Institute of Sociology
of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

POLIS (Political Studies)

№6, 2015

Topic: The Orient in the Self-determination of Russia




Presenting this 150th Anniversary Issue (p. 6-7)



Russia and East. Introduction to the Rubric (p. 8)

Torkunov A.V.

The Lazarev Institute: Cradle of Russian Oriental Studies (p. 9-22)

Abstract. The article analyses the history of the Lazarev Institute of Oriental Languages, which was founded in Moscow in 1815 and flourished for an entire century until 1917. The Lazarev Institute is recognized as one of the most important institutional foundations of the Moscow School of Oriental Studies. The author goes into the specifics of this educational establishment which initially was a private institution, a characteristic which explained its vitality and the emphasis it placed on seeking to meet the daily needs of the state apparatus, particularly of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The impact of the history of the Lazarev Institute as deeply intertwined with the evolution of the Eastern (formerly Oriental) Studies as a discipline in Russia at large. Political upheavals in Europe at the end of the XVIII – first half of the XIX century revived the interest of the Russian educated society in all non-European, and especially Eastern affairs, which exerteda favorable influence on the development of the Russian school of Oriental Studies. Furthermore, at the turn of the XX century, the focus shifted substantially to the Middle East, to Caucasian, Central Asian Far Eastern matters. The Lazarev Institute, and the traditions it established, have left a profound footprint on Russian and Soviet Oriental Studies. These traditions were inherited in its turn by MGIMO University following its merger with the Institute of Oriental Studies – the successor of the Lazarev Institute. One of the current challenges for contemporary Eastern Studies as an academic discipline is that scientific knowledge is becoming increasingly complex qualitatively as the structure of scientific knowledge, with its former conceptual integrity, is clearly falling apart. The author argues that the notion of “Non-West” is far broader and more complex than that of “the East”. Yet, Russian Oriental Studies, as an united system of knowledge and understanding, has broken up and the focus is being diverted to dealing with specific, mainly pragmatic or purely local issues rather than considering this part of the world in its entirety. Russian Orientalists seem to have lost sight of the integrated problem field that united them a century ago, and have retreated to their respective “national corners”. The article advocates the need for an academic discussion on the status, problems and prospects of Russian oriental studies, as well as the opportunities for cooperation with colleagues in the East and the West. 

Keywords. Lazarevsky Institute of Oriental Languages; Moscow State Institute of International Relations; Russian Oriental Studies; Eastern Studies

Mikhailov R.V.

Russian Mission in Asia. “Berdyaev Readings” in Vladivostok (p. 23-28)

Abstract. The 4th “Berdyaev Readings” forum “Russia and Asia: Vectors of Civilizational Development” took place in August 2015 under the auspices of Noncommerical Foundation – Institute of Socio-economic and Political Researches (ISEPR Foundation) in Far Eastern Federal University (Vladivostok, Russky Island, Ayaks settlement). “Pacific Ocean is the future Mediterranean”, – envisaged Russian philosopher A.I. Herzenas back as 1853, i.e. 7 years before the founding of Vladivostok. Therefore, the choice of the forum’s location was predetermined: Vladivostok – this is the most Eastern Russian megalopolis, an outpost of the Russian interests in the Pacific, the gates of Russia in the booming Asia-Pacific region. It is in this city where the established club of experts, advocates of conservative thought, gathered again to analyze the whole range of issues of intellectual interaction between Russia and the major Asian powers together with the leading Russian Orientalists, as well as with colleagues from China, Korea, Japan, India, Turkey, Singapore and Malaysia. Participants of the forum discussed various topics, including: the image of the East in Russian thought; the perception of Russia in Asian countries; the specificity of the Asian experience of modernization; commonality of values of Asian cultures. This paper highlights some of the main conclusions made at the forum.  

Keywords. Russia; Asia; conservatism; civilizations; “Berdyaev Readings”; ISEPR Foundation

Mosyakov D.V.

Oriental Countries and the Crisis of Modern Globalization Model (p. 29-34)

Abstract. The article analyzes the key aspects of the globalization process in the East. Studied are the issues of political liberalization, specifics of the economic mechanism forming in the Eastern countries, trends in the spiritual and cultural sphere. The author concludes that the Oriental globalization trend differs considerably from the one political scientists and politicians in the U.S. and other Western countries believe to exist.

Keywords. globalization; mixed economy; liberal political regime; socialism; acculturation; national culture; regionalism; authoritarianism

Denisov I.E.

Chinese and Western Values in the Modern Political Discourse of China (p. 35-44)

Abstract. The article deals with ideological and political processes in China under the leadership of Xi Jinping. The author formulates several methodological approaches for policy evaluation of the “5thgeneration” of leaders, thoroughly analyzes the starting points of Xi Jinping’s modernization project, and concludes that the course for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation embodies an attempt to continue the tasks of domestic modernization while maintaining the national identification codes and the stability of traditional political mechanisms. Proclaiming the consolidating concept of “Chinese dream” largely dictated by the necessity to find a reliable basis for the public consensus. In the author’s opinion, the recent ideological campaigns (from the criticism of constitutionalism to propaganda of the “core socialist values”), are intended to form a value basis of the unique Chinese way. The West, in turn, is used as the “external Other” both by the representatives of the liberal wing of the party and by the advocates of conservatism. Overcoming the binary opposition “China – the West” will mark the new era in the history of China’s development and will mean creation of a new Chinese identity.

Keywords. China; Xi Jinping; globalization; national identity; Western values

Khatuntzev S.V.

The West and the “Eurasian Quadriga” (Russia, China, India, Iran) (p. 45-52)

Abstract. The author’s key premise is that Russia, China, India and Iran nowadays face the same geopolitical problems and share common goals which include creation of a multipolar world and opposition to the American hegemony. Therefore, these countries should form a strategic continental alliance, so-called“ Eurasian quadriga”. The link between Moscow and Beijing (“ChiRussia”) could thereby serve as a consolidating basis for such alliance. Strategically, Beijing’s sea routes used for the delivery of raw materials and export of Chinese products are rather vulnerable. It tries to overcome this dependency by forming the “New Silk Road”; a significant part of its infrastructure will be situated on the Great Limitrophe. However, the systemic instability, organically inherent to the latter, is unlikely to allow China to achieve this goal. The more reliable Eurasian transport corridors lie primarily in the Russian territory. Moreover, If China is supplied with considerable amount of Russian hydrocarbons, it would be able to form its own foreign and economic policy based solely on its own interests rather than the ones of U.S. and the West in general. The most important field of closer cooperation for the members of “Eurasian quadriga” is Central Asia. They are interested in maximum elimination of the American influence from the region and in establishing there a system of multilateral relationships with each other, which will bring stability and prosperity to the region.

Keywords. civilizational geopolitics; civilization; Russia; China; India; Iran; the West; USA; the Great Limitrophe; “Eurasian quadriga”

Chugrov S.V.

Sof Attraction of Japan (p. 53-67)

Abstract. After the Crimean referendum was held and the war in south-eastern Ukraine broke out, Russia began looking with increasing interest towards Asian countries (e.g., China, Japan, Korea, India, countries of ASEAN), while the relations with the West were badly hit by anti-Russian sanctions. Remains of the Westphalian system, established in 1648 after the end of the Thirty Years War and based on the principle of balance of power, as well as the Yalta system have practically collapsed. Can the East offer something constructive as a replacement? The author analyzes “a new bioethics” theory proposed by the Japanese political scientist Hyakudai Sakamoto, which is based on the principle of harmonization of interests and the use of soft power. Japan is among those countries that are most effectively use their soft power to create its positive image. Firstly, Tokyo consciously renounces the use of “hard power” in its security policy that is dictated by the Article 9 of the Constitution in spite of the September 2015 amendments of military ilk. Second, ideas of the virtues of soft methods as a value are present in the national consciousness of the Japanese since ancient times. Official Tokyo efficiently and pragmatically exploits cultural diversity of the country, specifically the promotion of cultural diplomacy focuses on creating an attractive national brand. The article deals with the strategy and tactics, and methods for their use of Japan’s soft power in the global world and in the Russian and Chinese directions. The author examines the reasons why the Japanese socio-cultural values has a special appeal. Analyzed are positive aspects and difficulties that accompany the establishment of intercultural dialogue. A separate analysis is devoted to the diverse aspects of the Japan Foundation’s activities, the main agent of the Japanese soft power. 

Keywords. Russia; Japan; China; Asia; East; The Westphalian system; soft power; Russia’s image; political culture



Shestopal Ye.B.

Dynamics of Putin’s Perception in Russian Society (2000‑2015) (p. 68-80)

Abstract. This paper focuses on dynamics of V. Putin’s image during 15 years of his rule both in the role of the President and in the role of the Prime-Minister. Analysis is based on a longitudinal empirical study of Russian politicians’ images that the author caries out for more than 20 years. Putin’s image has been studied from the end of 1999 till the beginning of 2015. Methodology used in this study enables to reveal not only rational butal so unconscious aspects of Putin’s perception. The author comes to the conclusion that 15 years not only Putin himself has changed as a person but the society went to a substantial changes that were caused by arrival of new generations of citizens into politics and wide use of new forms of political communication. An incredible growth of Putin’s popularity in Russian society that happened in 2014 was connected not only by particular political decisions (unification with Crimea) but also with transformation of a value structure of Russian society and crystallization of a national idea that could not be consolidated during all the Post-Soviet period.

Keywords. V. Putin; image of politician; mass consciousness; political perception; political communication



Diesen G.

Coercing “European Integration”? Assessing the Offensive Posture of the EU CSDP (p. 81-102)

Abstract. While much academic attention has been devoted to the conceptual comparison between peacekeeping and imperialism, the CSDP is rarely assessed through this prism. The EU’s “Europeanisation of conflict resolution” suggests that the political settlement in European conflicts is linked to EU integration. This is envisioned as a positive-sum tool to encourage compromise between the conflicting sides and to provide another tier of governance to mitigate tensions. However, the Europeanisation of conflict resolution also denotes that EU’s conditionality for integration becomes criteria for conflict resolution. Thus, Brussels becomes an impediment to conflict resolution by adding criteria and rejecting compromise if it conflicts with the EU’s objectives. In the EU’s eastern neighborhood, the interests of Brussels become even more pertinent since the exclusive conception of “Europe” results in “European integration” becoming a zero-sum geopolitical project versus Russia.

Keywords. EU; CSDP; UN; Russia; Bosnia; Moldova; Georgia

Savorskaya E.V.

Shades of Green: Environmentalism in Classical Political Ideologies (p. 103-115)

Abstract. Over the past few decades, environmentalism has been gaining increased popularity and it seems now that almost the whole world has gone green. However, is it really so? Political ideology has been and remains one of the key factors influencing the policy-making process and environmental governance, be it global, regional or national. There have been many attempts to integrate green thought into classical ideologies, such as liberalism, conservatism, socialism, which have not been equally successful due to differences in the core concepts of named social philosophies. Whatever the case, the extent to which environmentalism will prove to be potent at “greening «existing political ideologies is likely to influence the future of global environmental governance. This article aims at discovering the different “shades of green” that have emerged to date through this process. 

Keywords. environmentalism; green thinking; green movement; ideology; political thought; environmental governance; ideology; liberalism; conservatism; anarchism; ecological anarchism



Troitskaya O.V.

Right of Nations to Self-Determination: Evolution of Concept and Practices (p. 116-130)

Abstract. The article investigates evolution of the right of nations to self-determination in the political ideologies of Russia, U.S. and European countries in the XVIII – XX centuries. It explores the role of great powers in formulation and implementation of international norms of self-determination. Finally, it analyzes national approaches towards resolution of self-determination conflicts in the XXI century. The author comes to conclusion that divergent interpretations of the right of nations to self-determination in contemporary policies of these countries are rooted in their political сculture. The U.S. and European Union countries endorse the liberal concept of self-determination which defines nation as a civic society, and the right to self-determination as a legitimate right of citizens to establish such political regime that protects their rights and freedoms. The Western countries nowadays maintain their support of protest actions against authoritarian regimes in favor of liberal-democratic ones. Russia upholds a different concept of self-determination, defining nation as a multiethnic society which combines integrity of the state with ethno cultural diversity of the peoples comprising it. Self-determination of such nation can be realized by a democratic choice of any political regime which preserves and promotes its cultural and civilizational specifics. 

Keywords. right of nations to self-determination; conflict; international law; U.S.; France; Great Britain; Russia; liberalism; civic nationalism; ethnic nationalism

Klimenko E.V.

Integration of the Diversity. Formation of the Civic Nation in Russia (p. 131-143)

Abstract. Why is the disavowal of the problems of building a civic nation accompanied by growing attention to the issue of “Russian ethnicity” characterize the dominating discourse in polyethnic, polycultural, polyconfessional Russian Federation, where the prerequisites for successful civic nation building exist along with the rising danger of ethnic nationalism? How real is the project of civic nation building is Russia and could the national integration be achieved in Russia – a country of ethnic, cultural and religious diversity? This article is an attempt to answer these questions. Among the key obstacles to conversion to the rhetoric (and practice) of building the civic nation of Russians are the understanding of the term “nation” as an ethnolinguistic or ethnocultural substance and the essentialist conception of the phenomenon of nation specific for Russian political, media, educational and academic discourses.“Ethnitisation” and “essentialisation” of the concept of nation embody in the practices of ethnic, cultural and religious diversity management based on two statements: for the survival of an ethnolinguistic, ethnocultural or ethnoreligious group “its own” nation-state is needed; the stability of a nation-state requires ethnolinguistic, ethnocultural and ethnoreligious homogeneity. The analysis of the egalitarian and multiculturalist approaches towards the issue of national integration in the society of diversity allows examining the possibility of implementation of the project of Russian nation that involves civic integration along with protection of ethnic, cultural and religious multiplicity. Such an implementation requires alteration of public discussions on “national”, which implies discursive renunciation of: reduction of “nation” to “ethnicity” and essentialist approach to apprehension the phenomenon of nation; representation of political, economic, social problems in terms of ethnicity, culture, confession; rhetoric of dominance aimed at delineating of “state-constituting” ethnic, cultural, religious group.


Keywords. civic nation; national integration; society of diversity; diversity management; liberal egalitarianism; multiculturalism; Russia; Declaration of Russian identity

Zeletdinova E.A.

Astrakhanskaya Oblast’: Transformation of the Ethnic Structure (p. 144-156)

Abstract. The processes of developing all-Russian and ethnical identity not only are closely related, they also depend on various reasons, one of the key of which is migration. Mass transmigrations can drastically change ethnic structure of population and form “threats” by means of competitive “strange ones”. Migration processes can overcharge the problems of economic, social and cultural nature. They also may become the reason for escalation of interethnic tension. The possibility of such risks is higher in the regions with relatively heterogeneous composition of population and proximity to the state borders. Astrakhan region can be considered one of such areas. The article defines the character of changes in the regional ethnic structure over the past ten years, trends in building interethnic relations and identity issues. The author comes to the conclusion that traditional ethnic residents feel cautious in relation to migrant groups. The notion “migrants” is becoming the principle which distinguishes between “native” and “strange” ones. The “Strange” differ from the hosting society with their social and cultural principles, norms of behavior, knowledge and skills. According to the results of the research, these criteria differ greatly among aboriginal peoples of Astrakhan region (Russians, Tatars and Kazakhs) and peoples from Caucasus that came to this region. Such situation is prone to build ethnical boundaries. Serious problems may arise in adaptation of newly arriving immigrants and reaction of hosting communities to them due to projected decrease in migration potential of Russian nationals. Hence the authorities will face a dilemma: either to improve demographical indicators at the expense of migration, or to strive to retain ethnic and cultural (and confessional) balance. Herewith, one shouldn’t neglect the following: the more intensive policy of improving demographic situation in the region is conducted, the more rapid and complicated the processes of changing regional ethnic structure will be, as well as the more unpredictable transformation of grounds of regionalization and regional identity will be. 

Keywords. ethnic structure; identity; “the strange”; migration; Astrakhanskaya oblast’; regional identity



Rozov N.S.

The Theory of Political Regimes’ Transformation and Nature of Neopatrimonialism (p. 157-172)

Abstract. This article is a double thought experiment answering to the following questions: 1) how far one can go in explaining the dynamics of political regimes and transitions between them on the basis of an abstract theory, including a small number of basic categories and postulates; 2) what is the heuristical potential of the theory in explaining the nature of neopatrimonial regimes. The Weberian paradigm of four social spheres is used (administrative, military, economic and ideological / cultural / religious).These areas correspond to the social universals: power, violence, property and symbols. When combined with a functional scheme of A. Stinchcombe they are explicated as homeostatic variables: the main objects of concern of social actors. The concepts of political regime, political relations, political interaction, routine and conflict strategies are defined. Transformation of political regime is determined by the change in its core complex of political relations. The conditions of a regime crisis as a conflict between actors for which the levels of basic homeostatic variables become unacceptable (from isolation and full domination to equal partnership and integration) are considered, as well as the laws of formation of each such type of relationship. Patrimony as an antithesis of bureaucracy is always reborn and enhanced by weakening the state and its formal rules and institutions. The nature of neopatrimonialism includes a core patrimony (the network of patronage ties) and the declarative shell of formal democratic institutions which are constructed on impersonal formal principles of bureaucracy. 

Keywords. political regimes; transformation of regimes; political relations; political interaction; political strategy; neopatrimonialism; hegemony; partnership; domination; political crises; conflicts; conflict dynamics



Linetsky A.I.

Russian Idea by Alexander Yanov (Polemical Notes in the Margins of the Same Title Two-volume Monograph) (p. 173-187)

Abstract. Alexander Yanov argues in his new book “Russian idea” that Russian nationalism is the main and ultimate source of the imperialistic foreign policy of modern Russia and its internal dictatorship. He insists that a specific mentality of Russian leaders based on the idea of unique Russian national identity causes inability of Russia to transform its political system along with the European patterns. The article puts Yanov’s theory of Russian political history under the question. Russian nationalism is indeed only one of many different ideological faces of a genuine Russian political system. This system is not based on any ideological doctrine but is closely related to a standard behavior pattern which is typical for the largest part of politically active Russians. Modernization of the Russian political system does not imply abandoning Russian national identity but rather requires its elites and politically active citizens to modify their behavior standard in correspondence to the one typical for modern European politicians. 

Keywords. nationalism; patriotism; Russian idea; modernization; European path of development; political institutions; behavior patterns; political reforms 

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