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General Tan Shwe as a Leader and Political Symbol of the Conservative Miltary Elite of Birma / Myanmar

1Brodyak, D
1Graduate Student (History) Kharkiv National University of V. N. Karazin, Freedom Square, 4, Kharkiv, 61077, Ukraine harrus777@gmail.com
Shodoznavstvo 2020, 85:43-68
Section: Modern East
Language: Russian

Under the auspices of a strong traditionalist state in Myanmar, by the time the British arrived, under the influence of Indian and Chinese models, an original political culture had developed that left its mark on all relations of the local society. The search for a patron leader gradually became the basis of Myanmar political culture at all levels of the social hierarchy. During the colonial period, the main bearers of local political culture – traditionalist-minded strata of the Myanmar peasantry – lost major means of institutiona-lizing their social preferences and, since the liquidation of Myanmar’s independence in 1885, have been poorly manifest in the country’s legal political field. At the same time, the traditionalist features of Burmese political culture did not disappear under British rule. After the country gained independence, during the successful agrarian reform carried out by the modernist group of General Ne Win in the 1960s, the most backward patriarchal strata of the Burmese peasantry began to intensively adapt to new political and economic practices. The expanding national army during this period was led by a different branch of the post-colonial elite of Burma, which did not have a broad European education and was formed in the Burmese hinterland, in the specific conditions of a closed military educational institution – the Academy of Defense Services. In the person of Academy graduates who came to power during the 1988 military coup, traditional Burmese society, squeezed out of the sphere of legal politics in the era of colonialism, for the first time acquired an adequate political representation, taking into account the realities of the present. The personal and political evolution of the leading representatives of the Myanmar conservative elite, in particular, the long-standing head of the military regime of senior general Tang Shwe, who held his post from 1992 to 2011, shown in the article, clearly illustrates the above-described traditionalist turn in the politics of the local ruling elite. It is especially noted that the first generation of Myanmar’s military conservatives led by Tan Shwe positions itself more as successors and heirs of the kings of the pre-colonial period, rather than the modest heroes of the national liberation struggle of the 1940s. It is emphasized that, as problems increase in the country, the national elites of Myanmar in their current activities continue to seek the approval of the former leader of the military conservatives, General Tan Shwe, one of the country’s most experienced and respected politicians.

Keywords: army, conservatives, modernists, Myanmar, Ne Win, Tan Shwe

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