Thursday, October 19, 2017

Russia Might Cure Its Imperial Drive by Joining Another and Broader Empire, Inozemtsev Suggests

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 19 – The experience of the European countries may provide a useful model for Russia to overcome its imperial complexes, Vladislav Inozemtsev says. As they yielded their colonies, they formed a new “empire” in the form of what is today known as the European Union.

            “The formation of the institutions of a united Europe not accidently corresponded in time with the most active phase of decolonization,” the Russian commentator says. “Having lost their empires, the Europeans had an additional reason for coming together and forming a substitute for a powerful super-state” (

                The Europeans recognized that without their former empires and without some new structure, they would face the threat of being “driven to the political periphery” of the world by other powers such as the US, Russia and China.  To that end, Inozemtsev says, they developed a “seduction-based Empire” designed to attract others not as subjects of themselves but as partners.

            “At the beginning of the 21st century, the two most important continental countries – Germany and France – became the owners of ‘a controlling interest’ in an all-European ‘empire,’ having buried in this way their own imperial ambitions. Something similar,” the commentator says, “could be the only ‘good outcome’ for the Russian empire as well.”

            Inozemtsev continues: “For this Russia itself and its ‘partners’ (as correctly President Putin puts in quotation marks) must consider several historical and factual circumstances.” Among the most important of these is that Russia, like the US, is both part and an extensive of Europe.

            Those two “’borderlands’ of Europe,” he argues, “could not fail to clash as soon as they felt in themselves military and economic superiority over the metropolis.”  Russians argue whether they are East or West, but in reality, they are first of all part of the North – “for a long time, like other European empires was an instrument of the North’s dominance over the South.”

            That could become the source of “a new ‘imperial strategy’” for Russia, Europe and the US in the coming century, Inozemtsev says. Such a combination could unite the North and ensure its continuing domination over the South and the ability to counter challenges emanating from that region.

            “Russia and the US/Canada could become countries which would dominate the Pacific from the North.  Europe would retain its military political defense as provided by the US and could at the same time gain access to Russia’s resources.

            “In other words,” he continues, “if Rusisa can’t escape from dreams about its imperial nature and from the sufferings over the loss of empire, the single way out of the existing situation as the experiences of the former European empires show is integration in or the creation from nothing of a still larger empire.” 

            Russia’s participation in such a new “imperial” project would “make it more prepared to meet the challenges which can come from the South,” challenges that Russia is confronted by more directly than the other two parts of such a project. But “the synergy” of such a system could be useful for the other two participants.

            Not only would they gain mutual support but they would find that Russia would be able to change in ways that they have indicated they want it to.  If Russia can’t stop being attached to an imperial vision of itself, it might be led to redefine this in order that it not decay into an entity on the periphery of the other powers.

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