Sergei Lukashevsky: In the first place, Russia needs a moral revolution, rather than a political one

posted 18 Feb 2015, 10:49 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 18 Feb 2015, 10:54 ]
13 February 2015

Source: Moscow Helsinki Group

Original source: Open Russia, 13.02.2015

Director of the Sakharov Centre Sergei Lukashevsky wrote 300 words for Open Russia World on how he sees a future open Russia:

'It isn't hard to draw a picture of a "good" society. A couple of general points: it would involve, above all, the rule of the law, observing human rights, free and fair elections, tolerance, caring for people in need, protecting the environment, reconciling interests rather than dictatorship by a single powerful individual, as well as an open and responsible attitude to the wider world.

All of these maxims have been common knowledge in Russia for at least 25 years. Our country became the way it is not because other ideas suddenly triumphed, but because the aforementioned ideas failed to become a reality for Russian society. People thought that these ideas would take shape all by themselves when the Soviet regime fell, or that the government would introduce them as it carried out reforms inspired by foreign models.

But people avoided the public sphere and got on with their own lives. Not everyone, of course, but the overwhelming majority. Just as one man started his own business, another became involved in science. Others earned money for their families and, in the process, mastered new horizons of consumerism. And the rest just tried to survive, without one iota of help nor support.

Andrei Sakharov wrote that "Fragmentation of society threatens humanity's very existence."

At the moment, fragmentation threatens to lead to the degradation of our very country.

The current Russian regime relies not on the power of the police, although they are many and practically untouchable, nor ressentiment –, although millions of people feel humiliated from the loss of superpower status – rather, it holds on to power because of this atomisation of society, and the self-serving immorality which comes with it. The regime survives on the cynical conviction that every individual is concerned, first and foremost, only with their own self-interest. And unfortunately, this is where the people and the authorities are united in the same conviction. It is this immoralism which we have to overcome. In the first place, Russia needs a moral revolution, rather than a political one.

For me, the new open Russia is a country where people will not be solely concerned with their own personal interests, but open to the world around them, open to empathising with their neighbours and fellow citizens, orphans and people with limited abilities, the elderly and those who have simply found themselves in an unfortunate situation. It will be a country where people care about education and health, and not only when it comes to their own children. Tolerance is born from the ability to empathise. An open Russia will be tolerant towards people of different nationalities, faiths and sexual orientation.

For Russia to become different, we don't need to change the whole of society from top to bottom. We just need the most active people to change. Sociologists say that is roughly 10% of the population.'

This English translation is by Open Russia and is republished here (with minor changes) with due acknowledgement. It was originally published here: Open Russia World - Facebook