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


The Problems of the Intelligentsia.

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To make the intelligentsia play its part, not only another major consideration of a number of problems is required.

Generally speaking, the orientation of thinking of our intelligentsia should be changed: it should evolve from semi-conceit to social sciences, from social sciences to

history, from science to philosophy, from rejection of authority to understanding of its problems (whatever this authority may be).

It is important for our topic that not only the interpretation of the notion of "national self- determination" should be changed within the framework of such a general approach, but the notion of "mutual understanding" should also be interpreted. These are interconnected notions, because at present it seems impossible that the process of the mental creativity of our people could exist as something isolated, independent from other nations' creative work.

It is easy to follow up the political applications of such an interpretation.

The task is facilitated by the fact that preconditions of such understanding lie in the European philosophical thought of the 20th century. Martin Heidegger touched upon this problem, and thus, following up his terminology, we could say that the task of the intelligentsia consists in a switch from "calculation" to "interpretative thinking".

Only in this case can we speak of a firm spiritual basis for the new federation, and only then will the matter of political and economic integration of a multinational Russia remain on terra firma, and the federal power will obtain one of the reference points in its politics, one of the pivots, in adhering to which it will be possible to aspire to social equilibrium. The task of the authorities (both federal and local) will be to provide, with the help of national and cultural policies, the external conditions for the development of the process of coexistence of the cultures, and the task of the intelligentsia will be to attain, within such a coexistence, a mutual understanding of different cultures.

What do we mean by "mutual understanding"? According to Heidegger (1937), "Mutual understanding, in the proper meaning of the word, is a courageous readiness to recognize in any nation the qualities inherent to it; such readiness results from all-embracing necessity. Mutual understanding on the basis of creative historic performance is never a confused weakness - it supposes the urgent pride of every nation. Pride, extremely different from conceit, is a mature resolution to remain at one's own level of importance, which results from the task that was taken up". These great words receive an enhancement in the next fragment: "...a true mutual understanding is a direct opposite to rejection of one's own, to an unprincipled ingratiation. The sign of true mutual understanding is also found in the fact that it never counts on a momentary success and steady results. True mutual understanding does not give rise to complacency, which will very soon become mutual indifference, but mutual understanding in itself is not an uneasiness; when people mutually question each other in their concern regarding mutual goals of historic performance". (Their are no grounds to believe that the intelligentsia is incapable of realizing such a position. Y.M.Lotman echoes this: "One has to fight and win. This is not a paradox, but a means of existence of any culture." He adds further: "This will be realized sooner or later in the majority of the republics of the former USSR".) In this respect a special mission lies with the Russian intelligentsia, but the intelligentsia of other nations should support this aspiration for a dialogue. "A true mutual understanding of the nations begins and ends with one thing - this is a realization of what is given and assigned to them in the historic performance; such a realization should take place in their creative communication".

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