Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Moscow Should Shift Its Attention from ‘Russian World-II’ to ‘Russian World-I,’ Inozemtsev Says

Paul Goble


            Staunton, July 29 – The Russian government should reduce the attention it is paying to ethnic Russians and Russian speakers in the former Soviet republics – a group he calls “Russian World II” – and expand its attention to ethnic Russians and those who feel at attachment to Russia elsewhere, a group he calls “Russian World I,” Vladislav Inozemtsev says


            Moscow should do so, the director of the Moscow Center for Research on Post-Industrial Society, because Russian World II includes people who are on the defensive and who want more from Moscow than they can give in return while Russian World I is at the cutting edge of development and can give far more back than an appeal to them would cost.


            In today’s “Vedomosti,” Inozemtsev notes that many in Moscow now talk about the “Russian world” carelessly and sloppily, ignoring both its diversity and the costs and benefits for the Russian Federation in dealing with one or another part of it. That, he argues, needs to change


            Inozemtsev says that “beyond the borders of Russia there now live up to 35 million people who consider themselves Russians and almost 60 million who call Russian culture their native one.” He suggests that it is divided in three major groups: those who left at the beginning of the 20th century and settled in the US, Canada, France and Brazil, those who left after the collapse of the USSR, and those who have remained in new independent states.


            Each of these groups has a different identity and different patterns of behavior, he continues. “The majority” of the first has been “assimilated their new countries for a long time” and are “linked with Russia only by symbolic cultural values.” Those in the second don’t feel a break with Russia but “as a rule” have “a dual identity” and accept the values of the globalized world.


            The first two groups constitute what Inozemtsev calls “Russian World-I;” the third forms “Russian World II.” The first “world” arose “as a result of the free choice of more than 6.5 million people.” Their descendents form significant parts of the population of the major megalopolises of “the European cultural tradition.”


            They have higher pay than the average of the populations they live among – in the US, the average pay of this group is 39 percent above the American average – they are well educated – there are “more than 6,000 ‘Russian’ professors” in US colleges and universities and “no fewer than 4,000” in European ones – and they have enormous wealth – more than a trillion US dollars.


            In short, “Russian World-I created outside of Russia an economiy and an intellectual community, completely commensurate with Russia itself: the technological and industrial production of the companies under its control significantly exceeds the non-raw materials sector of the Russian economy, and the share of those ‘representatives of Russian culture’ living abroad in terms of the scholarly citation index and number of Nobel Prize winners is higher than among citizens of Russia.”


            “Russian World-II” is very different, Inozemtsev points out. It is “a community of those who in its majority have turned out to be incapable of leaving the countries formed after the collapse of the USSR and those who have become ‘professional Russians’ who do not want to adapt to the life of the new countries.”


            It is thus not ahead of Russia, the Moscow analyst says, but its “rearguard,” and because “its representatives are forced to defend their cultural values in a relatively hostile milieu, they are more oriented toward preservation than toward development and thus to national and not global standards of behavior.”


            “Russian World-II looks to the Russian state as the fulfillment of its aspirations and therefore in part and not without foundation is viewed in its countries as a fifth column of Russia which still further complicates its situation.” Indeed, as these nation states strengthen, the insistence of “Russian World-II” on their differences will “make these people potential outcasts.”


            At present, Moscow is focused almost exclusively on supporting Russian World-II and is ignoring Russian World-I.  As a result, “Russia is spending enormous sums on absolutely senseless and in part harmful measures” and ignoring underlying trends such as the declining share of ethnic Russians in neighboring countries.


Inozemtsev says that the Russian government should change course, focusing on Russia World I rather than Russia World-II. To that end, it should promote “responsible repatriation and introduce jus sanguinis as the basis for citizenship. Moreover, it should recognize and accept dual citizenship.


And Moscow should recognize that it would “receive a great deal more as a result of the mass resettlement into Russia of ethnic Russians from the former USSR than from the support of ‘administered instability’ in the post-Soviet space or from the inclusion of masses of uneducated migrants who are alien to [Russian] culture.”


            At the same time, Russia could benefit as China has by reaching out to the wealthy, educated, and technologically advanced “Russian World-II” seeing it as a means to help transform Russia rather than as is the case with “Russian World-I” as a break on such development.



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