Saturday, January 14, 2023

  By Decolonizing Itself Intellectually and Spiritually, Russia Becoming a Model for Other Former Colonies, Rabkin and Saul Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Jan. 11 – Many are now talking about the decolonization of Russia and promoting the idea that it should break up as did the USSR in 1991; but in doing so, they are missing another form of the decolonization of Russia, that country’s own efforts to overcome the colonial mentality the West has imposed on it, Yakov Rabkin and Samir Saul say.

            And such people are also missing the equally consequential fact that what Russia is doing is becoming a model for other countries that either were formally colonizes of the West or have been intellectually and spiritually colonized by Western powers, the two professors of the University of Montreal argue.

            In an article now available in Russian (; in Russian at, Rabkin and Saul make the following argument:

“Russia is awakening from the spell of submission to the West, glorification of its ideology and adulation of its models. Disdain and barely concealed efforts to bring Russia to heel on the part of the United States, have gone a long way to contribute to that trend. Much as the colonized world rose to throw off the shackles of colonial rule, Russia is breaking free from the mental straitjacket of the past thirty years. Patriotism, volunteering, and social concerns are making a comeback.

“The conflict in Ukraine has catalyzed that epochal transition. Decolonization has touched Russia’s foreign policy discourse. Putin and Lavrov no longer refer to “our Western partners” since there is active warfare going on between Russia and NATO, something that Russian, Ukrainian and Western officials now openly admit.

“However much Russian leaders criticize their Soviet predecessors, they face similar, possibly more formidable, challenges. As they try to consolidate alliances and seek new ones, they invoke the Soviet heritage of support for anticolonialism. Many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America have long harbored aspirations for national sovereignty and a multipolar world.

“Now Russia encourages them to resume their struggle against Western hegemony. These countries have not joined Western sanctions against Russia and are watching closely how she is standing up to the collective West. Thus, Russia’s attempts at mental and economic decolonization are bound to encourage decolonization elsewhere.”

            Using such an article published in the West highlights something that is indeed noteworthy: However bold its rejection of the possibility, Moscow is genuinely worried about the possible decolonization of Russia and is trying to redefine that term and the efforts behind it to its own advantage not only at home but internationally as well.    

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