propaganda presented a black and white vision of the world that
reflected the confrontation of the two socioeconomic and political
systems. It claimed that the Soviet Union was a special and most
progressive civilization destined to show the way for the rest of
the world. The attitude toward capitalist countries was highly
critical, negative, and even hostile.
The collapse of
the USSR caused a crisis of national identity, rekindling Russia’s
perennial debate about its civilizational orientation. The
Westernizers insist that Russia is part of the West and should
follow models of development furnished by the United States and
European countries. The Traditionalists, or
Conservatives, claim that
Russia has its own way.
Soviet black and white vision of the world and the euphoric
admiration of Western ways characteristic of the immediate
post-Soviet period have given way to a number of ideological
preferences. The disaffection with the West does not necessarily
mean longing for the return to the Soviet past. But it has revived
the idea of Russia’s “special path” characteristic of both
traditional and Soviet mentality.
Should Russia Follow?
respondents) (ROMIR, 2000)
path of European civilization
Retake the Soviet path
Russia’s own way
Unsure which path
the Soviets, the idea of a special way was clearly elaborated in
Communist doctrines and was presented as the building of Communism,
whereas now people find it difficult to define clearly what they
mean by the “Russian way”. So far, no one has been able to explain
accurately how this special road should be built and where it will
lead Russia. Perhaps, the quest for the Russian way reflects another
typical characteristic of the national mentality of Russians – the
belief in miracles.