Friday, August 20, 2021

Moscow Pursuing ‘Empire 3.0’ with Overwhelming Popular Support, Prokhorov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 16 – Today, as a century ago after the 1917 revolution, there exists a consensus among Russians regardless of their political differences that they “want to live in a great country and not in some small remnant,” Aleksandr Prokhorov says; and as a result, they overwhelmingly support Moscow’s pursuit of “Empire 3.0.”

            Between 1917 and 1921 and again after 1991, it appeared that the Russian empire was at an end, the first time as a result of uninterrupted military conflict on its territory and the second because of the pursuit of membership in the Western world as one nation state among others (

            At the end of the first period of disintegration, “the empire was reborn in the form of a confederation of national soviet republics. But this union of equal de jure soon was restored as a de facto unitary state,” one that imposed a common Bolshevik matrix on what had been a varied Russian Empire before.”

            According to Prokhorov, “the Soviet Union was beyond question a Russian imperial project, an Empire 2.0 … but the national idea was replaced by the concept of proletarian internationalism, religious spirituality was practically destroyed by militant atheists, and autocracy replaced by a collective leadership in the form of the Politburo.”

            “The ‘deep’ Soviet people preserved in its subconsciousness the moral framework of ‘faith, tsar and fatherland,’” even as the Soviet state acted in ways that followed “the logic of the existence of all world empires which not only defended the ethnic groups populating it from unfriendly attacks by neighbors but fulfilled a certain historical mission.”

            After 1991, he continues, “Russia for more than two decades existed as a state in which this imperial view was lost.” There was confusion among Russians, and “the search for our place in the world almost cost us the loss of over sovereignty.” Only more recently has Moscow made clear that its diminished position won’t be tolerated any longer.

            Prokhorov predicts that now “like 100 years ago, Russia will be saved by its imperial immunity. In society, regardless of political views, there exists a consensus that the overwhelming majority wants to live in a great country,” that is an empire, rather than in some state like others.

            “All imperial projects experience period of birth, growth and dying away.” Russia is no exception, and the last 30 years “many mistakes have been committed, almost all for a single reason: we, having rejected good sense have tried to copy some sort of ‘best practices’ from others and thus bring more quickly ‘a bright future.’”

            Having looked to the west and then to the east, we have lost our own way, he suggests. But now it is recovering it, as “a third imperial project,” with “a strong central power” of a monarchical type, a military stratum which “defines foreign and domestic policy” and a policy agenda of expansion and development in the Arctic and unpopulated regions of Siberia.

            “Empires do not exist without a declared mission, and Russia’s new imperial agenda has already begun to be formed ideologically.” And indicative of that are the proposals of Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu to create new cities and a new capital east of the Urals, far from outsiders and enemies.

            According to Prokhorov, with such ideas, “the vector of the development of Russia has been chosen,” and its focus defined. All that we are waiting for, he says, is “’a mobilization order’” and that will be declared “in the near future.”

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