Теоретические заметки о структуре и динамике империй
The march of events which have been unfolding in the last three decades in Northern Eurasia requires clarification and extension of the terminology used in the empire studies, and first of all, the supplement of the wide-spread “center-periphery” model with a third, intermediate element – the notion of “core”. The “core”, in contrast to the “center”, points to the territorial aspect of the imperial structure. The “core” is primarily formed by those loci which are predominantly occupied by institutions and actors of the imperial center, as well as those with which central values are strongly associated. However, the “core” is also formed by the “first order”-peripheries, linked with the center and its loci by particularly strong, qualitatively closer ties than those that connect the center with the ordinary, “second order”-peripheries. Through the course of the systemic crisis of an empire, the most dramatic processes take place in the core – the movement of its constituent political units turns out to be multidirectional, there are numerous internal divisions and schisms. As a result, the process that on the “far” periphery of the empire can really be taken for its unidirectional “collapse”, in the core is rather an arrhythmic pulsation, during which the composition and boundaries of the core are redefined and revised, including forcibly. It is impossible to predict a priori, how long this pulsation will take, and whether it will end with the real collapse of the empire.