The new “Front Philosophy”
At the forefront of the state’s production of war-related ideology are several groups that belong to the ideological ecosystems around the Presidential Administration. A central one is the so-called “Front Philosophy” (Frontovaya filosofiya
), launched by a number of state academic and cultural institutions.
Among the most prominent is the Zinoviev Club: the legacy of Alexander Zinoviev (1922-2006), a Soviet thinker who published in samizdat, emigrated in the late 1970s and came back to Russia in 1999 to join conservative forces, fits well with the state-promoted cherry picking approach toward Soviet past. Zinoviev has become one of the key figures recently rehabilitated
by state institutions such as the Institute of Philosophy of the Academy of Sciences, especially since he stressed Russia’s conflict with the West and the dangers of globalization.
The new Front Philosophy has been campaigned for
by figures from state media RIA Novosti and Russia Today, Moscow State University, the Higher School of Economics, the Institute of Philosophy of the Academy of Sciences, the Moscow University of the Interior Ministry, along with myriad smaller institutions, as well as some officials, such as Leonid Polyakov, a member of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights.
It also includes professors from Donetsk and Luhansk universities, who, since 2014, have been heavily promoted
by Russian institutions as the forefront for the renewal of “civilizational awareness” in the struggle with the West. Notable is Dmitri Muza
, a Donetsk University professor and proponent of the Novorossiya idea who has published several books on the need for Russian philosophy to regenerate itself by learning from and through war.
A whole Front Philosophy literature has grown since the first Donbas war, including the “Donetsk Lectures” that resulted
in an edited volume called Philosophy on the Front Line
. This represents a new genre that completes the “war literature” and “war poetry,” along with diaries and memoirs related to the 2014 conflict, that have filled
Russian bookstores. The website politconservatism.ru, which hosts serious discussions on Russian conservatism, gave
the floor to voices calling for a new “war philosophy,” for instance by A.Yu. Korobov-Latyntsev, author
of Philosopher and War. On Russian Military Philosophy
and also an officer in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Militia.
The new Front Philosophy is reminiscent of Soviet-era initiatives and mechanisms, when state institutions were meant to serve political needs. And indeed,