Vladimir Voinovich (1986) - Moscow 2042
TLDR: Good perspective on sovok-liberal Russophobia.
Vladimir Voinovich died the other day. In the Anglosphere, this only seems to have been noticed by RFERL, where this Serb/Jewish literary dissident worked during his exile from the USSR in the 1980s.
Like Solzhenitsyn, Voinovich opposed the Soviet regime – but that was approximately where the similarities ended. Solzhenitsyn viewed the USSR as a perversion of the traditional Russia, a carapace that needed to be thrown away for the Russian people to flourish; Voinovich viewed it as a continuation of the traditional Russia, which needed to be deconstructed entirely and replaced by a Western (or what sovoks imagined to be Western) facsimile*. This, incidentally, is the reason that Voinovich was employed by RFERL, while Solzhenitsyn became progressively unhandshakeworthy in Western circles once he revealed that he was not just another Russophobe (see his 1982 letter to Reagan).
Voinovich’s most famous work is Moscow 2042, published in Russian in 1986 and translated into English in 1987. The hero is Vitaly Kartsev, wan emigre dissident who lives in Munich, and who was patently based on Voinovich himself. Kartsev books a time travel holiday to the year 2042 at a travel agent’s, though not before Sim Simych Karnavalov – a fellow dissident writer who is just as patently based on Solzhenitsyn – hands him 36 of his lugubrious tomes (“glybs”) in defense of monarchism and reaction on a computer disk, which he imperiously commands him to propagandize in the future Moscow.
The future USSR has abandoned the idea of world revolution and Socialism in One Country for “Communism in One City.” The head of state is the Genialissimo (a portmanteau of Generalissimus and genius), though in truth he rules in name only, having been confined to a gilded prison on a spaceship. Meanwhile, real power belongs to the gerontocratic bureaucrats and generals of the CPGB (the Communist Party of State Security, i.e. what resulted from the formal merger of the Communist Party and the KGB).
The Moscow Communist Republic is walled off from the outside world by a six-meter barbed wire fence guarded by machine gun outposts. Outside, it is surrounded by three “circles of hostility”: The rest of the USSR, which has since retreated into a subsistence, neo-feudal existence; the rest of the socialist bloc; and the capitalist world. In the world’s first Communist state, everyone lives according to their needs, though some needs are naturally more equal than others – Moscow is itself subdivided into three “circles of Communism” (shortened to “kaki”, which is also slang for “shit”), corresponding to areas of “extra needs,” “ordinary needs,” and “self-sustaining needs.”
Living conditions are extremely bad. Food consists of “primary products” (e.g. ersatz rutabaga, fishmeal), which are given out at “points of Communist distribution by location of work” (shortened to “pukomrasy,” with “puk” meaning “fart” in Russian). Food is distributed in exchange for talons, which can only be obtained in return for handing in “secondary product” – nightsoil, which is now the USSR’s main export, after oil and gas had run out. Yes, there is no shortage of scatological “humor” in this book.
The pathologies of the late Soviet era are maximized for absurdity. Problems are blamed on “cultists, voluntarists, corruptionists, and reformists”. Nomenklatura privileges have been preserved and expanded. There is overweening bureaucracy and censorship. Transport has broken down, and now takes place exclusively via armored personnel carriers. The cult of the Genialissimo is endemic – all of Moscow’s statues have been beheaded and replaced with cheap plastic portraits of the Genialissimo, and people are only allowed to read his manuscripts, speeches, and memoirs.
The Church has been given back all of its privileges in return for replacing God with the Genialissimo. The official ideology is now a “Pentarchy” of “nationality, party, religiosity, vigilance, and state security”, and the sign of the cross has been replaced with the sign of the pentagram. Marx, Engels, Lenin are now saints along with Jesus Christ (who is the world’s first Communist) and the Genialissimo.
But this decrepit totalitarianism hides seething popular resentment. Kartsev’s time traveling visit coincides with a revolution, as adepts of Sim Simych seize power in Moscow – helped along by a turncoat secret police general, Dzerzhin Gavrilovich (who now starts calling himself Druzhina Gavrilovich, and becomes the new regime’s security chief – he explains that people like him are always needed by any regime). Sim himself rides into Moscow on a white horse, and institutes “simoderzhavie” (from samoderzhavie – autocracy). The old “Communite” leaders are executed by crucifixion, or lynched by enraged and primitive mobs. Russia is proclaimed an Empire, “united and undivided” (after the White slogan).
The following edicts are proclaimed by Sim, now named Serafim the First, Emperor and Autocrat of All The Russias:
- The CPGB is declared illegal, and Russia is proclaimed an absolute monarchy.
- Communist propaganda is criminalized.
- The republics are annulled and replaced with gubernias. Territorially it includes the USSR, Poland, Bulgaria, and Romania.
- The people are called on to identify the cursed Communists and pluralists, and called on to be alert to any resurgence in the false and evil doctrines of Communism.
- Commission to investigate Communist crimes.
- Foreign debts are repudiated.
- Obligatory Orthodoxy.
- Renaming all cities and landmarks that carry Communist names.
- All land and factories go over to the Emperor, who will proceed to give them out to people capable of productivity labor.
- Passports and other documents given out by the Godless regime are declared null and void, and are replaced by a single residency card.
- Steam and electric means of transports are to be replaced with animal horsepower.
- Science is annulled and replaced with three obligatory subjects: God’s Law; Dal’s Dictionary; and His Majesty’s own works, such as “The Big Zone.”
- Corporal punishment.
- Mandatory beards for men over forty. Modest dress codes for men and women. Women are forbidden from riding bicycles.
- The letter ѣ is reintroduced into the Russian alphabet.
So, in other words, this is basically the sovok shitlib’s fever dream – a projection of their own demented delusions and coprophilic complexes on Imperial Russia and Solzhenitsyn. Let’s just leave it at the fact that the Holy Russian Empire bans aircraft, whereas the actual Russian Empire had Europe’s biggest air fleet at the outbreak of World War I.
Unfortunately, this fever dream – promoted by the sovoks themselves – was shared by a sufficiently large number of people when the USSR collapsed, and this led directly to the catastrophes of the 1990s. Any alternatives to the neoliberal orthodoxy and Western cargo cultism could be answered with the refrain, “Well, what do you want, then? A Sim Simych?” And Voinovich played his small part in that self-destruction.
It should therefore come as no surprise that after returning to Russia in 1990, Voinovich has been a consistent champion of anti-Russian causes. He has opposed the Second Chechen War and supported Chechen self-determination, but didn’t have the consistency to also support Russian self-determination in Crimea and the Donbass. He has supported expressions of Western poz such as Pussy Riot (amusingly, his character Kartsev, back in 1982, asks one of Sim’s lackeys in 1982 whether he is a pedo in response to his homosexual-like behavior – it’s amusing to imagine him getting metaphorically crucified for it by SJWs, had he lived in the US). He has been strongly opposed to Putin and expressed a desire that Putin “answer for his crimes.”
* Or in the terminology of Fluctuarius Argenteus’ Double Horseshoe Theory, Solzhenitsyn was in Category C, while Voinovich was Category D. Naturally, Solzhenitsyn was never going to get hired by RFERL.