A Note from the Author: In original Russian, my article about egregore of Russia became so long that I had to cut it into three posts – Modern Russia Problems’ Deep Roots in the Past, About Egregores, and Sergei Shchukin’s Art Collection in Paris. This series of posts is not a fruit of scientific research but reflection of my personal experiences of 55-year long life in that country. Now I have live in America already 28 years, and I see some similarities in ways how different egregores influence people in so different countries like America and Russia.
Sergei Shchukin’s Art Collection in Paris
This rejection of the church’s contact with the society upper class leaves a deep scar in Russian life and culture. The Russian Church of the poor and beggars managed to excommunicate the great Russian writer Lev Tolstoy from the church and Lev Tolstoy did not hesitate express his dislike of Nikolai Chernyshevsky, the writer, leftist, and son of a priest, in other words, a popovitch! The greatest Russia writer challenged the right of the pope’s posterity, popovichs, to engage in literature, philosophy, and aesthetics.
Alexander Blok will write his famous article “The People and the Intelligentsia” about two different and opposing countries in one – the people and the intelligentsia, who treat each other like Russians and Tatars:
“Between these two countries – between the people and the intelligentsia (the educated ones) – there is a thread like thin line, where both sides meet and seek ways to communicate. Such connecting line did not exist between the Russians and Tatars, between the two camps, clearly hostile. But how trustworthy is this thin communication borderline, if both camps hate each other secretly? How strange and unusual is the convergence at that line! There are no “tribes, dialects, states” here! Still, the worker, the sectarian, the tramp, the peasant, the public figure tries here to talk here with revolutionaries and officials. But this line is too thin — two camps do not understand each other, and do not want to know each other. These, who, nearing that line, seek peace and communication, are seen, as traitors and defectors by both – people and intelligentsia.
This mysterious line appeared as river Nepryadva (at battle Kulikovo where Russians fought to get independence from Tatar’s rule. – TE). On eve of the battle between Russian and Tatars in Medieval times, this river wagged clean and transparent between the two camps. But the night after the battle, and seven more nights in a row, it flowed red from Russian and Tatar blood.”
No need to remind how much blood was spilled between these camps after the seizure of power by Lenin and the Bolsheviks? Thinking about the centenary (1917-2017) of October Revolution, we know that this “two opposing camps” problem, a very Russian one still stays unresolved. The red blood continues to trickle on that thin line that separates people and intelligentsia.
Someone will say, the author has skidded … But remember, for instance, the fate of Vasili Shukshin, the genially talented writer, film director and actor. Remember the tears of his wife, Lydia Fedoseyeva when she tried to explain on TV why her husband’s death was so untimely. She accused openly the camp of intelligentsia – they hated him for coming from a peasant family in remote Siberia. She added, “If you come from people, it is hard to break the resistance of intelligentsia, and make them to recognize your talent.” Remember Vysotsky, who lived his short life one leg here, the other there, and was seen by both sides as a defector.
Remember the story of Father Alexander Men, who, on the contrary, stemmed from intelligentsia and was killed by the other camp’s forces in the heyday of his popularity, as a progressive priest who promoted education and positive values. In fact, he went against the Russian egregore of poverty that does not need independent and self-assured souls. Murder of Alexander was investigated for many years, but the killer was never found.
The Russian Orthodox Church, becoming the slave of the ruling demonic powers, the church of the destitute and needy, offered the egregore of slavish poverty more and more food, the number of poor was increasing. The egregore mushroomed, it strength was growing and it started to mold people according its own needs – to have more needy people around! And the colossal egregore of Russia was still growing making more and more people accepting it’s demands. It made people to accept the poor’s “ideology” – the poverty as way of life!
Over time, this egregore proved became stronger than the rule of monarchy, rule of communist party, and modern rulers of Russia, such as Putin, Duma and power of oligarchs. This egregor turned out to be cruel and destructive, here is the root of Russian historical drunkenness and theft! The beggar drinks, the beggar steals, the beggar begs not because he does not know the difference between good and evil, but because otherwise he will not survive. And the egregor of the poor, supports in all the features of the poor – depression, the landmark of the Russian soul – sadness and the hopelessness, gloomy believe that everything is bad and will become worse, drunkenness, lying, stealing, gloom, aggressiveness, senseless competitiveness, greed, despair, low standard of daily existence.
When the revolution in 1917 withdrew everything from the rich, it was hoped that it would improve the destitute livelihood, but ironically, instead of improvement, the people fell into the trap of monstrous communal apartments for decades, which maimed the genetic code of the nation. But this is not enough, out of the crowded communal apartments, millions found themselves locked up in Gulags. Today, instead of Gulags, the dark power of alcohol and drugs controls lives of millions of Russians robbing so many individuals from hopes and future.
Why other nations do not love us having many similar problems to handle, like alcoholism and drug dependency? They live under other egregores, they have their sets of problems, but they cannot accept the “aura” of the poverty that we carry around involuntarily where-ever we go.
It threatens, because it represents a thing that most people are learned to avoid in the name of different intentions programmed into their minds. The laureate of Noble’s award Boris Pasternak, poet, wrote once быть знаменитым некрасиво – “to be famous is ugly”, or “to be famous isn’t beautiful.” Now compare this idea with American cult of celebrities and American egregore suggested dream of becoming “rich and famous, and in any regard independent person!” Our egregore of poverty threatens and repels. The national egregors of the Baltic people are formed by the 800-year-old influence of the German egregore. It did not spread anti-Semitism, because it does not exist in Baltic states. But the German egregore planted a strong desire for orderly livability and education. The egregores of the Caucasian nationalities demand independence and material dignity for their peoples. Does it mean that the nations that have created egregores of prosperity do not have their own “Nepryadva river” of serious divisions like the problem of dislike and distrust between white and blacks in America! Obama was “ruling” America eight years to overcome that rejection and create peace! In our present-day reality, he achieved the opposite, the deepening of division that speaks clearly about the interference of a national egregore to the extent of split into two independent egregores, one white egregore and the other black egregore. Today the black one is weak, but tomorrow it will work for laying foundation for the future civilization. God’s ways are unfathomable, indeed!
But despite of differences whatever they support, poverty or prosperity, egregores act similarly. They, the Biblical Nephelines, put our minds to sleep and pump our negative emotions. TV showed, how black youth reacted to police violence by burning the random cars parked on the streets. Demanding justice, they imitated dangerous political revolts, as if denying their belonging to American great nation, and identifying themselves rather as part of the sea of fresh immigrants, the destitute from countries in political turmoil, because our Nephelines, egregores, does not love us, they eat us, and in this regard, they all are identical.
I was impressed by Putin’s one appearance on the Russian television. He charged his governors with immobility to engage the money that he and his government had given them to improve the daily livability if their subjects far away from Moscow. Money was there dead, it did not work, as governors, those scoundrels, did not put that money in construction, modernization of life.
Poor Putin, the local officials will never do, until the strong initiative to improve life will come from below, from people’s conviction that poverty ought to be erased. However, that would be done by people who will be not controlled by the egregore of beggars. Today these people multiply in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, when it will happen in provinces, when it will change Russia?
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the new government began intuitively with repainting the churches’ domes and repairing churches, and now during the TV broadcasts of Easter sermons the priests change the festive attires several times, looking more like Easter eggs than the bearers of the sacred word. Do I like this? The ancient Russian icons and chants are beautiful, subtle, elegant, as if created by some other culture.
One more painful memory from the past. I remember, Germany and Poland, the countries destroyed to bare bones, ruin skeletons instead of cities left behind by war bombings in WWII, rose back from ashes quickly, more gorgeous than ever, and how the Soviet victors joked bitterly that the vanquished live way better than the winners … It is difficult to find a more vivid illustration of the power of the egregors over the people’s minds and attitude. Only good news is that not a single egregore lives forever. The instant when the people change their mind, say, to refuse be poor, the egregore of poverty will vanish, this terrible Nepheline will die! I will not live to see it, but it will happen sooner or later.
1917-2017! A hundred years have passed since the moment when Russia abolished its monarchy and, instead of enjoying freedom, cast itself into sea of blood and suffering. Will the next century bring something new to Russia? Maybe Russian soul will, finally, get over the habit to suffer and embrace joy and peace!
To finish this blogpost, I want to share a couple of words about one surprising event connected to Russian culture, which occurred recently in Paris, France – the exhibition of Sergei Shchukin’s Reunited Collection of Masterpieces for its first-ever show Outside Russia. The collection was split up after the October Revolution, and put back together by the lasting effort of the French collector and philanthropist Bernard Arnault.
Sergei Shchukin (1854-1936)
Henri Matisse, La Danse (1909-1910). Courtesy of the Louis Vuitton and The State Hermitage Museum, St. Louis. Petersburg.
Sergei Shchukin’s collection, described as one of the world’s finest collections of modern art, will go on to view outside of Russia for the first time in nearly 100 years at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris. The wealthy businessman and arts patron amassed over 250 works of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces including 50 Picassos, 38 works by Matisse, 13 Monets, eight Cezannes and four Van Goghs and Gauguin Tahiti paintings.
However, in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution in October 1917, Shchukin’s collection was expropriated by the state, broken up, and distributed among museums in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Stalin labeled the collection’s artworks “bourgeois and cosmopolitan.”
Shchukin, who sued Lenin charging him with theft, was forced to flee to France.
Bernard Arnault, the arts’ philanthropist
80 years after Shchukin’s death, the French mega-collector and arts’ philanthropist, Bernard Arnault, successfully coordinated the exhibition, the following several years of negotiations with Russian authorities.
The deal was made on official visits to the United States of America, St. Petersburg, and Moscow Pushkin’s Museum. The Shchukin’s collection of outstanding works of impressionists and post-impressionists was recreated for the first time in a hundred years for display outside Russia, because after the October Revolution, the collection was disassembled into its individual parts.
The exhibition at the Louis Vuitton Center, open in 2014, was open from October 22, 2016 and lasted until March 5, 2017.
Sergei Shchukin (1854, Moscow – 1936, Paris) was born in the Old Believer family, the son of a well-known Moscow manufacturer of the textile industry. The collection of art by Sergei Shchukin was the basis for the subsequent interest of the Hermitage and the Pushkin Museum to French modern painting. In 2012, Sotheby’s auction house stated that the value of the Shchukin’s collection was 8.5 billion dollars.
Roman Abramovich (1966), an oligarch of Soviet descent, bought the English football club Chelsea, which was on the brink of bankruptcy. A Soviet boy dream came true! To play football in backyard was the standard of freedom and happiness for so many Soviet boys in the limited world created by the communist regime.
Shchukin’s world was different. His sister asked once her brother, how do you chose what to buy? Shchukin’s biographers report, the answer was: “When I experience emotional shock seeing a new artwork, I buy, if not, I do not buy!” Different dreams… Different level of emotional experiences.