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RUSSIA XXI

< Issue No 1 from 2004 yr. >

At the first glance it may seem to be a paradox but Eltsin’s refusal to ban CPRF contributed a lot to consolidation of the existing regime and to discredit the Communists. Nowadays Russia has become a country of directed (or manageable) democracy where elites constitute the principal source of authority. These elites define their politicians and bring to the front of the people like, for example, Zhirinovski who makes the most sensitive issue of Russia, the Russian question exceptionally vulgar and imparts a ludicrous character to it. People who vote for Zhirinovski send a signal to the authorities that they are disappointed with the present politics while results of election to the State Duma indicate that the people demand from the power to take up the national modernization project in serious. A tough reshuffling of elite is needed while the elite has to repudiate the dolce vita style, to change for working casual dress and to subject itself to attainment of the only aim, i.e., the national modernization. The time for revolution from above has arrived.

The Commander’s Strides: From Continentalism to the Messianic Yankee Imperialism (the end)

Those, who believe that the present global hegemony of the United States emerged through a process of the disappearance of the bipolar world avert their eyes from many very important moments in early 20th Century US history, which compose the essence of the so-called «Progressive Era» (1890−1920). In the meantime the beginning of the Century which now went away still has much to tell us. Modern America was born in those early years. A land of family farms was eclipsed by a modern nation of giant corporations and world-wide financial institutions. America has become a world power. Of course americans sought to master the sweeping forces of change by what some of the scholars call «New interventionism». The United States had pictured itself as a moral exemplar to the world. The rapidly industrializing nation expanded its economic interest and began a policy of diplomatic and military intervention abroad. This new interventional activism moved beyond America’s traditional foreign policy of reacting to events. American policymakers — and among them such outstanding representatives of the political establishment as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson now sought to exert growing control over external forces of change. They used American influence and power to shape the international environment. The two major group of policymakers — adherents of Roosevelt’s Realpolitiks and wilsonian internationalists sought to protect the United States national interests and both believed that American political ideals and principals are in theory universally applicable. Following the predictions of expansionists they both argued that the United States should establish a benevolent global empire but the former emphasized power while the letter — ideology and morale. First emerging before WWI this debate has continued to the present with little change in the basic positions on either side.

Boris Godunov. Pride and Humility in Medieval Russia

The author investigates the dramatic period of Russian history, the deep cultural crisis that took place at the beginning of the 17-th century and was called by its contemporaries «the Time of Troubles». The historian tries to explore self-consciousness of contemporaries of the time, to reconstruct ideas and notions settled in their minds. Running a historical-phenomenology investigation, he tries to reconstruct the myths of the culture, myths as the way of understanding life and happenings. What ideas will come to light as a result? How did the contemporaries comprehend and evaluate miseries and dramatic events of the time? Trying to reveal the roots of such cultural phenomenon as Time of Troubles, the author offers to investigate the «mythreality» of people of the 17-th century. Could the knowledge, attained here, alter our idea of the past? An effort to answer these questions the author makes in the article, dedicated to the first tsar of the dramatic period, the famous boyar on the throne — Boris Godunov.

The Star Hour of the Russian Pacifism

The history of Nicolas II government’s famous initiative to establish control over armaments which led to the first Hague peace conference (May-July, 1899) is elucidated with drawing in new archive materials. The author’s attention is focused at the unprecedented alliance between the Russian diplomacy and the international peace movement that acquired a great scale. A thesis of the fundamental barring of an imminent world war due to its inevitably disastrous character for all participants was elaborated and set forth in the course of campaign in support of the proposals moved by Russia, even though this thesis contradicted positions held by general staffs of various states. Having received the political and propaganda gains but, at the same time having confronted with resistance of the partners in negotiations the Russian government at the conference repudiated its own disarmament project and took orientation to understandings that covered exclusively the humanitarian issues of the «right of war». After the war of Russia against Japan the Russian government and the Czar personally opposed in principle any attempts to limit armaments. The position of the Russian diplomats at the second Hague conference (1907) is the evidence of this change. The author concludes that the lessons of the Hague is important for the present day. The contemporary experience demonstrates that in conditions of globalization policies of excessive armament combined with methods of resolution of conflicts from position of power leads to the impasse of new wars fraught with threats to the humankind as a whole.

The Incorporation of Georgia into the Russian Empire and Exacerbation of International Relations in Transcaucasus (1801–1804)

The article describes the basic motives underlying St. Petersburg government`s decision to incorporate Georgia into the Russian Empire in 1801. The author suggests that Georgian kings Irakli II and Giorgi XII had no other way to save the nation from impending catastrophe than to subject the kingdom to Russian imperial throne. By taking Georgia under her protection Russia inadvertently challenged traditional interests of Iran and Turkey in Transcaucasia. The early XIX century developments in the region were complicated by ever growing British and French presence in Iranian politics. Eventually the building tension resulted in an open clash between Russia and Iran to be subsequently followed by more pronounced involvement of all powers concerned.

Notes from the Invisible Jews Community’s Life

The article deals with changes in demographic situation at the Arabia peninsula that occurred in the course of a millenium and a half. Initially the peninsula had a dense Hebrew population. Displacement of Hebrew people began after their defeat in the war with the Ethiopian Axum state. The author relates the beginning of the massive persecution of Jews with the emergence of new religion, Islam. By mid-19th century Jews were exterminated in the peninsula, after rise of Wahhabism. This religious current accepts jihad as the only way for resolution of contradictions and applies this methods even to other Moslems, Shiites and Sunnities.