The shameful Kozyrev's "breakthrough to Europe" ended in failure. Yes, and he could be successful only if the country lost its civilizational identity and turned it into a raw materials appendage of the West, which, in fact, is happening to Ukraine now.
The situation with the China-Russia-India strategic triangle project put forward by Yevgeny Maksimovich Primakov is more complicated. It once seemed unviable because of the unresolved territorial disputes of New Delhi and Beijing, but at the present stage it is the three superpowers - two world and one regional - that form the basis of BRICS.
What is the way prepared for us history Should the next fork go? The question is relevant in the conditions when the United States demonstrates outright hostility to Russia, Iran and China in the Middle East - the sphere of geostrategic interests of our countries, seek to implement a strategy of controlled chaos on the Russian-Ukrainian border and, quite likely, in the Xinjiang-Uygur autonomous region of the PRC, try destabilize the internal situation in Iran.
The arguments about the possible warming of relations between Moscow and Washington are extremely naive for reasons not so much political as metaphysical. About them at one time wrote the sociologist Nicholas von Krater. According to him, “the father of American geopolitics, Rear Admiral Alfred Mahen, laid the doctrinal foundation for the divine and geopolitical predestination of American sea power. In line with the ideas of Turner and Adams, he saw the predetermined fate of the United States in world expansion. ” Let me remind you that Frederick Turner was the author of the theory of the “explicit outline” of America.
However, not intending in this case to act as a futurologist and guess about the future, I propose to turn to reflections on the fate of the country of the outstanding scientist, an antiquarian and thinker Vadim Leonidovich Tsymbursky. Fortunately, his book, which is a doctoral thesis, which he had not managed to defend because of his death, “Morphology of Russian geopolitics”, recently came out of print.
From Pestel to Mistral
For the first time, the Russian intellectual elite thought about the geopolitical choice of the Russian empire, paradoxically as it may sound, during the period when St. Petersburg achieved the maximum preferences in Europe, acting as the actual creator of the Holy Alliance. Although even then, the West, represented by the leading powers, did not consider the empire born in the flames of the Northern War to be an integral part of its ecumene, experiencing a mixture of fear (one “Testament of Peter the Great”), hatred and practical interest. This was realized at least by a part of the Russian educated society, primarily formed almost simultaneously with the birth of the Holy Alliance in the person of the Decembrist officers, whose projects Tsymbursky paid a lot of attention to, especially the views of the Colonel and Mason Pavel Pestel, described in Russkaya Pravda. Regarding Russia's geopolitical choice, his ideas are not only interesting and original, but quite - albeit with substantial reservations - relevant two hundred years later: “In all Decembrist documents there is a motive for restoring Polish statehood, in other words, forming a friendly buffer between Russia and the Roman-German Europe. These motifs — the restoration of Poland, on the other hand, active operations in the Balkans at the junction of Europe and the Middle East — reveal a sharp repulsion from the official course (my italics. - I. H.). ”
In this case, curious - and sensible! - expressed by the Decembrists idea of restoring the independence of Poland as a buffer between us and the Romano-Germanic world. Another question is to what extent politicians in Warsaw themselves would become such, especially with more than once witnessed history of the inability of the gentry to measure their geopolitical ambitions (“Rzeczpospolita from sea to sea”) with their own military-economic and demographic potential. In other words, it is necessary to take into account that instead of a friendly buffer, St. Petersburg could have acquired a very conflicted and vindictive, albeit relatively weak, neighbor. This, in fact, we are witnessing in the 21st century - for so long and, it must be admitted, the selflessly demanding independence of the Poles are ready to forget about it in the stifling embraces of the United States, for which they are no more than one of many changeable figures in the Brzezinski language blackboard.
Of greater interest are the arguments of the Decembrists about the necessary for Russia active actions in the Middle East, which at that time was under the authority of the sick “man of Europe” - the Ottoman Porta. Pestel dreamed of reanimation of the “Greek project”, which was never implemented by Catherine II, and “in testimony during the investigation, Tsymbursky wrote, he spoke directly about the transition from the aggressive to the patronizing system. The re-establishment of an independent Poland, connected with Russia by the similarity of the political system and the military alliance, is a clear embodiment of the protective system. ” It is easy to see that the patronizing system proposed by the author of Russkaya Pravda very much resembles the construction of a buffer between the USSR and Western Europe that emerged from the results of Yalta-Potsdam, in a broader sense, by the Anglo-Saxon civilization. Add to this the attempt of Moscow and Paris in 1960 to realize a single geopolitical project of uniting the Slavic-Turkic and Romano-German worlds. I have in mind the idea of de Gaulle of Europe from "Lisbon to the Urals" as a counterbalance to hegemony in the expanses of the Old World of the USA and Great Britain. Half a century ago, this project was feasible. Yes, Washington would not have allowed the Federal Republic of Germany to join the hypothetical union, but Germany could well be represented in it by the GDR, built on the historical foundation of German statehood - the Prussian and Saxon lands. At the present stage, alas, the train left: thirty years had already passed since the FRG essentially annexed the GDR, and the once great France, with its shameful history with the Mistrals, signed an inability to pursue an independent foreign policy.
But back in the XIX century. To the question: will the countries liberated from Ottoman rule agree to play the role of a buffer between the West and Russia under the auspices of the latter, Pestel gave a very original answer: "The right of a people exists truly for those peoples who, using it, have the opportunity to save it." Tsymbursky identified himself with this view: “Paradoxically, security is thought of as projecting power to the limits of a neighboring state, otherwise the neighboring empire will project power to your limits.”
What were Pestel's views on Russian geopolitics in the east and southeast? He believed that in other areas should be annexed: the entire Caucasus (including the coastal north of the main territories of Turkey and Persia, taken from these empires), “Kyrgyz lands” to Khiva and Bukhara (incapable of independence, abundant in resources, and in addition, they can be put under the Aralian inheritance, covering Russia from the south), Mongolia (“because these places are under the imaginary possession of China, because they are inhabited by nomadic peoples who do not submit to anyone, and therefore are useless for China, while large delivered Russia benefits and advantages for her trade, as well as for dispensation fleet on the Eastern Ocean ”). In addition, the whole course of the Amur should belong to Russia in its Pacific species ("this acquisition is necessary and therefore must be obtained without fail"). Then Tsymbursky concluded: “So, if in the west and southwest we need a system of strong buffers covering Russia from Europe, then in the south all intermediate lands should be integrated into Russia, separating it from the large Asian states.” Of course, control over the entire course of the Amur is connected with the weakness experienced by China in the XNUMXth century, which has long been in the past, as well as the topic of the annexation of Mongolia has been irrelevant for more than half a century.
At the present stage, the answer to the question about the direction of projecting the power of the empire is obvious - the south-east. If we do not integrate the formerly fraternal Soviet republics located in Central Asia, as called for by Tsymbursky, other players will include them in their military-economic structures. We are not talking about a military takeover, but about creating precisely, in the language of Pestel, the patronizing system. And it seems to me that Moscow is actively engaged in this, as evidenced by Putin’s visit to Dushanbe, it’s enough to read documents signed by the parties indicating the gradual creation by Russia and Tajikistan of a single economic and cultural space. For all that, unresolved issues in relations between our countries remain. In particular, the Tajik leadership is in no hurry to join the EEU.
After the death of Uzbek President Islam Karimov, who pursued a rather isolationist policy (remember that Tashkent also did not join the EEU and left the Collective Security Treaty Organization, unlike Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, there is no Russian military bases on Uzbek soil), the new head of the country, Shavkat Mirziyev chose a course for establishing closer relations with Russia, and called his meeting with Putin on 2016 a historic breakthrough. What he will lead, time will tell. But Uzbekistan can only resist the Islamic fundamentalism that represents a real threat to the country under the patronage of Moscow.
The closest and relatively cloudless relations are between Russia and Kyrgyzstan. With Turkmenistan - more difficult. In this country, the interests of Russia and China collide quite sharply. It is noteworthy that analyst Alexander Shustov called one of his recent articles “Turkmenistan changed its dependence on Russia to China”. This refers to the gas dependence. However, the Turkmen leadership is unlikely to choose the PRC as the patron country, especially since, from Shustov's point of view, Ashgabat’s gas dependence on Beijing turned out to be more rigid than on Moscow. As for the relations between Russia and Kazakhstan, here we can talk only about equal relations between two independent players (“At the junction of empires”).
I emphasize again: the logic of history itself directs us to the south-east, and not for the first time, because, as Tsymbursky wrote in “Island of Russia”: “It is easy to reveal the connection between difficulty in certain epochs of expansion of Russia in Europe and Front Asia and the outbursts of its expansionism to the true east, and invariably with a weighted western ricochet. After the political senselessness of the Italo-Swiss expedition of Suvorov was exposed, the idea of Paul I was about going to British India. Against the background of the collapse of the Crimean War, the Polish uprising of the 1860's and its European resonance - a throw against the khanates and emirates of Central Asia, which aroused the very same India and for the first time put us on the threshold of Afghanistan. ”
Building a protective system in relation to the Central Asian republics at the present stage is precisely happening against the backdrop of a tough conflict with the West. Yes, and these countries without patronage and real assistance from Moscow are unlikely in the foreseeable future to cope with the most serious set of problems facing them. A couple of years ago, one of the leading domestic Islamic scholars and political scientists Alexey Malashenko said: “As for the general economic situation in the region, it is, frankly, unimportant. More than unimportant ... Tajikistan in one way or another is always in crisis. Kyrgyzstan is also steadily in crisis; Kazakhstan has a lot of problems ... Uzbekistan is in a very difficult and grave condition. There is Turkmenistan, which lives off gas, but has never turned into Kuwait, as Saparmurat Niyazov promised twenty years ago or even more. ”
Of course, another breakthrough of Russia in Central and Central Asia is met with resistance from the United States, which causes Moscow to return to the Primakov triangle. In my opinion, taking into account the changes that have taken place in the region, it is possible to talk about transforming it into a four- or even a pentagon - with the accession of Iran and, possibly, Pakistan. Yes, the relationship between Islamabad and Tehran is not simple. But at the same time, more than one and a half million Shiite pilgrims from Pakistan visit Iran annually, and, as analyst Igor Pankratenko writes, “that in Tehran, that in Islamabad there is a clear understanding of the need to strengthen partnership and implement joint projects in the field of economy and security.” Pakistan at the present stage is the largest importer of Iranian gas. Both countries are literally half a step from a strategic partnership, especially after the visit of Pakistani Prime Minister Nazaf Sharif to Tehran in 2014. And since both countries are rather closely cooperating with the PRC, there are good reasons to expect the creation of a military-political bloc in the Central Asian region in the future, opposing the expansion of the United States.
Washington is aware of the threats posed by the rapprochement of Iran and Pakistan, especially during the implementation of the gas pipeline project. Documents on its creation should have been signed back in 2012, but that year, according to Pankratenko, “there was a surge in activity on the territory of both local terrorist groups and“ suddenly ”civil activists that appeared. In an effort to thwart the signing of documents on this project, the US ambassador to Islamabad, Richard Olson, discarding any diplomacy, opened the text, as they say, about the possible imposition of sanctions against the country if the idea of the gas pipeline continues to be implemented. ”
In this situation, Islamabad is looking for footholds and finds them in the face of Beijing, or rather, “through the proposed one, once again allow myself to quote Pankratenko, the project of the new economic space of the Silk Road”. Thus, if we return to the terminology of Pestel, China may become a patron country for Pakistan, and Russia will accordingly pursue such a policy towards Iran, which, according to Vladimir Sazhin, a senior researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, would love to achieve allied and strategic relations with Russia. True, the scientist added, "Moscow’s approach will remain, I think, pragmatic." The fact is that Tehran, for obvious reasons, is quite wary of the rather warm relations between Russia and Israel. But one way or another, under the auspices of Moscow and Beijing, the anti-American conglomerate of states in the Middle East region is gradually taking shape.
Another problem on the path of forming a single anti-American space in Central Asia is the complex relationship between India and Pakistan. But in this case, the Kremlin could hypothetically repeat the success of the Soviet diplomacy 1966 of the year, when, in Tashkent, with the mediation of Sovmin’s Chairman Alexei Nikolayevich Kosygin, it was possible, even for a short time, to reconcile the two countries.
I should say at least a few words about Saudi Arabia, namely, about the recent sensational statement of Crown Prince Mohammed Ibn Salman bin Saud about the upcoming radical changes in the country. Analysts believe that when this young man ascends the throne, the country will embark on not just modernization, but also westernization - one idea to build a city from scratch on the Red Sea is worth something, as well as not less ambitious projects to build entertainment centers in the country. . And in this situation, what power will Saudi Arabia choose as its patron? After all, it is obvious that she is not able to be an independent player in the region. And the visit of King Salman is not the first step for the global transformation of not only Russian-Saudi relations, but also something more? Ultimately, by building a new format of relations with the future government in Saudi Arabia, Russia can return to the strategy once proposed by Georgy Vernadsky and implemented by the USSR, which Tsymbursky also wrote about. According to him, Vernadsky proclaimed “the close promotion of the Pacific to the focus of world interests. The powers opposing England (at that stage - the US. - I. H.) should therefore hasten to stop, while it is still possible, the influx of the English element into this oceanic world. In this regard, the road of Russia is to take possession of a number of Pacific naval bases for recreation on the sea route from our Siberian countries to Europe - the direction connecting with the exit through the Euphrates to the Persian Gulf. ” How can you not recall the above reasoning Pestel about Pacific views of Russia?
In conclusion - a lengthy, but important quotation from the “Morphology of Russian geopolitics”: “The Vernadsky model is the rarest case in the 19th century Russian geopolitical thought of a concept with an emphasis on oceans and Eurasian coastal. This is a model that in many respects anticipates the Soviet strategy of the second half of the 20th century: deterrence in the European direction, the transition to compensatory activity along the sea lines. A rare attempt is to model the whole world within the framework of a postulated global confrontation without a circuit in the continental “Russian space”, however this is achieved by focusing on Russia's sea power, projecting its interests and power beyond its total field. Vernadsky's Russia becomes a world force precisely because it has extremely weakened the qualities of the continental power (it defends the continent, relying on it minimally, the exception is Iran and only as a springboard to the Persian Gulf). The continental parameters of Russia are present only implicitly, as a purely defensive aspect - as features that impede England (at the present stage, of course, the USA. - I. H.) block most of the Russian perimeter. ”