The modern Russian conservatism: a collection of articles, Moscow, 2011, 140 pp.
Dr. Svetoslav Manoilov
In the end of 2011 came a collection called “The modern Russian conservatism: a collection of articles”. It is issued on behalf of the party "United Russia"(Единая Россия), which claims to be not only the dominant political force, but the political center between left and right wings - playing the role of national unifier, and seeks to explain why the ruling party defines itself as conservative. The collection includes articles of people from different fields of knowledge - members-ideologues of "United Russia", psychologists, philosophers, sociologists, theologians. The main purpose of the compilers of the book is to examine contemporary Russian conservatism and its principles from as many perspectives and to prove that he is the most appropriate state ideology for Russia. To achieve this they go back in the past showing that the principles of this political doctrine are primordial and natural.
At the same time the authors of the book are trying to develop the Russian classical philosophy of conservatism so that it can answer to the modern challenges. Their aim is to build such a philosophy with which to obtain the widest support in the society by its unification on non-partisan principles, since the collapse of Soviet communism Russia needs a new ideology to replace the old, and the attempts to impose neoliberal "Western" values does not found support among the majority of the population.
The authors of the book focus on the close relation between the Russian and the European conservatisms, the basis of which are Christianity and antiquity, and it uses the conceptual apparatus of the classical philosophy of society and state law. This is the case nowadays, but the modern Russian conservatism should also continue the intellectual line of Russian religious, social, governmental and legal philosophy.
The compilers of the book are trying to answer one of the key questions of the contemporary Russian conservatism – which type of governmental tradition should be preserved – the Imperial, the Soviet or the modern Russian Republic? The first reaction is that, this question has an easy answer - Russia from the period before the revolution is built on conservative principles - autocracy, orthodoxy, nationality and that is the credo of every Russian conservative. While the situation with the second and third principle - Orthodoxy as the true religion and the relationship between the nation and state remain undeniable for traditionalists even nowadays, the return of the monarchy in Russia does not seem real.
According to the authors of the collection the ideology of contemporary Russian conservatism should seek to preserve the best practices of the three political systems in Russia. The base is, of course, is the imperial tradition. From the Soviet period their aim is to restore the power and influence of the state. The contemporary system should give to the conservatism its modern look - the Republic, the leader of which is the president, the new autocrat ....
In conclusion it can be concluded that the book "Modern Russian conservatism" managed to fulfill its main task - to legalize the Russian neo-conservatism as the most appropriate ideology for Russian state, and hence to explain the decision of Vladimir Putin and the "New Russia" to follow its principles. Certainly the authors of the book can be accused partly favoritism and idealization of conservatism, but they also point out many indisputable facts in its defense. "The modern Russian conservatism" is an important document for anyone who wants to understand not only the Russian neo-conservatism, but also contemporary Russian reality.