Davidoff on Patriotism

Victor Davidoff has a comment piece in the Moscow Times today which makes some useful distinctions regarding the current hot topic of patriotism.  Critiquing Vladimir Putin’s version of patriotism, Davidoff posits a more civic perspective on this week’s slew of draconian laws, which includes a ban on the dissemination of nonpartisan versions of Russian history. His article separates patriotism from the state, using analysis of various recent poll results which indicate that many Russian citizens identify as patriots, but he emphasises that Russians understand patriotism to mean love of their home land, not love of the state. The majority of Russians do not include obedience to the state in their definition of patriotism, he says.

But never mind which way public opinion might sway; Putin has always been one to go it alone, Davidoff notes, offering this staggering quotation from the President as evidence:

It is my misfortune … [and] tragedy that I am alone. There just isn’t anyone else like me in the world. After Mahatma Gandhi died, there was nobody left to talk with.

[Can’t help pointing out here that Gandhi was a great proponent of non-violence.] The full piece is here.