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Trenin Writes, ‘Massive Transformation Is Taking Place in Russia, and the West Is Blind to It’

RT published an insightful opinion piece by Dmitri Trenin, a research professor at Russia’s Higher School of Economics and a member of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), which discusses the major transformations underway in Russia today.

Trenin writes that Russia is “on a course toward a new sense of itself,” and that “this trend actually predated the military operation but has been powerfully intensified as a result.… The central focus of post-Soviet Russia—money—has not been eliminated, of course, but has certainly lost its unquestionable dominance. When many people—not only soldiers but civilians, too—are getting killed, other, non-material values are coming back. Patriotism, reviled and derided in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse, is re-emerging in force … the traditions of Russian literature, including poetry, film, music are being revived and developed.”

There is also a generational change underway, Trenin reports. “It doesn’t look like some sort of ‘purge’ is coming. The changes, nonetheless, will be substantial, given the age factor. Most of the current incumbents in the top places are in their early ‘70s. Within the next six to ten years these positions will go to younger people.”

“The Russian elite is definitely going through a massive turnover,” he continued, and the new outlook “is based on the model of a family. There is order, and there is a hierarchy; rights are balanced by responsibilities; the state is not a necessary evil but the principal public good and the top societal value…. There is appreciation of Western classical and modern (but not so much post-modern) culture, the arts and technology, and of living standards to an extent….

“Whatever finally emerges will probably be built on the values-led foundation of traditional religions, starting with Russian Orthodoxy.”