In the course of Vladimir Putin’s third presidential term, many of the doctrines and ideas associated with Eurasianism have moved to the center of public political discourses in Russia. Eurasianism, both Russian and non-Russian, is politically active —influential and contested— in debates about identity, popular culture or foreign policy narratives.
Deploying a variety of theoretical frameworks and perspectives, the essays in this volume work together to shed light on both Eurasianism’s plasticity and contemporary weight, and examine how its tropes and discourses are appropriated, interpreted, modulated and deployed politically, by national groups, oppositional forces (left or right), prominent intellectuals, artists, and last but not least, government elites. In doing so, this collection addresses essential themes and questions currently shaping the Post-Soviet world and beyond.
Introduction, Mark Bassin & Gonzalo Pozo / Part I: Eurasianism, Nationalism and Ideology / 1.
Defining the ‘True’ Nationalism: Russian Ethnic Nationalists vs. Eurasianists, Igor Torbakov / 2. ‘What is more important: Blood or Soil?' Rasologiia contra Eurasianism, Mark Bassin / 3. Geopolitical Imagination and Popular Geopolitics, between the Eurasian Union and Russkii Mir, Irina Kotkina / Part II: The Cultural Politics of Eurasianism / 4. The Eurasian Symphony: Geopolitics and Utopia in Post-Soviet Alternative History, Mikhail Suslov / 5. Genghis Khan, the Golden Horde and Neo-Eurasianism in Russian Feature Films, Christine Engel / 6. Empires of the Mind: Eurasianism and Alternative History in Post-Soviet Russia, Konstantin Sheiko and Stephen Brown / Part III: “Project Eurasia” and Russia’s Foreign Policy / 7. When Eurasia looks East: Is Eurasianism Sinophile or Sinophobe?, Marlene Laruelle / 8. Eurasianism in Russian Foreign Policy? The Case of the Eurasian Economic Union, Gonzalo Pozo / 9. Aleksander Dugin’s Neo-Eurasianism and the Russian-Ukrainian War, Anton Shekhovtsov / 10. The Age of Eurasia?, Richard Sakwa / Part IV: Eurasianism beyond Russia / 11. Useful Eurasianism, or How the Eurasian Idea is Viewed from Tatarstan, Viktor Shnirel’man / 12. Strange Bedfellows: Turanism, Eurasianism and the Hungarian Radical Right, Balazs Trencsenyi / 13. Geopolitical Traditions in Turkey: Turkish Eurasianism, Emer Erşen / 14. Kazakhstani Neo-Eurasianism and Nazarbayev’s Anti-Imperial Foreign Policy, Luca Anceschi / 15. ‘The German in the Kremlin?’ The Rise and Fall of German Eurasianism, Ian Klinke
A rich, multi-faceted and up-to-date introduction to the generally anti-Western body of thought known as “Eurasianism”. With Slavophile roots, Eurasianism saw the lands of the Russian and Soviet Empires as having a distinctive civilization. Taken up rhetorically by Putin, modern Eurasianism is extremely diverse, as it is caught between old imperial ambitions and regional patriotisms.
Since 1991, the Russian Federation has been in search of a new national identity and global role, to conflicted and complex results. In this helpful new book, a team of experts address the ideological debates round the key concept of Eurasianism, and their roots in Russian thought, as well as their parallels in Central Asian, Turkish, and German history and contemporaneity. The result is a uniquely full and sophisticated picture of a body of thinking that is essential to understanding the region and its future.
Bassin and Pozo’s The Politics of Eurasianism is an outstanding achievement, bringing together some of the world’s leading scholars in the field to analyse the power of the Eurasianist discourse – based on the perceived commonalities of the territories of Russia’s former empire in opposition to the West – not only to legitimise a range of domestic and foreign policy actions but also to shape post-Soviet cultural production.
Eurasianism is a notoriously slippery concept, but Bassin and Gozo’s volume shows how Eurasianist tropes form a lingua franca for political actors both within the post-Soviet space and without. As Moscow emerges as a regional hegemon and the lodestar for populist movements around the West, The Politics of Eurasianism provides clarity to a misunderstood issue.
Developments of post-Soviet Eurasia, ranging from the evolution of Russia as a nation that is undergoing a major strategic transformation, to its remembrance as a global centre of geopolitical influence, to dramatic developments in Ukraine, stability of Central Asia, and others have gained attention. The Politics of Eurasianism is a timely comprehensive collection of essays aimed at offering an in-depth analysis of the philosophical and socio-cultural underpinnings of the complex processes associated with Russia's search of its own strategic identity and its missionary role within Eurasia and beyond. It offers a different angle at examining Russia's behaviour vis-a-vis Ukraine and the question of Eurasian idea and Eurasian identity. This is a must-read for scholars and students with interests in post-Soviet politics, post-communist societies, studies of nationalism and national identity.
Mark Bassin is Baltic Sea Professor of the History of Ideas, in the Center for Baltic and East
European Studies at Södertörn University in Stockholm.
Gonzalo Pozo teaches International Relations and Global Political Economy at the Department of Economic History, Stockholm University.