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Trenin01 the End of EURASIA- Russia on the Border Between Geopolitics and Globalization

Trenin01 the End of EURASIA- Russia on the Border Between Geopolitics and Globalization

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Geopolitics Soviet Union Russia
Geopolitics Soviet Union Russia

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The question, “Who is a Russian?” still has many compet-
ing answers. The concept of a citizenship-based Russian
nation is spreading, but it can’t prevail — yet. The idea of a
“multinational Russian people,” similar to the previous
Soviet notion, lives on. Ethnic Russian nationalism remains
a minority view: the Russians have a long imperial tradi-
tion, which cancels out or at least greatly mitigates narrow
ethnic nationalism. This helps to explain why the “Russian
Question” has failed to arouse much enthusiasm.
The idea of using “Russian compatriots” for geopo-
litical purposes is doomed.17

A more reasonable approach

Conclusion. After Eurasia

334

is to promote civil societies in Russia and the countries with
the largest ethnic Russian populations — Ukraine, Kaza-
khstan, and Belarus, and to work to move Estonia and
Latvia to speed up the process of internal integration there.
The Russian diaspora has demonstrated very differ-
ent reactions to the geopolitical developments responsible
for their new condition. The Russians in the Baltic States
are on the way to becoming, through self-differentiation,
“Baltic Russians,” very distinct from their brethren in the
Federation. With Estonia’s entry into the EU, the Union will
receive its first installment of “Eurorussians.” In the con-
text of the Baltic nations themselves, assimilation will pro-
ceed, but will remain incomplete, and the development of
bi-communal societies, in everything but name, is probable.
Kaliningraders, though “Russian Russians,” will develop
a Euro-centered regional mentality.
It may appear that Belarus is more Russian-conscious
than Russia itself. President Lukashenko was not silent
about his ambitions to assume a pan-Slavic (i.e. Russian)
role. Russian national patriots became accustomed to mak-
ing regular pilgrimages to Minsk, creating in the minds of
liberals’ uneasy historical parallels.
Ukraine is only at the beginning of its Long March of
nation-building. Its Russian population is gradually becom-
ing assimilated with Ukrainians, but the process will be drawn-
out and patchy, reflecting the different orientations of Ukraine’s
diverse regions. If Russia becomes economically more success-
ful, however, it will again act as a cultural magnet.
Most Russians in Moldova, who live outside of the
Dniestr republic, are becoming assimilated. The Dniestri-
ans, meanwhile, are becoming a small regional communi-
ty that is unlikely to fully integrate itself with the rest of
the country.

Conclusion. After Eurasia

335

In the Transcaucasus, the Russians have become a
small minority and keep a low profile. Now that most Rus-
sians have left, Russian language and culture, such as they
have survived, are what has remained of the empire.
The exodus of ethnic Russians will be most pro-
nounced from Central Asia. In Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyr-
gyzstan, and Turkmenistan this may mean a marked change
in the social environment. There will remain isolated pock-
ets of ethnic Russians, who, because they are too poor or
too old, will be unable or unwilling to move north. These
small pockets of ethnic Russians will be all that is left from
a century of Russian rule. As the local elites try to become
westernized, the masses will turn to Islam. It is in Kazakh-
stan, however, that the “Russian Question” may have the
most dramatic consequences. If Russians are not fully inte-
grated within a uniquely “Eurasian” society, they may de-
velop separatist trends. In the early 21st

century, Kazakh-

stan will be highly vulnerable from within.

***

Thus, at the close of the 20th

century, one can claim that
“eternal Russia,” which, in the form of the USSR reached
a climax of territorial and cultural expansion, has run
its full course. With enormous difficulty and pain, Rus-
sia is slowly overcoming the “gravitational pull of its
own history.”18

Modernization of the Russian state and
of Russian society requires non-traditional answers to
the twin questions about Russia and the Russians. Be-
fore modernity finally takes root, however, Russia and
its neighbors will have been through many crises over
borders and ethnicity. One can only hope that they all
survive in one piece.

Conclusion. After Eurasia

336

Russia-Eurasia is over. To the west of its borders, there
lies an increasingly unified Europe, a natural place for Rus-
sia’s own integration as a European country in an appropri-
ate form. To the east lies an increasingly interconnected
Asia, where Russia must either establish itself as a country
in Asia or face the mounting pressure to withdraw west of
the Urals. To the south, there is the challenge of Islamic
activism whose source is both internal and external. All of
this places Russia in a highly uncomfortable position, de-
manding vision and the capacity for action, which is not
very much in evidence at the moment. Yet, the end of Eur-
asia, a real catastrophe, is no tragedy. It is merely the end
of a long era. But it is not the end of Russia, for which a
new and potentially happier era can now start.

NOTES

1Steven Sestanovich. “Geotherapy.” The National Interest. Fall 1996, p.3

2Thus, the Transcaucasus joined Eurasia in the early 19th century, North

Caucasus in the middle of it, and Central Asia in the second half of the

century, while Poland, Finland, and the Baltic States have been “in and

out.”

3Alexander Dugin. Osnovy geopolitiki. Geopoliticheskoe budushchee Rossii.

Moscow: Arktogeya, 1997, p.197.

4This is one of the reasons why so many Russian commentators found

Zbigniew Brzezinski’s suggestion of precisely such a role for Russia “of-

fensive.”

5These motifs are recurrent in the speeches and writings of Zyuganov,

Zhirinovsky, and Sergei Baburin

6This idea is promoted by Alexei Podberyozkin and his Spiritual Heritage

group.

7Alexander Dugin, op. cit., Osnovy geopolitiki, p. 168

Conclusion. After Eurasia

337

8Prince Alexander Gorchakov, Russia’s Foreign Minister from 1856 through

1882, who after Russia’s defeat in the Crimean War (1856) pursued a pol-

icy of “concentration” while promoting the conquest of Central Asia and

the Far East.

9Henry Kissinger. Diplomacy, p.80.

10Cf. Sergei Karaganov. “Strategy for Russia — IV. Report of the Council on

Foreign and Defense Policy” presented at its 8th annual assembly. Mos-

cow: 2000.

11Sergei Karaganov, Chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defense Pol-

icy; Giullietto Chiesa of La Stampa, and Samuel Huntington interviewed

by Obshchaya gazeta, #52/1, December 30, 1999 — January 6, 2000, p.6.

12Samuel Huntington. The Clash of Civilizations, p.312.

13Kissinger warned that partnership with Russia was possible only “if Rus-

sia remained within its borders.” (Henry Kissinger. Diplomacy, p.825). Pre-

sumably, this meant to discourage aggression or coercion by Russia, not

voluntary associations, as with Belarus.

14For example, Sherman Garnett. See his “Granitsy rossiyskoi vlasti,” in

Nezavisimaya gazeta, May 5, 1996.

15Cf., e.g., Zbigniew Brzezinski. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and

Its Geostrategic Imperatives. New York: Basic Books, 1997, p.202.

16This very apt description belongs to Professor Hiroshi Kimura.

17Roughly one-third of Israel’s population are “compatriots” in the sense

of the proposed Russian legislation.

18The phrase is borrowed from: Sherman Garnett. “Granitsy rossiyskoi vlas-

ti.” (Limits of Russian Power). Nezavisimaya gazeta, May 5, 1996.

Conclusion. After Eurasia

339

The Carnegie Endowment
for International Peace
and Its Moscow Center

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

was established in Washington, DC with a gift
from Andrew Carnegie. As a tax-exempt, oper-
ating (not grant-making) foundation, the Endow-
ment conducts programs of research, discussion, publica-
tion, and education on international affairs and US foreign
policy. The Endowment also publishes the quarterly jour-
nal Foreign Policy.

Carnegie’s senior associates — whose backgrounds
include government, journalism, law, academia, and pub-
lic affairs – bring to their work substantial first-hand expe-
rience in foreign policy through writing, public and media
appearances, study groups, and conferences. Carnegie as-
sociates seek to invigorate and extend both expert and pub-
lic discussion on a wide range of international issues —
including migration, nuclear non-proliferation, regional
conflicts, multilateralism, democracy-building, and the use
of force. The Endowment also engages in and encourages
projects designed to foster innovative contributions in in-
ternational affairs.

In 1993, the Carnegie Endowment committed re-
sources to the establishment of a public policy research cen-
ter in Moscow designed to promote intellectual collabora-
tion among scholars and specialists in the United States,

340

the Russian Federation, and other post-Soviet states. To-
gether with the Endowment’s associates in Washington, the
Center’s Russian associates conduct programs on a broad
range of major policy issues ranging from economic reform
to civil-military relations. The Carnegie Moscow Center
holds seminars, workshops, and long-term study groups
involving international participants from academia, gov-
ernment, the private sector, journalism, and nongovern-
mental organizations. The Center also provides a forum
for prominent international figures to present their views
to informed Moscow audiences.
The Moscow Center publishes books, occasional pa-
pers, and monographs based on the work of its associates
and other participants in its programs. The Center also
publishes a Russian-language quarterly journal, Pro et Con-
tra. The Endowment supports its activities principally from
its own resources, supplemented by nongovernmental phil-
anthropic grants.

The Carnegie Endowment and Its Moscow Center

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