The “Pravda” of Nicholas I

Today’s lead article on the website of “Pravda” is entitled, “The Modern West, A Culture of Death.” Were a modern day Russian Rip van Winkle to read it after a catnap of 20 years, he would probably conclude it was just another one of his crazy dreams and go back to sleep. Here’s the lead paragraph.

From the early 1800s, the West, in an affront to God, has moved ever more rapidly into a culture of death and destruction, away from the teachings of Christ. At its present state, the most significant thing that the West is bringing to humanity is a culture of totalitarianism and death, one on such a nuanced level as would only be celebrated by the most brutal of Pagans and Lucifirians and would even be an affront to the most blood thirsty of the Islamic radicals.

Great shades of the Black Hundreds! Czar Nicholas I has come back to reclaim his own! The article comes complete with a picture of two “babushkas” seated at a McDonald’s to set the proper ideological tone, and is written in a style commensurate with Pravda’s current “National Enquirer” look. I am anything but an expert on the prevailing political nuances in the Russian media, but, if Pravda is any guide, the country has completed its Marxist somersault, and has now landed with both feet firmly in the past. Consider this remarkable line from a paragraph about the conduct of war by Orthodox soldiers:

Do not confuse this with the actions of the Red Army, in WW2, which was under the control of the Western Marxist import and its subsequent ideology of death.

One finds it somehow surprising that such a stunning volte face took place in Russia, and not China. There, in spite of the cultural pride expressed in the paradigm of the “Middle Kingdom” surrounded by unenlightened barbarians enshrined in the countries very name, the “Western Marxist import” still prevails. Indeed, the ruling oligarchy depends on it to establish the legitimacy of its rule.

Russia, on the other hand, seems to have completely shaken off alien ideologies and taken a Great Leap Backwards, if Pravda is any guide. The tone of the article would certainly have been familiar to the Marquis de Custine, who traveled through Russia in 1839 in the days of Nicholas I. Indeed, there is much in his description of the country that seems to transcend the ideological changes of later years, and would have sounded as prescient under Stalin as it did under Nicholas. For example,

In Russia, the government rules everything and vitalizes nothing. The inhabitants of this vast Empire, though not calm, are dumb. Death hovers over every head and strikes at random — it is enough to make one doubt divine justice. Mankind there has two coffins: the cradle and the tomb. Mothers must weep for their children at birth as much as at death.


The people and its ruler are in harmony here. The Russians make themselves witnesses, accomplices and victims in these prodigies of willpower and would not repudiate them even to resurrect all the slaves whose lives are forfeited as a result. However, what surprises me is not that one man, nourished on the idolatry of his own person, a man described as all-powerful by sixty million humans (or near-humans) whould undertake such things and carry them through. What does surprise me is that among all the voices testifying to the glory of this single man, not one rises above the chorus to speak for humanity against the miracles of autocracy. You can say of the Russians, both great and small, that they are intoxicated with slavery.

Custine’s account of his travels is well worth the modern reader’s time. One hopes for the sake of Russia’s people that his words will not be as prophetic for her future as they have been for her past.

Author: Helian

I am Doug Drake, and I live in Maryland, not far from Washington, DC. I am a graduate of West Point, and I hold a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin. My blog reflects my enduring fascination with human nature and human morality.

2 thoughts on “The “Pravda” of Nicholas I”

  1. Custine was a russophobic and anti-Orthodox fool who wrote trash gotten from self hating Russophobes. When a French man of the late 1700s/ early 1800s accuses anyone else of not bathing, that alone has reached the pinnacle of hypocrisy.

    Furthermore, Custine was a bitter outcast of French high society, being an open homosexual, he was in all effect exiled and seems to have taken his revenge on both Russia and Italy, through his “travel” guides, nothing more than panderings to Russophobic scat of the times, not that there is a difference in it today.

    His comment of Russians being Chinese in disguise, in the first 2 chapters of his “guide” says it all. He must have eaten his liver with Russian soldiers sitting in Paris.

  2. By the way, instead of digging up 250 year old Russophobic propaganda, why not address the points I raise in the article, instead of selectively taking one paragraph out? Or is the truth to hard to swallow?

Leave a Reply