Conservative Philosophy and the Doctrine of Sovereignty: A Necessary Connection?
Under the presidency of Medvedev, the word “modernization” became one of the hobbyhorses of Russian politicians who insisted that Russian society, polity and economics would have to be modernized if Russia wanted to compete with the West. At the same time there were no illusions amongst the Russian leadership that Russia would ever become a part of the European Union, enter NATO, or in any way accede to the political or military structures of Western civilization. This logi- cally led to a sense of vulnerability; to the fear that the militarily and economically more powerful West would strip Russia of its territories and/or resources. A similar challenge was perceived during the time of Peter the Great at the turn of the 17th– 18th centuries, and in the aftermath of Communist rule at the end of the 20th cen- tury. To accept the challenge “to change or to decay”, Russia nevertheless could not follow the adaptation scenario of other Eastern-European countries–to endorse Western standards and values and to transplant the Western institutions. To avoid “decaying”, the country had to change not only its political institutions, but also the philosophy underpinning them–the complicated combination of ideas, values, and conceptions which had been developed throughout its long history and which were, and still are, largely incompatible with the liberal philosophy on which Western political institutions are based