Emil Pain is professor at the National Research University–Higher School of Economics; General Director of the Center for Ethno-Political Studies. He holds a Doctorate in Political Science.
Ethnic nationalism cannot be a strategic ally of the forces interested in Russia’s modernization. Realizing the impossibility of a purely elitist modernization, these forces will inevitably need mass support and national consolidation. Consequently, they will need nationalism, although of a different strain – the civic one.
Notwithstanding Russia’s specificity, it is high time to remove religion from federal authority and include religious communities in the system of institutions that constitute civil society.
The Russian version of the multiculturalism policy is older and more complex in terms of its consequences than the European one. Multiculturalism as a form of promoting group and communal identity was an integral part of Stalin’s policy of creating ethnic republics, as well as ethnic areas and regions.
Any hopes to resolve the problems facing Russia today by derelict methods of state mobilization are a sheer illusion. Russia has lost its traditionalism and the goal it faces today is not so much to move forward, but, rather, to restore a balance between the elements of state and society that have already been reformed and those that still remain intact. It cannot be ruled out that ethnic consolidation in Russia could open up the road to the rise of a political nation – the way it happened in most European countries.
The peculiarities of Russia’s transformation and the essence of its unique development can be best understood from the position of its imperial past and present. In contrast to Central and East European countries, Russia cannot run away from the empire as it would from an external enemy; the empire complex can only be removed through its own efforts.
At a roundtable event in Moscow, top experts debated the “hypocritical” and “insincere” foreign policies of both Russia and the West in the post-Cold War era.
Vladimir Putin has mentioned several times that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical mistake. Although these words were often interpreted as his desire to constitute that country, there is little reason to believe this.
Contemporary international relations are experiencing a period of turbulence and transition from a unipolar world to a world with multiple centers of power with strengthened role of regionalization. In these circumstances relatively small states try to maximize the resource of geopolitical identity to conduct their foreign policies.
In the old days coal miners took a caged canary down into mines. If the canary suddenly dropped dead, that meant that the deadly gas, carbon monoxide, was slowly seeping into the shaft... An order of magnitude increase in killing rampages in America over the last several decades is like canaries suddenly starting to drop dead all around us. It is an early indicator of much worse troubles to come.
In the wake of the For Fair Elections protest movement in Russia in 2011-2012, the Kremlin initiated a new strategy of state-society relations that was aimed at diminishing the propensity for protest in the next election cycle.
Belarus’ traditional structural dependence on Russia is increasing, and Minsk’s freedom of maneuver continues to shrink.