CHANGE OF MEMES ON SHEAR THURSDAY

All the major news media reported about the anti-communist laws adopted by the Ukrainian Parliament last Thursday. The bill is still to be signed by President, but there is little doubt that it will be signed. According to the bill, propaganda and symbols of the “totalitarian Communist and Nazi regimes” in the former Soviet republic are banned. The list of prohibited items includes street names, flags and monuments commemorating Communist leaders. Items prohibited under the bill include the Soviet flag and hymn as well as monuments and historical plaques commemorating Communist leaders.

In my opinion, these laws are far more important than they look or sound. The parliamentary voting cannot be overestimated: the change of ideological memes in Ukraine, which are widely understood as cultural analogues of the human organism’s genetic structure, results in a Ukrainian turned from Homo Sovieticus (“Soviet man) into Homo Dignus (“man of dignity”). In the future the process may spread to other post-USSR republics including Russia. In fact, that’s why the Russian propaganda machine is at the moment so hysterical in its unacceptance of the new Ukrainian legislation: they were able to keep Ukraine in the Russian orbit only by sticking to the Communist dogma of the Soviet people as a “new historical community” solidified by the common historical past and by what had been achieved under the “(Communist) Party leadership.”

Interestingly, it looks like the Russian leadership is afraid that the events of the Ukrainian “revolution of dignity” can replicate in their country just as genes or memes replicate.  From April 2 till April 9 the Russian Interior troops (40,000 police out of the total number 170,000) were trained in a drill named “Shield-2015.” The training was arranged in the whole of the European part of Russia – and also in the annexed Crimea – in the light of what had happened “in one of the neighbouring countries”, as the authorities put it (of course, Ukraine was meant). To create the situation close to reality all the attributes of “those events” were used – down to burning tyres and stones and Molotov cocktails being thrown at the police. And all that was done despite Vladimir Putin’s rating of approval reaching 85 per cent, despite the media in Russia being under total control, despite a disheartened opposition and the hysteria of patriotism sweeping the country. How insecure the regime must feel!

As I said in the beginning, the Ukrainian Parliament voted on the anti-communist laws last Thursday. The Thursday before Easter Sunday is called “Clean Thursday” in Ukraine, which corresponds to “Maundy Thursday”, or “Shear/Sheer Thursday” in Western religious terminology. Hopefully, the day will also become a spiritual meme symbolising that the country started shearing itself of its shameful past.

Happy Easter!

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