What determines the trajectory of the state?
With the collapse of the USSR, “anti-historical anti-materialism” came into vogue in Russia. Metaphysical arguments about the eternal or about the "clash of civilizations", where the past dominates in a fatal way, fortunately, do not stand up to the test of facts. For example, why did the Social Democrats win in 1930s Scandinavia in response to the Great Depression, while the Nazis win in Germany? Mentality seems to be Nordic everywhere. Back in 1780, the Ginny coefficient (that is, inequality) was the highest in the Kingdom of Denmark, from where, by the way, Peter I wrote off the Table of Ranks. Moreover, there was no serfdom either in the Cossack Don, or in the Pomeranian North, or in the communities of the Old Believers, or among the Muslims of the Volga region, even more so in Siberia. But its remnants were preserved in Iceland until the beginning of the twentieth century. At the same time, migrants to American Minnesota were called "Swedish bastards" and "Finnish lumberjacks." In Canada (where else in the world?), until the 1950s, speaking French was considered not a politeness, but a sign of large and impoverished "white blacks" of Quebec. Not to mention the Irish, the Poles, the Italians, the masses of ordinary Jews or Koreans, "Negroes of Asia" as it was written in black and white in army memos for American soldiers sent to contain communism in Korea. Today, all this sounds wild, because in the second half of the twentieth century, literally yesterday, these peoples joined the core of the expanding world-system of capitalism.
So why not Russia? Here we need a map of the world, a long, telescopic view of history and a serious theoretical compass. Max Weber raised the questions correctly, but went too far with the Protestant ethics. As the Czech-British theorist Ernest Gellner joked, if back in 732 AD. e. Charles Martell with the army of the Franks did not stop the Arab conquerors in the battle of Poitiers and Europe became Muslim, its history, of course, would have turned out differently. The German sociologist Mohammed ibn Weber in the 14th century A.D. (or 1905 A.D.) would have published a treatise on the Kharijite Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism. There was such a puritanical current in Islam, the only one of the world's religions that consecrated private property. The prophet himself was a merchant, and Mecca was a caravan crossroads, where a no-violence zone (haram in Arabic) arose around the sacred Kaaba, a prototype of Dubai in a sea of civil strife and Bedouin racketeering.
If it's all about Protestantism, then what about the Catholic Venice, Florence and other commercial city-states of the Italian Renaissance? By the way, why did bankers like the Medicis generously pay for the rise of culture? In a word, then the elite status is to match the kings and the Vatican. But before that, the medieval bankers and merchants of Northern Italy threw themselves even more generously and surprisingly honestly towards each other into the construction of fortress walls, fleets and professional detachments of advanced crossbowmen, that is, they collectively lowered the security costs of doing business. La Serenissima (The Most Serene) The Venetian Republic stood for centuries impregnable for pirates and robber barons and surrendered only in 1797, and even then to Napoleon himself. This is the cradle of capitalism.
Charles Tilly called it the capital-intensive route to the modern state. There was another way, based on purposeful coercion. This strategy of power remained much more common for a long time, because few of the lords had rich independent merchants. But the nobility on horseback, the infantry armies of recruits, and then the guns were at the disposal of all the successful empires of modernity, including Russia.
Europe, of course, is exceptionally lucky with geography. The steppe nomads reached strength to Hungary, leaving the West the opportunity to slowly boil in the cauldron of their feudal fragmentation. Max Weber called feudalism a "chronic disease" that is very difficult to overcome. The strongest shock on the verge of survival was required. Weber is right: the Protestant Reformation was such a shock, and not only in the souls of the people. Heresies proliferated in the Middle Ages. But how did the Inquisition not get to Martin Luther? Who provided security costs for Lutherans, Calvinists and other Anglicans?
How war gave birth to modern states
It is useful to put the question on the time scale. Why not earlier than the 16th century, and then so rapidly? If there had been The Economist then, imagine what global trends its experts would discuss in a special issue for January 1500. Certainly a new military technology of firearms, which ended both the raids of the steppes and feudal separatism, the scourge of the Middle Ages. Experts would discuss the geopolitics of the newest "gunpowder empires" rapidly filling Eurasia. But the discovery of America - I'm not sure.
Gunpowder was invented by the Chinese. They were the first to overthrow the Mongol yoke. Soon the Chinese Ming Dynasty had no one to fight with, and new territories were not interested, if a huge rice-growing country was already working. The mandarinate that ruled China deliberately pursued stagnation for the sake of the harmony of Confucian rule. Merchants and soldiers were tolerated only as needed. This is not so much the strength of tradition, but rather a rational and long-term strategy of power in its own way. In Japan, they will generally be ordered to forget teppo, the national type of firearm, since under the shoguns of the Tokugawa dynasty, inner peace and prosperity were finally established.
Gunpowder empires of early modernity were hard at work. After the chaos, demography and economic growth began everywhere - for the next 100-150 years, until the next agrarian overpopulation came. The same was observed in India under the Great Mughals (of course, not the Mongols, but rather the Uzbeks), and in Safavid Iran, and in the vast Ottoman Empire. So then, you say, Asia ... However, the empire of the Habsburgs, zealots of Catholicism, was also ascending in Europe, who so successfully captured the jewelry of the Aztecs and Incas, and with the accession of Portugal, they also added income from Africa and India. Look at a world map from the 1500s. Global trends are gunpowder empires, religious orthodoxy, the flourishing of crafts and population growth, from where taxes flow into the imperial treasury.
Yes, in the north-west of Europe, the Habsburgs have not yet succeeded in cracking down on disobedient princes and Dutch merchants who fell into the Protestant heresy. How long will this gathering hold out against the Spanish infantry, the Grand Armada, the Jesuits and the Inquisition? It turned out it did. This is the main research problem of Charles Tilly, William McNeill, Immanuel Wallerstein, Richard Lachman, Giovanni Arrighi. My teachers.
We now take a map of the world for 1900. How are China, Persia, the Ottoman Turks? India is generally British. Spain lost its colonies and walled up from the world beyond the Pyrenees. Of course, from the 1500s to the 1900s, capitalism triumphed in the world, and its center remained mainly in Protestant states. (France, which remained in Catholicism, went through its Huguenot wars and the Fronde.) The reason, we repeat, is not in spiritual ethics, but in protracted wars and internal revolutions in which modern states were formed. The resistance of the Protestants (and France) to the Habsburg Empire, which threatened to engulf the entire West, required a strain of resources and ingenuity to build fleets, mass casting cannons, supply the military, including the most advanced devices of those years: watches, compasses, maps, ballistics tables, spyglasses . In English, a telescope and an optical sight (scope) are the same root words. Officers, these now "bridled" aristocrats, needed to be trained professionally. See the history of the universities in Berlin, Swedish Uppsala or French Grandes écoles. The soldiers also had to be taught to read and write not only to read the charter (and before the Bible translated into modern languages), but also to instill a patriotic spirit from the school bench. As contemporaries said about the Franco-Prussian War, it was won by a German teacher.
The reason for the emergence of modern capitalist states is not in spiritual ethics, but in protracted wars and internal revolutions.
All this required a rational organization of the state—that is, a capable, less corrupt bureaucracy—and increasing taxes. Money loves an account. The Habsburgs became fabulously rich thanks to natural rent, gold and silver from Mexico and Peru. And what is the result? A 17th-century Portuguese publicist exclaimed in despair: "Lisbon is only a sip for wealth from the Indies, but everything settles in the Dutch womb." The Dutch, as conscientious merchants, counted money and taught it to the English. Americans are their common descendants.
The struggle for the budget is fraught with conflicts, often bloody. The English king Charles I was beheaded by the verdict of Parliament. Like Louis XVI of France. The Americans, on the other hand, abandoned King George under the slogan "No taxes without representation!" (No taxation without representation).
Plus what Weber called "competition among states for mobile capital." Not only gold, but also golden hands flowed away from bad rulers, because in Europe there was where to go. The Spanish crown expelled the Jews - and they went to Holland. They may not be Protestants, but they are merchants and valuable professionals.
Modern democracies arose for budgetary control by the bourgeois elites, because they had something to lose, as well as to gain on public debt and contracts. The simpler people gained access to democracy only gradually and also mainly under the influence of wars. Soldiers are not only men with a gun, but potential rebels. Bismarck, after 12 years of the "Exceptional Law against the Socialists," suddenly invited Marxists who turned out to be indestructible to be elected to the Reichstag, and he himself carried out social reforms from above. Front-line soldiers could become fascists - all the same, a threat to the elites.
The common people gained access to democracy only gradually and mainly under the influence of wars.
Women are involved in the state even before feminism, as mothers and wives of soldiers require social protection. In the First and especially in the Second World War, in the industrial age, women massively replace mobilized men at the machines.
In its most concise form, this is the military-fiscal theory of Western modernization. So what about Russia? Let's move on to the second part of the presentation.
Russia's historical trajectory
Russia was also lucky with geography, but not immediately. As the French mega-historian Fernand Braudel said, geography proposes, but people dispose. The Eastern Slavs suffered for centuries from the raids of the steppes. Forests gave some protection, but were poor in soils and minerals. Compared to Venice and the Hanseatic ports, Veliky Novgorod itself looked rather frail. On the export of furs, hemp and wax, but through the same Hanseatics, you won’t make much.
Firearms and here radically changed the balance of power. In the 1480s, Ivan III, the most underestimated of Moscow's rulers, laid the foundations of a gunpowder empire. Soon, its archers and Cossacks will follow the paths of the advancement of the steppes, only in the opposite direction (see the classic painting “The Conquest of Siberia by Yermak”). The increase in the fertility of the steppes and the Ural metals put Russia on a par with other gunpowder empires, although it is still a relatively poor imitation from the outskirts of the world. However, like the Swedes, old brothers-in-law on the Varangian line. And as Poles, eternal fellow-rivals in the Slavs.
But then the paths of Russians, Poles and Swedes diverge. The Swedish crown, seeing the poverty of its harsh outskirts and the commercial prosperity of the Dutch, supported Protestantism. Instead of scraping meager taxes from the Scandinavian peasants scattered around the farms, they were tightly packed into one of the best armies of the Protestant League, the “hammer of the North”. Military affairs are the specialization of the semi-periphery. The zealous Dutch did not risk themselves much, but they paid well and on time. Soon even part of their military-industrial complex was taken to Sweden - away from the Spanish armies, closer to the timber and ore deposits. That's where the roots of SAAB, Volvo, IKEA. The same Prussia, a mercenary kingdom, famous for discipline and drill, is a commodity in the face! But Sweden, since the time of Peter I, has been dropping out of the top league of geopolitics and by the 20th century has become a social democracy. Prussia, on the contrary, grows into the Kaiser and then Hitler's Reich.
Everything is different in Poland, where bread was grown in abundance for export to the same Protestant countries. There is a supply chain typical of the modern world system. In the center, in the West, artisans and merchants, soldiers and sailors earned and consumed bread, meat (and beer) to their heart's content. On the fields of Eastern Europe, serfs plowed primitive plow, which reduced production costs. The serfs were owned by Polish magnates, who were not of rank to bother with the organization of the economy and the account of money. For this, there are Jews dependent on the pan. Money already flowed to the magnates like a river from the Dutch, who exported bread through the Baltic ports and brought in luxury goods to amuse the magnate and his guests. As a result, Poland is a periphery, a Baltic country without a fleet. The cities of Krakow and Vilna are full of churches and palaces, but not banks and manufactories. The aristocracy is free from taxes and even from royalty. This went on for a couple of the happiest centuries of Polish history (although not for the peasants). As a result, it turned out that the gentry were valiant cavalrymen and sabermen, but they did not pour guns. The once largest state in Europe disappears from the map for a long time, until 1918 and the next round of geopolitical upheavals.
The Russians have their own geopolitical luck. They mastered the remote flank of Eurasia practically out of competition. China has never cared about the Russians, Iran has always been harassed from the sides by the Turks and Afghan tribes, and the hyperactive Turks themselves, in the prime of life and prestige, preferred to besiege Vienna and nightmare Italian merchants in the Mediterranean. Hence, by the way, the bold plan of the Genoese Columbus to induce Madrid to go around the world, bypassing the harmful Turks.
The Russians have their own geopolitical luck - they mastered the remote flank of Eurasia almost out of competition
Where are the Dutch with the British? They make the most of their chance in the Atlantic, and then in the oceans. Global entrepreneurs under the sails of ocean ships with cannons, the Vikings of capitalism on a new round of history - where they could, they robbed, and where they failed, they traded or settled on lands beyond the sea. Only it was impossible to sail to Russia for a very long time, there was nowhere. The failure of Ivan the Terrible with access to the Baltic in the Livonian Wars is rather implicit luck. Otherwise it could be like in Poland.
The advanced armies of the West did come to Russia. These are the Poles and Swedes during the Time of Troubles, whose exile is being celebrated. But why didn't they come back? The Thirty Years' War, the apogee of the mutual extermination of Catholics and Protestants, seems to be none of our business. But it was precisely here that a long respite arose for Russia after a humiliating acquaintance with foreign modernity. (The Japanese Meiji Restoration in the 1860s was also lucky with the American Civil War.) The whole course of the 17th century in Russia prepared the catch-up reforms of Peter, who almost everything, from the Synod to the canals of St. Petersburg and the flag, copied from the Dutch. Except, of course, the Danish Table of Ranks and Swedish recruiting.
Did Peter have a choice? He could transport some merchants. But colonial markets? Although he tried in his last Persian campaign. There remained the path of catching up development on the basis of coercion. This is the opposite of the Anglo-Dutch capital-intensive way, but not an aberration. In a book with the clear title "Coercion, Capital and European States, 990-1992" Charles Tilly insisted that the paths were not the choice of the rulers, but options for passing through the ever-emerging problems of geopolitics and the removal of taxes within countries.
Peter I took the path of catching up development based on coercion
The harshest definition of modernization comes from Stephen Kotkin, author of an epic biography of Stalin: modernization is a geopolitical imperative. Or you will have modern factories, specialists and everything that provides them (universities, career opportunities, cultural life); or those who already have it will come to you. In 1850 Korea and Japan looked very similar, and by 1910 Korea had become a colony of Japan.
So all the same, the “damned questions” of Russia - from the traditions of state coercion? As Wallerstein ironically put it, everything that has worked at least a couple of times before becomes a tradition. The enslavement of the peasantry worked as a fuel for the catch-up jerks of the 16th, 18th and 20th centuries, three cycles of 150-200 years each. Add the repeated destruction and reorganization of the ruling elites under Ivan the Terrible, Peter and Stalin.
And Putin? He seems to be trying to launch a Stalinist rocket, in which fuel, control systems have long burned out, and the paint has come off the stars. The regime may be a hybrid one, only an absurd hybrid - neither the absolutism of the Louisians nor the Stalinist despotism really. "I blinded you from what was." Modernization dynamics (unlike Ukraine with all its own problems) does not appear even in the second year of a difficult war. Neither Shoigu nor Nabiullina are in the least reminiscent of Stalin's people's commissars, and no new Beria seems to threaten them.
The peasantry ended, as in most industrialized countries, by the middle of the 20th century. Их потомки в массе прошли через фазу лимитчиц и рабфаковцев в современные горожане, которые по повадкам и быту куда ближе западным обывателям (способным, однако, голосовать за Трампа), нежели своим выносливым до фатализма многодетным бабушкам. Армия, всякие «органы» либо педвузы для женщин в позднем СССР особенно привлекали недавних выходцев из деревень и малых городов. Эти социальные группы во многих странах склонны отстаивать консервативно-державные «скрепы» в компенсацию низкого статуса. Поглядели бы вы, какими слоганами-наклейками украшают бамперы своих подержанных машин многочисленные ветераны в тех же США! Впрочем, может, и не такие многочисленные. Американский социолог Рэндалл Коллинз после терактов 9/11 в 2001 году в течение первых недель регулярно подсчитывал, сколько домов и машин на улицах вывесили звездно-полосатые флаги. Ими, как тогда всем казалось, целиком покрылась Америка. Оказалось, 12–15%. Социальные психологи обнаруживают, что присутствие в толпе более десяти процентов чем-то выделяющихся людей воспринимается как уже «чуть не поголовно». Впрочем, это уже немного другая социология.
Коллинз провел часть детства в сталинской Москве в стенах посольства США. Папа был дипломатом, мама основала в Москве Англо-американскую школу. В далеком 1980 году этот самый Коллинз ошарашил своим докладом советологов Колумбийского университета, предсказав, что объект их экспертного знания исчезнет в течение, осторожно говоря, еще их жизней. Аргументировал это Коллинз моделью геополитики Макса Вебера и историческими картами империй. Вообразите, как фыркали советологи, покидая тот семинар.
СССР распался всего десятилетие спустя. Распался мирно и сверху, как и предсказывал тогда Коллинз. Элиты, особенно губернаторы и наместники, прежде других чувствуют, когда пора бежать, потому что обладают внутренней интуицией и знанием своей среды. Прочих же распад застает врасплох. Применимо ли это сейчас? Хочется надеяться.
Если бы не второе предупреждение Коллинза. Великие державы обычно распадаются не в один, а в два или три удара. Первое поражение — вроде случайность, чье-то головотяпство или невезение. Несколько лет спустя, нередко пройдя через внутренние потрясения, харизматичный вождь поднимает державу с колен и бросает вызов судьбе. Таков был еще карфагенянин Ганнибал, со своими слонами едва не растоптавший Рим. Таковы испанский Филипп ІІ (в честь которого до сих пор немалая страна именуется Филиппины), император Франции Наполеон. Конечно, и Гитлер. Эти вожди не допускают дезертирства элит и воюют до губительного разгрома. Вот почему в 1980 году, когда Рональд Рейган обещал остановить коммунизм, Коллинз призывал избежать атомной войны с СССР и предоставить тому распасться.
Великие державы обычно распадаются не в один, а в два или три удара
В российской истории великим реваншистом на самом деле был Сталин. Он перевернул итоги и Русско-японской войны, и Первой мировой. Но взятие Берлина в долгосрочном плане обернулось эпическим поражением всего сталинского дела — падением Берлинской стены в 1989 году, а вскоре и самого СССР.
Путинская нечаянная (в смысле против всех ожиданий) война в Украине — уже скорее постфинал исторической траектории Российской империи. Стремительно растрачиваются остатки советских ресурсов: оружейных, идеологических, внешнеполитических, экспортных и, увы, людских. Провозглашенная в качестве цели войны демилитаризация скорее может постигнуть саму Россию. При этом не наблюдаем никаких стратегий наращивания государственной мощи, ни капиталоемких, ни принудительных. Путин не Сталин уже тем, что не может пойти на конфликт с собственными элитами.
Путинская война в Украине — уже скорее постфинал исторической траектории российской империи
Да, остается ядерное оружие. Однако и это, похоже, проехали. Чего добиться тактическим ударом, упаси нас, по Киеву или Жешуву? Тем более по Вашингтону. Прикончить старика Байдена и ждать ответа?
Чарльз Тилли показывал, что в Европе различные пути в конечном итоге сливаются. Собственно, что такое Евросоюз, как не клуб распавшихся империй? Таковы Франция с Австрией и Испанией, и Германия с Польшей, даже Бельгия и Нидерланды. Клуб не только с тяжелым прошлым его членов, но с исторической задачей не превратиться в музей, как Венеция и Флоренция. В клубе том должно найтись место Украине уже в силу принципа территориальности власти и экономики. Но также и России с Турцией (учитывая фамилию автора, читатель оценит смелость социологического прогноза). Это не пожелание, а программа, вытекающая из анализа последних пяти столетий. Военные поражения и крушение геополитических амбиций иногда идет на пользу. Помимо usual suspects Японии с Германией, вспомните Швецию и Данию. После аннексии Крыма оставалось утешаться, что все плохо, но еще не катастрофа. Теперь — катастрофа, но уже не все так плохо.