Author: Mikhail Minakov

THE PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM: THE WEST AND THE POST-SOVIET UNCONSCIOUS. (By Mikhail Minakov, philosopher, president of the Foundation for Qualitative Politics, Kiev. Vedomosti, Sept. 13, 2013, p. 7. Complete text:) On a day that holds special significance for Americans - September 11, 2013 - in the main newspaper of the city that exactly 12 years ago became the epicenter of terrorist attacks, Vladimir Putin addressed the American people. In his op-ed written for The New York Times, the Russian president warns the Americans about the dangers that the outbreak of a war in Syria presents to the world and to America.

Experts in international politics will surely make interesting and insightful comments on the main points of the president's peaceful initiative. I, on the other hand, would like to draw attention to the symbolic subtext of that publication as such.

The sheer fact that the leader of a country who upholds that country's civilizational dissimilarity - its intrinsic non-Westernness - has addressed Western leaders through the free press indicates, at the very least, a recognition of the importance of the West and its procedures. The place, time, channel and audience show how important the West still is to modern Russian society, its sovereign-democratic consciousness and its Soviet unconscious.

The West had already acquired (or restored) its mythological significance back in the Soviet days. Regardless of the actual situation in the countries that the Soviet imagination placed in "the West," in the political unconscious of the Soviets (and later the post-Soviets), that part of the world acquired elements of the Freudian superego.

The superego is a structural component of the personality that evolves in early childhood and represents a system of moral perceptions and imperatives for an individual's behavior, actions and decisions. Extending this definition to the collective (post-)Soviet personality, the West becomes a sort of court of public conscience.

In effect, the West is ...

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