When Culture Reaches for a Gun

Mikhail Piotrovsky, the director of the State Hermitage Museum, signed up with Vladimir Putin, Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev, Patriarch Kirill and also previous culture preacher Vladimir Medinsky in the function of hefty artillery to justify ideologically Russia’s selection of people: self-isolation as well as an antiquated militarized state.

Mikhail Piotrovsky has been supervisor of the Hermitage for 30 years– longer than Vladimir Putin has been president, and also longer than his dad, Boris Piotrovsky, was supervisor of the Hermitage prior to him.

Unlike “Putin, Patrushev and also Co.”– the belief company that has developed a fictional globe with mythologized history and also make believe growth objectives– Mikhail Piotrovsky is the epitome of intellectualism with a brilliant education and learning in the humanities.

Understanding of five living languages and a number of old ones does not exempt him from public service. As well as being director of the Hermitage is a service profession. If you understand the nation as different from the federal government– and for the government, it is a showcase for the country–. The federal government comes first. The task is like being an usher at the Bolshoi Theater, revealing figures important to the federal government to their box, just below they are used up the grand staircase right into the Hermitage. Right here is Piotrovsky accompanying Tony Blair, right here is George Bush, below is Kim Jong Il, right here is Gundyaev, not yet patriarch and also not yet with a white beard … It is service to the state.

Serving the state in the dark times of today’s Russia implies simplifying word and deed, getting down to the degree of uneducated individuals. This has actually constantly held true in history.

Initially shocked as well as blown away, the Russian elite waited and watched the “special armed forces operation.” They realized that there was no hope of getting back to their previous lives when they saw that it was dragging on. They neglected their instinctive response as well as, with a hefty sigh, took sides. Putin’s lenders, Putin’s oligarchs, Putin’s priests, as well as Putin’s social figures pertained to the final thought that when your country is at battle, you have to take the side of the country. Every person else is a traitor.

Very practical. Just the nation isn’t at war. The authoritarian program– a program really loosely connected to the country– has appropriated power and trampled on its own constitution.

With his support for the battle, the refined Piotrovsky canceled himself and even advertised the termination of the Hermitage, one of the icons of nation as well as federal government. As well as he placed himself comparable with other figures of the exact same “culture,” like uber-patriotic pop singer Oleg Gazmanov.

“War … is a country’s form of self-assertion.” An expression we might have learnt through Mussolini or Franco or any kind of other tyrant in the 20th century came from Piotrovsky in the 21st. In this war there is extraordinary number of evacuees and also displaced persons– more than 8 million as of June– almost 5,000 validated dead on the Ukrainian side and also an unknown number on the Russian side. We do not recognize specifically how many because Putin’s Russia doesn’t appreciate them, it hides its dead and also does not repatriate its remains. Is this the self-assertion of a country?

Of what? For the “denazification” of 320 dead kids? The “demilitarization” of prospering cities, manufacturing facilities, schools that were certainly not constructed by Putin?

Putin and also Nikolai Patrushev, with their billion-dollar lot of money, are asserting themselves, since they fell short to achieve the goals of peaceful advancement of Russia for twenty years– that is, they were unable to assert their soft power. And also currently they console themselves with supposed “accuracy” strikes on old individuals and also three-month-old babies that made it through the Holocaust as well as the sacred Great Patriotic War. Putin betrayed and also desecrated that war, transforming it into his own residential property, even removing the grass-roots “Immortal Regiment” from civil culture.

The “royal practice” that Piotrovsky makes use of to justify Putin’s battle remains in reality the brake that has actually prevented Russia from creating– not for decades, however, for centuries. It is the force that gobbles all the national sources and warps precepts as well as self-perceptions. It is barbarically antiquated: there are no realms in the contemporary world– the Ottoman, British, Austro-Hungarian and also all the remainder have actually disappeared.

This is the devastating extension of the collapse of the Soviet realm, which did not upright December 25, 1991. It is being unnaturally dragged out by Putin, who is lengthening the death throes. The death of this beast is unpleasant and lengthy, and as it ends it draws right into itself grownups, children, manufacturing facilities, blvds, galleries, monuments, background, literary works, historic memory …

“Russian nationalism is a sense of one’s very own historical dignity,” Piotrovsky claimed. This kind of nationalism paves the roadway to heck via huge losses, great sacrifices, and also the denial of all that is human. It turns a visitor to the Hermitage right into a stinking soldier with a stolen washing device. Soviet police officers brought back masterpieces from beat Germany, now soldiers bring back ordinary consumer goods from Ukraine. Such is our evolution.

“We militarists and imperialists comprehend our historic goal,” states the Hermitage supervisor, a professional in Asian art and also successor to a famous household. “we” are not all militarists as well as imperialists. Represent yourself!

However what is the historical objective? This “mission” appears to be Putin’s “objectives” and “strategy” for a “special procedure” to ruin all that is the human in Russia. The objectives have not yet been satisfied. As a matter of fact, they have actually not been defined as well as are frequently changing. When we bumped into Kherson, we chose to overcome it, too, although we assumed the objective was Donbas. “Everything is going according to plan,” he claims. What’s the plan? Until now we have actually only seen the landmarks heading: the damage of Russia’s economic climate, civil culture and also culture.

What various other theses did Piotrovsky supply? We are “a lot more Europe” than Europe itself. We are the guardians of its true worths. Today’s Europe has shed its Europeanness, while we treasure and also support it. Naturally, if we indicate the middle ages Europe ruined plagues, campaigns, and also wars, after that we are Europe.

Modern Europe is not up in arms with anybody, does not eliminate any individual, and also does not wipe cities off the face of the planet. Evacuees are migrating to contemporary Europe, not to “welcoming” Russia. I wonder why not.

“Our country is carrying out fantastic international improvements,” Piotrovsky stated. However it is not “our” country– it is “your” country of Putin that is damaging the Tolstoyan world that might have implemented the peaceful coexistence of nations, countries and our compatriots. It can not be affirmed by killing, baptizing as well as waving banners– as was done in the empire the Putinists desire, a realm renowned for its legalized enslavement, contempt for human life, and also pogroms.

Mikhail Piotrovsky made use of to talk differently regarding what “international” methods. He as soon as said, “Art belongs to humanity, it is an excellent facet of globalization … Without art, no globalization is possible. Art must be equated from culture to society, from people to human being, and also from generation to generation … We [ museums of the globe. – A.K.] wish to state that in all ages, the globe in all its diversity is one– if there is art.”

That may be instead pompous, yet it’s real.

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