On 16th of April 2013 the Institute for the Humanities
and IT (IGUMO) in Moscow hosted the international round-table “Russia and Post-soviet Space: Problems and Prospects” held in the framework of the research
project titled “The People and Power: The History of Russia and Its
Falsifications” . Together
with the IGUMO and “The People and Power” project
group the co-organizers included the Russian State University for the Humanities and the journals “The Union” and “The New
The round table focused on the interdisciplinary analysis of
the contemporary geopolitical situation in post-soviet space, with 20 experts
participating in the discussion representing research institutions, scientific
journals’ editorial boards, universities from Russia, Belarus and the USA.
This article outlines the most substantial
presentations delivered in the course of the discussion .
* * *
Alexandra Dokuchaeva (senior
researcher, head of Department of Diaspora and Migration, Institute for CIS Countries)
made a talk on the Russian language as a linkage, resource and instrument of integration
among post-soviet countries.
She argues, there are
different views about the destiny of the Russian language in the post-soviet
space, with nationalists of all sorts sharing the same opinion that Russian
does not need to be specially promoted and propagated. Kazakh nationalists aim
at the complete ousting of Russians and Russian from Kazakhstan, whereas Ukrainian
nationalists take action against the fairly moderate Law “On basic principles
of national language policy” offering the Russian language the status of a
regional language. It must be admitted, though, that it can get this status only
in regions with native Russian speakers exceeding 10 % of the population, which
means that entire Ukraine, probably, except for its westernmost areas, will
have Russian as a regional language. Russian nationalists-isolationists, in
their turn, are against the expansion of the Russian language beyond Russia, particularly opposing to Russian spreading in the countries of Central Asia.
The status of the Russian language is most
likely to affect whether the “near abroad” will become for Russia a belt of friendship, neighbourliness and mutually beneficial cooperation or an area of
confrontation. Likewise the former soviet republics’ own role and position in
contemporary world will depend on how this problem is resolved.
The language policies of former USSR republics remain politically influenced by their priorities in domestic and foreign
policy. The current position of the Russian language has resulted from the
policies of post-soviet ethnocratic nations largely based on anti-Russian myths
and stereotypes. Nevertheless, 20 years after the collapse of the USSR the Russian language continues to be the main medium for interethnic and interstate
communication in post-soviet space. It prevails among internet users in
The preservation of the language in post-soviet
countries is directly linked with the proportion of their Russian speakers and
the increasing demand for it among migrant workers who visit or plan to visit Russia.
In this context it is worthwhile to assess the
implementation of the State Federal Program of Assistance in Voluntary
Resettlement of Compatriots to Russia. The second stage of the program which was
launched this year is designed to facilitate adaptation process for those who
will come to Russia.
To keep the Russian contingent abroad it may be
reasonable not to encourage all to move to Russia, but to address the
possibility of double citizenship granted to the Russians who stay in
countries of their residence. This is what a lot of Russians involved in this
program would propose to ensure: the Russian citizenship on a simplified basis.
There is evidence that Kasakh citizens would come to the city of Omsk to join in the resettlement program, get the Russian citizenship and come back to
Kasakhstan because they find it hard to settle down in Russia. It is largely due to the fact that conditions for business in Kasakhstan are better in terms
of organization and legislation compared to Russia.
Educational institutions in post-soviet
countries fail to ensure proficient knowledge of Russian. The Russian language
courses are cut, with literacy among speakers and users of Russian dropping
system of teaching Russian needs drastic improvement. Moreover, Russia itself has very serious problems with the acquisition of Russian. The current
(fourth) Federal Program for the Russian Language (2011 – 2015) differs from
the previous ones in that it fails to address the issue of developing the
Russian language as a national language of the Russian people. As a result no
subsidies have been made in recent years promoting the Russian language and
Russian philology. Obviously, such approach cannot facilitate the development
and expansion of Russian in post-soviet space.
The destiny of the Russian language in
post-soviet space first and for most depends on the destiny of Russia and the Russian people. In case Russia becomes the centre of attraction for
post-soviet nations the Russian language will be in demand not only among the
Russian population but also from all those who want to live, work and study in
Russia, who take interest in Russian culture and value their connections with
Igor Kuznetsov (leading researcher,
Institute of Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences) argues that the integration
potential of immigrants should not be overestimated. In his opinion, there is
only a small proportion of people who want Russia to become their second native
land, their Homeland, a permanent habitat for them and their children. This
part of migrants have high integration potential, however, facing innumerable
problems for its implementation.
The great majority of migrants arrive to Russia without feeling interested in the country and its culture. They come to Russia to solve some economic problems arising in their homeland with no intention to stay
and settle here for good. Their objective is to earn and leave or, more often,
to commute to Russia for work. Therefore, all kinds of talk and efforts to get
them integrated into Russian culture seem groundless as they simply lack
motivation for that. They do with minimal knowledge of Russian to communicate
with employers and officers from the Federal Migration Service, some awareness
about rentals, etc.
The average age of the current migrants is
30–35. Raised in other countries, they are not similar to the former
“soviet people”, “enlightened by Russian culture” – many of them cannot even speak
elementary Russian. What sort of information they will bring with them on their
return home depends on the way they are received here. Perhaps the migrants’
only advantage over the local workforce is their cheapness and readiness to
work in slavery conditions. Should the employers be made to provide the migrant
workers with (at least, minimal) social package: decent accommodation, legal
defense, health care, cultural program and adequate payment, then the
newcomers would immediately become unprofitable. As a result, their total “unintegratedness”
(or rather, “unintegratability”, as they lack such vital need), humiliating
labour and living conditions shape the corresponding attitude toward the
country. Above all, they feel extremely negative sentiments to people present
in huge amounts in the receiving environment who live by standards extremely
different from those of the receiving population. Such is the information the
migrants are likely to bring back to their homeland.
Finally, the Russians’ negative attitudes toward
migrants seriously affect their attitude to “the old timers”, their long
integrated compatriots: Azerbaijanians, Armenians, Tadjiks, etc. Negative
attitudes to the Vietnamese, for instance, would spread on Russian mongoloids, quite
a substantial part of Russia’s autochthonous population. This is likely to
trigger secession mechanisms within the Russia Federation, this time from the
grassroots, unlike in the 1990s during “the parade
of sovereignties”, mostly, meaning the parade of national elites. But this is
already a matter of Russia’s national security and integrity.
Andrey Chertishchev (professor, Chair of
Philosophy, Moscow University of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia)
argues that Russia cannot, perhaps, compare to any other country where the
myth plays such a big role in treating the reality and future events.
He distinguishes between the
conservative-monarchal myth of pre-soviet Russia ( the imperial myth) and the marxist-leninist
(communist) myth. After the well-fitting mythological system of communism
collapsed the resulting ideological “vacuum” was immediately filled with new
socio-political myths created by different social groups. The
liberal-democratic myth was extremely short-lived, with its degradation the
people lost trust in their state and stopped feeling themselves as full-right
citizens who could influence the authority through democratic institutions. The
crisis caused the demand for changing from the liberal mythology to the
conservative-protective anti-western one ( an alloy of neo-stalinist and pseudo-
imperial ambitions) which is based on the mythologeme of the messianism of the
Russian people (appealing to the imperial consciousness) and Russia’s
opposition to the developed countries referred to as “the West” whose
spiritless and egocentric liberal values are allegedly incompatible with the
Russian mentality. The collapse of mythologies leads to the loss of national
and state identity.
Russia’s citizens proved to be
unprepared for another, non-soviet life both mentally and spiritually. Now they
lack the historical state, spiritual significance, great ideas and prospects about
the future. 20 years after the USSR disintegration for the majority of Russian
population their 70-year-old soviet history is what they value most of all.
People are used to “surviving”, to living “under calamity”, with the country
looking like an orphanage. People have a feeling that the country no more
belongs to them.
The factor of “stability” can be mentioned only
in the one context: some are doing consistently well while the others are doing
consistently poorly; there is permanent aggression, violence, bias,
intolerance, envy and lie, ubiquitous shirking, complete devaluation of an
individual, of his dignity and personality, with prices and corruption steadily
rising. This lack of self-confidence, of ability to live and act as all “happy”
nations do may have brought about the current (and at the same time the old)
fashion for a special Russian way.
Where and how Russia will move on can be
outlined in terms of the following major options.
The distructive option: further disintegration
of the Russian Federation, the formation of a conglomerate of states on the
basis of such regions as Central Russia, Caucasus, Krasnodar krai, the Urals,
Western and Eastern Siberia, the Far East, etc.
The pessimistic option: Russia turning into some sort of a domestic colony whose people is largely used for protecting
national resources tapped in the interests of a narrow circle of people.
The realistic option: recognition of Russia’s way out from the spiritual deadlock. This is not just another “more” “scientific
communism”, but a fundamental systematic return to the natural historical
process implying both glorious victories and hard failures. It gives a valuable
chance for survival as well as large-scale accomplishments.
The optimistic option: achieving the nation’s
grandeur, revival of the Russian Empire, securing Russia’s prosperity. However,
strivings for assembling “the body” of the new/old Russian Empire in the near
future are quite illusionary because as the events of 1917 and 1980–1990s
witness the nations failed to constitute a single USSR/Russia, a common
Motherland, so there was no regret about parting with some of them at some
point. Today they are ready for all sorts of “cooperation” with Russia: receiving help, education, work, refuge and protection. Nevertheless, as revealed
in private talks, neither soviet nor younger generation, in particular, feels
like being “under” Russia. They don’t need the “big” brother any more.
The utopian option: to break with any past, both
the czarist and the communist one, and build up a new Russia from scratch with regard to freedom and human rights. In any way, Russia has to make its choice
based on the three-fold panacea: to rely on God, to be realistically-minded and
to tell the Truth as well as on the key principle of putting the human being in
the foreground as the greatest value.
This choice will depend on whether the
population recognizes the unbreakable bond with ancient Russia or will choose to worship communist ideals.
Natalya Buleshova (head of the Chair of Business Economics, the Institute for the Humanities and IT (IGUMO) thinks that Russia today should see clearly its role in
argues that the ongoing integration processes in different regions of the world
can serve as a model for the post-soviet states, particularly, taking into
account the existence of a number of factors facilitating the establishment of
a powerful integration group in post-soviet space, such as differentiation of
labour which was shaped in the former single economy and which, to some extent,
has been kept intact until now; the cultural and historical unity of nations;
technological interdependence and unified technical standards still current in
the developments now taking place in post-soviet space are controversial and
ambiguous. Today, like 20 years ago, political elites of post-soviet states
still find it difficult to strike a balance between economic profitability and
corporate interests. The growing integration processes in Eurasia are faced
with counteractions from those who are not interested in a new strong
geopolitical and geo-economic player emerging on the global scene. Among such
forces the US comes first. According to Z. Brzezinski, the USA’s prime interest lies in ensuring that Eurasian geopolitical space remains ‘no man’s land’ for
as long as possible.
the countries of the region have recognized that national ambitions should give
way to mutually advantageous economic cooperation. Eurasian integration has
been further stimulated by the global economic downturn and Russia’s assistance to some of the CIS countries in such conditions. It is clear today that
economic integration must unite those countries which are ready to give up some
of their interests for the sake of some strategic purposes essential for the
Customs Union. The formation of the latter was a reasonable step which has led
to tariff-free goods turnover increasing annually as well as increasing freight
traffic through common transportation corridors. Possibilities are emerging for
domestic customs and duties, tax holidays and subsidies for agriculture. The CU
member states have obtained an economic shield against attacks from outside and
“a safety belt” for inevitable stock fluctuations of oil and gas prices.
research group from the Institute of Economic Forecasting of RAS estimates the
total effect (profit) to be obtained from the activities of the Customs Union
by 2015 at about $ 400 billion. The members of the CU are expected to get a 15
% increase of GDP due to integration. In 2011 alone the mutual trade in the CU
accounted for $108.3 billion.
same time the integration within the Customs Union is fraught with some sort of
a conflict leading to a tenser competition among enterprises in some industries
(metallurgy, construction, agriculture, trade) and consequently to some budget
losses. However, the competition on the domestic market is unlikely to rise
considerably for most countries. But in the industries where it will happen the
total economic effect is expected to be positive. It will be achieved by lower
monopolization of markets and equilibrium prices.
Alexander Mikhaylenko (professor, Chair
of Russia’s Foreign Policies, Department for National Security, Russian Presidential
Academy of National Economics and Civil Service) argues that Russia pays prime attention to the Eurasian integration project. In his opinion, certain success has
been achieved in it, though recently the process has slowed down a little. At present
it is largely a process initiated from the top which does not embrace wide
population, middle and small businesses. As every such top-down process it is
subject to conjecture. Naturally, full support for the project from the presidents
of the three countries: Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan is essential in their
The Round Table made numerous references to the
EU experience. Latvia, for instance, joined the Eurozone despite the results of
the population’s opinion poll, with the government supporting the entrance. Nevertheless,
only a wide support of the population for Eurasian integration can make it irreversible.
The three countries joined the Customs Union in
2010 and the Single economic space in 2012. Provided the set objectives are met
these countries are expected to arrive at the level of an economic union. Each
of these stages in EU economic integration took about a decade to accomplish
whereas in these countries it is done in 2-3 years. It appears to be a
revolutionary development, rather than an evolutionary one, which is discussed
in this country and in the other two. Revolutions are known for their strategic
breakthroughs, but also for possible failures.
The expansion of the Eurasian Economic Space is
another challenge facing Eurasian integration. The membership of Kirghizia is being in the pipeline while work is still being done to get Ukraine involved in the
As follows from the EU experience, no serious
geopolitical grounds will account for a country’s admittance to an integration
union if it is not ready for it, because this will only weaken the union. Kirghizia does not prove to be economically ready for the integration whereas Ukraine is not ready politically.
Oleg Bukhovets (professor, head of the
Chair of Political Science, State Economic University of Belarus) poses the
question: Is there any alternative to Eurasian integration?
He points out that the 1980–1990 disintegration
processes in the USSR and the “socialist camp” were viewed by many as
historical nonsense, with the global tendency of developing and creating
strategic integration associations being well under way elsewhere at that time.
The EU stood out among them as the most ambitious, extensive and unprecedented
The “expectations basket” from the West in Russia and other Eurasian post-soviet nations was quite huge over the first post-soviet
decade. Those were expectations for the western community to help with the
transition of the failing plan economy to the market one as well as
expectations for assistance in overcoming acute social consequences following
the transition. There were hopes for the West to behave loyally with Russia and the CIS in military and political spheres, etc.
It took some time to realize all the
groundlessness of most hopes on the part of the elites of Russia and other CIS countries expecting understanding and solidarity from the West. Starting from
mid-1990s it became increasingly obvious. Such understanding was facilitated by
the default in Russia and its neighbouring states, the war against Yugoslavia started by the western alliance, the invasion in Iraq, and encouraging “the colour
revolutions” in post-soviet space and in other regions. Finally, “the
expectations basket” from the West, especially in Russia, became considerably “lighter”.
However, some of major expectations are still there,
in this “basket” at the beginning of the ÕÕI century, with the EU being regarded as a model
integration project of our time and a road map for the creation and successful
development of all other economic associations in different regions of the
world. Such was the understanding of the EU’s role with the following
expectations for some sort of participation in the construction of the “United
Europe” that was common in Russia and other post-soviet countries among the
ruling elites, think-tanks and in public opinion.
Oddly enough, the EU crisis, unintentionally,
has led to a more balanced idea about EU’s strengths and weaknesses realized by
Russia and other post-soviet countries. This triggered another positive
effect of the EU crisis: other integrated associations, particularly, in
post-soviet space were able to advance from the “shadow” cast by the EU’s
“integration model”. Now they are gaining self-sufficiency to the extent which will
ensure the advance toward a polycentric world. This world can hardly be
imagined now without integrated strategic unions. No matter how strong and
long-lasting the current global and European crisis is, it fails to cancel the
integration imperative which runs as follows:“ All roads lead to the place
under the economic sun via integration”.
Being a XXI century categoric imperative for all
continents, integration as a key issue of the global middle- and long-term
agenda will increasingly grow in importance. This explains why the late XX
century witnessed the demand for EU’s expertise arising from integrated
associations in various regions of the world. Many analysts share the opinion
that under globalization the major regional economic unions formed around the
main contemporary civilization centres leave a small choice for separate
nations: either they will have to enter into the influence zone of the “poles”
of economic power or they will get marginalized. At present the countries which
are not involved in strategic integrated associations, even though they are
very large, like Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, are losing and will continue
to lose their positions in international division of labour, science and
technology modernization and economic competition. Hence, using the popular
slogan from the perestroika period, one can say: “nothing else is given” (there
is no other way) for the post-soviet space.
Andrey Suzdaltsev (deputy dean,
Department for Global Economics and Politics, Higher School of Economics)
thinks that the US priority interest in the post-soviet space is not Russia, but Ukraine. The latter, he argues, is the key country in the game which is being played now
in the post-soviet space. The issue about the destiny of Ukraine is the one about the destiny of the entire post-soviet space. GUAM was what Russia rejected. It united the countries “offended” by Russia: Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Uzbekistan (the latter left in 2005). Russia did not find the pass
to their hearts, so they were picked up by Americans, which was the right thing
for them to do: geopolitics is devoid of “no man’s land” and spare spaces.
With Eurasian integration blending in with the WTO,
the Eurasian integration project was legitimized by the global community. Thus
an opportunity emerged to link the Eurasian integration project at the
supranational level with the European one. However, it has not been achieved so
Today all limitations for transfer of goods,
services and workforce among Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus have been lifted.
There is a single system of technical regulation. Mutual trade has increased,
including that between Belarus and Kazakhstan, the latter two starting from
almost zero level at the very start of the project. Nevertheless, there are
problems about domestic investments and capital transfer, with the Russian
capital being feared of and barred from Kazakh and Belarusian markets.
Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus were very fast to approach the fourth integration stage in its classic European form, that
is Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).
However, this project was impeded by some
forces. A serious impediment on the way to Eurasian integration is the
resistance of Kazakh and Belarusian bureaucracies. There are still barriers for
mutual trade. Kazakh and Belarusian markets are closed for the Russian capital.
Russia’s serious problem is
the dollar being the main currency used for settlements in the Customs Union
and Single Economic Space. Changing from the dollar to the ruble for mutual
payments is a matter of Russia’s security, a matter of viability of the
Eurasian integration project. This is a huge problem, with Minsk and Astana being
against the ruble as a regional currency.
In the course of the work of the Eurasian Economic Commitee
the Russian members were faced with the problem of consensus voting used by
this body. The
consensus vote can result in this supranational structure turning de facto into
a body making decisions in the interests of separate integration participants,
but not all of them. Nowadays the committee is “ruled” by the representatives
from Belarus. They would make blocks with the Kazakhs and lobby for decisions
they are interested in. The Belarusian agenda is predominant: whenever the
“Horizont” TV sets need to be saved the tariffs are raised, whenever the “MAZ”
lorries need to be saved the tariffs are raised, and so on. This is a dangerous
situation which needs to be improved.
For Russia’s partners the decisions made on integration
development issues are not strategic ones, but a matter of conjuncture
whereas for Russia they are strategic ones. Russia goes to great expenses, in
the Union’s Russian-Belarusian project alone Russian subsidies, bailouts,
reduced prices, hidden market since 1995 accounted for $72 billion as of
1st January 2013. Russia offers access to its resources and its markets, with
the expenses very often paid by the Russian producers. Today Russia lacks a solid national project that would appeal to its neighbouring countries. The elites of
Ukraine, Belarus and some other post-soviet nations are Europe-oriented. It
complicates the cooperation with these pro-Western elites struck with varied
anti-Russian phobias. Russia has an extremely limited number of levers to be
used for affecting the elites in question.
The USSR collapsed 20 years ago which is, in
historical terms, a very small span of time for a truly national elite to get
formed. This is a very hard and slow process. In fact, normally a fully-fledged
elite takes a few generations to get formed. Taking into account that Russia’s
elite was more than once cut out during the XX century the present
transitional situation will remain for a quite a while.
The European experience cannot be completely
transferred onto the Eurasian integration. Russia should borrow only what is suitable for it. The problem
is that Russia has to integrate with hardline authoritarian regimes which can
be hardly integrated in principle. There is some serious struggle going on
every issue. To give up a tiny piece of power means for Nazarbayev and
Lukashenko undermining their own political authority. No matter how hard it is,
Russia is still trying to lure them into integration and through it reform
Dmitriy Lyukshin (associate professor,
Chair of Political History, Kazan Federal University) focused on the formation
of Russia’s cultural, intellectual, entrepreneurial and labour elites capable
of formulating a new empire’s national project.
He argues that there are either national states
or empires. The national state project is not good for Russia as there is no “god-bearer”-nation. Therefore any state construction will be conceived within
the framework of an imperial project.
The Euroatlantic “post-imperial” and
“post-state” intellectual trends are not available for Russia, if only partially, by way of sending kids to study at Oxford. However, to refer to them in
public rhetoric addressed to “the rank and file” is considered to be risky:
the mobilizing potential of these categories practically equals zero. Moreover,
they are confronted with aversion and no understanding among representatives of
the fifth and sixth echelons of Brezhnev’s soviet bureaucracy acting in the
role of Russia’s democratic authority.
The quality of Russian elite was set up in
Stalin’s post-war terror epoch by negative selection mechanisms, with the selected
government cadres being far from the best. Without drastic overhaul of cadre
strategies the quality of Russian elites will be going down. The revision of
strategies is, however, the responsibility of the acting elites that would not
choose to sign their death sentence even for the nation’s sake. Naturally, this
is not specifically Russian problem, but in Russia the situation is aggravated
by the absence of NGOs offering competition with bureaucracy.
The empire’s resources are used inefficiently.
Practices of putting order in the sphere of state governance block every
possibility of running a reasonable life in Russia. As satirist M. Zhvanetsky once
remarked in the Soviet time, the most scary thing for a soviet citizen is when
the government turns to him face to face. Since that time a new elite generation
has emerged even still more “carefully” selected.
The names of empires in global history are often
mentioned without adding that they are all gone. Even the British Empire has
officially denounced its imperial policy without causing panic and apocalyptic
visions among British subjects. Empires inevitably end in death. The empire’s
algorithm, which is a superficial expansion of the metropole’s social sphere at
the expense of the robbed colonies yielding the fruits and extravagancies of
civilization, unavoidably leads to the collapse and destruction of the state
whose resources potential no longer can bear the burden of the excessive social
This is quite evident: the number of potential
colonies being limited, their management boosts expenses in geometrical
progression. Not a single empire has managed to utilize colonies to their
limits, so far: all of them would get exhausted prior to that. However, this
has never diminished the successors’ optimism over imperial rule and order of
global scale. The death of an empire is just a matter of time. While skillful
management can maintain the state’s body for hundreds of years, elites’ low
qualifications cause a fast and painful collapse. The soviet elite, over 70
years degrading into an inefficient bureaucracy, reproducing itself by means of
negative selection, turned out to be one of the worst ones, that is why some of
Russia’s citizens were “lucky” to have witnessed twice the death of the
* * *
To sum it up, the international round-table “Russia and Post-soviet Space: Problems and Prospects” offered its participants a wide range
of varied, sometimes completely opposite views of contemporary scientists.
Among this variety and diversity of issues and
topics discussed the main attention of the experts was drawn to Eurasian
integration. It was described as a hard but necessary road that the post-soviet
Russia and other nations in the post-soviet space are expected to pass in the
historically shortest time.
The present and the future of these nations,
which, at least, share the common past, depend on how efficiently the
member-states will be able to pass this road in the current geopolitical
situation. We think that the political and ethnic subjects of the post-soviet
space could really benefit from taking into consideration the expert views
shared at the round table. In other words, it could help find the way from the
trap of the system disintegration and the risks of dividing the space by more
powerful and successful geopolitical players.
As was shown through the round table’s sharp
polemics and heated debate, the biggest interest and arguments are raised by the
problem of historical and futurological interpretation of the Empire phenomenon
covering the past and likely future of Russia itself as well as the entire
post-soviet /post-imperial space formed on the ruins of the Russian/Soviet
The authors of this article who were both
organizers and participants of the round table offered their own analysis of
While studying system crises in Russian history within
the framework of the project titled “The People and Power: The History of
Russia and Its Falsifications” we arrived at the conclusion that the deep
insight into their logic and meaning is impossible without analyzing the Empire
as a special form of system organization of power and society, the organization
of mass consciousness, rather than the space .
In this sense an Empire can be a successful
subject in history insomuch as it is able to spread around imperatives uniting
people and space, these imperatives being capable of empowering them with
historical meaning and objectives.
In other words, whether the Empire can serve as
an organizer of a large-scale space in the most effective and reasonable way depends
on how fully and adequately it can manifest itself in the mass consciousness as
an earthly stronghold of the Imperative. It also depends on how attractive and
appealing the nations involved find the ideas and values offered by the Empire.
In the hierarchy of various factors bringing a lot of nations and their huge areas
toward real integration the top place belongs to specific goal-oriented
imperatives, but not to politics and economics. Such imperatives should provide
the individual as well as the entire nation and state with the sense of
meaningfulness of individual and social life. It is only then that the Empire
becomes a centripetal force arranging the space and consciousness to be
included in the context of global history.
The Russian Empire had such imperatives until
its disintegration in the course of the Smuta (turmoil) in the early XX century.
It made the Empire successful as a harmonizer of the Eurasian space over at
least several centuries. The Soviet Union as an imperial successor also had
such imperatives until its disintegration during the Smuta of the late XX
century. This was the cause of its unprecedented victories and achievements
over several decades in the last century, the cruel age which ground down many
empires and nations. Both the Russian Empire and “the soviet space” were centripetal
forces driving nations into one common historical destiny with mutual
Alas, the same cannot be said about the
post-soviet space. The problem is not the lack of single economic space, single
currency, etc. The problem is that Russia as a traditional imperial core of
Eurasian integration has, so far, failed to offer such imperatives that will
make it attractive for the neighbouring states to unite with it, for the sake
of something bigger than temporary political and economic dividends.
This also holds a major threat for the “post-imperial”
Russia itself and for the less powerful states of “post-imperial space”. One should
leave alone the negative connotations of the word “Empire” and focus on
searching for its historical meaning. And then the Empire can be understood as
an extensive space united by historically specific imperatives. Then largely it
is an “either –or situation”: either the state which has to organize its
imperially large space has these imperatives and lives by them thus being a
real subject of history or it lacks these imperatives, but then this
(imperativeless) space is claimed by other empires with imperatives and then gets
divided among them.
It should be emphasized in conclusion that a
new post-soviet empire should not be constructed by means of forced
integration. The Empire can only be revived on condition there is an Idea that
can unite and lead the masses. To become an empire again, contemporary Russia has to offer imperatives which will restore the general sense and common values. The
imperial power for Russia today does not mean a power that is eager to expand.
is rather a power to constrain the evil. Our talk
about the revival of the Empire is not an appeal for violence, but it aims at
the restored meaning, the meaning of the natural reintegration of post-soviet
space as historical successor of the great empire.
from Scientific Journals)
1. Revin I.A. Krestyanskaya Rossiya i Vtoraya
russkaya smuta: nauchnyy proekt “Narod i vlast” v otechestvennoy istoriografii
revolyutsionnykh krizisov. Novyy istoricheskiy vestnik , 2013,
no. 2(36), pp. 56–57.
2. Marchenya P.P., Razin S.Yu. Mezhdunarodnyy
kruglyy stol “Rossiya i postsovetskoe prostranstvo: problemy i perspektivy”. Novyy
istoricheskiy vestnik , 2013, no. 3(37), pp. 98–147.
3. Marchenya P.P., Razin S.Yu. “Imperiya” i
“Smuta” v sovremennom rossievedenii. Novyy istoricheskiy vestnik , 2011,
no. 4(30), pp. 89–96.
Abstract, Key words
Pavel P. Marchenya – Candidate of History,
Associate Professor, Moscow University of the Ministry of the Interior of
Russia (Moscow, Russia)
Sergey Yu. Razin – Senior
Lecturer, Institute for the Humanities and Arts and Informational Technologies
The article summarizes the most significant materials
of the International round table held in Moscow in April 2013: the papers by
Russian and foreign experts researching the past and the present of the
post-Soviet space as well as part of their discussion. The papers feature the
interdisciplinary scientific analysis of different aspects of contemporary
geopolitical situation in post-Soviet space. The issues discussed by the
roundtable participants and the authors of the article are addressed in the
context of the Eurasian and world history.
Russian Federation, Post-Soviet space,
Post-Soviet states, geopolitics, geoeconomics, integration, Commonwealth of
Independent States, Union State of Russia and Belarus, Ukraine, Eurasian
Economic Union, Customs Union, empire, nation, political elite
Àâòîðû, àííîòàöèÿ, êëþ÷åâûå ñëîâà
Ìàð÷åíÿ Ïàâåë Ïåòðîâè÷ – êàíä. èñò. íàóê,
äîöåíò Ìîñêîâñêîãî óíèâåðñèòåòà
Ðàçèí Ñåðãåé Þðüåâè÷ – äîöåíò Èíñòèòóòà ãóìàíèòàðíîãî
îáðàçîâàíèÿ è èíôîðìàöèîííûõ òåõíîëîãèé
Â ñòàòüå îáîáùàþòñÿ íàèáîëåå çíà÷èìûå ìàòåðèàëû
Ìåæäóíàðîäíîãî êðóãëîãî ñòîëà, ñîñòîÿâøåãîñÿ â Ìîñêâå â àïðåëå 2013 ã.: äîêëàäû ðîññèéñêèõ è çàðóáåæíûõ ñïåöèàëèñòîâ, èçó÷àþùèõ ïðîøëîå è íàñòîÿùåå ïîñòñîâåòñêîãî
ïðîñòðàíñòâà, è ÷àñòü ñîñòîÿâøåéñÿ ìåæäó íèìè äèñêóññèè. Â äîêëàäàõ ïðåäñòàâëåí
ìåæäèñöèïëèíàðíûé íàó÷íûé àíàëèç ðàçëè÷íûõ àñïåêòîâ ñîâðåìåííîé ãåîïîëèòè÷åñêîé
ñèòóàöèè íà ïîñòñîâåòñêîì ïðîñòðàíñòâå. Ýòà ïðîáëåìàòèêà ó÷àñòíèêàìè êðóãëîãî
ñòîëà è àâòîðàìè ñòàòüè ðàññìàòðèâàåòñÿ â êîíòåêñòå åâðàçèéñêîé è ìèðîâîé
Ðîññèéñêàÿ Ôåäåðàöèÿ, ïîñòñîâåòñêîå
ïðîñòðàíñòâî, ïîñòñîâåòñêèå ãîñóäàðñòâà, ãåîïîëèòèêà, ãåîýêîíîìèêà, èíòåãðàöèÿ,
Ñîäðóæåñòâî Íåçàâèñèìûõ Ãîñóäàðñòâ, Ñîþçíîå ãîñóäàðñòâî Ðîññèè è Áåëàðóñè, Óêðàèíà,
Åâðàçèéñêèé ýêîíîìè÷åñêèé ñîþç, Òàìîæåííûé ñîþç, èìïåðèÿ, íàöèÿ, ïîëèòè÷åñêàÿ