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[Ukrainian Statehood in the Twentieth Century: Historical and Political Analysis. Kyiv: Political Thought, 1996. pp. 315-342.]

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State-Building in Ukraine: Ways of Legitimation

Yevhen BYSTRYTSKY (1, 3, 4), (6, co-author), Oleh BILYI (2, 5), (6, co-author)



Contradiction between a politically accomplished action and its sociopolitical consolidation in the form of a stable social system/political regime is one of the most essential features of so-called transition periods. This period of sociopolitical transformations is a constellation of a great many contradictions between the new, not yet legitimized, and the legally and morally old, which is in the process of passing away, of clashes between different ideological aspirations, group and corporate claims and demands; it is a time of general legal uncertainty a hoped-for environment for socially active individuals, including adventurists, at all levels of turbulent and confused life. However, even in this period of social and political uncertainty, a certain "disorganized organization" still exists, life goes on; forms of community are ruined and come into existence; the dim outlines of a new social organization emerge from the dust raised by the collapse of the imperial edifice.

The vision of a transformed social system and political order depends precisely on the processes which hardly keep society from complete self-destruction, judicial lawlessness, and chaos in a transition period, and which define the future socio-cultural form: these are the processes of legitimation. /316/




1. The Problem of Legitimation


In current social and political philosophy, the notion of legitimacy implies that there are sufficient arguments to warrant the claim that a given political regime is good and just. A legitimate order is a social and political system which deserves recognition. Legitimation is the process by which a given political organization of society is generally recognized.1

In postcommunist practice, the term "legitimation" is most frequently used in the narrowly pragmatic sense of the denotation that the political mandates of active politicians constitute "lawful" claims for political power.

In this sense legitimacy means only the legality of the actions of those who wield power and that of political power as a whole. Problems of legitimacy primarily hinge on questions of preserving or ruining one or another form of a social system and hence on more profound changes in the collective identity of people than on purely political transformations.

Legitimation is a complex process of uniting society on the basis of common values and of simultaneously demonstrating its capability to assume a collective identity from the standpoint of the political organization of society, primarily when new states and social institutions are formed. It is precisely this kind of situation which we witness in contemporary Ukraine.

In the strict sense of the word, only political orders can have and lose legitimacy. Only the political forms of social organization, and, first of all, the state, need be legitimized.2 This is especially vividly manifest in periods of social transformations.

State power as such is, of course, not in a position to establish by itself the collective identity of society; nor is it by itself able to effect social integration on the basis of community values which are in principle not at its disposition.3 /317/ We find it difficult to accept this after decades of domination by a state-imposed ideology and the violent, totalitarian imposition by the state of an artificial system of social identity (of the so-called "Soviet man"). This best enables us to understand the historic collapse of the unnatural values of communism which were long imposed "from above" by means of torture and lies.

This is why the communist regime was never truly legitimate. For it always ignored the values which are produced in a naturally historical way by human communities in their coexistence, and on which natural forms of social integration, including ethnic groups and nations, are based. Marxism gravitated toward what may be referred to as the bolshevik arrogance of self-legitimation: its ideology rested on its capacity for its own existential self-affirmation, or, as Marx put it, praxis.

Any political organization of society requires legitimacy, i.e., maximum acceptance on the basis of the values and forms of collective coexistence which a community already recognizes. But the process of being legitimized requires, in its turn, certain conditions, of which the main one is that of publicity, being accessible to all. Legitimization is a political discourse which evolves over time, a process of dissemination, discussion, deliberation, and, in the final analysis, demonstration of the collective validity and acceptability of legal norms, which by and large are established spontaneously and instinctively by the new political actors. This in turn testifies to the legitimizing potential of political discourse.4 Legitimizing potential represents the principles and motivations which can be mobilized to publicly demonstrate the legitimacy of a given policy and have the social force of creating consensus, which is the most essential precondition for legitimacy.

In the postcommunist situation, legitimation is a problem in several cardinal senses. First, there is the problem of turning back to the practice of legitimation after nearly a century of domination by an illegitimate, self-legitimized, /318/ regime. Second, there is the issue of the artificial imposition (by means of targeted propaganda and planned ideological actions) of a system of values which should have been formed in a natural historical way (in culture, traditions, language, everyday life, etc.), and which create that legitimizing foundation and potential of the new political system. Third, postcommunism as the state of "postcommunist society" can in reality rely only on previous traditions and habits of a pseudolegitimate political regime. It is the point of a legitimizing potential available in society those ideological constructs, level of individual self-understanding, general values which is a living conglomeration of various principles of the legitimation of postcommunist power and the new political regime. Let us examine this more closely.

2. Ideobgy and Utopia in Postcommunist Transformations

Claims concerning an "ideological vacuum," lack of alternative to market-oriented reforms, and the need for some form of authoritarian rule have become commonplaces and trite cliches of postcommunist political discourse. These three cliches are interconnected by a peculiar logic whose foundations were laid down over the whole totalitarian era in the history of the Soviet empire.

Today's talks of ideological vacuum do not at all imply lack of a range of certain ideas which arise spontaneously and form what is generally referred to as social consciousness. They point primarily to the loss of dominance that is always made possible by the "collective unconscious" when all human behavior is directed toward a single center and has a purely affirmative character. For all its schizophrenic character of the period that can be, defined as the "twilight years of totalitarianism," the most important actions related to social choice were characterized by the absence of self-reflection.

One example will suffice. Each step in the career of a Communist Party or Youth League functionary required the /319/ observance of a special ritual, regardless of in what high or low esteem the individual held a certain Marxist dogma or Marxist ideology as a whole. In this way a magical act was effected, i.e., one's social status was changed by uttering cabalistic words. And it is this very process that is denoted today very inaccurately, by the phrase "ideological vacuum." While a need for a coherent political doctrine to substantiate and legitimize power grows in the postcommunist period, the ability to create such a doctrine is nil.

This is why in the determinist formula of "no alternative to reforms" the magic reaches its outer limits. Paradoxically, in this formula power strives to speak the language of Utopia and simultaneously stops speaking it. This paradox was originated by Khrushchev, when he ventured to determine the exact date of the advent of communism and by so doing transposed the regulative (essentially repressive) ideal on the space of a specific historical time. The effusively Utopian character of this formula is noticeable first of all in the assumption that a person always and everywhere acts in accordance with his or her economic interests. Hence, say, a blind faith in the possible emergence of a businessman who is always and everywhere ready to abide by the principles of formal rationality or, according to Max Weber's definition, mental foundations of Western business cooperation. The new market ideology in its fashion reproduces the Utopian basis and uses as a magical instrumentality the communist ideology, which gradually gains force in mass consciousness as a dream about Paradise lost or a Golden Age. The Marxist textbook maxims also become magical. Suffice it to mention the claims concerning primitive capitalist accumulation which supposedly inevitably goes hand in hand with a sharp increase in crime.

At the same time, disregarded by the diligent pupils of the Marxist humanities grades are some very essential elements of economic history, namely, that the institutions of private property (in the form of manufactures, land, and finance capital) had formed long before the "great leap" to a /320/ new economic formation (created out of thin air and made much of by Marx) occurred. Suffice it to recall that as far back as the thirteenth century the Knights Templars financed the construction of cathedrals and made loans to kings. This order can boast of the fact that it was the first to found the European banking tradition, introducing financial guarantees, checks, and letters of credit.

The determinism of the formula "there is no alternative to reform" conjures up from oblivion yet another shibboleth of the Communist Utopia, the cult of self-sacrifice and enduring patience. This cult was quite organically functional when the so-called two/three year transition period was declared, but it is rendered absurd now that the transition period is said to last almost forever, for one or two generations at least. The communist regime, organized in a "priestly state," formally proclaimed the self-sacrifice of "priestly" party secretaries. In so doing, it intended to affirm its right to own an individual's secrets, the right to violate his or her privacy and even "intimacy to save the flock." The current Establishment is no longer in a position to resort to this method of rule; nor is it capable of devising a new one beyond the bounds of its own mental inertia and apparatchik pragmatism. The point is that in order to exercise power it is necessary to have a whole range of stable structures, i.e., structures which function continuously.

Under totalitarianism, every such structure was correlated with its symbolic location in Utopia. Specifically, the state economic plan was tied to the religion of "equal distribution of goods" and the mythology of "justice," no matter whether this or that clerk was aware ornot of the connection. Without its Utopian foundation the regime found itself the captive of pure form. It is no accident that the idea of a "power vertical," i.e., an essentially geometrical equivalent of power structures, is becoming more and more current in the present-day political jargon. Thus it becomes quite clear why the mass media are puffed up in various ways with phantasmagoric projects of progressive authoritarianism as /321/ the only means of escape. For its popularity, the project owes much to the half-hearted "perestroika enlightenment".

As early as the end of the perestroika, Moscow-based publicist Igor Kliamkin began to challenge the hitherto negative image of Chilean dictator Pinochet. A little too late, Moscow publicistic fantasies found their easy way to Ukraine. The economic stabilization in Chile was referred to as one of the General's greatest services to his country.

Yet, even if one chooses to ignore the chimerical character of our country's political process and to refrain from analyzing the real political factors of such stabilization, one should always bear in mind the price Chileans paid for it. Tens of thousands of lives were lost (certainly not the same order of magnitude as the "achievements" of Soviet totalitarianism). Worthy of note is the fact that it was precisely the checking of privatization processes by the dictatorship in Chile and, hence, the country's dynamic economic development in the late 1980s, that compelled the business elite of that country to demand the dismantling of the military regime, and they liquidated it.

The image of so-called "progressive authoritarianism" is spearheaded primarily to regaining the disciplinary mechanisms of power lost as a result of the August 1991 abortive putsch in Russia. That is why closely related paradigms of state system appear so seductive.

Suggestive is also the fact that even until now neither of the above-mentioned ideas have found its effective continuation, but attempts to proceed within the framework of the above triad recur. Among such attempts, one may mention the quests for a universal ideology or "Ukrainian idea" and periodically resumed "state orders and awards" issued from the Presidential entourage. Those who engage in such quests seem not to have realized that the very notion of "national idea" was originated by the Russian religious-philosophical thought, and later turned into the fundamental structural element of the so-called ideocracy of Eurasianism.

The intention to create a universal ideology is in fact /322/ indicative of political radicalism whose ideal is a Utopia of the integrity of society's transformation. It views the institutions of representative democracy as essentially artificial. This is why forms of the so-called direct democracy (specifically, referenda) appear as a natural and supposedly effective means of legitimizing this criticism.5 Despite any intellectual qualities of its present-day bearers, "plenipotentiaries of the people's suffering," in such a situation the upper hand is gained by a reanimated communist ideology, an ideology blended with a Machiavellian method of abusing parliamentarianisrn, which Lenin himself-once employed so well.

Socialism, as Nietsche once aptly remarked, always goes hand in hand with an excessively inflated power, preparing secretly for terror or drumming the word "justice" into the heads of semi-literate masses in order to finally corrupt their minds... and to sate them with good news in order to serve the vile game they have to play. "Socialism can also be used in order to convince especially brutally and strikingly of the danger of concentrated state power, and in this way to sow mistrust in the state as a whole. When its husky voice joins in the war-cry "as much state as possible," at first it becomes louder than ever, but soon still louder resounds the opposite cry, "as little state as possible."6

To paraphrase Nietsche, one can state that the more often and louder the call for creating a new ideology can be heard, the sooner the semi-literate masses fall into the traps of socialism, and the more urgent becomes the need for civil society.

It is worth noting that state orders for a new ideology coincide temporally with the hastening of the so-called constitutional process. This is a unique paradox. For a constitution itself should be a product of ideological activity sometimes spanning several generations. The history of the US and France evidences this most conclusively. Moreover, these activities were by no means the product of some planned action or order. If one is to extrapolate the logic of the nation-building improvisations of the nomenklatura, one /323/should also add the obedience of its subjects. Meanwhile, the major problem lies elsewhere.




3. The National Idea, Civil Society, and Political Nation


Specifically, this most general problem has an exact designation: the political organization of current Ukrainian society. In this regard, we have in mind ways of making a Ukrainian political nation. But, in contrast to the notion of nation seemingly obvious today, the issue of political nation remains, for various reasons, complicated or simply unattainable.

The most general problem resides in the fact that the notion of political nation is difficult to define. When emphasis is laid on political characteristics of national community, first of all peculiarities of national community as a political association of people are implied. "Political" is derived from "politics." It is absolutely inadequate to treat politics in the trivial and hackneyed terms of "the art of the possible" or "the concentrated expression of economics."

As early as at the beginning of its appearance, "politics" meant the desire and ability to live together in a polis. According to Aristotle, a political community (body politic) implies the division of "honors, property, and everything else which can be divided among fellow citizens of a certain state system (structure)."7 In other words, it is not only a matter of division of power at the top level of collective coexistence, but also the level of everyday life of the "microphysics of power" (Michel Foucault) a division of powers and rights to own property and even "pay themselves tribute" among fellow citizens, and, in general, making use of social advantages before other compatriots. To put it differently, the notion of the political implied not only the processes of division of power at the top echelons of state institutions and the political elite. Political power rests, not least, on the personal or individual self-affirmation of man in his everyday life world. This is why a political community is /324/ a society viewed from the point of view "of a distribution of roles, tasks, advantages, or losses, which are felt by members of society in case they all wish to live together and which turns society into a unified whole."8 Today there are sufficient theoretical grounds to speak of politics as the regularities of existence and division of power and authority among people, extending from the level of everyday existence up to the complex processes of delegating and dividing power between the top echelons of power-holders.

From this perspective, a political nation is a community which in a certain way works out the principles, rules, procedures, and rituals of power division. The problem of forming a political nation is primarily a problem of organizing a division of power and prerogatives among people at all levels of social life.

In the first years of Ukraine's independence, the greatest publicity, largely of a publicistic-literary character, was won by the national Ukrainian idea.

The sense of the national idea as a basis for organizing (and, specifically, constituting) a Ukrainian community is rather unambiguous. It originates from definitions suggested in his time by Dmytro Dontsov, the main theoretician of Ukrainian integral nationalism. His historical discovery was that he clearly defined the political essence of the Ukrainian idea (as well as other "national ideas" of the twentieth century) as the power-based liberation of the Ukrainian national community on the principle of will to power and here Dontsov borrows from Nietsche's primer and thereby to achieve Ukrainian independence.

The essence of the "Ukrainian idea," according to those who held such views, lies in a natural historical binding of the Ukrainian community with a single will for political self-affirmation. To use the vocabulary of the late twentieth century, this collective identity may be treated in very different ways, depending on how radical are views expressed by its interpreters, that is, defining national unity on the basis of cultural and blood relationships, arguing for common /325/ historical traditions, destiny and religion, calling for an immediate solution of the language question (for to attain of linguistic homogeneity) or rhetorically asking "Isn't Ukraine for Ukrainians?"

The real essence of the national idea lies in a pre-political (natural-ethnic) understanding of social unity. Simultaneously, the true political significance of the national idea resides in solving the problem of legitimation, in Ukraine's case by making a new, postcommunist power, another political regime customary.

Politics is the real embodiment of the division of one thing, power, among the members of society, and knowledge of the rules governing this distribution. The national idea is the knowledge and feeling (conscious experience) of the natural and cultural kinship of people. However, resorting to images of the national idea in post-Soviet political discourse supplants the political organization of societjTper se. Here, an a priori legitimate political organization of community is meant, which so far struggles for the right to freely approve powers distributed among its members (citizens). After Rousseau and the French Revolution, such a community came to be known as a nation, the sovereign people, who, first of all, have become aware of their political freedom and have already solved justly the major political problem the problem of the national division of power. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, beginning with the 1848 Springtime of Peoples, national liberation movements, including Ukrainian nationalism, added to this definition their understanding of nation as the people who have freed themselves from outside oppression and colonial dependence. This is why a nation is a people which has liberated itself in all senses both domestically and in foreign policy.

The national idea is not in itself sufficient to characterize a nation's political organization. It is a manifestation of a proto-legal, proto-political natural-historical assocition of people, their tribal "organization" (consolidated by "land" and "blood"). Of course, this name can be used to designate /326/ the sphere of the political that of power division. But in this case the national idea is not and cannot be a notion of the political realm of human relations per se. Its mystery is in how it legitimizes a given political regime. Identification of the national idea with the regime which acquires social and political legitimacy on its basis is conducive to the dangers of self-legitimation and political despotism. One-sided political interpretation of the national idea inevitably leads to a naive, uncritical and simplistic understanding, favoring the authorities and according them a supposedly natural legitimacy. Any power based only on "national" ideology is extralegal, for it can have no objective extrinsic criteria for assessment, judgment, and truth. When an act of legitimation on the basis of national feelings is identified with a redivision of power, an environment arises favoring moralists of various kinds who assume the role of self-proclaimed spokespersons of the collective identity.

Collective identity is established in a natural historical way, in the course of everyday life. This is why invoking the general values of the national idea always resorts to and converts the customary norms of coexistence, or a sphere of moral views. But moral truth or so-called historical justice (say of the restoration of the ancient Ukrainian state) are simple apologetics. Calls for moral justice on behalf of the whole community pass over the question of the political justice for its individual members. One should never assume that demands for political justice based on democracy are secondary in planning political steps from the first act of collective liberation to how the state provides for advances in the economy, culture, science, technology, etc. First, independence, with the rest coming afterward. The experience of the developed democracies testifies to the opposite. Social progress derives from a just, maximally democratic, political regime.

However, the division of power, as is demonstrated by political history, is not a matter of "tribal love" and "brotherly relationships" within an ethnic stock: it is a rationalized /327/ affair, and according to, say, Machiavelli, it is a cynically calculated struggle for power and recognition, which does not lapse into sentimentalism and openly mocks "non-violent resistance." This is why any concept based on the national idea is always, in fact, be they of a sentimental-moral or activist-volitional character, an attempt to legitimate one's own political power or that of one's ethnic relatives.

The latency and misunderstanding of the fact that the national idea only overlaps with political organization of society per se and is merely a basis of political legitimation of power regime becomes apparent with time through actual political developments, which are destructive to the organization of social life. This is most vividly manifested in the mass disillusionment with the narrow nationally-oriented state policy of the first Ukrainian President's Administration and, especially, in the speedy transformation of the national democratic elite into a neonomenklatura, in its narrow-minded "corporativism" based on ethnic "purity" and, hence, conducive to assimilation by the similar, if formally different, old nomenklatura nepotism of Kravchuk's successors. Along with the general awareness of their failure to cope with the task of politically unifying the Ukrainian nation, it is reflected in the further and still greater tendency to counterpose the national idea to the ideals of civil society.

Indeed, the idea of civil society bears directly on the problem of the political organization of society. And an extension of this concept testifies all the more to the fact that in society groupings (Hegel, author of the idea of civil society, would use the terms "corporations" or "strata") should exist through which the people associated in them can exert real influence on the organization of political power in society, simultaneously maintaining maximum independence from the state. Civil society is an aggregate of separate, independent individuals (each with their own needs and private interest), where groups of citizens are formed according to various principles of association, constituting corresponding self-governing groups. The cells of civil society are cre-/328/ated in order to defend the private interests of individual citizens who are independent from one another. The only thing connecting them is the requirement that they abide by legal norms and moral restrictions.

It is now clear why the ideals of civil society are so sharply counterposed to the national idea, when it is argued that the only point of the national idea lies in creating Ukraine for all its citizens, Ukraine as a law-governed state, as a social state for all. First of all, it is a matter of establishing norms and values of legal organization of the political association of people within Ukraine. The political organization of a nation is sometimes identified with legal relations, which have a purely rational, universal, and formal basis, abiding by which constitutes just the main function of the state, the state mechanism, and the whole body of state power. This basis gives rise to fantastic day-dreams about the legal organization of our disorganized society, about a law-abiding, uncorrupted power, a non-criminal economy, etc. But if the question of the underlying basis of the people's consolidation into a political whole of the nation only on the principles of civil society is raised again and again, the conclusions reached will not be reassuring. For the position of civil society is also based on certain views about principles of human coexistence. These are recognized, i.e., already legitimate, norms of law and legal conceptions, which are shared by the whole community. The point of highlighting ideals of civil society resides in, so to speak, the super-political formation of social unity, in unclarified identification of political organization, on the one hand, and a law-governed community, on the other hand, or, in other words, the identification of politics and law.

In the current political situation, proponents of the idea of civil society as the basis of the Ukrainian nation consciously or unconsciously incline toward high-sounding slogans of statehood building and etatism. To be sure, we need a universal discipline, legal protection, and law-governed state in order to put our life economy, politics, education, /329/ etc. right in Ukraine. And to do so, we need a strong power, strong state, strong apparatus, strong administration, and strong army in a word, a strong state machine. Identification of the notion of civil society with the image of political nation results, in real life, in securing the administrative-neonomenklatura model of keeping the Ukrainian community in the trap of protonational unity. It is in the enthusiasm for statehood building that the views and interests of proponents of the national idea and representatives of the political Establishment coincide.

It is no accident that the new Administration talks so much about a statehood and a constitution. It is claimed that actions of the legislative and executive powers that be have allegedly obtained legitimacy. And it is no accident that the highest power does not break off, even symbolically, its relation to the state symbols, which so easily deceive Ukraine's "National Romanticists" (or romantic Nationalists).

We see that, taken separately, the two positions, which are observed today in public opinion regarding the problems of creating a Ukrainian political nation, are not self-sufficient. On the one hand, there is a problem in identifying political power and the basis of its legitimation the national idea. In other words, there arises an extralegal situation of self-legalization (self-judgment) of "corporative" views of a certain segment of the national community. On the other hand, the incumbent political power acquires a supralegal force.




4. Extricable Etatism


The very Ukrainian word for "state," derzhava, is rather revealing: the word is derived from derzhaty which means "to keep together"; it is a force that consolidates people into a single unit. State is a materialized all-togetherness, community of the people. It is an institutionally realized state of coexistence in the form of the army, the militia, and, to be /330/ sure, the officialdom, top bureaucracy, and, in addition, the institutions of law, moral, traditions, etc. On what principles are we put together into a single unit today? What is the basis of our state bonds which legitimizes power's keeping us together in the state of Ukraine?

The first years of independence provided their answer (on behalf of the first set of independent authorities): the basis of legitimacy of the state power is our ethno-national unity, our wish to affirm ourselves as a certain ethnocultural form of coexistence. Statehood must be subjected to realization of the national idea. In the late twentieth century, consolidating its hold is the model of ethnonational legitimation of power, or, to put it simply, the ethnonational model of Ukrainian statehood.

According to this model, the state is necessary primarily to support and, especially, protect, an ethnonational community from the real danger (from within and without) of its disappearance or dissolution into other ethnopolitical formations. The state is an institution of materialized force to protect, support, and put into effect the national idea, i.e., the values of ethnonational cultural coexistence. The ethnonational model lays emphasis on such an understanding of the state, when the latter is regarded as primarily a protective force. Proponents of this model argue that if it is a matter of Ukraine's survival, then it would be better to live in a monarchic Ukraine (to be understood as an authoritarian-neototalitarian ethnic state) rather than in a so-called democratic Ukraine for all the ethnic groups. Slogans calling for a strong state and "statehood" are the major features of this model and of this understanding of the current tasks of the Ukrainian state. The ethnic model of the state bets on a strong state power, but the state does not only protect people, it also has to bring them together, unite them, and keep them all together. How, according to this model, does the Ukrainian state maintain such unity? What is the main principle of organization (and, incidentally, constitution) of the people into the unity of the state of Ukraine? /331/

The ethnic model proceeds from the assumption that the unity of people already exists: this is our Ukrainian collective unity, spirituality, and community. For a nation, say the proponents of the ethnic model, as such is a spiritual, cultural, and blood-related society which is already held together due to common history and life, by strong ties of traditions, historical destiny, language, religion, customs, origin, territory, and a single will. This is why the state is necessary only as an outside force, which should protect the extant community of people and true citizens. And the stronger and firmer is the state, regime, and its ability to defend the extant ethnic unity by coercive means, the better that state is. A strong state is the natural slogan of this model.

But in reality this leads to the fact that ethnic etatist aspirations back up purely superficial, bureaucratic properties and functions of the state as a mechanism for ruling and coercion. They support a natural craving for power of actual authorities, a present-day Ukrainian administration. In addition, this fact results in a further, still greater, alienation of the power and the people. For the people are considered to have been unified, all on its own, by the single idea: the Ukrainian ethnic unity is already present, mean the champions of the ethnic model. There is nothing here for a state to do, they say; therefore, let its force protect us from outside, since this is supposedly its main business and current historical task.

The new regime has just availed itself of the inertia of these ethnic projects of a strong state. Having removed the thick national coloring of the previous model, it left intact only one catchword state building, with episodic ritual bows to yesterday's nationalistic rhetoric. In fact, one can claim that an essentially new model, which should be referred to as one of the forcible legitimation of the state power or an administrative-neonomenklatura model, has arisen on the ruins of the national liberation movement. The national idea is no longer the principal one for the task of /332/ self-legitimation of the state power, while it is from time to time flirted with. It is alleged that the power is generally necessary in order to put life economy, politics, education, etc. right in Ukraine. And to do so, we need a strong power, strong state, strong apparatus, and strong army. A situation arises where the regime creates a certain realm of its separate existence, which is, in general, far from real life.

The national idea and the idea of state building proved to be a very convenient form of power claims in the postcommunist period. But they are not a sufficient condition for legitimizing an independent state at the end of the twentieth century. They pass over a major factor in modern statehood the free recognition of the institution of the state by its citizens, which is precisely true democratic legitimation and consolidation of the state through the life, interests, work, and business of each individual citizen.

Both the ethnic and administrative-nomenklatura models are not capable of taking into account the self-government and civic activities of people. There is much evidence of this: the current authorities obviously are not able to influence from above the processes which arise as a result of postcommunist changes initiated by the course of history rather than by them.




5. The Legacy of the Authoritarian Personality


Still felt is the authoritarian-etatist tradition rooted in the whole history, rituals, disciplinary mechanisms, and discourse of power of the so-called Soviet state. The centerpiece of this tradition is the individual, the subject of power who largely sets the supralegal rules of the social game. These rules constitute the flip side of all Utopias, including that of "a political nation". The authoritarian consciousness turns everything elaborated and achieved in the times of the ripening of communicative principles for a stable existence of political community into narratives without content. One /333/ of its peculiarities is the intention to create an artificial reality, an unreal political landscape. This is a method of pseudolegitimation, which manifests the longing for the full and voluntary recognition of the right to exercise power, and, at the same time, reveals concealed illegality. History knows many such cases, when, on the one hand, there are obvious signs of a rigid orientation toward administer-and-command methods and surveillance, and, on the other hand, creating an essentially artificial political reality.

Once Fiodor Ivanovich Tiutchev, a nineteenth-century Russian imperial diplomat in Munich, better known as a great Russian poet, submitted to Tsar Nicholas I a proposal to found at state cost a foreign-based opposition journal which would publish criticisms of the empire's government and its policies. Tiutchev argued that since Russia's image in the European press was very negative, such a journal controlled from St. Petersburg could well improve it, thereby ensuring the monarchy a requisite political context. The poet's diplomatic initiative failed to receive a positive response. However, the idea of establishing an opposition periodical controlled by the government was to be revived in the Soviet empire as late as 1945. This time the initiator was Soviet Tsar Joseph Stalin who proposed to well-known Russian author Konstantin Simonov to "take care" of the Literaturnaya Gazeta (Literary Gazette), which would carry, from time to time, materials antagonistic to the dominant ideology. Moreover, Stalin promised to criticize the paper on behalf of the Politburo. This buffer role seems to have been played by the Literaturnaya Gazeta up to perestroika.

But what does such "shock-absorbing" mean, what is the point of it? Several decades' practices of the totalitarian regime formed a special system of controlled and institutional fear whose central agent was the authoritarian personality. Fear plays a special role in producing the effect of pseudo-legitimation. It is symptomatic that the uncontrolled discourse environment of Soviet everyday life responded to such practices rather aptly by labeling such chimeras "vol- /334/untary/obligatory". Unpaid Saturdays (subotniki) of "voluntary" free labor, the hard labor in collective and state farms, and the demonstrations on "revolutionary" holidays were thus "voluntary/obligatory" in the sense that not "volunteering" had unpleasant consequences. The model of the "Gulag brotherhood" of victim and victimizer reflected in the above word group became all-pervasive under the Soviet regime, playing the role of a universal prosthesis for legitimation. But even now deep in mass consciousness the roots remain of that model and the rudiments of punitive paternalism as a longing for a firm hand.

A characteristic feature of this type of individual is an irrational attitude toward authority. Recognition of the exceptional rights of his superior makes it possible for the individual to feel psychological balance. Subjection and subordination are, in fact, a radically reduced method of orientation in social environment, which also makes it possible for the individual to avoid a burdensome situation of making choices and to remain aloof from the threat of turning into the target of numerous questions. For a question as a way of articulating social unsettledness appears as a depersonalized image of power and various violent accidents. This reduction turns out to be both the condition and the consequence of social regulation. Thus, subordination and subjection become all-pervasive for the individual, since on an irrational impulse he accepts coercion against himself and thereby latently strives to become an agent of such coercion. As a result, some of the will to power and aggressiveness is sublimated in, so to speak, "love for the victimizer," while the rest finds its way out in building an image of the enemy or the alien, i.e., he with whom the authoritarian individual does not identify.

Actually, both the ethnic and the etatist versions of legitimation of postcommunist power rely heavily on social-psychological reflexes of the authoritarian personality. "Love for victimizer" is planned on the ideological level by means of imposing personalized images of force and corresponds to /335/ individual masochistic impulses; hence, on the one hand, a longing to shape the whole legal mechanism and to form a democratic jargon in accordance with these images, and, on the other hand, dreams about the ideal boss, longing for a "firm hand," etc.

At the level of the top leadership, the fear of the alien, the other and the mystery and unpredictability of the other, on transforming into administrative aggression, are always made manifest in the desire to create a crystal-clear image and to lean for support on ultimate and definite notions. According to this, the world is divided into formal and extremely over-simplified spheres, devoid of any relationship with its object, the life world. A peculiar "suprarealism" appears such that the whole social environment is merely the object of surveillance and manipulation by means of speculative ideas.9 As a result, such a formula of power is synthesized which presupposes rejection of uncertainty and darkness, i.e., of all that does not fit the ideal.

One can say that from the viewpoint of a person ready to accept "strong power," the ultimate uncertainty of social relationships and the situation of permanently making choices, typical of democracy, are perceived as threats to his own authoritarian-paternalistic leanings. This is precisely why he is ready to back up administrative aggression, in this way identifying himself with the authorities, and to provide for the basis of pseudolegitimation or forcible legitimation.

The case of the Literaturnaya Gazeta testified to the fact that the above mechanism of the functioning of authoritarian mind is subject to eventual crisis, and therefore, the authoritarian type of personality experiences crisis as well. The desire of power to make its field of action absolutely transparent and its craving for "suprarealism" finally result in the need to include specific forms of manifesting social disagreement into the sphere of the purely administrative-etatist imagination, even to provoke disagreement in order to fuel up aggressiveness lulled up by too much peace of the graveyard. A similar critical situation is well described in /336/ the Tinianov's historical novel "Second Lieutenant Kizhe." Recall how Emperor Paul I, one of the main characters of the story, opens up for himself a secret of "how to do away with treachery and void" by simply "introducing accuracy and absolute subordination... All offices began to work. He was believed to take for himself only the executive branch. But it so happened that the executive branch muddled everything up for the Chancellery, and, as a result, there were dubious betrayals, void, and arch subjugation."10

The authoritarian mind is always doomed to reproduce the object of its concern and to distrust the image denoting or representing this subject. In the authoritarian mind one of the most reliable methods to ensure clarity of understanding and perception, analogous to the image, is the creating of a certain legitimate basis. In other words, the image of the "alien" should be easily identifiable in accordance with certain legal procedures and, therefore, sufficiently controllable.

A law on "Opposition," which legal ideologists in the Presidential milieu wanted so persistently to put into life early in .1995, was, given the nature of the postcommunist jargon, a logical act in the functioning of the authoritarian mind. Here we witness a certain inertia of the state which ensured economic productivity based on the distribution of raw materials and goods, and which still retains its power, validity, and efficiency but obviously within the bounds of the regime's own decline and collapse. Two technologies, production technology and political technology, are inseparably bound together. For to produce means to discipline, and to discipline implies producing something, including obedient people, by means of a relevant technique of discipline.11

This means to impose upon a person his own identity by transforming knowledge about him obtained within the framework of ideology into his own knowledge about himself and to create, in this way, the subject required. This is how the internalization of state surveillance and control is /337/ effected. The subject begins to control himself due to a selfknowledge imposed on him in the form of various narratives formed by official ideologists.

The authoritarian personality has been the centerpiece of such production. At the same time, the political technology ensuring such production has fallen to pieces almost completely. One can say that in the disciplinary workshop inherited from the Soviet regime real confusion has arisen.

Any power affirms itself and exists through its endless confrontation with illegalities of various kind. In the course of the confrontation, a repressive mechanism emerges and improves itself essentially as a means of producing obedient people. A variety of illegalities, characteristic of the totalitarian type of rule, can be correlated with a system of ministries for various industries which were an efficient and fitting disciplinary correlate of a distributive administrative command economy. The inventory of illegalities considerably shrank as the totalitarian system disintegrated. In the present socio-political situation, it is practically impossible to reproduce that, so to speak, abundance of llegalites (for example, such illegalities as "anti-Soviet propaganda," "defamation of the socialist system," etc.). At the same time, an element of opposition and resistance remains as a crucial need and condition of power existence and the transformation of policy as such.




6. The Secondary Nature of Geopolitical Legitimation


The process of state-building in Ukraine is evolving in a situation where foreign policy factors play a greater part in defining strategy than they could have in other situations. First, as has already been stated many times, Ukraine gained independence without having any elaborated system of measures which could have been formed on the basis of a certain historically evolved ideology deeply rooted in mass consciousness. Hence, the absence of a legitimate, generally accepted concept of state-building gradually led to the /338/ growing importance of the purely material and pragmatic dimensions of how the state functions. It can even be said that the current state-building in Ukraine has a reflexive character and lacks initiative. Clearly, the lack of such a vital component of any strategy of market-oriented reform as a corresponding socio-political climate formed by cultural traditions renders very likely a restoration of yesterday's ideological orientations or an expansion of strong and developed ideologies and, first of all, Eurasianism.

Over the past several years, the term "Eurasia" has come to prominence in the vocabularies of postcommunist politicians and consolidated its place in the lexicon of many publications.

The real need for a new universalistic, global construct to be substituted for the former confrontational concept of the two world systems has been felt primarily by present-day Russian political strategists. The necessity of rebuilding the whole system of national security, called forth by the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact and the collapse of the militarized economy, has provoked a partial regeneration of the old state structure, but already on a new basis. It does not, however, follow that the geopolitical views of the postcommunist establishment, arising out of nothing, are growing into a new political vision on the ruins of the imperial expansionism of communist ideology. The most farsighted functionaries of the communist bureaucratic milieu sensed the danger that the coming political and economic crisis would bury them. Already in the late seventies and early eighties, they were actively seeking and, so to speak, trying out a new ideological doctrine.

In the 1990s, after the abortive military-communist putsch of August 1991, this trend stabilized and was gradually transformed into the dominant one in the political life of present-day Russia. The journal Elementy with its telling subtitle, A Eurasian Review, became an extreme manifestation of this trend. Its editorial soirees and socials came to be frequented even by top military officials. Only its brutal, /339/ and sometimes abusive, disloyalty to the new authorities, its failure to understand the true agenda of Yeltsin's entourage, as well as its flagrant flirtation with doctrines of the extreme right bordering on antics denied the publication any chance of being transformed into a respectable mouthpiece of the geopolitical interests of the regenerated imperial elite.

Despite the ban on the Eurasian Review after the October 1993 events in Moscow, the word "Eurasia" became a peculiar code name for a political drift of the former USSR republics, including Ukraine, obviously planned by Moscow toward transforming the geopolitical belt of Russia's new satellite states into neocolonies. The abundance of raw materials and the gap in labor costs make such plans very feasible and extremely tempting to many Russian politicians.

Today we witness mounting rivalry among several branches of Russian great-power chauvinists for the Eurasian space. The idea of recovering the "lost" territories and bringing them back to the bosom of the imperial structure either resounds in political declarations or is seen in specific actions, despite the ideological coloring of its bearers.

Although the whole expanse of the former Soviet empire has become open to understanding by the Western world, it has yet to be understood. In order to fill this gap of understanding, many politicians and political scientists take the path of least resistance, refer to historical precedents, and in this case they attempt to revive an easily understood and analyzed integral image of the destructured space of a world which until recently was hostile. In this way, transformed forms of knowledge are produced which tempt the politician to maneuver professionally within the framework of imperfect programs whose methodology retains numerous vestiges of the period of confrontation between two world systems.

The avoidance of the complex and original intellectual exertions required to orient oneself in the postcommunist world goes hand in glove with esoteric techniques of pro-/340/ducing a political picture of the modern world. Among these, one might mention all sorts of globalist visions and doctrines as well as mythological ideas about the postcommunist world. A special role in creating such images is played by conceptions similar to the presently trendy one by Samuel Huntington based on a taxonomy that absolutely reeks of historical materialism with its schematic succession of economic formations. The division of the world into the spheres of influence or of various paradigms of cultural history does not lend itself to verification, even in the case of Oswald Spengler with his masterly encyclopedic system of arguments. But, however, such concepts as a rule condition a certain geopolitical trajectory leading politicians to the vicious circle of metaphor designed to escape confusion. They can be said to create a political virtual reality by whose norms the whole world is supposed to live. Abidance by these norms seems to confirm both the validity of the fantasized geopolitical reality and the magical omnipotence ascribed to such globalist visions. A performative mythologized image of postcommunism gives the impression of understanding the political situation, if only the requisite universalistic geopolitical schemata is found to explain it.

The suggestive political and geoeconomic force of the "Eurasian syndrome" also affects Ukrainian politicians and political scientists. Openly demonstrating its "Eurasian solidarity" is the Communist-Socialist majority in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's Parliament), whose example can serve the frenzied propaganda campaign to draw Ukraine into CIS structures dominated by Russia. Attempts to revive and implant Eurasianist rhetoric into concepts of state strategy can also be seen in various recent statesments and publications originating in President Kuchma's inner circle.

Recourse to the legitimating potential of a modernized Eurasian ideology is a natural step in the development of etatism in the situation of uncertain basic values and lack of collective identity. Representatives of the state structures explain away their gravitation toward Eurasian views by na-/341/tional interests and purely pragmatic considerations related to Ukraine's critical economic situation, which arose allegedly as a result of severed economic ties with other regions of the former USSR. Indeed, if there is no sufficient national accord, then, proselytes of the newest version of Eurasianism hold, there is every ground for political self-determination through foreign policy (or geopolitical) interests.

The sense of this resuscitation of the general outlines of modern political Eurasianism becomes clear, if one raises the issue of its legitimizing principles. Underlying Eurasianism is an attempt to find external factors of legitimation, given the lack of national ones. The current ideologists of Eurasianism rely on a denationalized form of thinking about social integrity. The legacy of Soviet identity, which acquired certain attributes of naturalness due to its historical longevity, assists them reliably.

This is not, however, the main point of these attempts at a, so to speak, Eurasian legitimation of power. This issue is not one of a search for legitimacy in foreign policy relationships and conflicts but rather the further development of the etatist position that geopolitics are the state's sole responsibility.




* * *


Analyzing how the political regime establishes itself under the postcommunist condition points to the main feature of its legitimation. In all cases of political affirmation, the authorities and institutions of power always try to create their own arbitrary basis of legitimation by authoritarian methods, rather than seek to establish a basis immanent in society, a natural system of basic values. This is an enduring Communist reflex of postcommunist power to reproduce over and over (insofar as this is made possible by the time and real changes that have taken place) neototalitarian forms of self-legitimation.

To overcome this ruinous artificiality, even spectral quality, of the political organization of post-Soviet society is /342/ possible only by means of a truly democratic process of legitimation. This presupposes creating political conditions fostering the formation of Ukraine's legitimizing basis, a new collective identity, most naturally, not by means of administrative pressure, force of imposition, or cultural coercion. It must be clearly understood that creating a political nation is, in general, a proper and beneficial process of legitimation. A Ukrainian political nation, as well as a Ukrainian nation state, Ukraine, are still in the future. The time this will have to take cannot be altered or shortened either by making an artificial national ideology or the always limited invocations of the idol of statehood.







1 In our treatment of the problem of legitimation we rely on Jü. Habermas' theoretical insights in: Jurgen Habermas, Legitimation Problems in the Modem State, in Jürgen Habermas Communication and the Evolution of Society, (London, 1979), pp. 178-183. See, specifically: Aleksandr Zinoviev, Kommunizm kak Rialnost', 1980 (in Russian).

2 Ibid., p.179.

3 Ibid., p.180.

4 Ibid., p.183.

5 Pierre Bouretz, "Desir de transparence et respect du secret," Esprit, No. 211, Mai 1995, p.49.

6 Friedrich Nietsche, Works in Two Volumes, (Moscow, 1990; Russian translation), VoL 2, p.447.

7 Aristotle, Nicomanean Ethics (V, 1130, b.30-33).

8 Paul Ricoer, "Hermeneutics, Ethics, Politics", in: Paul Ricoer, Moscow Lectures and Interuiews (Moscow, 1995; in Russian), p.49.

9 See: Theodore Adorno et. al., The Authoritarian Personality: Studies in Prejudice, vol. 1 (New York, 1950), p. 768.

10 Juri Tynianov, Kiukhlya: Tales, (Leningrad, 1993; in Russian), p349.

11 Michel Foucault, Serveiller et punir, (Paris, 1975), pp. 208-210.





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