On Sunday, I talked with my second cousin, who lives in Russia. We lived in the same apartment for the first twenty-two years of my life, so we had our share of hate and love, and I respect him both personally and professionally.
Unlike most of my family, he is not a technical person. He is a historian, and not like an amateur historian, and not like “the history of the USSR” historian. He specialized in the history of Russia in the 19th century, so one can only imagine how far from easy it was to stick with this topic for over forty years of research. In short, he knows it. Seriously.
So, I was talking to him, and we were about to say our goodbyes. Then he said he hoped the time would come when we saw each other again. He immediately corrected himself. He said that he did not see any of the future for Russia at all, and “if we exclude the complete collapse of the state,” the only non-catastrophic outcome he saw was the strengthening of dictatorship. He reiterated that the complete collapse would be the worst and that “he hoped we would never come to that.”
I told him that I saw our only hope in this complete collapse, and I did not see any possibility of rebuilding the nation without destroying everything that exists now. I added that I was thinking about Germany in 1947. He replied: yes, but there is one slight difference: in Gernamy in 1947, they had an external government. I said: yes, that’s what I mean, and then I realized that with all these positive things about him I mentioned at the beginning of the post, he still thinks that 1) nothing can be done, 2) anything is better than a potential collapse of the state.
And it’s extremely unfortunate.