_ Yuri Kofner, director, chairman, Eurasian Movement of Russia answered frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the Eurasian Movement. Interviewed by Olga Kshanovskaya. Moscow, February 7, 2016.
What ist the Eurasian Movement of Russia?
At the moment, we are the largest pro-Eurasian movement in Russia and the entire post-Soviet region. We have branches in many cities in Russia and the former Soviet Union, as well as many activists and supporters. We are socio-political movement, established on the basis of the youth movement “Young Eurasia”.
Young Eurasia was founded by us in 2010. It has worked very successfully, without any funding (!), for five years. Given the accumulated experience, we decided to raise the bar and to found a full-fledged political movement, already moving away from the youth part in the title. Therefore, it was decided to found the Eurasian Movement of the Russian Movement. The founding congress was held on November 15th, 2015 in ethno-cultural open museum “Ethnomir” (Kaluga region).
What are your goals and objectives?
Our mission, first and foremost, is to build the Eurasian Union on the basis of the theory of Eurasianism – both classical and contemporary.
Our goal is to protect the multi-faceted identity of Russian culture and ensuring its sovereignty in all its aspects: political, economic, cultural. Eurasianism also involves the protection of traditional identities of the indigenous peoples of Russia and Eurasia, first of all from the adverse effects of Westernization.
We want to live together, but also to protect the identities and traditional cultures of our peoples. We strive to ensure that all peoples in Russia and Eurasia generally live in peace. We are working to ensure inter-cultural and, importantly, inter-religious understanding, respect and love for each other – as parts of a whole Eurasian civilizational body. We are working on the prevention of terrorism and extremism, and it does not matter whether we mean national-separatist extremism, imperialist, or religious, e.g. – that of the Wahhabi. Our main focus is to work with the people, with young people, to give them a uniting ideology – which is of course Eurasianism.
To achieve these goals, we plan to publish books and working papers. We organize a lot of lectures, seminars, round tables, conferences, forums. In the future we also want to organize summer camps and “Eurasian schools”. Thus, our main direction is scientific and educational activities.
What is your ideology?
Our ideology is Classical Eurasianism. However, besides the fact that we read the classical Eurasians – our founding fathers, our spiritual guides – we have also extended the ideological foundation with which we work. For us, the basis is not only classical Eurasianism, but also the works of other great Russian thinkers of the 1920’s and 1930’s and the previous period. We rely on the works of the Slavophiles, the Russian cosmists, and such prominent thinkers as Nicholas Berdyaev, Sergei Bulgakov, Ivan Ilyin – all this we synthesize and incorporate into our ideological foundation. In addition, we focus on the works of contemporary Russian prominent thinkers such as Alexander Panarin and Alexander Zinoviev. What is important, we focus primarily on our national Russian social and religious schools of thought. We also study the works of foreign thinkers, but only to the extent that it is consistent with our basic settings, as is consistent with the ideas of the Russian national socio-religious thought. Further, our ideology is also based on statements, thoughts, and works by Vladimir Putin and Nursultan Nazarbayev – the architects of modern Eurasian Economic Union. We share their pragmatic approach, we look at how the Eurasian Union should be built. That is, we take classical Eurasianism and Russian philosophical thought and, without changing it, adapt it to the conditions of the XXI century.
How do you work?
We have three work principles. The first principle is “evolution, not revolution”. Russia does not need another revolution. We won’t go out into the streets with mass actions demanding the realization of our political desires. Of course, we do not rule out participation in some rallies in support of the Eurasian Union. But the basic principle of our work – evolution – consists in educating a new generation which will take up positions in administrative and economic structures, in research institutes and there promote the idea of Eurasianism. We work at and through universities, research institutes, economic and political institutions. We work with the people, who will, in the future, work in the ministries. Based on the Eurasian ideology we want to make this future managerial elite real patriots.
The second principle is professionalism. It’s not just professionalism, but ideological professionalism. Typically, one can differentiate social and political movements between two categories: On the one hand you have top-down, state run youth organizations, where the participants are primarily interested at building a career. We absolutely do not need unprincipled careerists. On the other hand you have grass-roots movement. But they are often too radical in their views and are cut off from the real world. Therefore, in contrast to both, in our movement, we pay special attention to a mix of pragmatism and ideology. We educate Eurasians-pragmatists, professionals who know economy, law, understand the processes of Eurasian economic integration, its structures and mechanisms; we educate the Eurasians, who know law, trade, business, regional studies, the culture of the peoples, with whom we plan to build our Union. At the same time, it is important for us that they’re not empty careerists. We strive to ensure that our activists have a pure heart and soul, who love our Motherland.
The third principle is respect. We are not imperialists and restorers of the Soviet Union. We want to build a Union based on equality of the Member-States. We respect the interests and the mentality of the peoples with whom we want to create this Union. We fully respect the sovereignty, equality and territorial integrity of these countries, wo together forme the Eurasian Economic Union.
These are our three principles – evolutiona, professionalism and respect.
Are you left or right?
This issue has lost its relevance since the concept of “left – right” does not apply to us. We, Eurasians, take the best of all of the three politicaltheories of modernity. This, in particular, are the positive elements of liberalism, communism/socialism and nationalism/conservatism. We can not say that we are fully or conservatives, or left, or liberal. We take only the best of these existing theories. We take the liberal concept of human freedom, identity, the freedom of peoples – as mentioned, for example, from Ivan Ilyin and Nicholas Berdyaev. From socialism we take the idea of social equality and justice. From conservatism we take the people’s love for the community, for the general collective identity, for traditional values that we defend.
In fact, these are the well-known principles enunciated from the Enlightenment – “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”. However, what did the Europeans do? They took the native Christian principles and secularized them, that is, removed God from these ideas. Our task, that of the Eurasians, is to return God back into public discourse. Therefore, if you ask me if we are “left” or “right”, I will answer that we are left with the people, right with the values , based on democratic foundations, and we go forward with God.
Thus, we are on the Fourth way. We adhere to the Fourth Political Theory. The most important thing is, that we take the best of liberalism, communism and conservatism, and strive to return the society to real spiritual values, and to the real spiritual component of the principles of “liberty, equality, fraternity”. We seek God back into society: whether it’s Christ in Orthodoxy, Allah in Islam, or Nirvana in Buddhism. For us it is important to return traditional spiritual culture back into postmodern society.
What is your slogan?
We are left with the people, the right with traditional values, based on democracy, and we go forward with God. This is our first slogan.
Evolution, professionalism, respect. This is our second slogan, indicating our principles.
Our main slogan can be formulated on the basis of the article by Peter Savitsky, the one he had written before the Great Patriotic War, in which he called on all Russian emigrants to unite against the fascist threat to our country: “Russia – whatever the external form, whatever its government, is, first of all, our common Motherland. We may have different political views, different religions, different ethnic and cultural background, but our common Motherland is Russia and Eurasia. Thus, our main slogan is: