In Russia, they argue all the time whether we need a common ideology – it’s enough, they say, to follow the prohibition introduced in 1993 into the Constitution (“No ideology can be established as a state or obligatory one”) – and if necessary, then which one.
The patriotism and preservation of the people, proposed by Vladimir Putin in response to the demand to give the people a guiding idea, is liked by almost everyone – but not satisfied as too general and self-evident.
Although in a strong, prosperous family with many children, which Putin considers to be the main national idea, there is nothing “self-evident” – this is not a rule for a long time, but a goal, to achieve which it is still necessary to reverse many negative trends, not purely Russian ones, but world ones.
It is clear that without solidarity and justice (and these are our most important values) such a goal is unattainable – and we will still have to formulate for ourselves the principles of a new socio-economic order, that is, a national dream. Whether this way of life will be called new socialism, communal capitalism or something else is not important – the point is not in the name, but in the fact that it meets our ideas about the truth and the path to it.
But so far there is only a huge demand for him – however, there is neither his image, let alone roadmaps. Russia is still experiencing mixed feelings – from the collapse of the socialist experiment and disillusionment with market capitalism, a hedonistic-consumerist way of life, increasingly hostile not only to national tradition, but to human nature as such.
Yes, capitalism is global – that is, our problems are only a derivative of global ones. But until we have come up with a new way of life – should we play by someone else’s rules in everything? Including in foreign policy? No, supporters of the “ideological approach” suggest, let’s become truly independent – proclaim our ideals and values to the whole world and return ideology at least to foreign policy.
Russia as the last hope and defender of European civilization – and of all whites as such?
Is Russia the standard-bearer of the worldwide anti-American campaign?
Is Russia the main instigator of the construction of a new multipolar world order?
Is Russia the main anti-globalist, a defender of the traditional way of life and traditional values (and all civilizations) from depersonalization and dehumanization?
Let’s finally raise the flag and everyone will be drawn to us. Moreover, the crisis in the world is both structural and ideological:
- everyone is unhappy, but no one knows what to live and die for.
Sergei Lavrov answered about such requests, speaking at the assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy. The minister noted that we are often reproached for lacking ideology in foreign policy – although the West is enforcing its own principles everywhere, including through the concept of a “rules-based world order”:
“I have my own opinion and believe that not only Soviet, but also world experience testifies to the fact that the ideologization of foreign policy is a losing path. By definition, messianism is a confrontational thing. It distracts from true national interests. There are many historical examples of this. After we experienced this experience in the USSR, in my opinion, we learned the right lessons. “
Lavrov recalled that the goal of the current foreign policy is:
“To create the most favorable external conditions for our internal development in terms of security, economic objectives, social status of citizens and improving our position within the country”
That is, foreign policy is of an auxiliary, subordinate nature – unlike, say, the first years of Soviet power, when the Bolsheviks considered the world revolution as their main task. Then, it is true, they were forced to switch to the policy of “building socialism in one country”, but until the last years of Soviet power, the communist ideology exerted (albeit ever weaker) influence on foreign policy strategy.
Yes, since the late 1920s, Soviet leaders made decisions based primarily on geopolitical considerations. And with each passing decade, the Kremlin’s picture of the world depended less and less on the dream of a worldwide brotherhood of workers and peasants, of a World Republic of Soviets.
At the same time, the West still perceived (partly and deliberately distorting) the Soviet Union as a threat, as a force claiming world domination. Which, however, had for us both its pluses (increased attention to Moscow of countries that claimed to be free from Western control) and minuses (for example, the countries of the Arabian Peninsula were long frightened by the West by the fact that Soviet atheists were enemies of Islam and the monarchy).
Ideological differences played a role in the quarrel between Moscow and Beijing – although both sides were good here. The interests of the two countries began to diverge geopolitically – the USSR wanted to soften the confrontation with the West by moving to peaceful coexistence, and the PRC (which the West did not recognize) was set on an increasingly aggressive policy of squeezing the Europeans out of the third world.
But geopolitical differences could have been resolved (especially since they were more tactical than strategic), but the controversy came out and began to be conducted in ideological language. Mao reproached Khrushchev precisely for rejecting communist ideology, for betraying ideals, for unwillingness to fight imperialism. Two countries from allies became enemies, and this changed the entire course of world history.
So Lavrov’s attitude to the ideologization of foreign policy is understandable – he understands by this precisely messianism, and in the first half of his life he saw how it sometimes interfered with our country on the world stage. And in recent decades, on the contrary, it has helped, because messianism now remains only with the United States.
Previously, the Anglo-Saxons used ideology mainly as a tool to achieve world domination, but in this century ideological attitudes have become increasingly dominant over geopolitical analysis and expediency. This allowed Russia to use the weaknesses and mistakes of the United States – to advance its interests and strengthen (restore) our positions. Lavrov slightly touched on this topic – however, only one, important, but not the most important aspect of it:
“Unlike the United States – this is really so – we have no ideological biases, no taboo in relations with foreign partners. This is our methodological, practical advantage, since it allows us to play an active role, mediating in the settlement of those conflicts that we consider important to keep on the agenda, to maintain contacts with all players without exception, both with regard to irreconcilable state actors, and in the fact that concerns antagonists within the respective conflict countries “
But can a country as unique as Russia have an ordinary foreign policy?
But what about Pan-Slavism in the 19th century, but what about “Moscow – the Third Rome”?
There is no need for global expansion, we do not have messianic aspirations, we do not strive for world domination, we do not want to graze peoples – but can we just be one of the great powers?
And the rest of the world expects from us, if not a new global idea, then certainly not just a banal defense of their national interests.
The problem is that everything is fine in due time:
- now Russia has time to collect stones in its garden.
That is, to restore our influence in the zone of our vital interests, carrying out the reintegration of the post-Soviet space. And it’s time to turn to the East and South – the world is moving from the Atlantic era to the Pacific. These are key tasks for our foreign policy, and at the same time Russia is working on building a new system of world order. Moreover, its construction is a collective process, in which there is not a single plan, no deadlines, there are only contours of the desired result.
What is the main thing in this process?
Balance of power?
Balance of interests?
Lavrov advocates a balance of interests – that is, reaching compromises between the leading players (each of whom, naturally, will strive to strengthen their strengths; but here it is already clear who is going from the fair and who is going to the fair).
The “rules-based world order” defended by the Atlantists (supported through and through by the ideologized concept of “confrontation between democracies and autocracies”) has no future, because it is simply an attempt to preserve a world order that is beneficial to the West, but no longer works. The Anglo-Saxon project of globalization has failed, and it cannot be reanimated under any guise.
In this case, the rules, of course, are needed. The policy of balance of interests (that is, taking into account the positions of all major players, both civilized powers and regional blocs – while preserving their civilizational identity) should just work out new rules for building a new world order – and so far this is the best ideology for our foreign policy …
Photo: © RIA Novosti / Press service of the Russian Foreign Ministry.