Russian Cosmism’s “Technocratic Traditionalism”

In Russia, Cosmism now serves as the basis for a syncretic ideology entitled “technocratic traditionalism” which combines technological modernity with religious conservatism.

At the end of the 19th century, the Russian thinker Nikolai Fyodorov (1829-1903) defended a deeply moral and Christian philosophy of science. He imagined that humanity could employ technological progress to achieve universal salvation. According to him, scientific advances could be used to resuscitate ancestors, achieve immortality, transform human nature toward its deification, and finally, conquer and regulate the cosmos.

Today, Cosmism still serves as a source of inspiration for ideologues in search of a national idea for post-Soviet Russia. The legacy of Cosmist thought is particularly claimed by a conservative think tank close to power, the Izborsky Club, which was created in 2012.

This group brings together about 50 academics, journalists, politicians, entrepreneurs, clerics and ex-military around an imperialist and anti-Western agenda. Supported in part by funding provided by the presidential administration, the Izborsky Club aims to define an ideology for the Russian state. In this regard, members of the Club consider science as an ideological battlefield, within which Russia must oppose its own “technocratic mythology” to the Western model of development. The latter is roughly associated with transhumanism, a concept behind which members of the Izborsky Club rank both explicit advocates of transhumanism such as Elon Musk and any worldview that derogates from their vision of traditional society such as feminism, globalization or sustainable development.

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