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A New Challenge for Civic National Integration: A Perspective from Russia.

(Full paper)


Globalization is accepted mostly as a process which brings the erosion of principles of national sovereign state. This is but one consequence of Globalization. It would be more precise to say, that Globalization is a process, which caused a global shift in the system of national self-identification, which existed since the Westphalian period. For Europe it meant the erosion of a nation-state system and the search for new forms of all European integration. For USA it really meant overcoming borders of nation state in terms of political responsibility and economic interests. But for Russia, Globalization put forward a challenge of… civic national self-identification, which Russia never had in its history before! This is the paradox of Globalization. The analysis of this paradox and the threats coming out of such a contradictory situation is important not only for Russia, but also for all post-colonial and post-socialist countries, who lack the period of civic nation states in their history.

The article answers two main questions: what are the specifics of challenge of civic national integration under the conditions of Globalization in general and how this problem is seen from Russia.

Historically Russia transformed from a theocratic state directly into a secular empire, without passing through the stage of national civic transformation, when all forms of civic integration and social control of society over state should have been established. This caused a deep gap between the people and the bureaucratic elite, which namely privatized the state, using the society, as a means for economic and political boom on the international level. In such circumstances the success of the elite and it’s inclusion in world economic and cultural process was reached by the exclusion of the majority of population of the country from this process. This tendency was not new. It started at the end of the seventeenth century and now we can say that all the attempts to change the situation, including October Revolution 1917 couldn’t overcome this deep social contradiction of Russia. Globalization contributed much to sharpen this illness. It aggravated rapid integration of the Russian elite into the global elite and the exclusion of Russian society from the global economic, social and cultural process. So, as a result of Globalization, Russia is “pregnant” with the very tough conflict of interests and very serious crisis of legitimacy of all forms and institutions of political power.

The urgency of the problem’s solution is illustrated by the figures, by social, economic, cultural and demographic decline of society on the background of extreme growth of wealth and criminalization of elite, rushing into the global competition of wealth, by predatory exploiting natural resources of the country.

It is very important to understand, that in spite of all this, Russian society does not blame Globalization in all its problems. The perception of Globalization by Russians is quite ambivalent, they understand new perspectives and opportunities, that it can bring to the people, but they also understand, that the strategy and interest of existing political elite are not social, but private and do not coincide with the interests of society as much, as it should do.

In such a situation the political elite is looking for new forms of legitimating its power, beginning with the substitution of democratic procedures by administrative measures (“power vertical”) and ending with the imitation of social contract by creating pseudo-civic institutions (“Social Chamber”) and new total ideology (“national idea”). The society is also looking for the solution of the contradiction.

The question of who will win in this struggle will be crucial for the way Russia enters the Global World.



globalization, Russia, theocratic state, civic national integration, national self-identity, political opposition, secular empire, Russian political culture, post-communist state, coercive oligarchy, civic transformation, concept of national unity.


Contact Details:

Alla G. Glinchikova

PhD, Senior Scholar of

Institute of Philosophy

Russian Academy of Sciences.

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