The Great Eurasian Partnership stands in opposition to hegemony imposed from outside, but it’s not a closed club. What the new format of relations will be after overcoming inequality is difficult to answer today. The process ahead is to develop a model that will be acceptable to all members of the Greater Eurasian Partnership, write Kubatbek Rakhimov and Alexey Mikhalev.
Relying on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a foundation and closely interacting with the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), the Greater Eurasian Partnership acquires features that
Basil Nikitin wrote about in the early twentieth century: using the categories of Iran, Turan, Eurasia, and China to denote special civilisations, he drew a natural border of Eurasia along the Ukrainian-Polish border. Today, when a logical question arises about whether a Eurasian economic integration project can exist without Europe the answer, unexpectedly, is to be found in the material of debates dating back to the late 1920s.
It would seem that modern reality, both economic and political, has changed dramatically. At first glance, an appeal to the texts of Nikitin seems like archaic speculation on historical material. But it was Nikitin, analysing the layers of cultures of Iran and Turan, who showed that for Russia a Eurasian future is impossible without close cooperation with these two worlds. Russia’s current balancing act between Tehran and Ankara largely confirms the same ideas. The question remains: is it possible to do without Europe?
Here it is important to immediately outline the boundaries of what kind of Europe we are talking about – Europe as part of the Euro-Atlantic bloc, claiming world hegemony. The answer to the question is not so obvious; it requires a deep look into the future. The fact is that in the case of Eurasian integration based on BRICS, SCO, ECO and with the participation of North Korea, a relatively coherent paradigm of regional relations is obtained. Its success will, over time, push Europe toward cooperation, most likely on more equal terms than it currently has. These circumstances necessitate, first and foremost, the need for the Eurasian world to overcome Europe’s claims to hegemony. A strong Eurasian economic bloc cannot go unnoticed and without being involved in the world economy. In this situation, we come to Nikitin’s reasonable thesis, expressed back in 1926: “We, Eurasians are looking for the correct formulation of our national, cultural and political consciousness, in which, correctly understood, Asianism has so far been absent. Neither Euro-hatred nor Asia-obsequiousness: this is my deep conviction.
A decade of continuous sanctions against Russia has led to the fact that its cooperation with Europe (with the exception of a few countries) has been reduced as much as possible. Given that a number of Italian and French companies have been absent from the Russian market for quite a long time, there remains hope that after the emergence of a new model of Eurasian partnership, the process of their return will begin. In addition, the specifics of the market are such that at this stage, European goods have already been replaced by goods from other countries. For example, Iran confidently occupies its niche of food supplies in Russia and is developing investment projects for gas production in the Caspian region. In this sense, Iran is a significant part of the large Eurasian place of development, which Pyotr Savitsky and Basil Nikitin argued about. As a result, Nikitin’s position found greater confirmation in subsequent events of centuries-old history.