The country [Ed. note: Russia] is in a very peculiar state today. It is like being poised between a past that has already ended and a future that has not yet begun, or rather has begun but has not yet been realised or accepted. These are fundamental questions: Russia's attitude to global processes and, above all, to the collective West.
After the collapse of the USSR, we went through two phases:
- In the 1990s we tried desperately to integrate into the Western world on any terms, but we were not very successful and a system of external control was established in the country;
- After Putin came to power, we also tried to integrate into the Western world, but only on the condition that Russia retained its sovereignty; we never succeeded, but we managed to strengthen our sovereignty.
Why did we start the SMO? Trump did not pay much attention to the growth of Russian sovereignty, he was not a staunch Atlanticist and judged the modest performance of the Russian economy that, from his perspective, did not pose a serious threat to the US; he did not care about Crimea, he was much more concerned about China. Biden, on the other hand, is a staunch Atlanticist and globalist, and is well aware that any Russian success in expanding its influence challenges globalisation, the unipolar world, and American hegemony. That is why, after setting aside the Islamic world, it has shifted its focus to confrontation with Russia, not forgetting China, of course.
From the summer of 2021, the US and NATO began preparing a military operation to conquer the Donbass and an attack on Crimea. Thus, the Donbass has been turned into a powerful centre of future military aggression against Russia. Including foreign instructors and mercenaries.
Putin did not wait until the beginning of March, when the operation was planned, and struck first. Hence the initial preponderance in the first phase of the operation, which predetermined the outcome in our favour. But let us leave aside the military aspect of the SMO. After its inception, the second phase of Russia's relations with the West in the post-Soviet period came to an end. The idea of integrating into the Western world waned for objective reasons. Russia was left with only its own sovereignty, the protection, preservation and strengthening of which proved to be completely incompatible with Russia's complicity in global processes on a Western basis.
We have irretrievably and radically broken with the West, but this has not yet been understood. The second phase is over, the third has not yet begun.
What is this third phase that the eyes and ears of the Russian elite absolutely do not want to perceive? It represents an indefinitely long period of Russia's existence in isolation from the West and under its harsh and purely negative pressure. If one accepts as a fait accompli that this direction is forever cut off for us, the horizons of the future become quite clear. Similarly, the Soviet people could not believe that the USSR and communism had collapsed, and the liberals of the 1990s believed that Putin was temporary, not serious, and that everything would come back. It is hard to believe in the new. Always. Including now.
To be without the West and, moreover, in a clear almost military confrontation with it, is to implement two vectors at once:
- The Russian and
They do not contradict each other, there is no need to choose between them. But they are different nonetheless.
The first means a rapid and dramatic strengthening of Russia's sovereignty, ensuring that it can only rely on its own forces if necessary. And we are not talking about a limited conception of sovereignty, which is already recognised - albeit nominally - by every independent state, but about sovereignty on an integral scale, encompassing
- the political system.
- and above all ideology.
So far, apart from political and military sovereignty, all the other spheres we have are partially Western or fully Western, and there is no ideology. Consequently, the construction of a truly sovereign Russia, a fully sovereign Russia, requires a profound transformation of all these spheres, their liberation from the liberal globalist paradigms deeply embedded in our society and establishment during the first and second phases of post-Soviet history.
This will require an institutionalisation of Putin's course, not just loyalty to him personally. This would entail the establishment of a new ideology, a kind of 'Putinism' in which the basic principles of integral sovereignty would be enshrined, and then other political and administrative mechanisms would also have to be incorporated into them.
Russia is inevitably moving into an ideological phase. We cannot hold our own against the West without our own ideology. This is a completely objective fact, regardless of whether we are enthusiastic or infuriated by it. The ideologisation of Russia is inevitable, it cannot be prevented.
Russia must strengthen its identity many times over to resist not only without the West, but in spite of the West. Twenty-two years ago, having bet on sovereignty, Putin predetermined the inevitability of this moment. Today it is here, it has arrived.
Either sovereignty or the West. And it is irreversible.
It is not at all a matter of isolating Russia from the world, as the West would like. The West, despite its claims to hegemony and universalism, is not the whole world. Russia will therefore have to look for new partners and friends outside the West. This should be called a Eurasian policy, a turn towards the East.
By discovering the global non-West, Russia will discover that it is dealing with completely different civilisations: Chinese, Indian, Islamic, Latin American, African. And each of them is different from ourselves, from each other and from the West. We used to be interested in it, we used to study the East, and the great Russian poet Nikolai Gumilev used to compose hymns inspired by the glory of Africa. But then the West took over our minds. It is a westernised intoxication, an addiction to the West. The Iranian Heideggerian philosopher Ahmad Fardid has given this phenomenon a name, gharbzadegi, westoxificatio [translated as 'intoxication due to the West'].
Russian Eurasians were the first to rebel against this Westernist turn of Russian culture, demanding, like the Slavophiles, to turn to their own Russian identity and non-Western cultures and civilisations. This is now the only way out for Russia. Only the BRICS+, the SCO, the development of relations with the new poles of the world, with civilisations that have emerged, seemingly long forgotten, but are now returning to history.
Where the West ends, the world and humanity do not end at all. On the contrary, it is a new beginning. And Russia's place is in Eurasia, not the West. Once it was a matter of choice. Today it is simply inevitable. Today it all depends on how we build relations with China, India, Turkey, Iran, Arab countries, African states or Latin America.
This is the future coming/not coming. It already exists, but the elite refuses to accept it. And it has no way out and no choice. Even betrayal, which is unlikely, will not change anything. Moreover, it will ruin Russia all at once. There is not even that possibility any more: the place of traitors and liberals is predetermined by the laws of wartime and emergency. The inevitable and absolutely necessary purges, which, however, have not yet begun, but will certainly begin, are not the main or even secondary thing. In vain our elite worry about resignations and arrests. Anyone who does not agree with sovereignty and Eurasianism is already dead. This is beyond dispute.
However, the question is another: how can we defend and rebuild the new Russia, the Russia of the third phase? What to do life dictates. But what to do, how to do it, where to start and what to prioritise are open questions. Everything is more complicated here.
I think we must start with the main thing, which is the ideology. Everything else is secondary. Something tells me that those of us in power who are truly responsible for the fate of the country and the people think exactly the same way.
Translation by Lorenzo Maria Pacini