Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Window on Eurasia: Russia is ‘a Sociopathic Land,’ Orthodox Priest Says

Paul Goble

Baku, May 12 – The May 9th Victory Day celebration, a Russian Orthodox priest says, shows that Russia over the course of the last century and thanks to the imposition of Soviet values which continue to define the thinking and behavior of people there a sociopathic country, a state which “cannot live with others” because it is “indifferent to their rights.”
In a disturbing essay posted on the portal, Father Yakov Krotov says that “Russia was not always a sociopath.” While it was far from the most attractive of European countries in the 19th century, “it was a normal underdeveloped country, “capable of “concluding alliances” and “remaining true to them (
While tsarist Russia was known as “the gendarme of Europe,” it was never called “the militiaman” of the continent because “unlike the militiaman, a gendarme all the same is a social phenomenon,” an individual responsible for enforcing laws that protect society rather than acting without regard for those laws and only for his own benefit.
Militiamen are hardly unique in this, Krotov continues, and he points to the attitudes and behavior of the oligaqrchs. “An oligarch who says that things are better in Russia than in England because in Russia he does not have to obey laws is a sociopath. He does not understand that while he can hid from the courts, he can’t protect his own child” from various social ills.
Krotov cites a psychoanalytic handbook to the effect that “anti=social psychopaths are not constrained by the norms of morality. They lie completely shamelessly … In most cases, they are moved by consideration of their own benefit but only in the short term: the longer-term consequences of their actions do not affect them much.”
“Is the acquisition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia profitable for Russia?” Krotov asks. “Is it profitable to establish such a protectorate over Georgia through which Central Asia will not be able to sell its gas to Europe so that we can remain monopolists? It is profitable – but “only in the short term.”
“Is it profitable to take money from a neighbor for a car and then not give it to him? It is profitable – one has the car. But that this will mean that one will not have good relations with the neighbor is not important to a sociopath. Relations are the essence of ‘social,’ and the sociopath fears that as much as fire.”
The Russia that developed after 1917 is defined by the medical description of sociopathy, the Orthodox priest continues. “’About their own failings, sociopaths never regret and are not inclined to learn from.’” Instead, they blame others or put our superficially attractive explanations, “’which leads to conflict with society.’”
When a country becomes sociopathetic, he says, it “accuses the countries around it and enters into conflict with the international community,” seeking only a short-term gain and ignoring the way in which its actions will undermine the possibility for cooperation and development of ties.
But there are other aspects of the sociopathetic personality which become especially dangerous when they are raised to the level of an entire country: Typically, Krotov continues, again citing the psychological text, sociopaths “act impulsively and are not inclined to planning. They are not afraid of threats and future punishments and dangers.’”
Indeed, and as paradoxical and counter-intuitive as it may seem, “their own security and that of others does not worry them very much.” Krotov continues by observing that a sociopath, either an individual or a state, “does not understand what social security is because he [it] does not understand what a society is.”
“Sociopathology is a victory over society. In the West people complain that society is individualistic, atomized, broken apart? Let them come to Russia: here there is no atomization or individualism!” That is because “here there is no society: 100 million sociopaths do not form a society just as … 100 zeks [or 100 of their jailors0 do not form a parliament.”
“When did sociopathy triumph in Russia?” Krotov asks, and he suggests that the answer is provided by the chief holidays the country celebrates: the anniversary of the October 1917 revolution, army day, and Victory Day on May 9th,” the last being perhaps the most indicative of the country’s descent into sociopathy relative to the rest of the world.
“In the final analysis,” he concludes, “the revolution and the reddening of the army are deeply internal phenomena, but May 9th is a commemoration of the separation of Russia from [its] allies in the anti-Hitler coalition,” a world in which most countries, including former enemies, mark “not victory or defeat but forgiveness and rapprochement.”

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