Money quote from Russian sociologist Olga Kryshtanovskaya

“We can’t live according to the principle that ‘money decides everything.’ We tried. We are at a dead end now. We need lofty ideals.” From a new interview just published by Novaya Gazeta.

In the interview, Kryshtanovskaya warns about a possible revolution – should enough members of the elite and enough poor people join Russia’s protest movement, which is currently spearheaded by the middle class.

Kryshtanovskaya is one of those people who won’t ignore hundreds of years of Russia’s history for the sake of a catchy turn of phrase. She’s right about the fact that Putin has, in fact, been slowly leading Russia down the path to a more functioning democracy – but, like any Russian leader, he’s stuck playing by the old rules of the game. The difficulty of Putin’s position has to do with the fact that he must either reassure the elites or reassure the general public. He can’t do both.

The overall lack of lofty ideals is what’s so worrying. Russia needs lofty ideals. “Whoever captures the moral high ground will win,” Kryshtanovskaya says of possible future turmoil. I think she’s most likely 100% correct here.

And can I just take a moment to point out that I adore Kryshtanovskaya? A former “United Russia” member (that’s the ruling party around here, in case you’re wondering), a kind of political comedienne, a respected expert in her field, looks great in white and oversize glasses… My kind of woman, basically.

One thought on “Money quote from Russian sociologist Olga Kryshtanovskaya

  1. I do not read Russian, so I will now be entering the name “Olga Kryshtanovskaya” into a search engine to see what I can find out about her; b/c I love that quote – we need to examine what we really expect living in a society with other people means for/to us. And think about what the principles many of us have accepted as “truth” really mean in practice.

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