The Red Army is back?

Russia beat Canada at the 2009 World Ice  Hockey Championships.


May 11th is also the day Russia celebrates victory over the Nazis in WW2. Last year, more than half a million people crowded together on the Red Square in Moscow after Russia won the World Championships in Canada. They won the finals against Canada that time too and were treated as national heroes.

Russian hockey-players have been national icons since the time of the Soviet Union, when Russia could not be beaten, until the Miracle happened; the US winning over Russia, winning over communism, winning the space race, winning the cold war.

The cold war may be over, but international relations remain strained as always. Russia has quite a list of past enemies, historically having warred most of the European nations at one point or another.

Sports have been stirring emotions for millennia. Just compare the fighters in the UFC to the Roman gladiators. The fans were no different than now. Sports, of course, don’t always lead to nationalism. Just ask a Barca-fan about his relationship with Spain. And yes, I said his, expect a majority of men in this clip:

That was one month ago, pretty much on my door step. Soccer fans were creating havoc in Gothenburg. All soccer fans are not hooligans and all the people fighting might not be taking cocaine and just going to the game to find an opponent to wage war against.

Because, that’s what it is. Sports is war. It’s civilized war, but it’s still war. The Olympics is a way to vent nationalist emotions, an outlet for xenophobics. Nationalism is a phenomenon a few hundred years old by now – it’s not very modern. Liberalism still hasn’t penetrated the Olympics.

Comparing it to UFC once again, the fighters fight for themselves and for their fans and not necessarily for their cities, like the NHL or European soccer leagues.

Right this minute people are debating at the People and Defense Conference in Sälen in Sweden. Russia has been a long-standing enemy of Sweden and the fear of Russia is probably a part of most of the West, in Europe as well as the US. And of course the eastern part of Eurasia  as well, a part we normally know very little of on this side.

And the monkeys dressed in suits stand there on television debating the Russian threat and how it compares to other threats, and how differently Russia was treated during the invasion of Georgia compared to how US-invasions are treated. Russia is described as a dictatorship, which grandness relies on being a military threat to it’s neighbouring countries. At the same time the US thought of as different, because of it’s claim to democracy, despite ignoring UN just like Russia did.

They also talk of the importance of a nation with a tiny population of 9 millions to argue internationally for the right of nations not to be invaded. Yet, we have soldiers in Afghanistan; and we export an ungodly amount of arms without people raising an eyebrow.

-The big bad Russians feel humiliated, they have phantom pains, hey have lost economical and political influence, power, democracy, territory.

How dangerous are the Russians, is asked.

– They won’t attack us, BUT we are part of an international arena, part of the EU, and can’t rule out that a conflict can arise. The Baltic is a major concern of course. The cold war is over, but Russia is suffering from post-imperial stress.

Really? Maybe so; nationalism is not a new thing in Russia, it has led to a lot of ethnic discrimination. Maybe that’s natural, maybe it will calm down, like the Roman emperors who cooled down, at least in terms of territorial wars, after just a few thousand years of papacy. Like how the British lost their empire and had to give it all back to the people it belonged to. Except the Falkland Islands, which they needed for strategic sheep purposes, to quote British comedian and less-transvestite-lately-for-some-reason-or-maybe-I’m-imagining Eddie Izzard:

The Mediterranean is to the old empires what the Baltic sea was to the Swedish empire and now Russia will have a legitimate reason for keeping troops in the Baltic sea, because of the gas pipeline they’re leading through the sea to mid-Europe. According to Swedish law it can be considered illegal to publish our military concerns. Will I be executed for high treason? Probably not, but the point is that it’s not up to me to decide. I am subject to the state and it’s laws and it’s law enforcement.

Do we need to have an army big enough to be able to defend the Swedish territory? My answer is no. Territory is just numbers on a paper that emperors can brag about at parties, for the individual, territory is the planet they stand on and it’s not like we’re gonna be standing on some other planet anytime soon. This is why pacifism works, because you can never make a person do as you say by shooting him/her/it. Terrorism only works if people are afraid of it.

I have drifted off topic because the debate went technical, politically petty and stale. The difference between nationalism and individualism or liberalism is that we group individuals with nationalism. Any form of grouping, like being Swedish, being a journalist, being dark-haired, being right-handed et cetera, creates an ‘other’ group like Foucault perhaps would say. Individualism, ideally, strives to dealing with reality as if each individual was a unique person, not necessarily groupable together with any specific grouping.

I’m Swedish, you’re Russian. No, we’re individuals. You were born by monkeys i clothes just like me, you were loved and hated, you have loved and hated, you like to indulge in spare time activities just like me, you eat what can be found where you live, just like me, you have a heart pumping blood round and round and round and round within your body, as long as we both shall live. Which is a very Christian reference to make (the holy union), but of course, I have a lot of experience of Christian culture because I am not responsible for where I was born and for what my ancestors did. wouldn’t have mattered if I was Macedonian, I am still not Alexander the Great, and can take no credit for his greatness as I had no influence what so ever on him, regardless of how Macedonian I might be. Or Greek, according to the Greeks of course. Nationalism you know…

Taking pride for others’ achievements. That’s what we do when we gather in front of the television and watch our national team go at it at whichever sport our nation is best at. We crave this pride and go so far as to thinking curling is a fun sport, just because we’re good at it. Since nobody else cares for it. Of course, curling is no different from soccer, all sports follow the same principles, but soccer is a lot more popular globally.

This has been a test broadcast. Hope you have enjoyed it. Watch for an updated About-page lining out the aim, audience and nische of this piece of international media.


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