siberians - and so on up to Vyatichi and Mary.

Fortunately, this period of self-eating and dissolving we seem to have experienced. But so far there is nothing to rejoice about.

At the moment, the Russians are in a tragic state of a split nation. Split not only by the administrative borders of the Soviet republics, which suddenly became international, but also in the sense of the ethno-political nomenclature. In many national republics within the Russian Federation, Russians (despite the fact that they constitute either the majority or the second largest ethnic group) are in fact in the position of guests - continuously discriminated against, oppressed, forced to learn foreign languages. And when indignation erupts, we are told: “Do not dare to offend proud nations” (it turns out, you can offend Russians in this logic, we are not proud). All this threatened a great disaster.

Now we are clearly starting to come to life. First, external pressure causes uniting.

Secondly, the external example shows the horror that countries reach (the most democratic and with the most excellent standard of living) if they lose their national origin. Recall the recent case when in Marseille refused to name the street in honor of the French policeman who died in the attack, as this could “offend new citizens of the country”.

Thirdly, in the modern world, anti-globalism, nationalism, “identity” (a newfangled word meaning commitment to its own civilizational identity) still enter into force. Today, to be an all-tolerant human being is already a bit unfashionable. The only question is whether a person will become an adherent its traditions or some kind of alien (for example, leave to fight under a black banner in the sands).

Being oneself for the modern state and the modern nation is the only way to survive, not to cease to exist at all. And it is very good that the understanding of this wakes up.


Yegor Kholmogorov

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