The New Oxford American Dictionary defines patriotism as “Devotion to, and vigorous support for one’s country.”
At first glance, this definition sounds innocuous, but it is only one of many others. Numerous people embrace a much different interpretation of this polarizing subject.
GEORGE BERNARD SHAW for instance said, “Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.”
Doesn’t it sound familiar?
You might wonder why I suddenly came up with this topic, and the answer is: the relentless, abominable war taking presently place in Ukraine.
It would seem, that most people would be against such blatant aggression, but many Russian “patriots” seem to support it. I came to this conclusion after watching many videos produced by a Young Russian YouTuber named Daniil Orain .
This young software engineer is using his channel called 1420 to record the present mood and the opinions of his countrymen. It is a risky enterprise in a country tightly controlled by the police, but he seems to be very cool about it.
Many Russian citizens are Nationalists, while some are Patriots, but as George Orwell pointed out, Nationalism is different from Patriotism.
“Nationalism is about power: its adherent wants to acquire as much power and prestige as possible for his nation, in which he submerges his individuality. While nationalism is accordingly aggressive, patriotism is defensive: it is a devotion to a particular place and a way of life one thinks best but has no wish to impose on others.” Orwell 1968
Nationalism is not only inherent to Russia. It seems to exist everywhere, notably in the US as proven by the infamous January 6 violence. It is noxious and threatening.
“Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong.” James Bryce
Righteous, is the key word to remember.