The second body of Vladimir Putin
Today, no one will argue that story, contrary to the predictions of Francis Fukuyama, did not end, and unipolarity, which claimed a stable paradigm of the future, turned out to be nothing more than an episode, a moment (Charles Krauthammer), which is already in the past. We live in history, not after the end. The events in the Middle East, in Europe, and especially in Ukraine, show that opposition to antagonistic forces continues in the world, although the nature of this opposition has changed from ideological (capitalism against socialism) to civilizational. Confrontation is history, since history is always the semantics of alternating war and peace. And war and peace make sense only when there is their opposite. In a world where there is no war, there will be no peace, since the world will lose its meaning. Therefore, while there is war, there is history. And she is, therefore, Fukuyama hurried, which, however, he himself admitted.
One of the subjects of the new tension, one of the participants in cold or hot conflicts, and, therefore, one of the active figures of history - modern Russia. Russia returned to history from oblivion at the beginning of the 2000s, and this return coincided with the era of Vladimir Putin. Putin, by his coming to the presidency of Russia, signified this return. But such a return is fraught with conflicts and is measured by conflicts. Putin became who he is after winning a victory in the Second Chechen campaign. He stopped the seemingly inevitable disintegration of Russia, and having won this war, he again made Russia a subject.
In a sense, it was Putin who contributed to the fact that the end of history did not happen, and the unipolar moment, on the contrary, ended. By stopping internal disintegration, Putin created the prerequisites for starting the aftermath of what he himself called the “biggest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century” —that is, the collapse of the USSR. Here the emphasis should be put on the word "geopolitical". Hardly Putin mourned socialism as an ideology. He clearly had in mind the disintegration of that strategic whole, which can be called Greater Russia - whether in the Orthodox monarchical edition of the Russian Empire or in the form of the Bolshevik USSR. Ideologies were polar, geopolitics identical. Putin spoke precisely about geopolitics, and it was to the restoration of Russia's geopolitical status as a great world power that all Putin's reforms were directed.
For a start, it was necessary to restore sovereignty: full state control over the territories, then over large private monopolies, general federal media, and the political system. In the 90 of the twentieth century, external control was almost fully established in the country and sovereignty was weakened - if not lost. But restoring sovereignty and coping with challenges, Putin increased the level of confrontation with the pole of the unipolar world, which tried to extend its hegemony, which almost became an irreversible reality after the end of the USSR. These are directly interconnected things: the stronger and more independent Russia is, the more severe pressure on it comes from the West. But this is the story - the conflict between the hierarchical instances of humanity: the world powers are competing with each other, the regional powers between themselves, and the countries weaker fit into the framework of freedom of action that remains to them in the power balance structure of the larger players.
The main world power is the United States, and Putin’s restoration of Russia's status could not help but increase the level of tension. Russia claimed to be a world, not just a regional power, but after the 90 disaster, no one in the West (at least no one in the atlantist elites of the West) was going to admit this without a serious fight. Returning to history, Putin raised the degree of confrontation. It could not be otherwise: the balance between the leading centers of power is formed on the basis of the power of each of them, and no one will ever be able to watch the increase in the power of a competitor. Stopping him and keeping him under control is a natural and understandable desire.
In Russia, in the 90-s of the twentieth century, there was, in fact, an occupational elite, acting in the interests of the United States and the global West. It adopted the dominant ideology of liberalism in the West and began to implement pro-Western liberal reforms, which the United States insisted on. The meaning of these reforms was to integrate Russia into the global network with a parallel rejection of national sovereignty. The 90's elite were the elite of the “end of history,” since liberalism, globalization, and the “end of history,” as well as the recognition of a unipolar world and American hegemony, are strictly one and the same.
Rejecting sovereignty and continuing to dismantle the country, begun with the collapse of the USSR, this liberal elite bought itself a place in the global elite, as well as relative peace, because there is no need to fight with the submissive surrendered slave kneeling, because his will to resist and freedom is broken. The world (the end of history) was bought at the price of Russia's self-abolition as a sovereign world, and subsequently a regional power. Therefore, after the liquidation of the USSR and the entry of its parts into the zone of direct control of the West (NATO), the collapse of Russia itself was on the agenda.
Putin came from inside this elite, not on the wave of the revolution, but on the wave of tactical "cosmetic" political strategies to keep the ruling elite in power. A certain amount of “patriotism” was needed to maintain control over a decaying, slipping country into chaos. Putin was most welcome. But he clearly deceived the expectations of those who, at first, supported him, since he took his mission too seriously and actually began to systematically restore sovereignty. Here begins the return of Russia to history. No one in the elite expected this, and the most consistent supporters of liberalism and Westernism, direct agents of the influence of the “end of history” stood out in the “fifth column”, starting a direct confrontation with Putin.
Putin, on the other hand, followed his course methodically, starting with the pacification of Chechnya, and in all other directions. With each next step towards restoring and strengthening Russia's real sovereignty, the level of tensions with the West and the aggressiveness of the “fifth column” in Russia itself, openly acting in the interests of the West, grew. These tensions and aggressiveness are not accidental - this is history, where the main rule is the pair “war and peace”. Putin chose peace, but not at the price of slavery. So, let's be frank, he chose war. The war is not at any cost, but “as a last resort”. But this was enough to make the situation tense.
This took shape in the theory of a multipolar world and in the struggle for the integration of the post-Soviet space, which became the hallmarks of Putin's geopolitics. Putin made it clear: Russia is the pole of a multi-polar world, and only in this capacity, as a great sovereign state, does Russia make sense. But this is like throwing a direct challenge to unipolarity and American hegemony. So Putin deliberately escalated. This is an objective fee for returning to history.
Moreover, this is Russia's return to history as in the field of war and peace, where there is always an existential choice - to be or not to be. The slave does not choose his share, he has no right neither to war nor to peace. Free is always at risk. Hegel described this beautifully in the Phenomenology of the Spirit: The master who defies death, that is, enters a life-risk zone. A slave is one who shies away from this risk. So he buys a life, but pays for freedom. At the level of the States - is strictly the same. Freedom is fraught with war. Panic fear of war leads to slavery.
The Russian elites 90-x chose the role of guards for themselves: they declared themselves voluntary overseers over the local population on the basis of a mandate received from the center of a unipolar world. It was the colonial oligarchic elite: peace to the masses in exchange for slavery, and the elite itself the status of the drivers of the Russian cattle who are in charge of Washington. This was theoretically justified by the leaders of the oligarchy from Berezovsky to Khodorkovsky and brought to life. Putin broke this system and thus embarked on the difficult and dangerous path of freedom.
This path had three milestones: the second Chechen campaign, the war with Georgia 2008 of the year and the current Ukrainian drama (reunion with the Crimea and the battle for Novorossia). At each of these key moments, where reconciliation with reality (reality check) took place, right up to Novorossiya, Putin invariably defeated, expanding the zone of freedom, but at the same time he increased the risks and level of confrontation. Crimea was the last line beyond which the probability of war entered the “red zone” of high probability.
It is here that we are now: in the battle for freedom and sovereignty, we have reached the crucial point. Putin brought us to this line in his struggle for Russia. At each stage, the volume of our independence increased, but at the same time existential risks grew.
Here it is worth referring to what content we put into the term sovereignty, sovereign. According to the German political philosopher Karl Schmitt, the sovereign is the one who makes the decision in extraordinary circumstances. Extreme circumstances mean that action in such a situation is not strictly and unequivocally predetermined by law, existing practice, or historical precedents. The decision maker in such circumstances always acts as if anew, relying only on himself - on his will and his mind, since there are simply no ready-made solutions. This is freedom: the payment for it is death and war. Therefore, the one who strengthens the sovereignty, he increases the risk of life - himself and the whole society.
Putin is sovereign to the extent that he makes decisions in such extreme circumstances. Such circumstances were the bombings of houses in Moscow in 1999 and Basayev’s campaign against Dagestan, the shelling of Saakashvili Tskhinval in 2008, and the coup d’état in Kiev in February of 2014. Every time Russia was challenged: a direct response to it was threatened with war, evasion with slavery. At the same time, the rates increased: first, the integrity of Russia within its borders was called into question, then our interests in the South Caucasus, and finally, the shadow of genocide hung over the Russian population of Ukraine.
Every time Putin accepted the challenge and responded as a carrier of sovereignty. Thus, he expanded the historical field of actions of Russia, restored its power and freedom, but also increased the degree of confrontation with the West. At the same time, his antagonism increased with the elite 90-x, which gradually but steadily lost their positions. So there was a division of this vicarious elite (agents of the “end of history”) into two segments: the “fifth column”, which openly opposed Putin and his sovereign reforms, and the “march column”, which still recognized Putin, but tried to reinterpret his actions and indications in a liberal-unipolar spirit, and if this was not possible, then directly sabotage them. The "fifth column" was replenished by the "sixth", gradually being squeezed out from the center to the periphery.
So we came to the Crimea, where this process reached its climax. After approving reunification with the Crimea, Putin reached the final round of confrontation: if he manages to insist on his Ukrainian drama, the world ceases to be unipolar, the American hegemony collapses, and Russia finally and irrevocably returns to history. This means that we are free, sovereign, and again a great power. But it also means that the risks of world war are increasing: again, history is a risk and an existential choice.
So we approached the New Russia. In fact, all the previous things that Putin has done already suggest logic: in every new situation everything is put in place. We can not keep the previous, not entrenched in the subsequent. We only have to stop the battle for Novorossia, the Crimea, and then South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Russia itself will rise again into question. These are the laws of geopolitics: not responding to the call loses not only him, but also what he managed to acquire earlier. And every time with the risk of war or through war.
Therefore, New Russia is today the name of Russia. Another horrific existential choice that Putin has to make if he wants not only to strengthen, but to preserve his sovereignty — both his own and Russia. But ... the structure of the Decision of a sovereign ruler is rooted in its freedom. The fact of the matter is that no one can take him for him. If Putin is sovereign, then no consideration can tilt the scales in one direction or another.
Putin is now in an extremely tense, inconceivably risky situation. In principle, two solutions already exist. The “sixth column” from his closest circle in the face of insane risks of freedom chooses betrayal and return to previous positions. The curators from across the ocean are pushing them to this: directly and indirectly (by imposing sanctions on Russian property abroad and threatening even tougher measures of the same order). Washington and Brussels are counting on an uprising of the elites against Putin, in every way overstating the risks, inclining him with any arguments to stop in the Crimea and surrender to Novorossia. This decision is a salvation for all Western agents in the Russian leadership. But it will also mean the end of Russia's sovereignty and the end of Putin himself.
Therefore, patriots, including those surrounded by Putin, make a different decision, choosing sovereignty, freedom, but also maximizing the risk of confrontation. It is clear that the “sixth column” risks: if Putin clearly sees that they are acting in the interests of the United States, the consequences will be quite severe (especially if the choice of patriots wins). But behind the back of the “sixth column” - America and the West as a whole, therefore, at worst, everyone hopes to escape at the last moment. Patriots are also at risk: if the case in Novorossia turns out badly, then the first victims of the new pullback to the West (90's revenge) will be those who pushed Putin to raise the degree of sovereignty, and thus to the risk of direct confrontation. Moreover, they have nowhere to run. But Putin himself risks most of all, since the last word depends on him: this very word will be decisive.
And here we come to the main topic of this article. Who is Putin - the figure to make a decision? Yes, there is a collective Putin as a sum of multidirectional vectors, more and more divergent - patriotic and liberal. There is an individual Putin, like a man with a biography and psychology. But he and the other are only parts of the more complex structure of the Sovereign.
To more accurately understand this structure, you can refer to the work of Ernst Kantorovich "Two King's bodies." In the Middle Ages there was a theory that the monarch, in addition to the usual individual body, has one more thing - the “mystical”. Tearing this concept away from religious ideas, we can say that the “second body” is the socio-political function of the Ruler as the highest horizon of all other components, including the individual and the situational balance of goals and interests within society, elites and influential clans. It is this “second body” that is the instance in which sovereignty is rooted. This is the point of domination, which no longer depends on anything from the area of the first body. It is at the level of this second “political” body that the Decision is made.
Sovereign is the ruler who has this second body. For those who lack it or are underdeveloped, power is reduced to the result of objective factors, including individual and psychological ones. The one who possesses it has something more than that — this is a royal secret, the mystery of power. It was she who, according to medieval legal doctrines, was the basis of the king’s legitimacy. The king is legitimate by virtue of owning a second body. Who possesses it is sovereign. Who does not possess, is ultimately a usurper. The role of the ruler in history is a question that is addressed precisely to the instance of the “second body”. That it is sovereign and operates at the level of the historical process.
In this second body of Putin, Russia itself is concentrated, its fate, the quintessence of its being. In Byzantium, a similar theory interpreted the Emperor as an external bishop of the Church, that is, as a sacred figure, which embodies the point of intersection of religious and spiritual (heavenly) and imperiously-political (earthly) principles. The earthly power of a ruler is not in itself only a set of earthly concerns: it is the power of Heaven over the Earth, of the spirit over matter. The second body of the king, therefore, is the visible seal of the spirit. And again, this is perfectly consistent with Hegel, for whom the Lord is the bearer of the spirit, and ultimately, the Absolute Spirit.
Therefore, Putin’s second body is a Russian body, the spirit of Russia as a state, nation, civilization lives in it.
And now this spirit has an existential challenge. Parameters Solutions are formulated. The Sixth Column proposes the following logical chain: give up Novorossia, save the Crimea, Russia, and power; let us introduce troops (in one form or another), lose both the Crimea, and Russia, and power. Patriots insist on the opposite: let's give up New Russia, lose the Crimea, then Russia, then power; and we will introduce troops, we will keep the Crimea, we will strengthen Russia and the power. Following the adoption of a logical chain follows, respectively: either clearing the patriots and rolling back to 90, or finally moving the “sixth column” to “fifth” status and a full-fledged (although as always risky!) Russian Renaissance.
But what logic to choose, and accordingly, which way Russia will go on, now depends only and exclusively on Putin himself. More precisely, from his “second body”, where the mystery of sovereignty, the mystery of power, is the source of true and deep legitimacy. And no one can influence this Decision, in which there is to be or not to be - moreover, on the scale of not a person or even a group of people, but on a country scale, moreover, a whole civilization, the whole world order.
Only now an old and beaten question a thousand times: who are you, Mr. Putin? - acquires a truly fatal dimension. This is a question not addressed to Putin as an individual, and not to Putin as the collective name of elite groups, but to his second body, to a political and even mystical body, where the lines of freedom, destiny and history converge, which means the keys of war and of the world.
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