Abstract. This article describes the phenomenon of Eurasian identity and the factors involved in its formation. The author points out the need to adapt the concept to modern realities and puts forward a number of proposals for its transformation into a unifying factor for the countries of Central Asia.
Eurasia as a continent - also known as the “Big Island” - is a more colorful region of the world than other parts of the world and regions of the planet. The European, Indian and Far Eastern tips of Eurasia are regions of the Atlantic, Indo-Eurasian and Pacific understanding of the existence of a biological form of life, intellectual tension and a fairly high standard of living, between which other major world civilizations are squeezed, which, in turn, drastically differ from those described above and to each other.
Today, Eurasia is a continent, the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific tips of which slowly unfold into the region. However, the goals and content of the vectors and stepping stones of these turns are completely opposed.
Visually observable elements of the ongoing “Big Game” are also noticeable, which expanded geographically and meaningfully after the collapse of the USSR.
Today, the Eurasian continent is also a region of continental and regional economic and other projects, to which the attention of the Central Asian states is also paid, and which, while still remaining in the geopolitical periphery mode for objective and subjective reasons, are still more passive participants of the Eurasian design.
These projects, among which, first of all, the Eurasian Economic Union should be noted, are of obvious interest for Central Asian countries. At the same time, with all the unfolded and hidden benefits and advantages, they seem to suffer from a certain lack of meaningfulness; more precisely, semantic structures, including in the field of cultural and humanitarian activities of people and states, but under certain efforts with the subsequent possible building of a certain model of Eurasian identity
To begin with, it should be noted that new meanings, new value capacities and new benchmarks can be identified as attractive ideas oriented to the future; or, so to speak, as something very important that cannot yet be spelled out but which is meant by everyone and presenting not a fragmented, but a comprehensive, tacit consensus. Relying on the old, already time-worn constructions of identity is unlikely to be able to move some common cause forward.
At the same time, it should be borne in mind that outside of the same consensus, only direct or indirect coercion, which is strategically and methodologically, in general, quite counterproductive, remains possible. The main ideological capacities, probably, should also be oriented on the possibility of joint living and development without the normative and everyday decoration of the hierarchical pyramid of “older and younger” and not only in a procedural sense. Indeed, this can also be understood and perceived as a kind of precondition, without regard for which even a weak substantive dialogue is not possible, not to mention some kind of joint creative activity.
The process associated with the formulation and design of the main idea highlights, in my opinion, several fundamental issues related with human capital or material, above all, and this is the most important in any form of project activity. In the present text, let us designate two of them: what parameters should be attributed to the Eurasians and by whom? And who nevertheless considers himself/herself a Eurasian? And if he/she identifies himself/herself or he/she is identified with Eurasianism, then what is the defining identification parameter or criterion - geography, history, economics, a common language or something else, or all of this together?
It is quite possible that the designers of modern Eurasianism did not set the task of constructing a shared identity model that is understandable to all participants based on some value orientations. But it seems that building a modern, even limited cooperation space in the form of an international organization based on the idea of only military-political or only economic rapprochement with each other with a corresponding set of procedures and not very clear rules is not enough, and it seems to me that they are short-lived, especially if one considers the attractiveness and benefits of the proposed options from the outside.
At the stage of a long-term global crisis, international structures created by “ad hoc” will probably also be in demand for the implementation of any specific joint projects and programs.
In the context of a systemic global crisis that is decaying into local and functional, it seems that a consensus movement towards the formation of a multi-layered partnership space is required. With regard to Eurasian projects, we can talk, for example, if we keep in mind the Eurasian Economic Union, about the most important for all former “Soviet” countries, and which has been forgotten or missed in the heat of the struggle for a brighter “market” future - a joint search for a way out or liberation from the “post-communist” state and subsequent creative activity for the benefit of all.
In the former USSR, probably only two countries with some constancy and clear understanding declare Eurasianism as an important idea for them, while, however, putting into it fragmentally mismatched and divergent meanings. There are, however, other states that from time to time somehow together recall their Eurasianism. Still others are detached from Eurasianism either by the fragile wall of their identification programs and projects, or by the imaginary inaccessibility for them of the meaning of the proposed Eurasianism. Or Eurasianism is understood by them as a kind of euphemism for expansion or restoration.
Indeed, the reviewing of the problem of modern Eurasianism cannot be carried out outside the context of the development of the contemporary global situation, which today is characterized by such a deep crisis of concepts of socio-economic development, religions, humanitarian values, international law, as well as other principles and drivers of international communication and so on.
The system and mechanisms of functioning of international organizations and structures that emerged and developed in the 20th century have undergone obvious corrosion. It seems to me that with the collapse of the bipolar world, one of the main motivational foundations and drivers of the creation and existence of international organizations has collapsed - I mean their construction according to a simple confrontational scheme “for something” and “against someone”. The “for” and “against” reflected the competition of ideologies, socioeconomic platforms and military capabilities. But the continuing rather serious inertial influence, and sometimes the renewal of these schemes, should probably be recognized.
It is clear that competition between states, groups of states has not disappeared anywhere, but the fundamentals and mechanisms of longterm alliance and even compromise partnership, including, and, perhaps primarily, in global and regional international organizations, are changing radically; meanwhile, some representatives of the “third world” seemed to have suddenly suggested that religious differences and dogmas should be put in the basis of international competition, not ideology or socio-economic concepts; international criminal structures emerged, declaring their claims for the very serious factors of international life with their ideas and potential for concrete actions, etc.
Under these conditions, the creation and restructuring of international organizations, the search for semantic structures and tools of activity that are adequate to the new time, remains a very difficult problem, and maybe even insoluble: new radically different approaches to the formation of international organizations will be required.
The interest of the state today remains the unshakable foundation of the foreign policy of all countries, including their participation and activities in international organizations. Often, the interest and foreign policy proclaimed by the same state come into conflict, but the priority and dictate of interest is obvious, especially in times of crisis. The egoism and cynicism of the state (if it wants to be strong) is the unshakable truth of all times and peoples.
If we develop “Eurasianism” as a platform of identity or (self) identification model, the latter will need, first of all, a harmonious combination of the interests of all and real equality, but not equalization.
At one time N. Trubetskoy proposed to construct a so-called “Eurasian nationalism” (“... the totality of the peoples inhabiting this state, regarded as a special multi-people nation and having such nationalism as such can only be a national substrate of that state, which is called the USSR. We call this nation Eurasian, its territory - Eurasia, its nationalism - Eurasianism”).
There are other proposals and recommendations on the issue of the construction of Eurasian identity. I believe that there should not be haste and unnecessary trouble - we must calmly think together.
In connection with the mention of culture, it should be emphasized that the intangible sphere of human activity or, in a broader context, the totality of their non-economic achievements and orientations (also included in the national value system) plays, oddly, it must be said, a significant role in economic development. In particular, let me remind the reader once again about the experience of Korea and Zambia, which in 1960 began economic reforms from about the same starting position. However, ten years later, the economic development of Asians was four times higher than that of Africans. Why? The answer is simple: the presence of a set of value orientations and capacities to which a nation or another identified group of people not only orientates, but in aggregate moves the nation forward.
The search for national roots is not just an attempt to “dig up” the National Idea from the depths of centuries and at the same time restore the history of the people; or rather, write out its documented version. It is instead the desire to understand the historical mission of generations of people who have identified and identify themselves with some ethnonym born from time to time on the basis of any motto, idea or symbol of spatial, and sometimes totem notation. A certain sacralization of the historical mission of an ethnos or a group of ethnoses is one of the fundamental bases for the construction of a self-identification model, which, in turn, can become a driver for development. The process of sacralization can obviously be artificially agitated and successful, as we can see from the history of some nations. But, if this agitation is not accompanied by the creation of specific material, spiritual and moral platforms, then all efforts, in general, are in vain.
Versions of divine origin, moreover, with the name of one or another people sent over from above, can be found in the materials of ethnogony, genealogical traditions, and even in sacred books. Thus, God's chosen people confirms the messianic role of this people among others. No need to dig in history; I will give just one example: The US President R. Reagan states: “If Americans are deprived of faith in our great future, it will be impossible to explain why we are so convinced that America is a promised land, and our people are chosen by God to work on creating a better world”.
The belief in God's favored people should find not only “earthly” confirmation within the national self-identification model, sometimes arising on a powerful wave of self-interpretation “methods and sole possession of space information”, but also “unearthly”, which is very, very difficult, especially if the latter is not recognized by others ethnosubjects and confessional communities. Only faith in the special mission of the people, based on a “dialogue with God,” remains, again, if this dialogue took place. According to V. Solovyov, “the idea of a nation is not what it thinks about itself in time, but what God thinks about it in eternity”.
Every nation has two versions of its own historical past: documented and mythologized. The reproduction of the first option, for example, the history of European and other sedentary agricultural peoples, is scientifically and methodologically based on the historiographical methodological marking of Thucydides and Herodotus.
However, their system and methods are legitimate, from my point of view, only to explain the history of sedentary peoples, with a fixed territory inhabited with a certain classpolitical, pyramidal control system, etc., that is, state formations with watchtowers and protected by the gate. In relation to the mobile (“spreading”) peoples, the methodology of Thucydides and Herodot is applicable only in certain fragments, not least because the history of horse and nomadic states and communities, in general, is more a history of symbols, signs, and a network system of community organization, but not material evidence of people's livelihoods, including library culture, which, of course and unconditionally, constitutes the great heritage of humanity, its experience, work and inquisitiveness of the mind.
The purpose of the Eurasian horse and nomadic community, which existed until the middle of the nineteenth century, consisted, among other aspects of the historical mission, to transfer knowledge, skill and other values from one civilization center to another, but the “carriers” did not use this knowledge, because they did not need them (another paradox as though). It requires a very fundamental explanation of the “difficulties of translation”: the paradox mode is the constraint jacket that the world puts on anti-peace.
Why are we talking about this today? The inertia of nomadism, just like the Soviet civilizational identity and some religious preferences, play a fairly large role in shaping the outlook of people in a certain area of Eurasia. The context of development of all the mentioned models of different vector identities can lead to unpredictable consequences, up to the collapse of states. From my point of view, so far from the known possible identity models, only the Eurasian one can in some way cement the common ideas of some Central Asian peoples about themselves, without constructing a platform of uniformity. Today is the time for the former “nomads” to dream about the future, and not about the past.