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Venue： Archives 3rd Conference Hall
Speaker：Prof. Alexander Pisarev（ Tamkang University, Department of Russian)
Organizer： State and Society Research Group
ABSTRACT: Disintegration of the Soviet Union opened a new chapter in Russian history. It seemed that Russia finally made its historical choice in favor of the values of the Western civilization. Privatization of the state-owned economy was started, supremacy of human rights was proclaimed, and the West was chosen in terms of the priorities of Russian foreign policy. Exactly thirty years after the start of the reforms, Russian economy is still dominated by the state, or oligarchic groups controlled by the government, political regime suppresses all critical voices with utmost cruelty and Russia is in confrontation with the entire West. In my presentation, firstly I will argue, that ideologically Russian society is still “house divided” between modern “westernizers,” and those who insist that the Russian-style political culture is essentially based on un-Western (Eastern?) identity. As, the former Kremlin’s chief ideologist Vladislav Surkov formulated this issue in his essays on Russian political culture: “centralization” (supremacy of the state over society), “personalization” (the role of the supreme leader of the Russian state) and “idealization” (variation of Russian messianic idea). Thusly, Russia’s political elites and society at large, failed to resolve the contradiction inherited from the past, which is the choice between West and East.
Secondly, I will argue that the West-East identity issue had an obvious impact on the changing priorities of Russian foreign policy. In this sense, in my view, it evolved in the cyclical mode and there were two cycles. President Eltsin’s term was characterized by pro-western, balanced between West and East and finally anti-western foreign policy. Similar observation is applicable to the evolution of the foreign policy of Russia during Putin’s presidency (second cycle). Thirdly, I will conclude that the cycle in Russian foreign policy is temporarily terminated, as it stuck in the anti-western curve of the cycle. It is worth to note, that Russian invasion of Ukraine is defined by the Russian state official documents and propaganda, as in fact, the clash between Russia and the Western civilization. This presentation is founded of the following methodology: political culture and geo-politics research approaches; cycle in Russian foreign policy hypothesis (theory); study of primary and secondary sources method.
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