Since the disintegration of USSR Eurasia has gained a new geopolitical and strategic significance. Fifteen Countries emerged as result of disintegration, among which only Russian Federation was the successor state. The post-soviet era especially the era of 1990s was a political and economic trauma for the Russian federation and the post-soviet space. But Eurasianists were well aware about the American unilateralism and American ‘Grand Chessboard strategy” that was solely aimed at encircling Russian geography. With these concerns, the Eurasianists advised the Russian political and military elites to initiate the Eurasian Union Project. This paper briefly sketches Russian historical Eurasian dream, which deeply rooted in Russian imperial history and discusses about the importance of Eurasian philosophy for the political and economic stability of Russia-Eurasia. The paper also illustrates about the challenges and opportunities for the Eurasian integration and for the establishment of multipolar world order. Moreover, the paper also briefly outlines the geopolitical rationale behind the Eurasian project as key objective of the contemporary Russian foreign policy and geopolitics.
The fall of Soviet Union was not only a calamity for Russia rather it has greatly impacted the peace and stability of Eurasia especially the post-soviet space. It was the ascension of President Boris Yeltsin to the Russian presidency that led to the disintegration of Soviet Union and gave birth to the fragile commonwealth of the independent states . Moreover, it was the secret Belavezha Accords signed by the President Boris Yeltsin with Belarus and Ukraine, on American dictations that brought economic and security consequences for the Russia in the years to come . The fragile Commonwealth of the independent states failed to rescue the post-soviet space from economic and security apocalypse. On the face of dire economic and security challenges, Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed the establishment of Eurasian Union modelled in the patterns of European Union . Basically, he proposed the re-integration of the post-soviet space with Russia on the wake of crisis in order to ensure the future security of Eurasia . His proposal was cordially encouraged by Russia, Armenia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan.
On the contrary, the fact cannot be denied that the relationship of Russia with the countries in the Eurasian region is rooted in the history of shared identity . In this regard, the Eurasianists want to construct a new ideology that will ensure the identitarian unity among the Eurasian communities. For Eurasianists, It is Russia which can shape a new binding ideology to reclaim the geographical and cultural sphere of the post-soviet space . With the beginning of Vladimir Putin’s presidency in Russia, Eurasianists received both political and economic support from the government to construct the Eurasian integration project . Basically, the ideology of Eurasianism can be traced in the writings of famous Russian exiles in the 1920s, who speculated about the Eurasian ideology. It was only in the 1920s, when a group Soviet exiles such as Geographer Piotr Savitskii and ethnologist Lev Gumilev began speculating about Russia-Eurasia by asserting that ‘Russian world is neither Asian nor European rather Eurasian’ . Moreover, throughout the course of twentieth century, the Russian exiles stressed on the distinctive nature of Russia-Eurasia by founding the Eurasianist Movement. In this respect, the geopolitical character of the Eurasianist Movement began accentuating on the civilizational identity of Eurasia. Similarly, in the recent the neo-Eurasianists such as Alexander Penarin and Alexander Dugin re-affirmed the idea of Eurasia and the ideology of Eurasianism .
In this paper I will contend that Eurasianism is an inherent part of Russian history and identity and then I will establish a link between Russian Eurasianism and multipolarity. In this respect, the multi-dimensional conceptual framework of the “Revisionist theory” has been applied to develop the geopolitical analysis about the futurist prospects of the integration of Russia-Eurasia. Though, various western geopolitical experts consider Russian Eurasian project as an excuse to revive its historical imperial ambition, what they call as Russian obsession with the establishment of the ‘Fifth Rome’. But the geopolitics has its own diverse strategic implications and the western speculation about the Russian neo-imperialism narrative does not justify the contemporary global political standards.
As far as the methodology is concerned this paper solely uses the contemporary geopolitical dynamics of neorealism from the standpoint of classical and neo-Eurasianism. The classical Eurasianist school was pioneered by famous Russian historian Lev Gumilev and the neo-Eurasianist school is pioneered by contemporary Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin.
This paper contains four major themes, which are closely related with the current expansive nature of the Russian foreign policy. The first theme deals with the historical collective identity of Russia-Eurasia, which existed for centuries through a common ‘Eurasian Ethos”. The second theme deals with the Russian neo-Eurasianist approach which was shaped by Alexander Dugin’s famous geopolitical treatise “The foundation of geopolitics”. The third theme emphases on the contemporary Russian foreign policy approach towards building a new network of grand alliances with key countries across the Eurasian region such as Germany, Japan and Iran. Lastly, the fourth theme contemplates about the contemporary Russian grand strategy for the establishment of Eurasian union and multipolarity.
With the demise of the Soviet Union, the geopolitical and culture significance of Eurasia has emerged as new project for the Russian re-integration with the post-soviet space. In response the Eurasianists across Russia stressed on the development of the “Eurasian Ethos” to re-bridge the diverse communities across Eurasia into the mould of single Eastern civilization . Basically, the major objective of the Eurasianists was to shape new cultural and ideological foundation for the reintegration of the Post-soviet states with Russia. It was Alexander Dugin’s milestone geopolitical treatise ‘The foundation of geopolitics’ which shaped the contemporary Russian geopolitics, stressing on the re-unification of the Eurasian ‘heartland’ with Russia . In addition, the fact cannot be denied that under the reign of President Vladimir Putin, Russian political and military elites have embraced the ideology of neo-Eurasianism developed by the writings of professor Dugin .According to Dugin, Russia is the only leading nation in the Eurasian landmass, which can re-integrate the Eurasian communities and to make it happen, he founded the International Eurasia Movement.
According to Dugin, the liberal internationalism championed by the United States since the end of Second Great War, is near to death end, and is suffering from the fatal crisis. In the nihilistic post-modern age, liberalism has detached itself from the rational thought and moulded itself into fascism . In neo-Eurasianists view, liberalism has degenerated human biology, ethics, morality, identity and civilization. As Dugin said:
“We need to return to the being, to the logos, to the fundamental ontology, to the sacred, and to the middle Ages—thus to the empire, religion and the institution of traditional society. All the content of modernity is Satanism and degeneration. Nothing is worth; everything is to be cleansed off. The modernity is absolutely wrong—science, values, philosophy, art, society, modes, patterns, and truths, understanding of being, time and space. All is dead with modernity; so it should end—we are going to end it” 
In contrast, the whole Eurasianist treatise in the “Foundation of geopolitics” stresses on the development of the Eurasian Union from Dublin to Vladivostok. In this regard, the neo-Eurasianists advocates national bolshevism to reclaim the pride and glory of historical Russia from the context of Eurasian anthropology and history . They condemned the racial-ethnic nationalism in Russia and hassled on the creation of historic-cultural based regional nationalism by embracing the meta-culture of the Eurasian region. In the latter context, neo-Eurasianists declare Russia as the ideological core for the Eurasian integration, by advocating the initial integration with White Russians (Belorussia), and little Russians (Ukraine) . It is because the Russian Slavic culture and history has close ties with East Slavs, Turkic, and Mongols, which exists across the Eurasian steppes for centuries with distinctive culture and identities.
On the other hand, the close cultural cooperation between the Russian Slavs and the East Slavs is significant for the construction of the Eurasian Ethos. Likewise, if we read the works of the classical Eurasianist, Lev Gumilev, who claimed that during the middle Ages, the Mongols and Peasant Slavs were living in cultural hybridity, with shared identity. It was only after the westernization project of the Peter the Great in Russia, which dragged the ‘black legend’ of the Mongol yoke to Russia . Thus, Lev Gumilev traces the foundation of the Eurasian identity in the middle ages, during which the hard-core Islamic Mongols preferred to integrate into orthodox Christian civilization in order to preserve the Eurasian identity . In this regard, the classical Eurasianists also devise the cultural hybridity between Russian Slavs, East Slavs, and Central Asian Mongols as a necessary step for the establishment of the Eurasian bloc.
In contrast, the whole ideology of Eurasianism focuses on the establishment of the Eurasian Union to ensure the economic prosperity and security of the Eurasian region. Although, throughout the chaotic 1990s, the post-soviet Russia was too weak to implement the Eurasian project on the wake of financial turmoil but with the rise of Vladimir Putin to Russian presidency, the pace of Eurasian integration accelerated . Moreover, it was the former Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev, who pioneered the Eurasian Union project and Belorussian President Alexander Lukashenko, who worked side by side with President Putin in the pursuit of the Eurasian project. Former Kazakh president Nazarbayev, envisaged the process of Eurasian integration in three broad stages: economic, humanitarian and security .
It was Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Belarus, which formally inaugurated Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) in 2015, as an initiative to forge economic integration in the Eurasian region. In the same year Kyrgyzstan joined the Eurasian Economic Union to further embolden the trade relation of Central Asia with Russia . In essence, it was first major step to establish new series of economic relations among the Eurasian nations, as envisioned by President Nursultan Nazarbayev . According to western geopolitical experts, the formation of Eurasian Economic Union will only serve the geopolitical interests of Russia.
Unfortunately, the analysis of the Western experts depicts biasness, because the establishment of Eurasian Custom Union under the EEU’s initiative will benefit all the members of the Eurasian Economic Union. Moreover, the creation of the Eurasian Custom Union will pave the way for a common and shared trade area between Russia and other members of the Union . As a result, the ‘Eurasian Schengen’ will serve as a full-fledge platform for the development of common investment opportunities and common labour market that will directly benefit the labour export members of the Eurasian Economic Union.
On the other hand, the members of the Eurasian Economic Union will benefit from Russian advance healthcare, medical technology, electricity to hydrocarbons, and financial services . In the broad regional development perspective, the members of Eurasian Custom Union will benefit from China’s Belt and Road initiative in the form of transit taxes and regional connectivity . In this way, according to Eurasianists, Russia will be able to defeat or neutralize the influence of the United States in the international politics. As a result of the neutralizing American Power, Russia will be able to lay down the foundation of the multi-polar world order free from American liberal hegemony .
In the Eurasianists view, it is time for the International System to realize the Eurasian political model as the living reality of our age. According to Russian foreign policy experts, Dugin’s idea of ‘Neo-Eurasianism’ is a necessary resolution for the security of Russia and Eurasia . Because the Russian geopolitics advocated by Alexander Dugin is based on the German geopolitical school of Karl Haushofer. In Dugin’s view, the establishment of the Eurasian Union will pave the way for the creation of buffer zone between the west and Russia that will ensure the economic and political security of Europe and Eurasia .
The Eurasianists especially Alexander Dugin believe that it was the Atlantic bloc led by the United States, which plotted plans for the destruction of Warsaw Pact and eventually the Soviet Union. The main objective of the United States was to destroy the Russian hegemony in the heartland and to push back the Russian expansion towards world Island , once advised by the British geographer Herford Mackinder. On the wake of the Soviet apocalypse, the Eurasianists feared the ethnic and cultural fragmentation in the post-soviet Russia. In this regard, the Eurasianists began guiding the Russian political and military elites to reinvigorate the Russian strategic position in the global order by resurrecting the Eurasian Union .
Throughout Russia’s Eurasianist discussions, Dugin was an active geopolitical scientist among the Eurasianist ideologues, stressing on the formation of the “Eurasian Ethos” to ensure the ethnic and political harmony in Russia. In addition, the creation of Eurasian Union is clearly aimed at establishing “Indo-European centric continental identity”, in which Russia with its diverse ethnic nationalities will retain a unique position .
Consequently, the Atlanticists in the post-cold war era relied on the advice American pragmatic scholar Francis Fukuyama to establish the American dominated liberal order and on famous neo-con strategist Paul Wolfowitz’s prescription to reduce Russia’s role as regional power . Moreover, to achieve this objective, the Atlanticists gave a free hand to NATO to encircle Russia and attempted to foment ethnic separatism in Russia such as Chechnya and Dagestan. From the very beginning the Eurasianists warned the Russian Political and Military elites not to trust Western democratic camouflage. In the regard, the Eurasianists such as Dugin advised Russia to develop a counter-ideological strategy to compete with the Atlantic world order .
In the Eurasianists perspective, Russian is a potential partner in the East with its vast natural resources and strategic location, which can serve as a counter-hegemonic force against the US-dominated Atlantic order . According to Eurasianists, the Russian Eurasian project should expand its horizons into the Latin America in order to free the continent from the American Imperialism. Moreover, unity and harmony in the Eurasian region is prerequisite to compel the United States and its traditional ally Britain to abandon the shores of Eurasia .
To be more precise, for the new world disorder, the United States must be forced to withdraw the shores of South Asia, central Asia, Europe, Far-East and Africa by limiting its geopolitical influence across these regions.
The stability in Eurasia is vital for the geographic and geopolitical security of Russia. In the geographical context, Eurasia is a huge landmass with strategic chock points and the heartland . Moreover, for the security of Eurasia, the Eurasianists proposes Russia’s new axis of “Grand Alliance” with Berlin, Tokyo and Tehran . As Dugin writes; “the task of Moscow is to tear Europe away from the control of the United States” . In this regard, Russia must open a new chapter of economic and strategic alliances with the countries in Central Europe, West Asia and Far-East. In addition, it is a geopolitical reality that in order to create a buffer zone between Eurasia and Europe, Russia needs a united and friendly European partners .
On the contrary, the active presence of NATO on the European shores will remain a major strategic and foreign Policy Challenge for Russia. Drawing strategy from the eventual security concerns, Russia should extend its support for the European new Right, which is against the Americanization of European Foreign and defence policy—anti-NATO . Moscow’s this new strategy can be termed as the ‘Politics of opportunity’, because the European New Right approach towards Russia is soft and friendly.
In the light of friendly Eurasia-Europe relations, the neutrality of Europe and its exit from NATO is prerequisite to regain the trust of Russia . From the geopolitical perspective, the new grand alliance between Moscow and Berlin, will contribute to the expansion of Eurasian project by creating a buffer zone between the Eurasian and European sphere of influence. In his famous treatise “The foundation of geopolitics”, Dugin’s geopolitical calculation presents a grand strategy for both Europe and Russia to reclaim their geographical realm through shared interests. In the meantime, through new grand axis, Russia will represent the whole interest of Eurasia and Germany will represent the interest of Europe . As Dugin writes; “Russia and Germany must decide all the disputed questions in advance” .
On the contrary, for the success of Moscow-Berlin axis, Dugin suggests the firm anti-Atlanticists political environment in both Germany and France; the two prominent powers within the E.U . But there are still existential strategic barrier that might disrupt the grand Moscow-Berlin axis. First and foremost, the countries along the Baltic Sea will remain a major barrier for the Moscow-Berlin grand axis. In case of the Baltic States, Dugin suggests that Estonia must be declared as the German sphere of influence while Lithuania must be considered as the Russia’s sphere of influence .
Secondly, since the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, Ukraine became a major political deadlock between Russia and Europe. According to Dugin, Ukraine has no separate political history and geopolitical importance because it lacks geographic elegance. For Dugin and other Eurasianists, Ukraine as an independent nation with moribund geographical ambitions is a strategic danger for Eurasian region and continental stability .
Similarly, the new grand Moscow-Tokyo axis is also crucial for the expansion of Eurasian Union and for the stability of Eurasian continent. In this regard, Dugin suggests a new phase of Eurasian relations with the Far-East, for which Russia must strive to build a new wave of strategic and diplomatic alliance with Japan through the principle of common interest . Moreover, Russia has historical and cultural ties with the Pacific region through its Far-East province of Vladivostok . Thus, Russia can use strategic geography of its Far-Eastern province to establish a new grand alliance with Tokyo.
In the meantime, to achieve the Moscow-Tokyo axis, Russia must promise Japan a strategic sphere of influence in the Asia Pacific region. Likewise, Russia must engage Japan through the diplomacy of shared interest to neutralize the influence of the United States in Japan . There are also regional challenges that can disrupt Moscow-Tokyo axis. For instance, China is major regional contender in the Asia-Pacific that might challenge Moscow-Tokyo alliance. Therefore, for the success of Moscow-Tokyo axis, China should be convinced to compromise in the East China Sea in order to overshadow the influence of the United States in the south Pacific . In Dugin’s view; ‘China verges upon being an Atlanticist Factotum’. Moreover, in the famous chapter titled ‘The fall of China’ of the ‘Foundation of Geopolitics’ Dugin declares China as the most dangerous geopolitical contender of Russia in Central Asia and Eastern Siberia . Even, Robert D. Kaplan opines that Russia has historical fears about China’s expansion into the Eastern Siberia that might pave the way for the Invasion of Russia in near future .
In the latter context, Russia must forge new geopolitical alliances in the Asia-Pacific region through strategic power balancing between Japan and China . In my opinion, this will be the most difficult task for the Russian foreign policymakers in the implementation of Eurasian Project.
Next, Russia’s grand alliance with Iran (the successor of the Great Persian Empire) is also a key determinant of the Eurasian expansionism. In the light of complex strategic and geopolitical concerns in the South, the Eurasianists propose a strong strategic Moscow-Tehran axis. Consequently, Iran as the successor and custodian of Great Persian imperial heritage retains a significant position in Eurasia . It has close cultural ties with the countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus. For Eurasianists, the new series of Moscow-Tehran axis should be based on traditional character of historical ties between the orthodox Christian and Islamic Civilization . Furthermore, the fact cannot be denied that the entire Islamic zone is the geopolitical reality of the greater Eurasian empire.
According to Dugin, the new grand alliance between Moscow and Tehran will fulfil the historical Russian dream of the warm-waters . But the establishment of new grand alliance between Moscow and Tehran will also remain a major Challenge for the Russian Foreign Policymakers because of the following challenges:
The abovementioned factors will remain a major challenge for Russian foreign policymakers. In the geopolitical context, Russia’s grand alliance with Iran is decisive for the Eurasian project to ensure the full security of the ‘Anaconda Ring’.
On the wake of the Disintegration of USSR, the Eurasianists feared the American led liberal internationalism. Moreover, the disintegration of Soviet Union marked the end of bi-polar world order, which replaced the balance of power with the unbalanced unipolar power . In this regard, the Eurasianists began speculating about the coming disorder and chaos surrounding Russia because the American elites were obsessed with ‘Grand Chessboard strategy” of the cold war to encircle Russia . As a result, famous Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin actively advised the Russian political and military elites to support the Eurasian project. One of the major objectives of the Eurasian project was Russian revisionism to make Russia again a predominant global actor that will pave the way for multi-polar world order .
On the other hand, the fact cannot be denied that the establishment of the Eurasian Union on the new horizon will become a direct contender of American-led Atlantic order. In the Eurasianists perspective, the establishment of the Eurasian Union aims at ensuring the multipolarity by directly balancing the sphere of influence between the Europe and Russia . In order to achieve this objective, Russia must strive to create a buffer zone in the East Europe, should expel NATO from the European Shores to neutralize American influence and should balance China in the Pacific region .
As an illustration, the establishment of the Eurasian Union will disrupt the global hegemony of the American-led liberal internationalism, which in the Eurasianists view is necessary for the stability of the International system. As a result, the international system will transform from unbalanced unipolarity towards multipolarity, with the contesting patterns of ideological and political development . In the context of multipolarity, the geopolitical interests of the major global players such as United States, China, and Turkey in the inner Eurasia is a direct challenge to the Russia’s Eurasian integration project.
For instance, in the Transcaucasia, the countries like Azerbaijan and Georgia are under the direct influence of Turkey and the United States. Moreover, there is possibility that Georgia and Azerbaijan might resist the Eurasian integration by acting as allies of other global players. In the Eurasianists perspective, Georgia and Azerbaijan might act as ‘Resistant factor’ in the Eurasian integration and hence, in the development of multi-polar world order . In the meantime, the Russian foreign policymakers must find the common grounds to convince the resurgent Transcaucasia to integrate in the Eurasian Union. So far, Russia can offer the following commitments and guarantees:
In contrast, in order to achieve the objective of multi-polar world order, Russia should develop a multi-dimensional foreign policy approach to strengthen political and economic with East Europe, Central Asia, and the Caucasus by balancing the shared interests of other regional powers.
Across the west, there is ambiguity about the Russian Integration plans because of the Russian weak economic health to manage the integration process . But, the fact cannot be denied that besides various hurdles and challenges, Russia pursued a multi-vector diplomatic approach towards post-soviet states with the objective of re-integration . Since 2000, there have been significant developments in the Eurasian integration process.
First and foremost, the establishment of Eurasian Economic community took place as a result of treaty between Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan with an aim of creating a common economic space . Secondly, in 2006, the establishment of Eurasian development bank took place with an aim of providing investment capital in the form of loans and grants for the development of the Eurasian region . Likewise, the establishment of Eurasian Custom Union was the major milestone in the integration process that might in near future gives birth to Eurasian Schengen . According to president Putin, the establishment of the Eurasian Union will be modelled on the European Union, while designing a different geopolitical and geo-economic infrastructure for Eurasia with vibrant global effect .
Finally, on May 2015, the Eurasian Economic Union was established as a result of a treaty between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan to expand the horizon of the common economic sphere . For Russian foreign policy experts and observers, the establishment of Eurasian Economic Union will serve as a “political seduction” to embolden the Russian Eurasian project in the post-soviet space . Moreover, through this platform, Russia will be able to expand its economic chest by offering economic incentives and opportunities to the countries in the Eurasian region.
On the other hand, in the last three years, significant political steps have been taken by Russia and Belarus for the creation of ‘Union between Belarus and Russia” . The integration documents have been finalized by the presidential teams of both countries and there is a possibility that Russian President Vladimir Putin might contest the first presidential elections of Union between Belarus and Russia . The famous western media outlets like New York Times and Atlantic Council have speculated about this possibility in their editorial sections . Therefore, it seems that the Russian dream of Eurasian Union and multi-polar world order is on the verge of success.
Since 2000, the political and economic developments in the Eurasian region depict a clear picture of successful integration in years to come. However, the attitude of Atlanticists seem unreliable because for them, the Eurasian Project is an excuse of Russia to re-assert neo-imperialism in the post-soviet space. But the fact cannot be denied that since the ascension of Vladimir Putin to the Russian Presidency, the state institution became serious and committed about the implementation of Eurasian Project. Moreover, the Eurasian Union is modeled on the European Union that aims at ensuring the political and economic benefits for the countries in Post-soviet space. On the contrary, the countries of Central Asia, Transcaucasia and Eastern Europe need Russian defense and economic support to ensure their survival in the Eurasian region. Since 2004, many East European countries joined the European Union for economic re-restructuring but failed to initiate reforms. Nevertheless, today Russian Eurasian Project promises a prosperous and multi-polar future to the countries in periphery and to the countries in the Eurasian region. Moreover, the re-emergence of Russia as the global and regional power is a geopolitical reality of our time, whose global influence must be recognized with respect. Furthermore, Russia seems constructivist in her contemporary foreign policy approach, which is indeed an opportunity for the ailing countries in the post-soviet space to bridge new series of economic and security alliance with Russia.
As an illustration, the Russian Eurasian project is near to success, beside the fact that liberal mainstream media is speculating seriously about the prospects of Eurasian Union. Moreover, today the global profile of Russia is more futuristic and dynamic than any other powers in the international politics. If the post-soviet space wants to avoid the fate of chaos and to achieve everlasting regional stability, then it should embrace Russian constructivist Eurasian Union project.