Counter-Hegemony as a grand strategy for Eurasia
An adequate and attractive action strategy for Russia in the Eurasian space in a global context must be seen exclusively as a project of counter-hegemony.
To use the terminology of Antonio Gramsci, there exists a historical pact between bourgeois capitalism, which is now represented in the form of an alliance between transnational corporations, the political establishment, and the power block of the Western countries (and their satellites) and the civil society of these states. The other states and peoples, which are not integrated in this system, represent several systems.
The first of these is caesarism. In this case political elites try to resist pressure from the side of the global hegemony, but must respect both the opinions of the middle class (which is often the object of external manipulation) as well as the international situation. Attempts to secure and strengthen one’s own national sovereignty collide with all kinds of challenges, as a consequence of which national elites must make concessions to the current situation and take predefined steps against hegemonic forces (not necessarily openly). Such a process is called transformismo by Gramsci. The label of ‘young democracies’ for the societies of the countries of Eastern Europe and ‘economies in transition’ for the post-Soviet space is a clear example of caesarim transitioning to transformismo.
In the case of Eastern Europe in the majority of cases the hegemony has successfully adapted itself and realised its plan of plugging the states into its system. The situation is less clear in post-Soviet countries and political elites to this day balance between transformismo and caesarism. In the latter case leaders and the people surrounding them are accused of authoritarianism, dictatorial rule, and the violation of democratic norms and human rights; this is a diplomatic instrument of pressure to push the regime into transformismo and further integration by the Western hegemony.
The theory of the Neo-Marxist Immanuel Wallerstein of analysis of the world-system via the division core, semi-periphery and periphery is also a part of this structure, as is the artificial division of the world on the basis of political-economic principles into the First, Second and Third worlds. In this case Wallerstein consigns Russia to the semi-periphery, which is to say that he moves it towards the core (hegemony); this is why, taking into account several dependencies and decisions in the last few years, we can come to the conclusion that a balancing act between caesarism and transformismo is taking place in Russia, which can only give cause for concern.
If we make a short analysis of Russia’s dependencies, which can be weaknesses at the same time, we will see that Russia’s sovereignty is not total or is limited in the following spheres:
- - finances (the dollar as world reserve currency, control over bank transfers);
- - the formation of prices on energy resources and several other resources and products (via the stock markets of New York, London and other cities);
- - culture (the showing of Hollywood productions);
- - education (the Bologna system);
- - science (the California citation index, the system of grants);
- - technology (the use of Western software and technical systems).
In addition, there are implicit signs of weaknesses in our defence system, for example in the dependence of the component base for Russian weapons systems.
It is very important to note, that William Robinson pointed towards “four kinds of hegemony in the context of historical evolution and the global capitalist system: 1) hegemony as international domination, which is linked to the realist school; 2) state hegemony, which is related to international relations and the power of core states; 3) hegemony as competition between historic blocks in a certain political order (a specialty of the social structure of accumulation); 4) consensus dominance or ideological hegemony [Robinson, William I. Gramsci and Globalisation: From Nation-State to Transnational Hegemony// Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 8, no. 4, 2005, P. 1–16].
It is clear that certain states are trying to mix all four types, which would allow them to reach the status of unconditional hegemon. Thus, the US are adapting to the realist school of international relations (instead of the liberal school); they play their politics via international structures (the IMF, World Bank, UN) and alliances (NATO, the EU, the Transatlantic Partnership); they keep stressing their global leadership and use ideological force (declarations about the attractiveness of the democratic model, the use of structures which form the global order of the day such as the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Club etc.).
Robert Cox suggested a conception of counter-hegemony, having proved, that ”in the conditions of globalisation it is necessary to pose the question of counter-hegemony globally as well, as the bourgeois-liberal hegemony, by realising transformismo, will break caesarism sooner or later” [Дугин А.Г. Контргегемония. // Левиафан: Контргегемония и евроцентризм (вып. 5) .— М.: Евразийское Движение, 2013. С. 12].
Counter-hegemony mainly takes shape in the social sphere. ”From the position of global control the counter-hegemony is linked to those powers, which are trying to prevent the formation of a specific regime which lessens and destroys the heterodox forms of the socio-economic order and bases itself on a traditional foundation” [Савин Л.В. О некоторых аспектах контргегемонии. // Левиафан: Контргегемония и евроцентризм (вып. 5) .— М.: Евразийское Движение, 2013. С. 80].
It is clear that in the conditions of the appearance of new emergent states, the rebirth of the power of Russia and the symptoms of the crisis of the liberal-capitalist system (beginning from the 2008 financial crisis and ending with the disturbance of consensus between the political elites of Western countries and their peoples), all the prerequisites are here for the creation of a stable platform for counter-hegemony, under the auspices of which the Grand Strategy for Eurasia must develop through geopolitical integration, the strengthening of cultural-ideological norms and values, the creation of interlinked security belts, but also through the fight against corruption, the removal of barriers for social climbing and the heightening of the quality of life for citizens.
Theses of a report, given at the conference “Great Eurasia 2030: analytics of development, security and cooperation”, Moscow, 29.11.2017.