Russian Identity and the “Pivot to the East”: An Analysis of Rhetorical References to the American and Chinese “Others” in Political Elite Discourse
The article tests the extent to which Russia’s “pivot to the East” was supported by shared
visions of the American and the Chinese “Other” after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. It
compares representations of the United States and China as Russia’s Others in discourses of
Vladimir Putin, major political parties, and policy experts at a time when Russian–American
relations experienced a considerable downturn and relations with China surged. The method
of analysis is frames coding. The article demonstrates that for most of the actors considered,
the United States plays a much more important role as constitutive Other than China.
In recent decades the term “civilization” has reached beyond academic and intellectual discourses as a category of identity construction and policy description. In the Russian case, the civilizational talk demonstrates a specific dialectic of domestic and foreign policy aspects. Since the 1990s, the concept of “civilization” has been used increasingly for descriptions of post-Soviet Russian identity in academic and public discourses. It has also penetrated into political rhetoric. In particular, it played an important role in re-interpretation of the Soviet historical narrative by the post-Soviet Communists. In the 2000s an evident rehabilitation of the imperial legacy in the Russian public discourse facilitated its further proliferation. The author of the chapter agrues that the attractiveness of the concept of “civilization” in the Russian case grounds on the symbolic resources that took shape over time. Two aspects of the historical tradition are particularly important here. The first is Russia’s imperial legacy. It involves a competition of different nationalisms which impedes a consolidation of the multiethnic nation. At the same time it provides cultural and symbolic resources that tempt to use a sub-national / civilizational template. The second is long tradition of constructing the Russian identity through correlation with Europe/the “West” that produced a rich repertoire of ideas, symbols and narratives facilitating its representation in civilizational terms. The chapter explores the general historical patterns of discursive construction of the Russian/Soviet identity focusing on the ideas of nation and civilization as competing templates of imagination. It demonstrates that the disposition of contemporary ruling elite to use both national and civilizational terms for description of post-Soviet Russian identity is a result of a long tradition of its construction by mixed templates, without fully fitting to neither one.
This article explores representations of race in three Greek popular films of the 1970s and 1980s. The portrayal of African characters in these films is antagonistically positioned in relation to the dominant, ‘whitewashed’ Greek national narrative which relies on the nineteenth century idea that Greece is the progenitor of European civilization. Often masquerading itself as ‘just a joke’, the discourse of these films narrates the African Other as lacking in terms of culture, intelligence and beauty – the three central categories upon which the idea of the ‘white supremacy’, according to Cornell West, is historically constructed in modernity. Tightly woven with this idea (largely introduced in Greece by the leading European powers), these films enunciate explicitly colonial viewpoints in a country that was neither a colonial power nor at the geopolitical center of the European project. The article argues that the racialized representations of these films are an effect of appropriating the Eurocentric idea of historicism, where the ‘progress’ and ‘backwardness’ of groups and nations are measured according to how effectively they perform the values of modernity.
The article starts with considering theoretical problems of the concept of the Other that points to the out-group in dialogical (co)relation with which the identity of the Self is constructed. This concept describes a fundamental and manifold phenomena that needs to be specified and classified. The author argues that a solution of theoretical issues about the figure of the Other lays in the field of empirical research. In particular, the issue of “significance” of the Other for constituting the Self could be decided only on the basis of systematic study of social practices that essentially rely on (co)relation with particular out-groups. Political rhetoric could be a good field for study of symbolic functions of the Other and factors that determine its significance.
Shared representations of the Other are not only an important element of identity construction but also an instrument of the symbolic politics, i.e. public activity aimed at production and dissemination / intrusion of competing visions of social reality. The article demonstrates how a study of patterns of representation of particular macro political communities allow to assess their relative “significance”. Basing on theoretical insights from the literature the author proposes a research method that includes manual coding of the frames of representation of the Other in the context of legitimization of political course with subsequent counting of their frequency added by discourse analysis of each group of frames. This method is tried on the case of comparative analysis of frames of representation of the American and Chinese Others in the rhetoric of the presidents of the Russian Federation (from 2000 to 2015).
The article presents a section of the Introduction to the author’s Ph.D. thesis (2000), which reviews the approaches to studying representations of the Other (hence the Other, as well) that by the late 1990s formed in post-colonial theory and the ‘historical turn’ within the context of the critique of Orientalism and ‘classical’ anthropology. The aims of this publication are, on the one hand, to recall the approaches themselves (nowadays dominant, they are still not always recognized in some Russian researchers’ spontaneous practices), and, on the other, to give an example — within the context of discussions on post-Soviet scholars’ attitudes to the afore-mentioned critique — of its interpretation by a post-Soviet ‘Africanist’ (at the time, the author was one). While highlighting the critique of cultural determinism and essentialism, the conceptualization of the ‘West’ and the ‘Orient’ as social constructs, the historical understanding of ‘culture’, as well as renouncing its inner coherence and accentuating multi-level, situational and individualizing analysis (trends new at that time even for those post-Soviet scholars who pursued cultural studies opposed to the orthodox Soviet scholarship), the author also indicated a shift in the approaches under study -- from a hermeneutic ‘understanding’ of the Other to questions of identity. In looking for a way to combine the presumptions of the historical turn and the endeavors of such understanding, she suggested viewing representations of the Other as a sort of cultural boundary where the notions of ‘we’ and ‘they’ are most fully articulated, thus revealing cultural categories that underlie the process.
The article deals with the processes of building the information society and security in the CIS in accordance with modern conditions. The main objective is to review existing mechanisms for the formation of a common information space in the Eurasian region, regarded as one of the essential aspects of international integration. The theoretical significance of the work is to determine the main controls of the regional information infrastructure, improved by the development of communication features in a rapid process.The practical component consists in determining the future policies of the region under consideration in building the information society. The study authors used historical-descriptive approach and factual analysis of events having to do with drawing the contours of today's global information society in the regional refraction.
The main result is the fact that the development of information and communication technologies, and network resources leads to increased threats of destabilization of the socio-political situation in view of the emergence of multiple centers that generate the ideological and psychological background. Keeping focused information policy can not be conceived without the collective participation of States in the first place, members of the group leaders of integration - Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Currently, only produced a comprehensive approach to security in the information field in the Eurasian region, but the events in the world, largely thanks to modern technology, make the search for an exit strategy with a much higher speed. The article contributes to the science of international relations, engaging in interdisciplinary thinking that is associated with a transition period in the development of society. A study of current conditions in their relation to the current socio-political patterns of the authors leads to conclusions about the need for cooperation with the network centers of power in the modern information environment, the formation of alternative models of networking, especially in innovation and scientific and technical areas of information policy, and expanding the integration of the field in this region on the information content.
This special publication for the 2012 New Delhi Summit is a collection of articles by government officials from BRICS countries, representatives of international organizations, businessmen and leading researchers.
The list of Russian contributors includes Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia, Maxim Medvedkov, Director of the Trade Negotiations Department of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, Vladimir Dmitriev, Vnesheconombank Chairman, Alexander Bedritsky, advisor to the Russian President, VadimLukov, Ambassador-at-large of the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry, and representatives of the academic community.
The publication also features articles by the President of Kazakhstan NursultanNazarbayev and internationally respected economist Jim O’Neil, who coined the term “BRIC”. In his article Jim O’Neil speculates about the future of the BRICS countries and the institution as a whole.
The publication addresses important issues of the global agenda, the priorities of BRICS and the Indian Presidency, the policies and competitive advantages of the participants, as well as BRICS institutionalization, enhancing efficiency and accountability of the forum.