If anyone thought that imperialism was dead, they should think again.  

Putin's 'reign' has seen to it that the old Russia, of the Orthodox-Romanov time, has been enabled to make a comeback.  It's as if even the strongman Putin has had epiphanies that harken back to the glorious imperial times of yore. 

That nostalgia however is gaining fast momentum.  

A current exhibition in Moscow, organized with the blessing of both the Orthodox church and the Kremlin, paints the Romanov rule in rosey, almost romantic notes, and has become wildly popular, with queus that stretch for blocks in the icy Moscow winter.

The Orthodox church has been at the forefront of the effort to rehabilitate and possibly seat a descendant of the Romanov back on the throne, although that might be an agenda not shared with the Kremlin.  But the Kremlin? It is almost astounding, if not heresy, for the old communist guard, that staunch idealistic remnant of a period, most will tell you, which 'liberated' the Russian people from the yoke of imperialism to see such things.  

So what now?  What is to happen to that ideology?  Where is the legacy of Toltoj? of Trotsky? 

It seems that the effort underlying the exhibition betrays a deeper and secret motive.  By refreshing and rehabilitating the tsars, the Kremlin is trying to stir up nationalist sentiments that identified Russia with its old empire, and justifies indirectly its own harsh, undemocratic line.  

In fact, Putin's religious fervor is no secret, but the fact that he relies for spiritual guidance on a powerful monk, Archimandrite Tikhon, has eery echoes of another 'regent' who had the ear of a powerful monk.  We all know how that ended. 

The exhibition, meanwhile, is chugging along nicely, with more than 17,000 visitor a day, so many in fact, that hours had to be extended until midnight to accomodate the press of people. 

When it comes to the tsars, religion is never far behind.  One of the greatest attractions at the exhibition is an icon of Our Lady of St. Theodore, which historically is significant due to the fact that the icon had blessed none other than Micheal the 1st, the founding Romanov. Many fawned upon the sacred icon, kissing it, touching and filing around it.


Interestingly enough, most of the exhibition relies on old reels or reenactments to show the history of the Romanovs.  There are few artifacts, either because they were destroyed during the revolution, or because they are too valuable to be shown.  

This is fact, is none other than an attempt at both rehabilitating the legitimacy and the lore of the Romanovs rule, and to show some sort of worth in it, or goodness, inherent with the tsarist rule.  If there was demonization during the revolution, now there is almost an air of sanctity. Oh wait, this writer has forgotten: the last tsars were already sanctified by the Orthodox Church a while ago.  So much so in fact, that the church has denied access to the bone reliquiae of the tsars that would have confirmed their identity during forensic studies, because you one can no longer, in the words of the Patriarch, consider them human after sanctification. 

Go figure. 

Back to the exhibition.  Many suspect that besides the return to the ages of Russian 'splendor', the exhibition is a way to subtly justify the authoritarian ways employed by Putin. And that, in fact, makes more sense than anything else.  But is everyone buying this?

From the lines outside the Kremlin, it indeed seems so. 


Partial Source : France 24/ 11.21.13


Partial Source : France 24/ 11.21.13



No comments:

Post a Comment