Home pageAdvanced searchIndexe-mailAdd to favorites
Books by Grigory Yavlinsky
Economics and Politics in Russia
The Center for Economic and Political Research (EPIcenter)
Nizhni Novgorod-Moscow, 1992

1.2. Principles.

On the Essential Features of "Democratic Thinking"

[previous] [CONTENTS] [next]

The ideological basis of the "democratic revolution" which wound up in August-December 1991 (but was intellectually prepared in the depths of the Soviet society starting from the Khruschov "thaw") comprised two fundamental concepts. We

may say that the spiritual basis for the developments that we have witnessed or are witnessing was composed of the following:

- the concept of human freedom (and its economic and political application - the concept of political democracy and market economy);

- the concept of freedom of nations, and their right to independently define the state system.

However, considerable restrictions should be introduced into the aforesaid. It was not the concepts themselves which defined our development (as far as one can speak about the influence of concepts on social life), but a specific perception of these ideas, which is natural for our intelligentsia (the intelligentsia of the capital, in the first place. Certainly some independent thinkers, the voices of which are, as a rule, too quiet to be heard among the social battles, are not the intelligentsia. Normally people start listening to them much later, when everything has already happened.)

The following features of such "a way of perception" should be recognized as essential:

- lack of consideration of the notions, in other words, their (philosophically) non-critical application, and in this connection, it is not a thinking operating with meanings, not an interpreting thinking, and consequently not a thinking in the true meaning of the word, but a "practical action" (from "kitchen conversations" and publicistic articles (all of our "publicism") up to the demonstrations), where "the thought" (all that remains from it, in its best samples, is the undereducated "common sense") is just an element of an action, and no more;

- lack of a culture of science - not only absolutely insufficient comprehension of modern or, in many cases, even dated economic, political and sociological thought; but also failure to understand the method of science, failure to understand the fact that a given object, and a given country are purely studied from the point of view of science, and thus before application one should conduct a thorough study, and to study means not only to gather diversified facts from other countries' experiences and to generalize them within the frameworks of well-known theoretical schemes, concentrating on the general and avoiding the problems, which cast doubt on the schemes themselves, but to make a study proceeding from the mass data, doubting the current schemes from the very beginning. And in any case, study should precede action;

It should be admitted that the intelligentsia, in preparing social changes, turned out to be unprepared for them, and this had devastating effects.

Today the "community" has begun to vaguely feel and not yet realize that something has happened with the "freedom" and "self-determination"; something has gone wrong here.

[previous] [CONTENTS] [next]