- Jul 2022
- Apr 2022
The thinking space for current developments is shaped by political ideals and philosophy. We cannot understand our period or work on prospective answers for crises, such as the war in Ukraine, unless we comprehend deeper thought origins of our era. This text discusses the Ukraine war by revisiting ideas that influenced Putin and the Russian elite.
On the operational front, some analysts, such as John Mearsheimer, have cautioned that NATO's expansion into Russia's borders could provoke confrontation.
However, beyond the tactical, there are ideas and concepts that have shaped Putin and the Russian elite's thinking.
Several intellectuals, including
Vladislav Surkov is a Kremlin-connected adviser. He proposed the ideology of Russian "sovereign democracy," which is the authoritarian style of mild liberalism that Russia has been practicing since 2006.
IIvan Ilyn is Russian philosopher who died in exile in Switzerland in 1954. As a vehement opponent of the Bolsheviks, he advocated not only against Communism, but also against Western liberalism. In his view that classic autocracy is the right approach for Russia, he echoed Dostoevsky's thinking. Ilyin argued in his main work, 'Our Side,' that Russia had a duty to preserve its traditional autocracy and reject Western liberalism.
The Russian political elite began to be inspired also by 'the Justification of the Good' (Vladimir Solovyov) and 'Philosophy of Inequality' (Vladimir Solovyov) (Nicholas Berdyaev). These three authors, Ilyn, Solovyov, and Berdyaev, are sometimes cited as the fathers of the "Russian idea," which is based on the historical uniqueness, distinctive vocation, and worldwide purpose of the Russian people and, by extension, the Russian state.
Most of these ideas were brought closer to our time by Alexander Dugin, who developed 'Fourth Political Theory' as a synthesis of Neo-paganism, Slavic Nativism, and Eastern Orthodox traditions.
In his book 'Foundations of Geopolitics,' Dugin describes liberal postmodernity as humanity's fundamental threat, based on these three pillars of "Atlanticism": liberalism, free markets, and democracy. As counter-forces, he recommends hierarchy, tradition, and a strict legal structure.
As a practical response to 'atlanticism,' Dugin recommended destabilizing three actions: destabilising internal political processes in the United States, Britain's withdrawal from the European Union, and Russia's annexation.
All of these books are essential background reading for understanding Putin's and Russia's elite's thinking as they shift from Western modernity to Russian social conservatism. Russian history has happened in this swinging between modernity and conservativism. It remains to be seen how this transformation will unfold with huge impact not only
This is not a conflict. This is a war.
We have to be careful on terminology since it is becoming important language 'detail'.
She is correct. It is war as per 'definition of war'.
Let us pay more attention on our communicatioin. We should use more 'war' and conflict exceptionally when we want to show wider context beyond 'military encounters'.
- Mar 2022
This text explains deeper roots of the ideology behind Russia's war against Ukraine. The key points are:
- Russia's shift from modernisation towards conservative priorities.
- Ideology is build around idea of 'Russian World' building on shared ethnicity, religion and heritage.
- 'Russian world' ideology is implemented by people from security aparatus who came from Putin's circle in intelegence and military communities.
- Putin's 'contract with Russian people' is built around idea of better life. It is not clear how strong will be national feelings in medium and long run.
- COVID-19 pandemics harden ideological stakes in Russia and most likely worldwide. It is an interesting topic for research on deeper cultural and societal impacts of pandemics.
- Putin is reverting to conservative thinkers from Russian history including Konstantin Leontyev.