‘Modernized’ Homo Sovieticus in Emigration Supports Trump, Eidman Says

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 6, 2020)

Some analysts like Yury Felshtinsky argue that many Russian-speaking emigres in the US support Donald Trump because of their “common racism,” Igor Eidman says. But “this is only one of the sources of Trumpohilia” and not necessarily the most influential.

Instead, the Russian sociologist says, “Homo Sovieticus supports Trump because his image and rhetoric ideally fit into the picture of the world they are accustomed to” (gordonua.com/blogs/eydman/homo-sovieticus-podderzhivayut-trampa-potomu-chto-ego-obraz-i-ritorika-idealno-vpisyvayutsya-v-privychnuyu-dlya-nih-kartinu-mira-1508018.html).

“Putinism inherited the images of ‘ours’ (the USSR and Russia) and ‘enemies’ (the West and the US) from the Soviet past,” Eidman continues. “This is the worldview of traditional Homo Sovieticus.” But “many anti-Soviet and anti-Putin people” follow the same pattern, only exchanging the positive and negative in their minds.

In their worldview, “everything that was considered good for the USSR (the left, internationalism, atheism, revolution and so on) has become bad, and everything bad good (the right, nationalism, religion, consumerism and so on,” the sociologist argues. But the black and white thinking and limitations remain in place.

Transplanted in the US, “Homo Sovieticus, having decided that they are right-wing American patriots need a capitalist ‘father of the peoples,’ and they have found him in Trump.”

Such people grew up in slavery, “and slaves need a master. More than that, slaves love strong and harsh masters,” Eidman says. Consequently, “the correct master must be an authoritarian personality of the kind Teodor Adorno described long ago. Putin serves this role for Homo Sovieticus in Russia; Trump does the same for that species in the US.

Among the characteristics of such authoritarian personalities that Adorno listed are a cult of force, xenophobia, hatred of the intelligentsia, a propensity to attack those who do not show respect for traditional values, an identification with their leaders, and “the projection of their unconscious and instinctive fears on the rest of the world.”

Just like Putin, Eidman says, “Trump simply ideally corresponds to all of this.”

“Of course,” he adds, “Trump is supported not only by former Soviet people but also by a multitude of ordinary Americans. The thing is that the psychology of Homo Sovieticus is not unique. It is a variant of an archaic tribal consciousness.”

As such, it is “equally present among redneck patriots from the American backwoods, Soviet Stalinists, post-Soviet social Darwinists, nationalists, and traditionalists of all nations and masks.”

[article also appeared at windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2020/07/modernized-homo-sovieticus-in.html]