Bitcoin gets integrated in Russia in a perverted way

Special Read in Russian

The news of probable, yet in fact inevitable, ban of Bitcoin in Russia may sadden some enthusiasts all over the world, but the real reasons for that are far from being obvious, although in the first instance it might not seem so. Actually, cryptocurrency banning is a part of a general paradigm that Russian government, regardless of its form and time of activity, has always implemented throughout the history. And proper understanding of such actions cannot be achieved apart from seeing the whole picture.

Historically, Russian governments have always been defensive and conservative as those features were considered the best to maintain their authority. No changes or reforms were introduced until just-after-it’s-too-late, and still, when finally introduced, they were implemented without any idea or properly thought-out masterplan. Such examples can be found anywhere in Russian history those are chistianization of Kievan Rus in 988 A.D., Peter the Great’s innovations in the beginning of the 18th century, peasantry emancipation in 1861, Stalin’s industrialization in 1920’s and 1930’s, or Perestroika back in the 1980’s. All those historical events had pretty much in common: they were required decades, if not centuries, before they actually got implemented, and their implementation involved lots of human losses. This can be explained quite simply, however. Any change is considered a threat to any Russian regime, and it will do its best to postpone it. The later, the better.

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In order to maintain this continuity, Russian governments used more or less the same methods. Or just one method, to be precise: they keep their people unaware. But, as the time goes by, it becomes harder and harder to maintain that state of unconsciousness, and technology gradually provides more ways to find out what’s actually going on. There’s only one amendment to the previous sentence as we speak of Russia: it is true when we speak of large cities. Modern technological achievements are unavailable, or even unknown, to the most of Russians living away from megalopolises. Their only way of getting some information is watching one or two TV programs available in their area, and both those programs are state-run, so the government may tell everything it likes, and people will believe it. It could in fact say Putin landed on Mars and claimed it a part of the Russian Federation. In big Russian cities there is a saying, that between a city and a village there are not 100 miles but 100 years.

So, why banning Bitcoin? The concept’s understanding requires comprehension of a rather strange logic that the Russian government invoked to support its conservatism. This same logic resulted in the war in Ukraine and Georgia, this same logic almost doomed the world for a nuclear apocalypse in 1962. An average Russian sincerely thinks that people of Donbass revolted against a fascist government in Kyiv after Maidan, which in Ukraine is unofficially called ‘the revolution of dignity’. But, which is a bit deeper, an average Russian thinks that those people, known as ‘militia’ to Russians and ‘separatists’ to Ukrainians, are in fact Russian. How come? Because they mostly speak Russian. This idea that anyone speaking Russian is Russian was being slowly put in the head of the same average Russian person for almost one and a half decades, so there is no obvious logical gap in that concept. However, the same logic applied to a different matter may lead one to an unpromising conclusion that everyone capable of playing music is in fact a grand piano. Such logical perversion is a common practice in Russia. So, this inverted logic is applied to Bitcoin as well. It truly got integrated in Russia, but not in a way that some people wanted it to: the integration covered not the economy, as some would wish, but the policy making, and it became a part of the Western civilization seen unambiguously hostile by an average Russian person.

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Defensiveness and crimes against logic unobvious to the majority underlie the ban of Bitcoin in Russia. This is why parliament members claim that cryptocurrency was invented by the CIA to undermine Russian culture and set a fire on a revolution. Such statements may seem absurd to anyone apart from average Russians who have no doubt that the CIA’s primary and only reason for being is to destroy mother Russia and put her on her knees, and there goes any logic. Knowing all of the matters mentioned above, one may understand why cryptocurrency is presented as something designed specifically against Russia.

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This inclination towards blaming everything on some exterior power is not new: present hostility focuses on the USA primarily because it is quite familiar due to anti-American propaganda back in Soviet times, and many people in Russia still remember it. Before the Americans, capitalism in general was the nemesis, and prior to that it was Turkey, or France, or any other country. Russia had always wanted to be a part of the European cultural paradigm and had always failed at that as it required activities that would undermine the very essence of its long-sustained structure. That is why Russia always felt inferior to the West, and always rejected it by proclaiming itself to be an independent civilization and a torch bearer of sanctity thus distancing itself from the feeling of being inferior. And Bitcoin is just another item in the unfortunate list of that duality’s victims.

That is why they decided to ban Bitcoin. In fact, it poses a threat to the Russian government for several reasons which include:
1. The very concept of decentralization is associated with loss of control which is evidently vital for the government
2. No one or almost no one in the government actually knows what it is, and, which is more important, doesn’t want to know
3. Bitcoin seems too complicated for traditional corruption schemes
4. The affair of controlling Bitcoin is much more expensive than just putting it away
5. Bitcoin can really be used for funding of anti-government groups (which, however, are too meek to do anything even with proper financing)

What has the CIA to do with that all? It doesn’t really matter, because almost anything unpleasant happening in Russia or elsewhere may be effectively explained by American infiltration. A fire in Siberia? The forest caught fire from a CIA agent, indeed. A plane crashed down in Ukraine? That’s a CIA missile launched straight from Langley. People don’t get their wages for 6 months already? The head of the CIA personally stole their money, got drunk at a pub, and spent the rest on a revolution. In fact, that is an inverted McCarthysm, and if we reduce the presumably guilty party from the equation, we’ll hardly be able to find any significant difference between the US policy in the 1950’s and modern Russia. The real difference is that it’s not 1953 now. Anywhere but Russia.

Bitcoin future in Russia is hardly prosperous. Throughout the whole history the paradigm of banning and controlling never left the corridors of power, so even some improbable events happen and a completely different government holds the reins, it’s quite unlikely that something is going to change in the general concept. To change it means to change the very essence of Russia as a country and as a culture, so when you hear Russia accepts Bitcoin you can be sure it has nothing to do with the Russia you have known of before.

Jenny Aysgarth special for

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