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Russian nationalism as a geopolitical phenomenon
Material posted: Publication date: 12-11-2014

Russia is a huge geopolitical entity, which has close ties with many peoples and cultures of Eurasia. After the collapse of the USSR, Russia was confronted with completely new challenges and tasks associated with a substantial reassessment of foreign policy priorities and political strategy in relation to the rest of the world.

Despite the recognition of geopolitics as a distinct sphere of knowledge, geopolitical thought in Russia at the present time is experiencing a period of "birth": geopolitical, science-based concepts and ideas are just beginning to emerge. The Russian geopolitics is evolving in line with the ideological constructions, and radical, such as national Bolshevism, neo-Eurasianism, Russian nationalism and Westernization [1]. The phenomenon of nationalism is relatively young by historical standards. According to conventional wisdom, Nations and nationalism in the modern sense occur in Western Europe not earlier than the XVIII century, and in other regions of the world and later [2]. The researchers of this phenomenon noted: "due To the specific origin of Nations, the presence in the behavior of their people, many prejudices, irrational motivations, of false judgement and vision of nationalism acts as an extremely ambiguous and contradictory political phenomenon" [3]. Due to the fact that it has a strong ideological color, in its use, both in politics and in ordinary everyday conversation is always necessary to consider the meaning given to this concept, in what context it is used. It is worth noting that in the domestic political culture, the concept of "nationalism" is often attributed to a purely negative connotations, and the phenomenon is regarded as a kind of radical political ideology, implying the superiority of one nation over another. At the same time, many domestic researchers consider the concept of "nationalism" from a psychological, spiritual and moral side.

Professor P. I. Kovalevsky sees nationalism as a spiritual trend, current, direction, purpose and objective of which is to raise and improve the benefit of the nation. For him nationalism is an expression of respect, love and devotion to the nation and the people to which the individual belongs [4]. His contemporary, the ideologist of the Russian nationalism of M. O. Menshikov of nationalism as a manifestation of mass energy of the spirit of independence from everything. In his opinion, the essence of nationalism is a noble egoism, conscious and sober, defend with tenacity. Thus, for him Russian nationalism is inseparable from the national-Russian political ideas [5]. Both researchers believe nationalism is creative, light movement, aiming to preserve their world. The achievement of these goals an integral role is played by the Russian national party, in which they see the necessity of unity of the Russian people.

Faith in the unity of the Slavs and the great historical mission of the Slavic world in the nineteenth century adhered to the adherents of the flow of Slavophiles. In the unity of the fraternal peoples, they saw the core of geopolitical ideas in Russia[6]. Among them, the most outstanding publicist and naturalist N. I. Danilevsky, who opposed the imitation of Europe and was contrasted her Russia and the Slavic world. His successor, K. N. Leontiev believed necessary to protect the identity and other values of Russian society from the coming of European egalitarian bourgeois progress. Therefore, the possibility of successful development of Russian civilization researchers Slavophiles saw in its isolation from European influence.

There are also a few radical concepts of geopolitical development of Russia based on nationalism and isolationism. One such geopolitical concepts taking place in Russia, is the concept of isolationism, or the concept of "Russia is an island". The authors of this concept develops the ideas of isolationism, according to which the justification of the geopolitical status of Russia in the world based on its self-sufficiency.

The Russian researcher V. L. geopolitics Tsymburski creates the concept of "Russia as an island", according to which Russia is portrayed in the form of some continental Islands, which occupies huge space ristiriidassa from Romano-Germanic ethnocivilizational range in the West to China in the East. In his view, the collapse of the USSR, the country has not lost its essential characteristics, its territorial and political self-sufficiency. In this regard, the researcher proposes to stop the attempts of Pro-Western, Pro-European modernization and to recognize the state border, in which she was in pre-Petrine period, the natural and optimal for Russia. In his opinion, all the troubles connected with the desire to obey the influence of Europe, which explains the need of protection from the West and East, abandoning foreign policy towards these regions, and hence distancing from international geopolitics in General. Instead, it is necessary to focus on the development of the regions of the "Islands", i.e. Siberia, the Far East and North.

In this case, the author does not take into account the economic sphere of this problem. This isolation in foreign trade, dangerous or even disastrous for the state because in conditions of global economic development, such a step would deprive the country of foreign investments, necessary for solving the tasks of modernization and, in General, will doom it to eternal catch-up development and inability to be part of the mechanism of international competition, driving progress [7].

Touching upon the problem of nationalism as a geopolitical phenomenon, it should be noted a representative of the military-strategic trends in geopolitics, military leader and scientist-orientalist A. E. Snesarev. In the book "Afghan lessons: conclusions for the future in the light of the ideological heritage of A. E. Snesarev" affected the idea of national progress. The national Snesarev calls for clean and great, but nationalism is the primary principle of historical development, a necessary prerequisite of any progress [8]. "The appeal to nationalism, the only clean and deep source of all true creativity: the state, social and artistic" Snesarev sees the salvation of Russia. Unlike Slavophils and the adherents of ideas of isolationism, Snesarev not see the need to protect the country from Europe, and believed that Russian nationalism, because of their youth and inexperience, have found necessary in European Nations, "not postupati neither the dignity nor the identity of the national spirit" [9].

Having considered the various views on the problem of Russian nationalism figures of previous years, it should also address the issue of Russian nationalism on the modern stage. After the collapse of the USSR the political development of Russia is complicated by the ongoing search for national identity. However, in 2012 in the article "Russia: the national question" by V. V. Putin wrote: "Russian people have long been self-determined. The determination of the Russian people is the polyethnic civilisation fastened by Russian cultural kernel". In regard to the issue of nationalism it advocated a very radical: "If a multiethnic society is infected with the virus of nationalism, it loses force and strength", and the strategy of the national policy proposed to build based on patriotism [10]. Here I would like to go back to P. I. Kovalevsky and to distinguish between nationalism and patriotism: nationalism it is defined as infinite love and willingness to sacrifice for their nation, and patriotism as love and willingness to sacrifice for their country [11].

Accordingly, if the national policy of Russia is based on patriotism, it can be concluded that at the present time, rejected the national idea of recent years (for example, the formula of Alexander III "Russia for Russians" idea is pernicious for the state, ethnicity, etc.). Not got the realization of the Russian national party, the need for which was expressed by P. I. Kovalevskii and M. O. Menshikov. Instead, we see spelled out in the Federal law on political parties: "Not allowed to create political parties to signs professional, racial, national or religious affiliation" [12]. It is no secret that in Russia there are dozens of nationalist organizations and one officially registered political party "Russian national Union", but it is, in fact, does not play a significant role in the domestic political arena.


Kochergin S. A.



  1. Mukhaev R. T. Geopolitics: the Textbook for University students studying on specialties "State and municipal management" (080504), "regional Studies" (080201), "political Science" (030201), "International relations" (030701) - Moscow: UNITY-DANA, 2007. S. 255
  2. Sidorina T. Yu, T. L. Poliannikov Nationalism: theory and political history. – M.: su-HSE, 2006. P. 15
  3. Solovyov A. I. political Science: political theory, political technologies. M: Aspect-Press, 2001. P. 175
  4. Kovalevsky P. I. Russian nationalism and national education in Russia. – M.: world Book, 2006. P. 66
  7. Mukhaev R. T. Geopolitics: the Textbook for University students studying on specialties "State and municipal management" (080504), "regional Studies" (080201), "political Science" (030201), "International relations" (030701) - Moscow: UNITY-DANA, 2007. S. 258
  8. Afghan lessons: Conclusions for the future in the light of the ideological heritage of A. E. Snesarev / Comp. A. E. Savinkin. — Moscow: Military University, Russian way, 2003. S. 193
  9. Afghan lessons: Conclusions for the future in the light of the ideological heritage of A. E. Snesarev / Comp. A. E. Savinkin. — Moscow: Military University, Russian way, 2003. P. 198
  11. Kovalevsky P. I. Russian nationalism and national education in Russia. – M.: world Book, 2006. P. 66

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