The westernization movement in the Russian world, which began in the I. Petro period, has led to the emergence of various trends and the emergence of anti-westernism in Russia. As a result of these developments in the Russian world, Slavophile flow was followed by Eurasian flow. The common direction of these two streams is their birth as a response to the westerns. The purpose of this study is to reveal the factors that cause the emergence of the Eurasian idea which has also affected Russian foreign policy and to compare it with other currents and to show how effective it is in Russian foreign policy.

Key words: Russia, Eurasianism, Russian Foreign Policy, Slavophile, Westernism


The westernization movement that started with Russia, especially with Petro I, also brought forth discussions. Thinking that the development of Russia would take place by taking the West as an example, Petro put Western institutions and western lifestyles in Russia with reforms.

This westernization movement in Russia has begun to debate whether Russia is Western or Eastern. An opinion at this time suggested that the institutions and lifestyles of the West should be applied to the Russian world, while another view suggested that Russian traditions were superior to the West and that their self-worth should be improved. These debates have given birth to westerners and westerners who are still present in Russia today. At first, slavophil caused the emergence of thinking. The main problem between the Westerners and the Slavic nationalists was knotted over which scarcity Russia belongs to or will be.

According to Çaadayev[1], a 19th century Russian thinker, Russia did not make any contribution to the civilization of humanity, and Russia has almost created a vacuum in the moral order of the world.[2] The Westerners regarded their values ​​as reactionary.

In the midst of these discussions, a group of refugees in the 1920s brought forth the idea of ​​Eurasianism in the Russian scientist Sofia. They emerged as a third road project. In this study, it will be investigated why Russia is in search of an identity, then Westernism, Slavophile thought and Eurasian thought will be examined and finally the effects of Eurasianism on Russian Foreign Policy will be investigated.

  1. Seeking Identity in Russia:

Founding systems of thought often emerge in times of crisis in societies. In this period, it is considered how the society will respond to the challenges confronted, the projects related to the transition from the crisis chaotic environments to the long-term healthy community schemes are produced and conceptual and theoretical frameworks are drawn for all of them. In this sense, Eurasianism, which was based on Russian intellectuals in the 1920s and revitalized in a new way in the 1990s, will also eliminate the challenges Russia is facing and provide conceptual and theoretical planes that will reinterpret the identity of the divided civilization[3] a system of thought. [4]

In order to explain the birth and development of the Eurasian thought, we can say that historical repetitions and models offer us: Throughout Russia’s history, Russia has tried to protect its national pride with the achievements it has achieved from its immediate vicinity in order to compensate for its failures against the West, afterwards he found it appropriate to return to Asian roots and traditions or apply them.[5] That is why Khzanov defines Eurasianism as a ‘crisis ideology’. Stephan in CARTER sees Eurasia as a symptom of weakness rather than a strength. [6]

In Brzezinski, Russia has said that Eurasianism fills the gap in the quest for identity, ie, “what is Russia, what is its true mission, what is rightful of what it is”. [7] In order to better understand the Eurasian movement, ideas of Westernism and Slavophile will first be referred to.

  1. Criticism of Westernism and Eurasianism in Russia

It is known that Russia has two important reasons for such a confusion of identity. Russia, which wants to see itself as a Western state throughout history, has remained out of Roman law and has taken over the orthodoxy legacy from Byzantium. In addition, as a result of the Mongol invasions, Russia was far from the Reform and Renaissance movements in Europe. First of all, it wants to close Petro. After Petro’s reforms, the westernization movement emerged. From this date, an identity confusion has begun in Russia.

European thinkers do not see Russia as a European state. It perceives it as a force of nature. According to Hans KOHN, with the conquest of Istanbul by the Turks and the end of the Middle Ages, Russia emerged as the strongest representative of the non-Muslim East.[8] On the other hand, it is noteworthy that almost all of the discussions on ‘where’ or ‘what’ of Europe made in the West left Russia out. “[9] To be understood, Western thinkers see Russia as Eastern as not seeing it as a European state. As a reflection of this, anti-western trends were born in Russia. In other words, the fact that Russia is not regarded as a European state led some parts of Russia to think of Europe as being a European state by imitating Europe, while another led to the anti-Western movements of the ‘inferiority complex’[10]. We can first show Petro I at the beginning of the section advocating westernization. As a matter of fact, Petro I himself is the symbol of Westernization. The philosophical basis for the westerners is Hegel. According to Hegel, the main actor of history is the nations and the course of history is developing directly towards the west, Europe, and Europe is the absolute end of history. In general, Westerners argue that it is now possible to make progress in the way that European societies should be taken as an example.[11]

In Russia, Westernization has been tried to be imposed from above and provided through violence. As a result, the public do not adopt the reforms and the reforms that have been made remain at the level of the government, which in time opened the gap between the people and the administrators. For this reason, anti-Western movements have become part of the Russian political life by the use of the politics at the breakpoints.

We mentioned above that the westernization movement began with Petro I[12]. After Petro, especially II. Katerina[13] and II. During the Aleksander[14], developments in Europe were followed and adapted to Russia. In fact, Russia has struggled to make itself a western state, and has made westernization in large measure. It can be said that the position of Russia in the Western world or the perspectives of Russia are more political. The best example of this is the use of the Eastern expression for post-revolutionary Russia, while the Western writers did not use the concept of East before the 1917 revolution.

Eurasian people are criticizing that Westernization is mainly European and that they have adopted cultural colonialism of Europe. I. Petro is said to have destroyed and even destroyed the bases of Russian culture. N.Trubetskoy, who is the most famous name of Eurasianism, rejects the Roman-Germanic cult in his work ‘Europe and Humanity’ and has severely criticized the concepts of cultural production, development and progress which the Russian westerners often use.[15]

  1. Slavophil Flow and Eurasian Critique:

To understand the Slavophile movement, it is first necessary to look at what is nationalism and what is the difference between Russia and this trend based on the East, that is, from the classical Western nationalist trends.

It can be said that nationalism, as a vague and conceptually controversial concept of its nature, is based on three basic assumptions. Accordingly, there is first and foremost a distinct and distinct nation, its values ​​and superiority to all other interests and values, and this nation should be as independent as possible. [16] The nationalist movement has been shaped differently in Western Europe and Eastern Europe. Eastern European nationalism is considered to have emerged as a form of nationalism that has emerged delayed in socially and politically backward regions, while Western Europe has an understanding of nationalism that has been influenced by the Renaissance, Reform and Enlightenment. In addition, Western nationalism is the work of forces that have emerged as a product of localist forces and away from external intervention. Eastern nationalism aims to create an authoritarian union between the state and faith. Eastern nationalism is also disturbed by external cultural influences. As a result, it is possible to see Eastern nationalism as a result of the need to establish the national identity of the countries which, in a sense, have been subjected to the spread of Western practices and ideas. [17]

It is possible to bring the emergence of Slavophiles, which can be assessed in the context of nationalist movements, to the First Petro. Slavophile minds have emerged in Russia as anti-Western. It is a movement that brings Russian cultural values ​​to the forefront. Discussions in Russian history as Westerners and Slavophiles are seen in 1830s. Two currents have emerged as those who are pro-development by taking the example of the West and those who are in the desire to return to their core values. [18]According to Slavophiles, there were their own cultures and the Russian elites had to own these values. Walicki Slavophil, who finds these ideas of the Slavophiles as imaginary and influenced by the romantic current of that period, regards the thought as a retrospective conservative utopianism.[19]

It should be noted that despite the presumption of cultural contrast with Europe, the idea that Slavophiles are Asian is not warm. According to them, the opposition between Russia and the West should be seen as a relationship between Russian history and Western influence. Just like Russia, in Asia, it was not influenced by Roman law and its individual principles. Therefore, there may be some parallels between the Russians and the Asiatic societies in this context. [20]

So it can be said that Slavophiles was in fact looking for a non-Western approach to Russia’s problem of identity. But the identity is not an “oppressed” third-worldist identity, as it is outside the West. Their foresight is a genuinely hegemonic and peculiar identity that can be measured by the West.[21]

The Slavophile movement will form the basis of the Panslavism movement, a product of Russian chauvinism after the Crimean War of 1953-1956. Slavophile, which is only an idea until this war, has evolved since Panslavism, an argument that the Russian rulers used to realize their orders. [22] It is often used by politicians for Russian expansionism. In Russia, however, nationalism in the sense of state policy has not been adopted. As a matter of fact, the idea that Russia was an ideological state, an ideological state, but not a nation state, starting from Chalde and passing through Stalin and extending to Gorbachev, constantly imposed itself as a necessity.[23]Because Russia has expanded from the moment it has emerged as a state and has embraced many different nations within it. It has consistently adopted a supra-national ideology or trend in staying together.

Eurasians reject the idea that Russian identity is only made up of Slavic elements, partly to the interpretation of Slav nationalists’ negative influence of Europe on Russia. For them, cultural values ​​are more important. Indeed, they find the Slavic concept less meaningful, because Lehler and the Czechs are considered to be a culturally different world, even though they are considered Slavic.[24]

  1. The Emergence of Classical Eurasian Thinking and Lost Its Activity

Eurasianism has emerged as a third way to the westernization and Slavophile movements described above. This idea of ​​thinking, which is called ‘Eurasianists’, is an idea that Russian emigrants[25] emerge from Russia in the name of the October Revolution. The fact that all of the immigrants who put up this idea is a scientist has an important influence on the basis of this movement.

We have mentioned above that the nations seek out their way out of their times of crisis. The idea of ​​Eurasianism is also an idea that came to an end during the October Revolution of the Russian tsarist and the withdrawal of Russia from the First World War. In Russia, the regime of the Romanov family was demolished and replaced with a new system. There was a crisis in it.

Russian emigrants [26]living in Europe have begun to debate and base the idea of ​​Eurasianism for the emergence of this process and for a new order. Russian emigrants began to reveal their first works in the 1920s [27]. In the course of the process, they published magazines and newspapers and debated them. In the 1920s Eurasianism was seen not in one place but in cities like Prague, Paris, Brussels and Belgrade.

The Eurasian movement was also exposed to sharp criticism. Liberals were accused of using ‘anti-democratic and authoritarian’, nationalists ‘anti-Russian and traitors’, and religious people using religious for secular purposes. [28]

Over time, divisions within the movement began to begin.[29] Moreover, as the Russian immigration specialist researcher Elena Chinyaeva emphasized, more interest in Soviet experience in the movement stopped the development of the Eurasian idea and led to even worse factionalization.[30]

In this chaotic setting where the movement lives in itself, in 1928 they removed the weekly Evraziia (Eurasia) journal[31]. The removal of the newspaper has brought both financial difficulties and problems, even when the newspaper’s editorial has been written.[32] Within the movement different beliefs began to be published more and more in time, and a group called Clamarts[33] in September 1929 separated from this movement. Many of the material resources of the movement are in their possession. Eurasianism took a great deal after this separation. The move to regain self-confidence came at the expense of a second Clamart event in Brussels. After that, the movement lost its activity.

  1. Basic Theses of Classic Eurasianism

First of all, this section will deal with the landscape of Eurasian people. The Eurasian theology about space, ie geography, takes place in Savitski’s work ‘Geograficheskie Osobennosti Rossii’ (Geographical features of Russia). It can be said that the purpose of writing the book is to prove the geographical integrity of Eurasia.[34]The Eurasian continent is divided into four basic categories in the eyes of Savitski: the tundra, the forest, the steppe, and the desert. There is an equilibrium and symmetry between these regions, which fuse with each other and form a unique whole. It is based on a very strong and very strong combination of these regions in Russia. Eurasia’s geographical structure has been influenced by virtually all elements of Russian life (cultural, political, economic, etc.). [35]

According to Trubetskoy, an important geographical characteristic of Eurasia is its unique river system. This system makes the continent a tightly integrated and uniformly integrated piece of land. [36]

The Eurasian thinking about the historical process is based on two foundations: the first was the effect of the Kiev state in the Russian state[37], and the second is the state culture received from the Mongols. According to the most important name of the Eurasian, Trubetskoy, the turning point in Russian history is neither the removal of the Mongol-Tatar yoke nor the separation of Russia from Six Orda. Turning point; The spread of Moscow’s power to a large part of the territories previously under the control of the Golden Orda, that is, the Tatar Khan’s replacement with the Moscow Tsar. This development also means the transfer of the political power center and the ideocratic future to Moscow.[38] As can be understood from this statement, Eurasian historians have established a connection with the Mongol-Tatars and argue that there is an interaction. They argue that Russia was only a judge in Eurasia in the 19th century, and after that date it is the region that is related to Russia.

The Eurasian current is not an ethnic interpretation of Russian identity, but a transnational concept of Eurasianism. Russia has many cultures and people.[39]Your identity to keep these peoples together is Eurasianism. That is why they include Mongol-Tatar elements within the Russian nation formation. They say that all of them suddenly share the same identity with these peoples, who are historically regarded as being their ties, and that they have suddenly formed the Russian[40] or Eurasian people. The idea of ​​Trubetskoy in this regard is as follows: the basis of the state, formerly the Russian empire, now called the USSR, only the people of this state can form the magic, which is regarded as a separate multi-national nation and these nations have their own nationalism. We call this nation Eurasian, its space Eurasia, and its nationalism Eurasianism. [41]

Eurasian state understanding adopted the federal republican style. What was important for the Eurasian was how to choose the ruling elite. According to Trubetskoy, throughout history, the elite can be mentioned in two election scales: aristocratic and democratic. However, these two systems no longer functioned and a new state order was necessary, according to Trubetskoy. The fundamental difference in the ideocracy is that the ruling class has a totally common world view. This manager should be able to revive for the sake of an elite management ideal. Therefore, the future forms of Russian stateism were sought in systems based on the principle of popular sovereignty and autarchy, and which would be enjoyed by all people. [42]

Also according to Eurasianists; the nations that have merged in the framework of the Russian imperial state structure in history have formed a Russian synthesis with an organic society model. Eurasians who resist the materialist individual and society understanding and accept the form of organic government clearly reject concepts like national partic- ularism and the right of self-determination besides all kinds of separatist movements.[43] The Eurasian should take neither the West nor the East as examples of the state model. He must apply his own model, the Eurasian model.

Eurasianism’s understanding of religion is shaped through Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy has the belief that the church should be independent of the state. In the program they organized in 1926, orthodoxy declared that Christianity was the only supreme sect and that the others were idolatry. Western Christianity will eventually return to orthodoxy. In addition, Eurasians have a hard stand against Catholicism.[44] It means that it is not possible to combine the two churches. They defend the understanding that the unification efforts made throughout history are far from reality.

The Eurasians criticized capitalism and socialism in their work on the economic system. In particular, they have tried to clarify the issue of private property. In this regard, Alekseyev came to the conclusion that the solution can be found not in destroying the institution of property or changing its subjects, but in redefining its nature or in reestablishing other legal relations. The Eurasian model argues that spiritual values ​​are superior to material values ​​and criticize capitalism. As a result, Eurasian economists foresee a system which is integral in itself as an economic model but not an isolator, taking into account the balanced development of the core areas of the economy.[45]

As a result, Eurasianism is a system of thinking that embodies social, political and economical peculiarity of the model, that Eurasia is a separate civilization, and that the people living here are historical and cultural associations. It criticizes dominant ideologies and defends that salvation is in Eurasianism. After the socialization had settled well in Russia and because of the separatist movements in which he lived, he was ineffective during the cold war period. It can be said that only Lev Gumilev’s work is in the direction of Eurasianism in this period. The idea of ​​Eurasianism will be put forth again in the name of New Eurasianism after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The following sections will examine the common aspects of New Eurasia and its effects on Russian foreign policy from the classical Eurasian.

  1. New Eurasians

History pointed to a new crisis in Eurasian space. Approximately 50 years of competition has come to an end and ‘Iron Curtain’ has remained in the middle. The world was in dismay discussing the dissolution of the USSR. What now? After the disintegration of the USSR, many new republics emerged and the geopolitical order was regenerating. Russia accepted itself as the continuation of the USSR and the world public opinion accepted it.

After the collapse, ideas for solving were put forward in Russia. Initially, the most prominent of these was the supporters of Westernism, and the political, economic and military steps that began in Gorbachev began with Yeltsin’s success. Western Russian thinkers and Western thinkers thought the outcome of the crisis was approaching the West. [46]

However, it was seen that the liberation role of the West towards the mid-1990s did not provide the expected benefit to Russia in the following period. Therefore, other currents in Russia began to come to the forefront. In this era, which we have called the new Eurasianism movement, it started to attract attention in this period. New Eurasianism, unlike the classical purely controversial ones, gained academic, social and political identity within a short period of time. [47]

In the post-Soviet period, the New Eurasians agreed that there were two options as the way out of the confrontation. According to them, Russia will either adopt an American type liberal option that will strengthen the authoritarian structure to strengthen the country, or will lead Russia to utterly ruin and appear under different names. [48]

We have already mentioned above that the periods when new trends and new ideas emerged are depression periods. The new Eurasianism movement has also appeared in such an environment. In the international arena, the thesis that America was the victor of the Cold War and that this situation would not change anymore has begun to work.[49] The idea of ​​living hegemony and the American hegemony set forth by Western writers will dominate Russia’s understanding that the struggle of A. Dugin, which had not been accepted by the New Eurasians and will be explained in particular in the future, should continue and be fought.

The factors that we can distinguish inside and outside have been influential in the emergence of the new Eurasia. At first, anti-globalization emerges as external factors. They defend the thesis that globalization will lead Russia to collapse. Because it is the transfer of Western values ​​under the name of globalization. In fact, even though they are not anti-globalization, they believe that globalization will bring Russian culture and Russian state to the end. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the country opened its gates to the doors of capital and entered into a transformation. But this transformation did not show the expected benefit and especially affected the Russian people in the negative direction. Two fundamental dynamics have emerged in the process of economic transformation: a high degree of unemployment and unpaid salaries, on the one hand, and an extreme contrast in society, which is a natural consequence of a rapid oligarchic[50] process, also called Russian-style capitalism. The conclusion we can draw from this is that the globalization movement in Russia has mostly had a negative impact on Russia and the Russian people.[51]

Russia, which could not find its economic hopes, has suffered a loss of confidence as a result of NATO and EU enlargement towards Eastern Europe, and has reinterpreted the idea of ​​anti-Westernism that it has carried in its genes for centuries. The new Eurasianism is also a trend fed by this idea.

The most important reason for the emergence of Eurasianism in post-Soviet Russian thought life is the need for an ideology to hold peoples living in Russia together[52]. While communism welcomed this need in the USSR, there was no ideology in the new Russian state yet to meet it. The new Eurasian people believed that the Eurasian idea would close this opening. After understanding the emergence of the new Eurasian ideas, the next section will examine the common and different aspects of New Eurasianism with Classical Eurasianism.

7-A. Comparison of New Eurasianism and Classical Eurasianism

As the new Eurasianists are the Classical Eurasian, the basic effort is to be able to put forward the views that will provide the spatial integrity of Russia. Both understandings are emphasizing a common civilization. Classical Eurasianists describe Russian identity as mainly anti-Western. The new Eurasianism has taken this tradition exactly as well. Classic Eurasianism has always emphasized the endless malevolence and hostility of the West. The new Eurasian people have continued this by adding Russian messianism. [53]

Another similarity between the two streams is that they both have emerged during periods of depression. The new Eurasianists were revealed as a result of the disintegration of geopolitical unity after the USSR. This direction has taken the philosophical foundations of the New Eurasianism from Classical Eurasianism and furthered it. However, there are some differences between the two streams. While classical Eurasianists mean Europe as the West, New Eurasianists see the United States as the West. New Eurasian thinkers also criticize the US, the Atlantic, in their criticism. As a second distinction, a number of different interpretations have been made to look at historical facts.[54] But the understanding in the essence of Eurasianism has not changed. There are many representatives and understanding of the new Eurasian movement. There are many classifications for this. It will only be examined by Dugin’s Eurasian thought because it is a New Eurasian thinker who does not destroy  and affects Russian politics the most.

7-B. Dugin’s Eurasianism

It is not possible to say another name that re-publishes classical works as hard as Dugin, and attempts to develop Eurasian thought with new elements in order to bring the idea of ​​Eurasianism into post-1990 Russia. The Eurasian intellectual tried to shape every sphere and set a mold in his work. [55]

Dugin’s Eurasianism has evolved over time. He praised radical Russian Eurasianism in 1985-1991. In this period, conservatives were even closer to monarchist circles. Between 1990 and 1991 he founded his own publishing house. Between 1991 and 1993, the communist party got closer and wrote in nationalist magazines such as ‘den’ and ‘zaftra’. Since 1994, he has begun to form the theoretical framework which he describes as real Eurasianism. Between 1998 and 2001, he was supported by Prime Minister Primakov, approaching the center. After Putin’s election to the presidency, Dugin’s precaution increased. Although he set up a movement called Eurasia in 2001, he explained that he would support Putin in the elections. The party established in 2003 continues to work as an International Eurasian Movement [56]. This movement has branches outside Russia.[57]

Dugin says that the Eurasian movement, primarily led by the five fundamental principles: Scientific patriotism, social trend, traditionalism, Eurasian regionalism.[58]

The scientific patriotism is based on geopolitics and forms Russia’s initiatives against the challenges of globalization. The social tendency requires the construction of a social state, that is, the free market should be restrained in the context of a just, solidarity and moral society, social justice and national development conditions. Traditionism is the return to spiritual roots in the face of the crisis of secular culture and science. Eurasian ethnism encompasses the provision of political status to ethnos and the preservation of the freedoms of all peoples, and is a solution between this nationalism and cosmopolitism. Eurasian territoriality involves preserving the authenticity of the regions and a diversified approach to their development.[59]

Especially geopolitical ideas in the Eurasian idea have come to the forefront. Dugin was primarily influenced by three classic geopolitics: British Sir Halford Mackinder, German Karl Haushofer and Carl Schmitt.

Mackinder’s theory of land mastery forms the basis of Dugin’s major geopolitical thesis. According to this theory, Eurasia is Heartland, and the power to stand against the Atlantic can only come from this region. Dugin begins and develops his thesis within this understanding. According to Dugin, it is the West Atlantic. The Atlantic is the rival of darkness in Russia. [60]That is why Russia is a necessity for Russia to be an empire. Because the only power that can come out of this area in the face of the Atlantic can stand. It is believed that this power is not only Russia, but can be achieved by creating an Eurasian power with Germany[61], Japan and Iran[62].[63]The estate is separated from the classical Eurasian by the definition of Eurasia, which he did here. Because they did not include Germany, Japan and Iran in this region. In this case, the allegory makes Europe, which classical Eurasian people regard as a threat, a strategic ally. Europe is no longer a traditional antithesis but a potential ally. Germany and Japan are technologically advanced Russia is a resource rich country. By combining these two forces, an Eurasian power can be created.[64]

The Mystic adds to the struggle that the Dugin Atlantic has entered. For example, he sees the USA as Carthage and says that it should be destroyed. The Pon wars Carthage made with the Romans, according to Dugin, have not yet been concluded. Because this struggle continues under other names.

The Eurasianist anticipation of Dugin described above can be seen as the counter-argument of Brzezinski. Brzezinski argued that Russia should be prevented from expanding to the West and East, while Dugin states that Russia should spread in these directions. Brzezinski advocates that the only power that can be brought against the United States is from Eurasia and says that it must be prevented. For this, it is necessary to develop relations with the EU and Japan.

  1. Reflections of Eurasianism Movement on Russian Foreign Policy after Soviet

After the disintegration of the USSR, two main trends emerged in Russia. The other is the New Eurasianism, which is called the Atlanticism. To understand the post-Soviet Russian foreign policy well, the Atlanticist movement needs to be well known.

Boris Yeltsin and his team (prime minister Igor Gaaydar and foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev) formed the body of the new witches, also called the Atlantic or reformer. The new westerners played an important role in the transition process that Russia experienced in the early nineties. In this period, the Moscow administration has focused on a western and international system, economic integration and political rapprochement from a collaborative perspective. The administration believed that the ‘westernization’ process would contribute to the establishment of a democratic political regime in Russia based on the market economy. Thus, the westernization movement was influenced in a new way in Russian political life.[65]

Yeltsin’s right-hand man Gennedi Burbulis explains his new era of foreign policy at the end of 1991: ‘The old authorities continued to divide the world into two camps, capitalist and socialist. They still believe in the ideal of establishing a communist society superior to that of the Western model. This approach automatically creates new contradictions and enmities. ‘[66]Kozyrev stressed that’ Russia will launch a new and taut partnership and integration with the West ‘.[67] As it can be understood from these statements, the abandonment of the communist ideal that started with Gorbachev in Russian foreign policy and the cooperation and integration with the west continued in Yeltsin period after the Soviet period. During this period, he became a member of international monetary institutions. He also established a joint commission to co-operate with NATO. However, this hot weather will not blow for a long time. The opposition, evaluating that the westernization policy did not benefit, has increased the dose of criticism to Boris Yeltsin. This situation in Russia has forced Yeltsin into some changes in foreign policy.[68] Because, with the support of the US, the expansion of NATO and the EU to the East has disturbed Russia and an atmosphere of insecurity has begun to emerge. Economically, he did not find what he expected. In the face of this situation, the greatest and most influential critics came from the New Eurasian.

The atmosphere of chaos and instability in the new Russia, the ever-diminishing fall of Russian ideas, and the ambiguity of all this have allowed the rapid adoption of the new Eurasian thinking system. The Russians began to think that the restoration would no longer be possible by articulation to the West but by revitalizing old geopolitical codes.[69] In 1996, with the arrival of Primakov to the Russian foreign ministry, the signals of the change in Russian foreign policy began to be understood.

The Primakov Doctrine, which was adopted in 1996 to understand the dimension of change in Russian foreign policy, will help us. The accepted doctrine can be summarized as follows:

  • Just as Kozirev[70] is in the Foreign Ministry, relations with the West will be developed on the basis of Europe, not the US. Efforts to build the Russian-French-German geopolitical triangle will be increased.
  • Russia gave up Western-oriented Asian politics, shared China’s multi-polar world ideas, and aimed to develop relations with India, Japan, and North Korea. The construction of the Moscow-Beijing-Delhi geostrategic line has been one of the main priorities.
  • It is envisaged to launch a new era in relation with the Islamic World.
  • The most important geopolitical issues for the Near Environment will be discussed. The surrounding environment has been declared a “living space” in terms of Russian foreign policy.
  • Russia will take more initiative in international issues (Yugoslavia, the Middle East, Tajikistan).
  • Regional power balance will be established and alliances will be made.
  • In the context of Russia becoming a global power again, its position in the international system will be strengthened and the geography of its relations will expand.[71]

As can be understood from the above doctrine, Russia has primarily declared its immediate surroundings as a living space. Here it is seen that Eurasian efforts to unite the space. It is foreseen that a multipolar system should be formed and that Russia will cooperate with countries like Japan, India. As can be seen from these expressions, there is almost an overlap with the ideas put forward by New Eurasia. The Primakov Doctrine has been a strategic plan to reduce the global supremacy of the United States and envisage a multi-polar international system in this context. Although alliances have skepticism, Russia and China, which met in 1997, denounced American hegemony and made it clear that it was “not allowed” to expand NATO. The scope of the doctrine of Putin’s power and his doctrine has expanded further and the content has become concrete. [72]

Relations with the West were on the one hand while messages of cooperation from the heads of the administrators were given. Especially after the September 11 attacks, Russia has clearly supported the US in terms of terrorism. Shortly after September 11, Putin once again declared that the “cold war” ended in his speech in the German parliament.[73] Russia has supported the USA’s operation in Afghanistan, but the US has not voiced that Russia has opened a military base in Uzbekistan. Although the US occupation of Iraq has been a little bit involved, a disturbance has not been pronounced on the Russian side. These revolutions that took place in the backyard of Russia, which is called the colorful revolutions in this period, where relations are well advanced, have been realized with Western support. This has been influential in breaking relations and creating an atmosphere of insecurity.

Putin era Russia has not experienced any problems in its relations with the West until 2008, but there is no big tension. In this period, Russia’s economic recovery due to rising oil prices[74], its membership in G-8, its nuclear power, its permanent membership in the UNFCCC, and its failure in Iraq and Afghanistan at the same time, has increased the effectiveness of Putin in the country. In this environment, the dream of being a great power again is revived in Russia. With this confidence, Russia will enter a war with Georgia.[75] From this moment on, the West’s reaction has been tough on Russia, and relations have been severely strained. For the Putin-era Russian policy, the Battle of Georgia constitutes a turning point. As a matter of fact, after this date, the West has again become a threat to Russia. In the concepts of 2008 and 2013, the West was seen as an external threat. The second breaking point was the annexation of the Crimea. The crisis environment in this context brings Russia and the West together again. The antagonism of the West, which forms the basis of the Eurasian idea, resurrects in Russia. It is noteworthy that Russia entered into an economic recovery after the collapse of the Soviet dissolution, and it seems that Russia still approached itself with an imperial mentality of what it considers itself to be a “superpower”. At this point, there is a trace of the necessity for the Eurasian idea to become an Imperial Eurasian power for Russia.

Efforts for integration into the Eurasian region, foreseen by the Eurasian idea, are influential in Russian foreign policy. The CIS, the Eurasian Economic Union[76], the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Collective Security Treaty Organization[77] are examples of the efforts of the Central Asia Cooperation organization integration efforts. Putin is in an effort to keep his relations with Germany well with Germany in the struggle for integration in the former Soviet geography. This is actually an approach that can be evaluated within the Eurasian geopolitical context. Putin also exemplifies the use of a kind of Eurasian style, emphasizing ongoing socio-economic ties to historical unity, geographical proximity, historical past, and historical fate in his visits to neighboring countries.[78]

The above-mentioned expressions show the effectiveness of Eurasianism, but we should not mislead the efficacy of Eurasianism on Putin. There is a realist-pragmatic orientation in foreign policy after Putin. Eurasianism has been instrumental in providing a policy for Putin. From time to time Eurasian discourses show his direction. The most important thing for Putin is not to be a regional sense but to be a great force in global sense. Putin believes that this should be done in the normal way, not as an alternative ideological or geopolitical block center. In the context of this political concept, called the new realism, Putin is seeking to develop a policy that will integrate Russia’s national interests while integrating it into the world community.[79] Putin is mainly normalized in Russian foreign policy. However, the crises of Georgia and Ukraine show how Putin will take an aggressive stance when Russia has vital interests.

To summarize, Eurasianism is one of the means used in the formation of Russian foreign policy. It can be said that regional integration activities take place in this direction. But behind all this is the desire of Russia to be a great power. This power must be on a global scale. As a matter of fact, all the foreign policy that Russia followed in the cold war and the main aim of Eurasian strategies with close-minded features in particular were always in this direction. Eurasia has been seen as a road from Russia to the great Russia by centuries.[80]

9.Conclusion and Evaluation:

The beginning of the movement of westernization with Petro I. is a turning point for Russia. During this period, Russia turned its direction to the West and many of its influences in the arena were felt in Russian political and cultural life. The most obvious example of the change is that the capital moved from Moscow to the city of Petersburg, where Petro was inspired by Western cities. This change symbolizes Westernization for Russia. However, these changes have been tried to be adopted with pressure and imposition on the Russian people. As a result, anti-Westernist reactions were born in the people and in some intellectuals.

The slavophile movement first emerged by feeding from the anti-Westernism. This current, which envisaged a Slavic empire, has been transformed into the chauvinist state of Panslavism after the Battle of 1856. However, in one period Russian foreign policy has been one of the arguments for Russian expansionism, but in general has never manifested itself as a goal in Russian foreign policy.

The times of depression have been periods in which States have entered into new quests and seek ways of salvation. In this turbulent environment created by the October Revolution, Eurasian ideas were published. This movement, which is called classical Eurasian, constitutes emigrants who migrated from Russia. This flow, which is fed from the anti-Western slaves like Slavophile thought, argues that Russia is Eurasia and that Eurasia is neither the East nor the West. Eurasia is a different continent with its own unique structure.

It was seen that the establishment of the USSR and the communist ideology became a dominant understanding in Russia and that this movement became ineffective in the mid-1930s due to the increasing interest in communism in the Eurasian movement and material problems. Only Lev Gumilev’s work until the dissolution of the Soviets is the continuation of this movement. In Russia, which has fallen into a chaotic environment with the disintegration of the Soviets, ideas for the exit from the crisis have been put forward. The idea, initially called New Westernism, was dominated by Russian foreign policy with the political support of Yeltsin. The Russian market, which was trying to integrate with the West in this period, opened to global capital. Military agreements for disarmament and cooperation agreements with NATO have also been signed. However, over time, Westernism did not provide the expected benefits and the economic troubles increased pressures on Yeltsin, and Russian foreign policy had to change. The most obvious example of this is Primakov, who was influenced by the Eurasian movement, to come to the Russian foreign affairs presidency in 1996. The idea that is called the New Eurasian together with Primakov began to show its traces in Russian foreign policy. The most important representatives of this movement are Dugin and Panarin. There have been many societies affected by the idea of ​​Eurasianism. This has led to the emergence of very different Eurasian movements.

This movement, which has become even more active with Putin’s becoming president, has been a good instrument for Putin’s ideal of ‘great global power Russia’. Reflections of the new Eurasian idea can be seen in regional security and integration activities such as ODKB, CIS, SCO, Eurasian Economic Community. This integration of Russia is understood as a part of the desire to unite Eurasia and establish a strong state again and put an end to the hegemony of the Atlantean. Generally speaking, the post-Soviet Russian foreign policy is changing from Westernism back to anti-Western politics. The most important indicators of this are that in 2000, 2008 and 2013, Russian military security and foreign policy doctrines saw NATO as a threat to Russia. Moreover, the interventions of Georgia and Ukraine demonstrate the detachment of Russia from the international environment. It should be noted, however, that the aggressive policy of Russia in this way has been a major influence on the expansion of NATO to the east.

The Eurasian region has now become a geopolitical struggle as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union. This struggle is now carried out with many arguments. Economic activities are at the top of this. Indeed, Russia uses the energy resources it has as a foreign policy instrument. Whether Putin’s Russia or the West will win in this period, when the Eurasian chess poker hands are getting better and better, will emerge more clearly in the future.



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  • Samuel Huntington, Medeniyetler Çatışması, Vadi Yayıncılık 2006
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  11. Gerald M. Easter, The Russian State in the Time, Post-Soviet Affairs, 2008, 24, 3, pp. 199–230. DOI: 10.2747/1060-586X.24.3.199112
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[1] He is shown as close to westernist.

[2] Prof. Dr. Ömer Göksel İŞYAR ‘Avrasya ve Avrasyacılık’ pp:11 ‘Dora Yayıncılık second edition 2013’

[3] Hantington tells us in his clash of civilizations that Russia is a divided country and that it is not exactly a civilization. Turkey also contains the puts this category.

[4] Vügar İMANOV ‘Avrasyacılık’ pp:3 ‘Küre Yayınevi second edition June 2008’

[5] Prof. Dr. Ömer Göksel İŞYAR ‘Avrasya ve Avrasyacılık’ pp:16 ‘Dora Yayıncılık second edition 2013’

[6] e.i. sf:17

[7] Brezezınskı ‘Büyük Satranç Tahtası’p:156 ‘İnkılap Yayınevi 2014’

[8] Hans Kohn, The Mind of Modem Russia: Historical and Mitical Thought of Russia’s Great Age, New York:

Harper Torchbooks, 1962, p. 3.

[9] Sezgin KAYA, Rus Dış Politikasında Batı Karşıtlığının Düşünsel ve Tarihsel Gelişimi, Akademik Bakış Volume:4 No:4 Winter 2010

[10] Lavrin 1963, p. 247


[11] Meşdi İSMAYILOV p.p:24,Avrasyacılık, DoğuBatı Yayınevi 2011,

[12] As an example of the westernization movement during the I. Petro period, it can be shown that the people change their costumes, the influence of the church on the state, and the fact that the capital moved to Petersburg, the city it founded. ( For more detail : Abdullah Demir, tarihten günümüze Rus yayılmacılığı ve yeni kurulan cumhuriyetler, Ötüken Yayınları 1998)

[13] II. The Katerina period is also referred to as the actual Enlightenment period. He has tried to govern his country in a constitutional order. It was seen that concepts such as private property and liberalism began to take place in the minds of the Russian elites in the period of the emergence of a new line of society in Russia, a new class called intelligentsia.

[14] II. The first activity of Aleksander became unfathomable to the serf, and then entered into reforms, especially in law, in other fields.

[15] İbid p. 28

[16] Ibid Sezgin KAYA

[17] Ibid Sezgin KAYA

[18] Here they dream of the pre-Petro period as their own values. They think that Petro is ruining their own spiritual values.

[19] Sezgin KAYA, Ömer Göksel İŞYAR, Rus yayılmacılığı ve slavofil düşüncenin tarihsel gelişimi, USAK Volume:4 No:8 p:25-49 2009

[20] Ibid

[21] Tanıl Bora, “Rusya’da Radikal Sağ ve Avrasyacılık”, Uygarlığın Yeni Yolu Avrasya, Erol Göka ve Murat

Yılmaz (Jorn.), (İstanbul: Kızılelma Yayıncılık, 1998), p: 114-115.

[22] Especially in the balkans, he used it as a political tool against the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires. It was one of the most important elements that united the balkan states in the Balkan wars.

[23] Oliver Roy, Yeni Orta Asya ya da Ulusların İmal Edilişi, (İstanbul: Metis, 2000), p: 89.


[24] Meşdi İSMAYILOV p:38,Avrasyacılık, DoğuBatı Yayınevi 2011,

[25] The most important names of this movement are N. S. Trubetskoy and P. N. Savitski

[26] The dispersal of Russian emigrants to Europe made it difficult for them to come together and caused disconnections between them. It is also an important issue that makes it difficult for them to come together in financial impossibilities.

[27] The first text of the indirect manifestation and manifestation of classical Eurasianism was the 82-page work of Trubetskoy, ‘Europe and Humanity’.

[28] Vügar İMANOV ‘Avrasyacılık’ p:148 ‘Küre Yayınevi First Edition June 2008’

[29] The latter would be the philosopher-theologian G. Florovsky in 1923. Eurasianism will also fill the ranks as a justification.

[30] Ibid p:149

[31] The finance of the newspaper is Henry Norman Spalding in England who is interested in Eurasianism.

[32] Savitsky mentions that the environment is nervous, and that there are technical and partly ideological difficulties that the current cadre of writing is weak.

[33] Since the Evraziia newspaper is published in the Clamart district of Paris, the crisis is called the Clamart incident.

[34] Ibid p:189

[35] Prof. Dr. Ömer Göksel İŞYAR ‘Avrasya ve Avrasyacılık’ p:42 ‘Dora Yayıncılık Second Edition 2013’

[36] Ibid p:43

[37] In Russian official history writing, Russia’s roots are based on this state. It continued to exist until mid-820 and 12th century.

[38] Meşdi İSMAYILOV p:50,Avrasyacılık, DoğuBatı Yayınevi 2011,


[39] It is known that more than 100 nations live today.

[40] Here, the Russian nation means all of the people of Eurasia. The Eurasian are intentions of the Eurasianism.

[41] Vügar İMANOV ‘Avrasyacılık’ p:118 ‘Küre Yayınevi First Edition June 2008’

[42] Ibid p. 110-123

[43] Prof. Dr. Ömer Göksel İŞYAR ‘Avrasya ve Avrasyacılık’ p:39-40 ‘Dora Yayıncılık Second Edition 2013’

[44] The plundering and occupation of Istanbul in the 4th Crusade was undoubtedly influential in its opposition to Catholicism, ie Latinness.

[45] Vügar İMANOV ‘Avrasyacılık’ p:112-116 ‘Küre Yayınevi First Edition June 2008’

[46] In this regard, especially the people’s support for the western approach and the desire to do so was the effect of the post-Soviet first period Russian politics.

[47] Meşdi İSMAYILOV p:131,Avrasyacılık, DoğuBatı Yayınevi 2011.

[48] Ibid p:139

[49] The most remarkable of these is the end of Fukuyama ‘s history. In his thesis he defeated the western communism and the struggle finally came to an end. The end of history came with the liberty of the West.

[50] Vladimir Putin was the first to break the power of this oligarchy after he came to power.

[51] Idib p:156

[52] The Chechens declared their independence after the disintegration of the USSR. But Russia did not recognize it. This topic will occupy Russia for a long time.

[53] Ibid p:151

[54] Panarin and Lev Gumilev have written on this subject. Lev Gumilev accepted the interpretation that the Russian state, which was not accepted as a classic Eurasian, was based on Kiev Knezi. However, Panarin’s view is the same as the classic Eurasian.

[55] Vügar İMANOV ‘Avrasyacılık’ p:201 ‘Küre Yayınevi First Edition June 2008’

[56] This movement under the leadership of Dugin has a large number of senior Russian directors. Indeed, not only this, but also the effectiveness of Dugin’s ideas on Russian politics.

[57] Meşdi İSMAYILOV p:149 ,Avrasyacılık, DoğuBatı Yayınevi 2011.

[58] Vügar İMANOV ‘Avrasyacılık’ p:204 ‘Küre Yayınevi First Edition June 2008’

[59] Ibid p:204

[60] According to Schmitt, each group or movement feels the need to define itself on the basis of friendly and enemy choices. Dugin also puts the continental civilization of Eurasia against the maritime civilization of Atlantis.

[61] Haushofer emphasized Russian-German solidarity against American hostility in his geopolitical views. Dugin has accepted this approach.

[62] Iran is seen as a possible member of this alliance because of its connection to the Persian Gulf and its anti-Western policies.

[63] Aleksander Dugin, Rus Jeopolitiği ve Avrasyacı Yaklaşım, Küre Yayınları 5th Edition p:56-81

[64] For such an alliance Russia expresses to Germany and Japan that it should give places where there are conflicts.

[65] Sait SÖNMEZ, yeni batıcılık ve yeni Avrasyacılık bağlamında Yeltsin döneminin doğu batı politikalarının analizi, akademik bakış volume:3 no:6 summer 2010

[66] Idib

[67] Idib

[68] İlyas KERİMOV, Putin dönemi Rus Dış politikası Moskova’nın Rövanşı, Yeditepe yayınları December 2008, p:5

[69] Yrd. Doç. Dr. Halit Mammadov, Rus Dış Politikasında Stratejik- Zihinsel Süreklilik ve Putin’in Dış Politika Doktrin

-Rapor, p:28,  The Ahmet Yesevi Univercity

[70] The Kozirev doctrine does not allow Russia to move in with the Western world, and Russia to enter the ‘very developed countries’ category, to make economic contributions such as EU membership and the Marshall plan.

[71] Yrd. Doç. Dr. Halit Mammadov, Rus Dış Politikasında Stratejik- Zihinsel Süreklilik ve Putin’in Dış Politika Doktrin

-Rapor-, p:29, Ahmet Yesevi Üniversitesi

[72]  Brezezınskı ‘Büyük Satranç Tahtası’ p:234 ‘İnkılap Yayınevi 2014’

[73] İlyas KERİMOV, Putin dönemi Rus Dış politikası Moskova’nın Rövanşı, Yeditepe yayınları Ocak 2008, p:8-9


[74] 75-80% of the Russian economy is based on oil and natural gas imports. Besides this, gun exportation is also an important place.

[75] As a result of the war that started on 08.08.2008, Russia identified the independence of Georgia in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and a great blow to Georgia. This war, which lasted for 5 days, cost Russia about 50 billion dollars.

[76] Eurasia voiced his opinion that the idea of economic union was first made in 1994 at Moscow State University by N. Nazarbayev. This idea, which was initially rejected by another actor from outside Russia, has become an argument in Russian foreign policy in the course of time and nowadays. Today, there are four members of the Eurasian Economic Community (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia). It is aimed to establish an EU-style structure in the following stages.

[77] Article 7 of ODKB is the same as Article 5 of NATO. The attack on one of the parties to the treaty will be considered as if all the members were made.

[78] Vügar İMANOV ‘Avrasyacılık’ p:282 ‘Küre Yayınevi First Edition June 2008’

[79] Prof. Dr. Ömer Göksel İŞYAR ‘Avrasya ve Avrasyacılık’ p: 164-173 ‘Dora Yayıncılık Second Edition 2013’

[80] Idib p: 180

Rüstem Kamenov

IR (Researcher on Russia and Central Asia)


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