The article “The Current Century and Russia as an Independent Civilization” by Veniamin Popov, Chief Advisor of the Chairman of the Strategic Vision Group “Russia – Islamic World”, was published in the scientific and public-political journal “Bulletin of Russian Nation”. Other materials of the first journal issue for 2019 can be found here.
In the past eighteen years of the XXI century global tensions have never been as high as in spring of the year 2018. One can even say that certain numbness has emerged, as though waiting for imminent Apocalypse. It is the very direct circumstance of the world “hybrid” war started by the West, which has been waged in the virtual space and which daily drags into its funnel and forever absorbs in its “womb” not even hundreds but thousands, millions of people. Who is responsible for this? Whose blame is it?
Today’s complicated and controversial world has no equivalents in the past. However, the countries, which are the part of the structure that nowadays is called “the collective West”, continue to think in terms of the past 400 years and act according to its rules.
Beginning with approximately XV century, the states, which were located in the territory of the modern Western Europe, reached a powerful breakthrough in building of industrial society with the help of active and dynamic using of scientific discoveries and achievements in the development of new technologies. They got ahead and left more developed until that time Eastern civilizations behind. By 1913 eleven Western powers (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Russia, Great Britain and the USA) had controlled almost 3/5 of the world’s land mass, 79% of the world production and countries, where the majority of the world’s population lived.
However, since already the XX century the balance of power on the global level has begun to change. It is very significant that today researchers, who are analyzing modern processes in Europe, often mention the German philosopher Oswald Spengler and his work “The Decline of the West” which was published in 1918 after the defeat of Germany in the First World War. According to his concept, Western culture experienced a period of prosperity during the epoch of feudalism and with the transition to capitalism in the XIX century it entered a stage of decline [For the sake of historical truth let us notice that parrying a deluge of criticism from the Westerners in 1880, our great writer-prophet F.M. Dostoevsky in August issue of the magazine “A Writer’s Diary” (the issue is remarkable for his “Pushkin Speech”) wrote the following: “Your Europe is on the eve of a general and dreadful collapse. The ant-hill which has been long in the process of construction without the Church and Christ, with a moral principle shaken loose from its foundation, with everything general and absolute lost – this ant-hill is utterly undermined”].
The author of “The Decline of the West” Oswald Spengler
Sociologists and politicians of the XXI century are trying to ignore the apocalyptic prophecy of Spengler. However, at the same time they cannot admit that Western countries in general and in particular have been experiencing the most difficult and multi-vector system crisis, covering all aspects of human life. The last decade has witnessed its sharp escalation, largely as a result of widening gap between the rich and the poor – the gap that permeates humanity on a global scale and separately many world countries, as well as the increase of social tensions, conflicts, frequency of clashes between ethnic groups, split of the world based on religious and civilizational features (first of all, it is the increase of Islamophobia). “Brexit”, the split of the former tight cooperation between the USA and Western Europe, Turkey’s disagreements with NATO, the growing isolation of the USA in the modern world are obvious evidence of the disintegration of the Western world.
This crisis is manifested in many forms and metamorphoses, but it is based on departure of Western countries from the moral principles developed by humanity over centuries, on degradation of cultural values, on dehumanization, on promotion of animal instincts, on reduction of intellectual level among many elite strata and on growth of contradictions within ruling elites of the West that are not able to suggest any rational resolutions of many new emerging challenges and conflicts.
“We see”, President V.V. Putin said in his speech at the World Russian People’s Council on the 1st of November in 2018, “what efforts are being made today to “reformat” the world, to destroy the traditional values and those cultural and historical spaces that have been forming for ages. The goal is to create all sorts of faceless “protectorate”. After all, disunited peoples, deprived of national memory, relegated to the level of vassals, are easier and more convenient to manage”.
As an example we can observe the West’s hopelessness in approaching one of the most critical modern problems – the demographical one. Moreover, it is increasingly becoming a subject of disagreements and debates in “the European family” that has begun to fall apart. In 1960 there were 750 million of Europeans along with Americans, Australians and Canadians. It was a quarter of the world three billion population. By 2000, in 40 years, the population of the Earth had increased to 6 billion and European peoples (in a broad sense) had made up 1/6 of it. According to the world agencies, in 2050 the population of the Earth will be more than 9 billion but this 50% increase will exclusively happen due to the growth of the population in countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. The citizens of Europe will become only 1/10 part of the general number as by that time 100 million Europeans will have simply disappeared from the Earth. It becomes obvious that the population of the Old World is definitely degenerating, the West is losing its confidence and its elite are getting scared [Famous German ex-banker Thilo Sarrazin has recently published a new book “Europe Does Not Need the Euro”. In this book he criticizes the measures undertaken by European politicians to overcome the debt crisis and considers anti-crisis mechanisms and packages to be a scam. He makes it clear that the influence of Europe will be rapidly diminishing and at the same time he points to the demography as the main argument in order to prove his conclusions: in many European states the process of reduction and aging of the population has begun along with the reduction of birth rates. It cannot be compensated by influx of immigrants. The importance of Europe in the world is going down: in 1900 almost 35% of the world population lived in Europe; now they are less than 11% and in 2100 it will be only 7%. Africa is the winner within this process: in 1900 only 8% of the entire population lived there; now they are 15% and in 2100 there will be 35% of the population].
The financial and economic crisis in the USA of the year 2008 caused a massive withdrawal of mortgage housing due to impossibility of securing payments
The scale and depth of the crisis of the Western civilization is stated in a direct way in the jubilee (December of 2017) report of the Club of Rome under the title “The Old World Is Destined to Collapse! The New World Is Inevitable!” The authors of the report, E. Weizsäcker and A. Wijkman, are of the opinion that the modern crisis is “not cyclic but intensifying. It is not limited by the nature around us and comprises a social, political, cultural and moral crisis; it is the crisis of democracy, ideology and capitalistic system”. The authors believe that “the planet is degrading because in 80-s of the last century disappearance of capitalism took place and the main source of income was financial speculations (now 98% of financial operations are of a speculative nature; from 21 up to 32 trillion dollars are hidden in offshore zones)…It was one of the reasons of the world financial crisis in 2008-2009 but bankers not only kept their positions, they remained the winners: they made themselves “too big in order to lose” or in order to be imprisoned…There is a global food distribution failure. Eight hundred million people continue to starve while two billion people are overweight”. The report strongly criticizes capitalism and the conclusion is made regarding the necessity of “a fundamental paradigm shift in the development of our civilization and of a transition to alternative economic, new enlightenment, holistic worldview and planetary civilization”.
The crisis of the Western civilization is most clearly manifested in intensive growth of inequality in the world, including in the USA and Western Europe. “According to American economists, while in 1980 the income of the poorer part of the population in the USA was 20% of what Americans had earned, in 2014 it was only 12%. In 1981 1% of the richest residents of the USA earned 27 times more than 50% of the poorest people and in 2016 – already 81 times more. In other words, the rich are rapidly becoming richer and the poor are becoming poorer” [Yaroslav Shimov. About the winners’ mistakes].
This is how in May of 2018, speaking at the international forum in Prague, Steve Bannon, an influential ideologist of right-wing populism and until recently “grey cardinal” of Donald Trump’s administration, blamed those who he considered to be culprits of the crisis: “The elites of the City of London and Frankfurt and Wall Street and Tokyo have brought world to this crisis and now they are responsible for it. They saved themselves and made common people pay for it, tremendously increasing public debt. And do you think that all these hedge funds guys are rich because they are smart? They have brought us to where we are now. And do you know who has paid for everything? People making 45 thousand dollars a year. People whose wages have not been increased since 1970-s. Nobody among politicians pays any attention to the fact how dramatically inequality has grown. Do you know why? Because both the Democrats and the Republicans are paid by Wall Street”.
Many scientists are thinking about reasons and consequences of the current crisis of the Western civilization. Professor Patrick Deneen from the University of Notre Dame in his recently published book “Why Liberalism Failed” states that “this wonderful concept – liberalism – failed because it was wrong at its very base as it meant that a person followed his goals without noticing the surrounding society and as it let him break ties with everything that made him a human – culture, ethnicity, people on the whole, family and idea of the common good”.
In the intellectual circles of the West many people continue to defend the eternal and enduring superiority of the West with incredible perseverance contrary to the realities of modern life. For instance, famous English historian Niall Ferguson noted in the book “Civilization” (it was published in the Russian language in 2014) that “the main source of power of the West is its intellectual superiority…It is the very reason why the West will always be “ahead of the planet” [1,44-45]. The author clearly cannot condescend to recognition of the obvious truth that rapid development and breakthrough of the West took place mainly due to seizure and colonization of many African and Asian countries and cruel and merciless exploitation of the local population. Publicism, fiction literature, painting and art of that epoch are the best proof for this. It is well-known that unique exhibits of the Eastern civilizations, presented for general viewing in the museums of London, Paris, Berlin, are just a small piece of the artifacts that were exported and, to be more exact, that were stolen during colonial conquests.
Simultaneously in the Western media one can come across sharp assessments of policy of the ruling circles. It is one of the examples: “All the top of the Western political establishment is considered nowadays as a crowd with terrible and mocking faces. Its collective portrait could be painted only by Hieronymus Bosch. Their actions and the manner of behavior confirm professional degradation of the political and ruling class of the West and, what is more important, its persistent desire to move on following this path to complete decline”. [On the 30th of October in the year 2018 the English “Times” made a conclusion that “there is now a cultural war on the identity of the Western civilization and its values and it is scary to watch how all the parties refuse to be reasonable”]. Perhaps, this grade is a sign of the fact that new trends are getting through lies, hypocrisy and taboos and rational politicians of the West begin to recognize it.
Not so long ago many people in the world considered the American leadership to be solid and the authorities in the White House approved that it would last forever because the Americans were “the exceptional nation”. That is why, according to Washington, America is allowed to plant its only correct model of democracy all over the world by any means and demand from the others – “non-exclusive nations” – unconditional fulfillments of its orders. Nowadays it happens mostly in exactly this way, but, of course, not everywhere and not always. Anyway, this “rule” worked because it was based on fear, on elementary intuitive human fear of force, the use of which would turn out to be subordination, death, devastation, ruin and that fear was growing up to the scales of entire nations, states, continents. [A strikingly frank article in “The New York Times” published on the 15th of November in 2018 is worth paying attention to. It analyzes the situation regarding the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and highlights the idea that the case gave to the Trump’s administration “a serious level of pressure on the weakened Saudi regime” that would help to finish the devastating war in Yemen, improve relations with Qatar, try to reach the peace with Israel, maintain stable oil prices and what is the most important to replace “the Crown Prince with a less impulsive and less dangerous heir depending on the outcome of the investigations of Khashoggi’s death”. In the modern world it is quite complicated to surprise us by anything as contrasts are too strong, however, that shamelessness and categoricalness, with the help of which the Americans behave towards their allies and decide for the peoples of other countries who should govern them is striking”].
Globalization has given impetus to the progress in a number of developing countries. Simultaneously, contrary processes have begun – for preservation of identity, own culture and what is more important there the dissatisfaction is taking place because of the inequality, unprecedented gap between the rich and the poor, injustice, the use of violence and interference in internal affairs. Nowadays the new centres of power are rising: individual states with growing economics, the unions of such states, the action dynamics of which would inevitably narrow the space of individual influence of the USA and competition on the issues of shaping the contours of the world order of the XXI century would become more and more intense.
Other civilizations, such as the Chinese, Russian, Indian, Islamic, Latin American and African, have emerged in the forefront of the world politics.
Global economic power is getting dispersed and, therefore, it is losing its political influence and the new large centres of power are emerging, particularly in the Asia-Pacific Region. The most obvious fact here is China’s sharp leap forward, which due to its high rates of economic growth over three decades has become the second and, according to estimates of purchasing power parity, already the first economy of the world. The success of the Republic of Iran is the proof of multiplicity of development models. It is rapidly becoming one of the leading Asian states in terms of the education level of its population.
Nowadays a new group of countries with global influence potential is emerging. The dawn of the great geopolitical revolution is approaching – from the East, from Southeast Asia. Asia is returning to the world history arena. The ascent of the East – China and India, their demographical, economic and inevitably cultural, political expansion has encountered a powerful opposition from the Euro-American centrism that is trying to stand its domination in the world.
The East has been experiencing modernization and it is happening not according to the Western principles but in its own way, using the benefits of Western experience. Confucianism in the context of China is not an obstacle, this is its credo: its principles are diligence, discipline, hierarchy and order – have given a powerful boost to the processes of modernization and economic breakthrough. The Southeastern countries will unlikely compete with each other (perhaps, it is also the influence of religion) but they will follow the model of “flying in the flock after the first flying bird”. It is important that the success of Asian countries has helped to overcome the perception of the Western superiority and there has been a shift in the awakening of the Asian self-consciousness.
Now it becomes obvious that new alternative paradigm of the world order – political and economic, is needed, which would be based on the ideas of forming a humane moral society as a single living organism in all its amazing diversity and on preservation of the unique striking by its beauty and splendor surrounding nature unlike the current Anglo-Saxon paradigm based on suppression, subordination and violence. Despite all the contradictions of “homo sapiens” type and cruelty of people’s behavior over the past history, an ordinary human has never abandoned the desire to create a society, where there will be kind relationships, honesty and justice.
It can hardly be considered strange that today many countries and nations pay much attention to Russia, to that tremendous Eurasian state, which for many centuries has been providing with a viable example of interaction of different cultures and space for the joint exit of peoples from the crisis. [When in the USSR during Perestroika that traditional, rational idea for our country was abandoned and the postulates of the Western European civilization with completely different geographical boundaries and different history were followed and mechanically transferred into the Russian conditions, it turned into a tragedy – for certain people, the state and for the outside world. In 1990-s Russia that is a unique type of the Eurasian civilization, tried to become a part of the West. The attempts to renounce its own identity and then break it had a very sad result for peoples of Russia and caused stagnation. China chose another path – they did not break their civilizational code and tried to connect it with the market and the commodity economy ad it was rather successful].
The Presidents of Russia and Turkey at the opening ceremony of the Cathedral Mosque in Moscow. The source: Press Service of the President of Russia
For many centuries two of the world’s largest religions have coexisted in Eurasia – Christianity and Islam as religions of two ethnic groups – Slavic and Turanian. Dialogue has become the form of their interaction.
Throughout history the Russian civilization has emerged as a unique multi-ethnic and multi-religious integrity and community. It is the fusion of historical links of the Russian people with other groups of Eastern Slavs, with peoples of the Ural, Finno-Ugric groups, with Altai (especially with the Turkic), Caucasian and other language families of the Western, Central, East Asia and Pacific culture. In the framework of confessions it is the interaction of Orthodoxy: in the West – with Catholicism, Protestantism, in the East – with Islam (in the Volga Region, the Caucasus, and Siberia), Buddhism and Lamaism and besides with many local beliefs – shamanism and paganism of the peoples of the Far North.
“The Russian state was being formed as a unity of different nationalities, the core of which historically was the Russian people. The modern Russian society is united by the single cultural (civilizational) code based on preservation and development of culture and language, historical and cultural heritage of all the Russian peoples”, - it is said in the Strategy of State National Policy [“Bulletin of Russian Nation” 2012. №6, p. 253]. Preservation of ethno-cultural diversity, maintenance of inter-confessional and inter-ethnic peace and harmony are one of the prior aims of the Russian Federation policy.
The peculiarity of the Russia’s spatial development is that it was surrounded by ethnic groups, the boundaries were extended but not overseas: our border areas were constantly raided and Russia was defending and extending. It moved the defensive line further in order to control the distant borders. But that movement never was through annihilation, damage to other ethnic groups, on the contrary, Russia attracted them and there was a voluntary and desirable adaption, perception of Russian culture. It was not an expansion but extension of borders. It is especially true for Siberia. That is how Michael Tarkovsky, a native of Krasnoyarsk, explains it: “The Siberian land has an amazing feature – everything is brought to its limits, everything is denser there, especially time. Over 400 years a Russian pioneer discovered the way and made a great number of sensitive to the power immigrants move to the Siberian land. Having opened up with unbelievable talents for heroic work, they managed to lay down and develop large layers of hunting, gold mining and simply peasant tradition” [“Nash Sovremennik”. 2017. №11].
The Russian ethnicity, entering into friendly relations with neighbouring ethnic groups, has gained the features of superethnos of multinational community and become the centre of Eurasia. The development of ethnic groups as biosocial systems is based on their inherent phenomena of self-organization that ensure the transition of systems into a new state by bifurcation and new cycle: the end and then again beginning. It is how Lev Gumilev wrote about it and those his ideas were further developed in the works by another outstanding scientist Nikita Moiseev. In the centre of Eurasia a great power-superethnos emerged, which had had a huge impact on world events in the XIX-XX centuries. The fall of the USSR did not lead to the fall of superethnos: states can emerge and disappear and superethnos continues existing. It is more viable because its time is counted for centuries and it meets the interests of all the nationalities that are united in it.
More than a hundred different nationalities have united around Russia and that is why the Russian culture resembles the mighty Volga, into which many small rivers and streams flow. This combination of different cultures and confessions has made Russia a great state.
Famous Russian scientist, the author of the theory regarding cycles and civilizations, Yurii Yakovets, identified the following 4 peculiarities of the Eurasian civilization. Firstly, priority of spirituality inherited from the Ancient Greek civilization, predisposition to integral sociocultural system, synthesizing advantages of the sensual and supersensible, but without extremes. It is the main difference from the Western civilizations, where there predominate priority of material values inherited from the Ancient Roman civilization, predisposition to sensual sociocultural system (after thousands of years predomination of the ideational supersensible system during the Middle Ages) and from the Eastern civilizations in this or that modification (from the Confucian to the Muslim one). Secondly, unlike the Western civilizations where individualism is in power, the Eurasian civilizations is characterized by collectivism as in conditions of vast spaces, sharp climate changes and frequent military invasions only together one can survive and reach success. At the same time, unlike the Eastern civilizations, where individuality is often ignored for the sake of collective interest, there is enough liberty and independency of a person. Thirdly, unlike the Western civilizations, in the Eurasian civilization there is a stronger role of state as a representative of common interests, a collective organizer and strategist. At the same time there are no conditions for the Eastern despotism here, although there were such periods in the history of the Eastern civilization. Fourthly, because of its mixed nature, the Eurasian civilization unites representatives of different worlds, cultures and religions (with predominance of civilizational values of the Christian world it has a significant share of the Muslim, Buddhist and to a less extent, Western Christian and Jewish worlds). Here nationalities and social strata are mostly oriented towards dialogue and partnership of different ethnic groups, cultures and religions [2,17].
Russia’s natural support is its large territory and resources of its nature, vast forested areas, a diversity of climate zones, sees, rivers, lakes and what is more important, an fusion of human resources – multi-national, multi-confessional, genetically strong, inexhaustible optimism and sincere belief in the highest human values – kindness, honour, courage, mutual assistance and protection of their land [The Soviet people as the heirs of this civilization represented a higher stage because the process of mutual enrichment and merger was going rather quickly and ascendantly. The Soviet civilization is a historically short attempt to build the society based on justice and to create the system, which complies with humanistic ideals. The attempt was not very successful but it is incorrect and immoral to asses it in a completely negative way. It had a huge impact on the world events as well].
Our history is full of sudden changes. Here it is appropriate to quote the words of Pyotr Chaadayev in his first philosophical letter: “We are something like an exception among peoples. We are one of those nations, which do not appear to be an integral part of the human race, but exist only in order to teach some great lesson to the world. It is obvious that the lesson we are destined to give will not pass without a trace, but who knows, when we will find ourselves again among the humanity and how much trouble we will experience before our destinies are fulfilled?” [3,87-107]
Russia won in the Second World War, but if rationality prevailed, then Germany would have to win. Till now many people in the West can hardly believe that the Soviet Union managed to defeat Nazi Germany and after its failures in 1941 and 1942 it managed to win in the battle of Kursk. Michael Hastings, a famous English historian and journalist, the author of many books about the Second World War, wrote in the article dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the victory over Germany: “If Hitler had not attacked Russia and the Russians had not resisted with fortitude and spirit of sacrifice, which are unattainable in Western democracies, we would, probably, have continued fighting against him until now. It is hardly possible that the British and the American armies would ever be able to defeat the Wehrmacht on their own”.
Russia. The Republic of Tatarstan. Bolgar. August,13, 2017. The view of the mosque and the Orthodox church in the Bolgarian State Historical and Architectural Museum-Reserve. Egor Aleev/TASS
Commitment is both a human and a sociosystem feature of the Russians. It is the reason why we understand Vladimir Putin’s words said in the Message on March, 1, 2018: “…they will never have people or officers who are ready to sacrifice anything for their people like the Russian pilot Major Roman Filipov!” [The idea of qualitative originality of the Russian civilization “as diversity within unity” built on the basis of the juxtaposition of the Orthodox-Byzantine and Eastern (Turkic-Islamic) beginnings, is perfectly given in the book by the famous Russian scientist, Andrei Loginov “Eurasia and Islam” (M., 2017)].
These qualities of the Russian people coded genetically became the determining factor in the fact that our civilization managed, both after the Second World War to bring all the forces together and ensure a quick breakthrough and after “the dashing last decade” of the last century to get out of the most severe crisis, restore mainly the potential of forces and begin a breakthrough to new frontiers.
The understanding of the Eurasian civilization takes place in Russian history through centuries, from one generation to another generation. The prominent philosopher, Nikolai Berdyaev, constantly reminded that “Russia has to consider itself to be both the West and the East-West, the connector of two worlds and not the delimiter. Russia treats Asia in a completely different way than Western nations. The Asian affairs are not a luxury for us, not whim, not a satisfaction of this or that exclusive aim as trade, political influence, etc.; for us they are Russian affairs, which we have no possibility to pass by. Russia has two faces like Janus: one of them is directed to Europe, another one - to Asia. England owns India only because one it managed to conquer that country by accident; it would be the same England without India, its island would not be threatened by any events happening in Asia. But as far as Russia is concerned, the result of the beginning changes in that continent would be a vital issue” [4,224]. Indeed, these insightful words are as relevant and demanded as a century ago [Dmitriy Mendeleev, the great Russian scientist, had similar thoughts. He highlighted it many times that Russia was destined to be the connector between Europe and Asia. It is remarkable that Lev Tolstoy pointed it out twice in “Anna Karenina” – at first, by the author and then with the help of his alter ego Konstantin Levin – that the most important vocation of the Russians was peaceful conquest of the vast Eastern areas. Pavel Basinsky, the researcher of Lev Tolstoy’s works, emphasized in his biography of the writer that at the end of 1870-s he conceived a work about “the possessing power”, about the great resettlement of Russian cultivators to the South of Siberia and then further to China (Leo Tolstoy: Escape From Paradise/p. Basinsky. 2012, p. 248)].
Perhaps, in this regard it is appropriate to recall another one of the undeservedly forgotten creators of Russian policy in the Caucasus – General Rostoslav Fadeev [His book “Opinion on the Eastern Question”, published in 1869, became a fundamental book for the Russian school of geopolitics]. For instance, this is what he wrote in his work “”Letters from the Caucasus”: “What is a matter of convenience and profit for Western Europe, for Russia is a crucial matter…Merging with Asia for 10 thousands versts, coming into contact with all its centres, living with the Asian peoples under the same roof, if one can say so, Russia has to be associated with it…From that day when Russia moved into indigenous Asia and merged with it inseparably, it became in the need to consider Asian issues like its own ones. It was not by chance that we came to Asia, unlike the other Europeans. The huge body of Russia has grown into the middle of this obsolete crumbling and being snatched up from all the sides world, and regardless of arbitrariness and political system it should have the effect of magnet touching a pile of sawdust on it…” [5,234-235].
The power of the Russian is in the belief in possibility of implementing the principles of social justice and social focus of the Russian policy.
Our country is distinguished by its unique diversity of languages and traditions. For centuries they have been intertwining with each other, enriching each other and filling domestic painters, writers, musicians with the power and inspiration to create cultural brands, without any exaggeration, of global importance. This culture brings people closer, very often in spite of political contradictions or economic difficulties, carries high values of humanism, equality and mutual respect.
Remind that in far 1242 before “the great battle” Alexander Nevsky said the prophetic words of encouragement: “God is not in might but in truth. Some trust in their weapons and some – in horses, but we will call upon the Lord our God! They hesitated and set fire, we however are bravely risen. Whoever will come to us with a sword, from a sword will perish!”
People from the Western capitals cannot and do not want to understand and admit it. They do not want to realize that over the last 20 years Russia has radically changed, that it is no longer that kind of “apprentice”, which needs to be taught according to Western standards, despite the objections. The Western elites cannot allow the possibility of revival of the strong sovereign, forward-looking Russia at all.
The expectations of the West that after the collapse of the USSR – the USA opposing pole of attraction – that it would be able to move Russia to the periphery of world affairs after all the blows it had endured and therefore, perpetuate the American supremacy for all time, were not justified.
It is obvious that not everybody in the West is of the same views. “Despite the difference in opinions and interpretations, Russia remains a large European neighbor”, Sigmar Gabriel, the head of the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs said in his speech at the Munich conference in February 2018. “Only together with Russia we can ensure peace and stability on the continent…Such global problems as WMD nonproliferation, the Korean crisis cannot be resolved without the cooperation with the Russian Federation” [“Russia is needed to develop solutions for major international crisis”, Giuseppe Conte, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic, claimed at the press-conference in Moscow on the 24th of October in 2018].
Already in our time, the desire to become a part of the “higher” and, what is more important, of prosperous Western civilization in some strata of society coincided with the collapse of the USSR and a sudden opportunity of so-called “new Russians” to “grab” and appropriate the wealth, having created by all the people of the country. They were ready to give up their roots, denigrate their own history and break centuries-old traditions. Nouveau riches did not want to recognize that Russia was a special civilization, which comprised the features both of the West and the East. They do not feel and do not want to admit that the main difference between Russia and Europe is not geography and even not the level of economic development, but in fundamentally different values.
Of course, what is called Russian spirit is not a consequence of any particular anthropology of a Russian person but it is predetermined by a number of objective factors. Russia has succeeded as an agricultural, or productive and constructive civilization, which gradually increased first by craftsmanship and then by industrial production. Europe made a breakthrough in its development from the moment of its expansion of trade cities in the Mediterranean and the formation of trade capital, which predetermined the accelerated development of financial capital and then its further transformation into industrial capital.
In this regard, it is appropriate to mention the thought expressed by our well-known diplomat, Alexander Kramarenko, that “without “Soviet challenge” there would be no post-war “socialization” in Western European economy. In a similar vein, America developed as a result of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal” and the government’s postwar measures” [6,45].
Beginning with Alexander Nevsky, who would prefer to be tributary to the Golden Horde rather than to lose faith and culture under the Teutonic Order, Russia has ultimately been choosing sovereign modernization, which ensures the independence of the country and its right to historical creativity. Without that choice the entire European and world history would be different.
Similar ideas were expressed by Vladislav Surkov in the article of the journal “Russia in Global Affairs” in the middle of 2018. He believes that “an important milestone in the assertion of the independence of the Russian civilization was 2014, when Crimea again joined the Russian Federation because that event – the end of the epic journey of Russia to the West, the end of repeated and fruitless attempts to become a part of the Western civilization, to be related to “the good family” of European peoples”. Surkov thinks that Russia was heading to the East for four centuries and then four centuries it was heading to the West and it took roots nowhere. The both ways were passed. Now the ideologies of the third way, the third type of civilization, the third world, the third Rome will be demanded.
Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Crimea on the admission of the Republic of Crimea to the Russian Federation and formation of new subjects within the Russian Federation. Source: the Press Service of the President of Russia
In the late 1990-s and early 2000-s Russia was striving to become a part of Europe, to become a part of the West (much effort was made in order to have visa-free entry into the EU, which was primarily needed by our so-called oligarchs). Frankly speaking, it should be noted that forms of state and, especially, interstate communication in Russia were strongly influenced by the Western norms. The worldview of no less than 10 generations of our country population was based on the conviction: Russia is Europe. Nowadays such “Europeanity” is more or less possessed by the majority of the Russian population according to the magazine “Profile” dated September,10, 2018. Meanwhile, only the third part of the Russian territory is located in Europe, while 2/3 – in Asia. And this state of our country situated in 2 not always coinciding spaces is a great chance in the future. Today this Eurasian essence of the Russian civilization is very clear and it is extremely important, taking into account the fact that tomorrow Asia is able to become the technological and intellectual centre of our planet.
Russia is not “a regional power at sunset”. On the contrary, it is able to keep its historical territory, project military power to neighbouring regions and punish its foes in distant countries with non-military means.
In fact, actual danger is in the fact that any miscalculation can lead to a real war, which will get out of control, in Syria or what is more dangerous, in Ukraine.
It is quite obvious that international relations nowadays are a very complicated mechanism to be managed from one centre. Reliable solution to modern problems can be ensured only through serious and honest cooperation of the leading countries and their associations in order to solve common problems. This kind of interaction should take into account the multi-colour of the modern world, its cultural and civilizational diversity and reflect the interests of the main components of international society.
Nowadays, more than ever, we need to restore a culture of compromise, reliance on diplomacy, which can be rather difficult, even exhausting, but which nevertheless remains the only way to find a mutually acceptable solution to all the problems by peaceful means. Russian leaders constantly pay their attention to these tasks. Russia, being a fusion of different nationalities united around the Russian people, a synthesis of many confessions, primarily Orthodox-Muslim, being in its core essence one of the branches of the European civilization, has never merged with the West and has its own cultural matrix, its own spirituality.
The Russians have a certain mentality. No one can say better than Vladimir Mayakovsky: “Soviet citizens have a pride all their own”. Devotion to their native land, Fatherland, is in blood of the Russian people. This is how amazingly our prominent poet expressed it: “Two feelings are very close to us. Heart receives food in them: Love to the native ashes, Love to the fatherly coffins” [7,596].
Nowadays, there comes some kind of a moment of truth in international affairs: on the one hand, course of Russia and China and other dynamically developing countries to achieve a real settlement of conflict situations, to join forces in the fight against global challenges and threats, such as terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, climate changes; on the other hand, lines of the Western powers, primarily the USA and Great Britain, to exacerbate tensions, foment inter-ethnic and various regional conflicts in order to maintain their former dominance. The next few years will determine fate of the mankind, depending on how aforementioned contradictions will be solved.
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