That is the conclusion offered by Dmitry Bosov in his study of the reactions of young Russians to the heroes they see in films (“Western Mainstream Cinematography as a Factor in the Socialization of Russian Students,” (Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta, Seria 7: 4(30) (2015): pp. 139-144).
Yesterday, the editors of Tolkovatel excerpted and summarized Bosov’s findings, suggesting that the sociologist had chosen Belgorod “not by chance” because it is “a model region for present-day Russia,” one that gives the incumbent regime the highest levels of support including for Moscow’s repressive laws.
In his study, Bosov noted that “among the 125 Western films” Belgorod young people have watched, 122 were from the US or the UK. That in turn means that globalization isn’t about the dialogue of culture but about “the domination of the world of mass culture in its American and English-language forms.”
Belgorod young people like Western films about fighters and comedies, but “in essence, Bosov continues, the two “form a single picture of the world which is based on action without reflection (the militant films) and a definite cynical view on the world (the comedies) with a laughing dismissal of traditional and modern values.”
Indeed, the sociologist argues, these two kinds of films reinforce one another, promoting anti-intellectualism and action without reflection. And those values, he says, are the ones that are “spreading in the student milieu [of Belgorod Region] under the impact of mainstream cinematography.”
The four favorite movie heroes of the students are Blade, Spider Man, Jack Sparrow and James Bond, Bosov says, all of whom are expressions in extreme form of the typical “mass man.” They may have abilities greater than others, but they are people of action rather than reflection and promote the idea that genius is somehow equivalent to “madness and criminality.”
“In present-day Russia,” the sociologist continues, “almost in all spheres of spiritual-artistic and aesthetic life, mass culture and art of the American type have penetrated. As a result, young people evaluate others not by their work of creative achievements but by their bank accounts.”
Bosov draws the following conclusions: American films are “stigmatizing” work and intellectual achievement even as they celebrate thoughtless violence and anti-intellectualism, and they are leading Russian young people to conclude that “primitive bodily strength” is the basis of who wins, something that is leading to “the demoralization and degradation” of society.”
Tolkovatel says that if one translates this from the language of sociology into everyday speech, this means that in one of the most Russian areas of Russia, young people are increasingly oriented toward “Western ideals of life, admittedly in a hypertrophic form,” a development that means that Russian state propaganda has finally and irretrievably lost ‘the information war.’”
Or put in even more common language, the Russian portal concludes, it means that the heroes of Western mass culture like Spiderman and Jack Sparrow “are winning” the battle with “the Russian World.”
Staunton, VA, July 12, 2016 – Vladimir Putin says and many accept that the Russian state has strengthened in recent years, but three developments reported this week – the disappearance of government institutions in villages, discrimination against Muslims in police hiring, and the increasing reliance of regional leaders on local identities — point in a different direction.
First, in a commentary on Kasparov.ru, Arkady Babchenko says that over the last 15 years he has visited his home village a number of times and what he has NOT seen – the presence of the Russian state and its accoutrements — is even more striking than what he has.
First of all, he writes in a commentary in Kyiv’s Delovaya Stolitsa, the alliance agreed to base troops in Poland and the Baltic states, and the countries that agreed to put troops there included many Vladimir Putin had been counting on to slow the recovery of NATO. He thus suffered a defeat.
But this is “only the tip of the iceberg” into which the Kremlin’s ship ran: it also now must cope with the fact that the Western alliance again “views Russia as a threat and has begun to officially apply the principles of containment to it, Mikhailenko says.
Fifth and perhaps most important, the alliance declared that “Russia is a moral threat to the world,” a declaration that is symbolically extremely important give the alliance’s Article 5 guarantees.
Sixth, the alliance specified that NATO is concerned not only about its member states but about the region around them, a region that includes Ukraine, and that intends to be “a global player in the military-political sphere” rather than a regional one with a geographically limited purview.
These six things give Ukraine important support: NATO now recognizes that Russia is responsible for the war in Ukraine, that Moscow is thus a side in the conflict and not an observer as the Kremlin insists, that there is no possibility of conducting elections in the occupied areas at the present time, that sanctions can only be lifted after Moscow withdraws from eastern Ukraine, and that the alliance wants to work with all countries at risk of Russian aggression.
And seventh, NATO at Warsaw defined its relationship as “a distinctive partnership,” a term it had not used before, and thus set the stage for movement toward a membership action plan. The ball, Mikhailenko says, is thus in Kyiv’s court. To move toward an MAP will require that Ukraine conduct reforms and bring its military into correspondence with NATO standards.
It will also require that NATO carry out the package of policy declarations that it made in Warsaw, something Kyiv should do everything it can to make easier and more likely in the coming months.