For citation, please use:
Expert Survey, 2023. “The Fate of Mankind Is Again Closely Intertwined with the Fate of Russia”. Russia in Global Affairs, 21(1), pp. 50-65. DOI: 10.31278/1810-6374-2023-21-1-50-65
Turbulent events on the world stage are leading to inevitable changes, but what kind of changes? Can we understand what the world situation will look like when the current crisis ends? We have asked leading intellectuals from countries outside the Western community to share their thoughts.
Dr. Yahia H. Zoubir, Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Middle East Council on Global Affairs, Doha, Qatar
U.S. President Joseph Biden in March 2022 suggested that “now is a time when things are shifting… there’s going to be a new world order out there …and we’ve got to lead it. And we’ve got to unite the rest of the free world in doing it.” European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell compared the EU to a “garden” and said that “the rest of the world… is not exactly a garden” but rather “a jungle, and the jungle could invade the garden.” The two statements suggest that the unipolar world dominated by the United States and the EU is being challenged by rising powers, namely China and Russia, but also by the Global South, which reject Western hegemony. It also suggests that Western elites wish to unite against the rest of the world.
With the decline of U.S.-EU domination, the interim a-polar system is being challenged by rising powers. This is the framework within which the new world is being constructed, one in which the liberal order has been contested. Whether a new Cold War will set in or, to be more optimistic, a multipolar system will emerge is hard to predict.
A pessimistic scenario, short of the Armageddon that an implausible World War III would cause, is that the West will prevent any diplomatic and peaceful solution to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. In this scenario, the West will continue the all-out war against Russia through massive supply of weapons to Ukraine in the hope of bringing about regime change or fragmentation of Russia. The U.S. and NATO will continue pursuing this policy while avoiding direct confrontation with Russia.
But, regardless of the outcome of the conflict, the international system will remain divided and the challenge to Western hegemony will continue. This will be the case because the patterns that have emerged in the last decade will continue. China will remain a leading economic and technological power and Russia will continue seeking recognition of its interests as a great power.
The fallout of the Russia-Ukraine conflict will work to China’s advantage due to the energy crisis that will weaken further the EU and Japan, which will forge stronger and a multidimensional Sino-Russian alliance. Therefore, the U.S., which refers to China as the “most consequential geopolitical challenge” to its dominant position, will pursue a strategy of containing China globally. The areas in which the U.S. will challenge China’s strategic rise will be primarily the Indo-Pacific region.
A significant development has begun in the Global South. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has seen the reemergence of nonalignment and refusal of the Global South, many of whose members are no longer obedient to their patrons. The West no longer holds the moral ground; in the Global South, governments and people will still remember that the U.S.-led military interventions in many parts of the world have brought havoc. This explains why most of the Global South has not taken sides in the conflict between the West and Russia despite the pressure that has been exerted on many developing countries. The pressure will likely fail in the future as many in the Global South will join alternative groupings such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS. The Global South will maintain good relations with both Russia and China; thus, Western bullying will result in accelerating the pattern of joining alternative groupings and distancing from the U.S. and its allies.
The new world order will see the consolidation of the non-Western values and norms that have emerged in Russia, China, and the Global South; it is precisely those values that have contributed to the decline of the liberal order. The Western double standards that prevailed in the recent past must end. Undoubtedly, non-Western states will seek a more equitable world, less injustice, and less paternalism. They will continue struggling for independent foreign policies and non-interference in their domestic affairs. They will side with states that foster genuine development, not the exploitation of their natural resources. African states have begun showing that they can no longer tolerate neo-colonial policies; this will continue in an eventual new multipolar world order.
For a stable, less chaotic new world to emerge, Western powers must accept that the liberal model is not the only model to be followed, let alone be imposed. Regardless of how attractive Western values might be, they cannot be imposed upon those who do not share them. Each nation has its own values. Accepting a new world order made up of variegated components will reduce more global tensions and result in more cooperation among nations to be able to face global challenges such as climate change, pollution, food insecurity, terrorism, and poverty. Food insecurity, rising food and energy prices, dwindling standards of living, and other ills will generate instability not only in the Global South but also in developed countries.
Cognizance that unipolar domination will bring doomsday must work as a wakeup call enticing states to build a new world order in which the legitimate security concerns of all states are respected, a world in which there is room for impartial diplomacy. A return to the Westphalian principles and collective security might be the best scenario for a new world order.
Hamid Dabashi, Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, New York
For my generation of Iranians two richly variated bodies of literature came together to inform our own literary heritage: Russian and American. We scarcely developed any taste or affinity for European literature (even the masterpieces of French, English, or Italian literatures) unless someone went out of their way to explore Zola, Orwell, or Pirandello. But from Pushkin to Turgenev from Russian to Twain to Faulkner from American literature became the most common staples of our literary taste as we explored our own Jamalzadeh, Hedayat, Golestan, or Chubak.
This was so far as our conceptions of the humanities took shape. We had a similar experience in social sciences. My early education as a college student in Iran of the early 1970s was deeply influenced by Russian scholarship on Iranian and Islamic history. Names such as Vassily Vladimirovich Bartold or Ilya Pavlovich Petrushevsky, among countless others, became staples of our understanding the details of our own history. I remember when the Persian translations of these works appeared, because they were written from a solid Marxist perspective, the publishers were concerned that they may offend some Muslim sensibilities. So they would invite a learned Shi’i scholar to write a gloss or a commentary on the Persian translations of these books. The result was to our benefits. The volumes thus produced taught us contrapuntal thinking.
These syncretic perspectives come together if we were to think of two crucial aspects of our current and future predicaments such as environmental calamities and the necessities of a mode of knowledge that transcends myopic self-interest. Anytime I read about the Russian and Iranian economic interests in the Caspian Sea I am immediately drawn to imagine myself in the middle of that magnificent lake and look at things from the perspective of marine life and the coral reef in the underwater ecosystem. This is just an example of how syncretical critical judgement must transcended entrenched and triumphalist tribalism.
We can think in similar terms when wondering what geopolitical trends would likely prevail in the future and what such trends might mean for international relations—or more precisely for a sustained human interaction beyond their entrenched borders. As I see our fragile planet today, the increasing depletion of material resources, down to breathable air and drinkable water, all exacerbated by environmental calamities, will increase rampant tribalism of nations competing for ever scarcer sources of human sustenance. That is indeed a gloomy prospect. But what I hope for and expect from the very same condition to emerge is to allow, and in fact nourish, cross-pollination of cultures—across precisely the selfsame hostile borders. When Russia invaded Ukraine to protect its strategic interests, there was a sudden resurrection of classic Russophobia in much of the U.S. and European media. In a piece I wrote at the time I turned to Nikolai Gogol and marked his Ukrainian and Russian pedigrees to celebrate the literary genius that had triumphed over and brought together both of his native homelands.
The future of our planet will undoubtedly see increased international tensions that give rise to violent forms of xenophobia.
These are not flights of fancies. These are real geographies of human contacts that have been glossed over by delusional binaries: East versus West, male versus female, Black over White, Europe against non-Europe.
I have read Anna Akhmatova, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Nazem Hekmat, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Mahmoud Darwish, and Pablo Neruda all in Persian. Whatever they may have lost in translation from their original tongues, they have doubly gained by becoming natives to the language of Ferdowsi, Hafez, Forough Farrokhzad, and Ahmad Shamlou.
Arvind Gupta, Head and Co-Founder of Digital India Foundation
Joe Lieberman has once remarked: “… our national security lies not just in protecting our borders, but in bridging divides.” Today, the multilateral system that emerged during the 1990s is going through systematic churn with multiple fissures emanating from territorial disputes, technological competition and climate change. The security challenges faced by nation-states rise out of concerns regarding their territorial, technological and economic sovereignty. With the emergence of a multipolar world, nation-states have to face these challenges by paving their way through creative collaborations to avoid unnecessary conflicts, bridge divides and pursue their national interests.
The first challenge is the differential perceptions of geographical territories under the control of nation-states and the protection of established physical borders. This challenge is a continuation of the old world order, and disputes arising out of it raise the question of military preparedness, geographical contiguity, the balance of power, and political stability in the region. The resolution of these issues requires astute defense strategy, cooperation amongst allies, trade linkages, etc. The record of multilateral organizations and partners in resolving these contentious border disputes is not exemplary. However, the way forward is the emergence of like-minded groupings amongst nation-states to prevent unilateral action from altering the status quo in territorial disputes on borders and the high seas.
The second challenge is securing technological sovereignty. During the pandemic, public officials and the leaders of multinational corporations learnt valuable lessons when supply chains of raw materials for semiconductors and critical technologies were severely affected due to their reliance on a few manufacturing hubs worldwide. In addition to this reliance, there were severe lapses in data security due to cross-border data flows and a lack of accountability to fix responsibility for breach of trust. To address supply chain issues, nation-states have started manufacturing critical equipment—semiconductors and electronics—in their territories to withstand shocks. Access to cross-border data flows becomes strenuous due to untoward instances of geopolitics overwhelming the underlying geoeconomics.
Lastly, if we could pinpoint one silver lining where there is a convergence across all countries, it has to be the challenge of climate change. Like all contentious issues, everyone accepts the threat but the strategy to resolve the challenge is as diverse as the people at the decision table. However, the point of contention is the financing of adopting climate-resilient technologies and phasing out polluting industries. Emerging economies have set ambitious targets of net zero carbon emissions, but the funding brings the fissures facing the international order to the front. And yet, there is significant progress on this front.
Consequently, every state wants to protect its territorial sovereignty, use technology to empower its citizens and create opportunities for sustainable livelihoods. The path to secure these interests is paved by how nation-states can collaborate to bridge fissures with like-minded nations whilst pursuing their national interests. The international order has to accommodate these aspirations of the developing countries to reflect the world as is.
Kishore Mahbubani, Distinguished Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
When future historians reflect on our times, they will be puzzled to discover that Europe once used to dominate the world, especially in the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. They will be puzzled because they will see clearly that Europe, especially the European Union, has lost its way in the 21st century.
The EU has lost its way for a simple reason. It has forgotten that geopolitics is a combination of two words: geography and politics. Clearly, the geography of the EU is different from that of the U.S. Yet, despite this, most EU thinkers believe that there is a complete convergence of interests between the EU and the U.S. In reality, there’s a divergence, on three counts.
Firstly, the U.S.’s concern over the return of China is understandable. It will lose its ability to dominate the Pacific. The EU has no fundamental geopolitical interests in the Pacific. Instead, the main long-term geopolitical threat to the EU is going to come from the demographic explosion in Africa. Africa is going from having half of Europe’s population in 1950 to having ten times the population of Europe in 2100. Surely, it is in the interest of the EU to promote the economic development of Africa to prevent mass migration to Europe. The best partner for the long-term economic development of Africa is China. So, when some EU countries sign on to the NATO statement describing China as a “threat,” they are shooting themselves in the foot. They are sacrificing their own geopolitical interests.
Secondly, having served as Singapore’s Ambassador to the UN for over ten years, I saw clearly that the U.S. had developed a long-term policy of weakening multilateral organizations, like the UN, because the UN constrained the unilateral power of the U.S. I have documented all this in The Great Convergence. It is understandable why the U.S. does this. Yet, it is not understandable why the EU supports these American policies to weaken the UN. For example, the EU has been compliant in American efforts to reduce the share of compulsory assessed contributions to the WHO budget from 62 percent in 1970 to just 19 percent in 2010. In the 2022-2023 budget, assessed contributions have fallen yet again to 15.6 percent. By reducing the volume of resources that the WHO has dependable access to, this policy makes it dependent on the whims of its (primarily Western) donors and prevents it from making long-term plans. But as the last two years have shown, in a troubled world, it is in the interest of the EU to strengthen, not weaken, multilateral organizations.
Thirdly, the EU is also unwise in clinging on to the privileges acquired when the European share of GWP was far greater. For example, the EU still insists on the anachronistic rule that the head of the IMF should be European, depriving the faster-growing Asian economies of the opportunity to provide global economic leadership.
So, what is the solution? Simple! The Europeans should learn to be as pragmatic as the Asians and try to create more inclusive, not exclusive, political arrangements. Hence, in East Asia, most Asian countries try to have good relations with both China and the U.S., despite the growing differences between the two. And the Asians have developed regional arrangements like the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which includes both China and U.S. allies, like Japan, South Korea, and Australia. In short, the path ahead for Europe is clear: learn lessons from Asian pragmatism. Instead of trying to dominate, Europeans should learn to compromise and share power. A bit of humility would also help!
Rasigan Maharajh, Chief Director of the Institute for Economic Research on Innovation, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa
In mid-November, the United Nations confirmed that our human species had reached eight billion in population size (2022). Albeit a statistical approximation, this demographic expansion has been achieved whilst we learn from the draft report on the Diverse Values and Valuation of Nature of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services that “(u)nprecedented climate change and decline of biodiversity are affecting ecosystem functioning and negatively impacting people’s quality of life” (2022). Neither of these characteristics of our contemporary conjuncture, however, fully expresses the primary contradiction that is contributing to the unprecedented turmoil that engulfs humanity in the second decade of the third millennium of our common era. Humankind has grown and extended its habitat across the planet to the extent that there are no more “wild” or pristine natural spaces anywhere on Earth anymore. As Homo sapiens, we have achieved our population size, scale, and spread through the accumulation of knowledge and its dissemination amongst ourselves. Our productive capacities, capabilities, and competences continue to improve and grow, notwithstanding the persistence of unequal and iniquitous production relations. As a species-being, the prospects of achieving shared and moderate prosperity for all within planetary boundaries loom large.
Unfortunately, our current generation is distracted from collectively seeking the realization of such a progressive possibility as we remain plagued by the persistence of anachronistic institutions which themselves were forged in the violence of 20th century struggles, contestations, and compromises. The temporal achievement of hegemony under very different circumstances, however, continues to inform the contemporary balance of forces. Whilst overwhelming evidence about our increased precariousness resulting from the pursuit of endless growth within a finite ecological system continues to accumulate, those in and with power tend to choose profits over people’s lives. Our species-being was confronted by a zoonotic viral attack (COVID-19). As opposed to what should have been considered our enlightened self-interest to act collectively, cooperatively, and compassionately, institutions of global governance such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), amongst others, sought rather to maintain economic gains for some whilst endangering the lives of many. Thus, no real advances in widening the production of vaccines beyond the transnational pharmaceutical oligopolies are discernible two years after India and South Africa proposed that the WTO waive Intellectual Property restrictions on COVID-19-related medical technologies (2020). Maintaining scarcity artificially, and ensuring profits tend towards Fredric Jameson’s self-fulfilling prescient forewarning that “today, it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism” (2003).
It is upon this material basis that a more pragmatic re-imagination of the world that we want, need and should be demanding is becoming increasingly possible. The late revolutionary intellectual, Steven Bantu Biko, had argued nearly half a century ago that “the most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed” (1971). It remains relevant and appropriate as we critically confront the realities of our current era of endarkenment whilst seeking to ensure our survival.
The drive to further commodify, enclose, and privately appropriate knowledge should be resisted as public goods and services become more necessary. Abundance and moderate prosperity for all within planetary boundaries is attainable, but we should also heed a tract from Machiavelli who recognized almost five centuries ago that “(t)here is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. For the innovator has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries … and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it” (1532).
Xiang Lanxin, Professor, International History and Politics (Emeritus), Visiting Scholar, Belfer Center, Harvard University, Havard Kennedy School; Director, Institute of Security Policy, China National Institute for SCO International Exchange and Judicial Cooperation (CNISCO), Shanghai, PRC
Today the West seems increasingly keen on imposing a global “ecumenical peace” beyond democracies. It is not surprising that the “Ukraine analogy” to China’s Taiwan policy, which elevates Taiwan to the position of the Berlin of the East, reflects a favorite Western rhetorical tool of Good vs. Evil, invented by the neoconservatives during the Bush administration. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is now seen as just a prelude to something far more ominous to come, as if the Russian war in Ukraine is just bad weather, and so a deadly climate change will be caused by Beijing. Put it another way, Putin is no more than a buffoonish Mussolini who invaded Ethiopia in the 1930s. Hitler’s big move will come later.
The risk is most obvious in the West’s “ecumenical” relationship with China. While Russia is part of Christian civilization, China has been designated number one rival to the United States, a leading “infidel” in every dimension, religion, culture, politics, history and even race, to the theologians of democratic “ecumenical peace.” The transatlantic solidarity and “bipartisan consensus” in Washington on China policy may inevitably entail a policy not only of regime change, but also a shift of the “One China policy“ to a “One China, One Taiwan” policy. It could lead to miscalculations on all three sides, Beijing, Washington, and Taipei. A cross-strait war will become more likely than ever.
Dayan Jayatilleka, PhD in Political Science, Ambassador (Sri Lanka)
The Clash of World Order Projects at Humanity’s Hinge Point
- From the Global South, my aspirational view of a desirable world order is that it should be multipolar and strive for global equilibrium (the latter was articulated by Simon Bolivar and later endorsed by Jose Marti). Multipolarity would mean a democratic, pluralist world order enabling us to arrive autonomously at syntheses, fusions of our own, drawn from various, even contending, sources. Global equilibrium would deny any power a capacity for hegemony over us.
- Today this normative view is paradoxically both relevant and irrelevant. It is relevant because we must know what our destination should be on these stormy seas. It is irrelevant not only because the current global order is very different from these twin aspirational goals; not only because the global order is fluid, in flux and transition; but because a powerful project is in play which is the antipode of these aspirations of multipolarity and equilibrium and seeks to reverse all progress towards them, rendering them systemically impossible to achieve.
- Perceiving the reassertion of Russia and the rise of China as a threat to its long-held goal of global leadership and a world order under permanent Western hegemony, the collective West has activated a project of regaining and entrenching that hegemony before the window is closed by shifts in global strategic and economic power. Commencing with the encirclement of the Eurasian core states—Russia and China—the West has now proceeded to a grand-strategic offensive, manifested in the proxy war on Russia’s western front, in Ukraine.
- This is the reason that the longstanding warnings by renowned figures from Kennan to Kissinger against post-Cold War Western strategic expansion involving Ukraine were ignored, just as Kissinger’s recent urging to contain and de-escalate the conflict based on a mini-Yalta-like recognition of spheres of influence in Ukraine has been ignored in favor of open escalation in terms of planning, weapons infusions, active engagement, and strategic politico-military aims.
- Ukraine is the “storm center” of global contradictions, the point of condensation of the contradictions between the two contending projects regarding the world order and the destiny of humankind—that of unipolar Western hegemony, on the one hand, and a multipolar, more authentically democratic, pluralist world order, on the other. The stated Western goal and policy of the defeat of Russia has the further aim of encircling China in order to destroy its achievements and potential role in the world order.
- Once again as in WWII, the fate of humanity is inextricably intertwined with the fate of Russia and will be decided on the Russian front. What is being fought by the West against Russia is no longer a hybrid war or even a limited conventional war. It is a total war; a war that is reaching its absolute form, albeit within a conventional frame. The long-standing conventional deterrent capacity of Russia, deriving directly from the preponderance of its conventional forces, is sought to be shattered, dangerously leaving only an unthinkable nuclear deterrent. (Perhaps Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev prophetically glimpsed this nightmare before ending his life in 1991.)
- The fate of Russia, China and humanity itself depends on three things: (i) Given the existential nature of the threat, will Russia be able to fight a total, absolute war but imperatively within the limits of a non-nuclear one, and avoiding the trap of conscription? (ii) In the face of the shared threat, will Russia and China make the qualitative leap to a level of strategic integration that the collective West clearly enjoys? (iii) Is the Russian army infused with and inspired by its patrimony, that of the Red Army?
Brahma Chellaney, Professor Emeritus of Strategic Studies at the Center for Policy Research, New Delhi
The world is at a crossroads today, and the risks of escalation from the extended Ukraine war are growing. So, it might seem to some that a future global conflict could be different than what the world has witnessed so far. The current international crisis, after all, represents the most dangerous period since the end of the Cold War.
The patterns of global conflict, however, are unlikely to change fundamentally, if one were to exclude the risk of an accidental nuclear exchange between the great powers. Competition and conflict have always characterized international relations.
For starters, one cannot assume that future national leaders will act with greater rationality than the present or past ones. This year alone provides ample examples of irrational decisions by political leaders that have spawned pressing geopolitical and geoeconomic problems, including a global energy crisis.
As for foreign invasions of sovereign states, if the invaded country begins to resist the invader, rival powers will likely aid the invaded nation militarily in order to bleed the invading power and degrade its power in the long run. This is what the U.S. did in Afghanistan in the 1980s against the occupying Soviet forces, and this is exactly what it is doing in Ukraine today.
Against this background, one can safely conclude that the international conflict is unlikely to ever end. This is not to endorse conflict but to state the obvious—international relations are not about morality but about securing a relative advantage.
Mehdi Sanaei, Associate Professor of International Relations, University of Tehran
When answering the question about the difference between today’s diplomacy and classic diplomacy, we can point to three challenges that classic diplomacy faces. Classic diplomacy has lost the monopoly it once possessed, and now international interactions benefit from a variety of methods, and public diplomacy, media diplomacy, people’s diplomacy, and other forms of diplomacy are also playing a role, therefore the arena of diplomacy has now been opened to new actors who sometimes demonstrate more influence than diplomats.
Moreover, unlike the Cold War period, which was a heaven for analysts and diplomats, the current ever-changing conditions of the international system and the unpredictability of events have made it difficult to work through classic diplomacy, and perhaps the current situation, the outbreak of wars and huge human casualties in the last two decades could be to some extent blamed on the inability of diplomacy. In other words, the pace of change and transformation goes beyond the speed of updating diplomacy, and this has reduced the efficiency of diplomacy in resolving issues.
Finally, diplomacy has been accustomed to operating in a vacuum and largely non-publicly, and now with the powerful media that scrutinize everything in foreign policy, as well as the power of public opinion imposed on foreign policy decisions, classic diplomacy does not feel comfortable. Public opinion accompanies and observes foreign policy before and after decision-making.
The last point is that classic diplomacy is facing a fundamental challenge between preserving its identity and adhering to new rules and requirements. A basic part of classic diplomacy is ineffective rituals and protocols that become very boring if repeated, reminding one of rituals and thrones that no longer have effect on events.
About the difference between diplomacy in Eastern and Western countries, I may say that diplomacy is the ability to conduct dialogue and a method of negotiations to keep mutual understanding and to obtain the most interests and goals with less effort; the conception is the same in the West and the East. But we cannot ignore the fact that diplomacy is realized by diplomats and the political society they belong to. This is where we come across the importance of characteristics, priorities and political culture that are different enough in the West and the East!
Carlos Henrique Cardim, Ambassador, Sociologist, Professor at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Brasília
Why Russia? Because, in writing the book A Raiz das Coisas. Rui Barbosa: o Brasil e o Mundo, concerned mainly with the actions of the Brazilian Delegate at the Second Hague Peace Conference in 1907, I became aware that the First Hague Peace Conference had been called by Russian Tzar Nicholas II. I also noted a mistake in Brazilian diplomacy, namely the refusal to participate in the 1899 conclave, citing internal matters as the reason. Brazil and Mexico were the only two Latin American countries to be invited, due to having diplomatic representatives stationed in Saint Petersburg. Mexico accepted the invitation. Despite not reaching an agreement on disarmament and mandatory arbitration, the Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907 established Nicholas II as a prominent figure in international politics for the promotion of peace. They managed to establish the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), still very active to this day, and they are considered to be the precursors of the League of Nations and the United Nations (UN). At the Peace Palace in the Hague there is a picture of Nicholas II.
Speaking of Max Weber, the greatest social scientist of the 20th century, after concluding his work on Protestantism and Capitalism and upon returning from the United States in 1905, despite his contradictory impulses, “it was Russian affairs that attracted him most,” in the words of Michels. It must be underscored in this regard that Weber’s intuition as to the path to be followed is more important than the academic quality of his essays on Russia.
Because the moment has come to study Russia in full, and not only linger in “Sovietology.” Ralf Dahrendorf has commented to me that, after the fall of the USSR in 1991, many “specialized institutes” should be closed. I also recall Yevgeny Primakov’s testimony on the role of Anastas Mikoyan in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis: upon being informed of his wife’s death, in the midst of a crucial meeting with Fidel Castro, he decided, shaken though he was, to continue and conclude the negotiations to prevent a nuclear conflict between the United States and the USSR, demonstrating a high level of diplomatic responsibility.
In conclusion, “Russologists are wanted” in Moscow, Washington, Brazil, London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Beijing, etc.