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Russian Eurasianism

, 296 pages
August 2008



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Russian Eurasianism

An Ideology of Empire

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia has been marginalized at the edge of a Western-dominated political and economic system. In recent years, however, leading Russian figures, including former president Vladimir Putin, have begun to stress a geopolitics that puts Russia at the center of a number of axes: European-Asian, Christian-Muslim-Buddhist, Mediterranean-Indian, Slavic-Turkic, and so on.

This volume examines the political presuppositions and expanding intellectual impact of Eurasianism, a movement promoting an ideology of Russian-Asian greatness, which has begun to take hold throughout Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkey. Eurasianism purports to tell Russians what is unalterably important about them and why it can only be expressed in an empire. Using a wide range of sources, Marlène Laruelle discusses the impact of the ideology of Eurasianism on geopolitics, interior policy, foreign policy, and culturalist philosophy.

Marlène Laruelle is currently a research fellow at the Central Asia and Caucasus Institute of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University. In Paris, she is an associate scholar at the French Center for Russian, Caucasian, and East-European Studies at the School of Advanced Social Sciences Studies.

"A tour de force not merely because of the depth of the scholarship and the skill of the argument but also because Laruelle unveils a subject crucial to understanding today's Russia but never given proper due... Even the most serious student of contemporary Russia will get from this book a vastly deeper sense of what makes Russian intellectual life, for all of its vexed affinity with the West, fundamentally different."

"A masterful job of describing the various philosophical threads of Eurasianism... The author's lucid style makes the book accessible to the educated general public."

"This volume certainly engages the reader to explore... Laruell's deft treatment of Eurasianism's shifting position in contemporary discourse makes this a fascinating volume that extends beyond the boundaries of any single academic discipline."

"Laruelle is to be congratulated on her lucid and intellectually disciplined discussion of the ambiguous, intricate, and often contradictory ideas that shape Russian Neo-Eurasiansim... a must-read for intellectual historians, policymakers, cultural scholars, Russia Watchers, or for that matter, anyone who uneasily senses that something is moving in the deep currents beneath the surface of contemporary Russia, but is not sure of what it is."

" Russian Eurasianism is a lucid and rational guide, based on thorough scholarship and an admirable reluctance to sensationalize or to claim too much."

"A richly interdisciplinary and meticulously researched analysis of both the historical and contemporary sources of Eurasianist cultural and philosophical/ideological traditions and discourse... this book will be an invaluable resource for policymakers and academics providing a deeper understanding of the forces shaping Russia's identity and the unfolding of circumstances for the entire Eurasian region."

"Laruelle, an established authority in the field."

"An impressive achievement. The author writes with an erudition and breadth of insight that is unique in the burgeoning field of what we might call 'Eurasianism studies.'"

"Extremely informative and enlightening reading."

"The importance of this work lies in the remarkable, even extraordinary, research effort that underpins its writing. The work’s best features are the breadth of its coverage and the trenchancy of its analysis."

"This book is an impressive achievement—wide-ranging yet sensitive to context and careful to bring together the many varieties of Eurasianism that have emerged over the 20th century. Laruelle makes us see why and how the idea of empire continues to appeal in post-Soviet space."

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