1.1 Russia's internal geopolitics depends on its planetary function
A geopolitical analysis of domestic Russian geopolitical problems cannot be carried out without taking into account the more general, global picture of Russia's place in the geopolitical ensemble. Only by constantly bearing in mind the planetary role and significance of Russia can one efficiently and consistently disassemble and describe its internal geopolitical structure. Unlike the European school of “internal geopolitics” (Yves Lacoste, etc.), which tends to isolate local and regional problems from taking into account the disposition of forces on a planetary scale, in the case of Russia one cannot ignore its global significance, and therefore, all the particular ones Its internal problems are adequately formulated (not to mention their solution) only within the framework of a more general, integral geopolitical field.
Russia is not just one of the mainland countries. It is a category that belongs to the basic principles of all geopolitics. Russia heartland, "geographical axis of history", Susha. Russia is Eurasia. Such its importance does not depend on blocs, ideology, political orientation, the specifics of the regime: its continental nature is historical, geographical and geopolitical fate. In the case of Russia, the question cannot be raised about the choice between “Atlantism” and “Eurasianism”. It is a Eurasian force and cannot but be such. The refusal of Russia to fulfill its role in the ensemble of the planet is possible only in the case of its full geographical destruction, since in the event of a refusal of the Russian state to fulfill this mission while maintaining the Eurasian continental mass, sooner or later, a new political entity with the same boundaries will arise, which will take on the functions of the “geographical axis of history”. As long as Russia exists, it remains the axis of the Eurasian vector on a planetary scale.
This character determines the angle of consideration of its internal geopolitical problems. These problems are only in the following vein: how and on what natural (or artificial) prerequisites to maintain the maximum geopolitical volume of Russia, if possible to increase it, distributing all the internal geopolitical factors so as to best provide the possibility of planetary geopolitical expansion?
Such a statement of the problem in itself sets the conditions for analysis, it is necessary to emphasize and prioritize research:
The possibility of centripetal trends in the regions;
The possibility of expanding the spatial influence of the center on the periphery and beyond.
This implies a clear separation of the two basic criteria of the concepts of a geopolitical center and geopolitical periphery. The relationship between them is the essence of the study of Russia's internal geopolitics.
1.2 Internal geopolitics and military doctrine
The military-industrial complex plays a huge role in the geopolitical organization of Russian spaces, since in many (especially sparsely populated) territories civilian settlements are attached to military towns and bases. The location of the most important industrial centers, also associated with the needs of the so-called. "Defense industry." The whole geopolitical configuration of Russia depends on the model of military doctrine.
This military doctrine, in turn, has two components. The political orientation of the leadership (which may vary depending on domestic and foreign policy factors) and geopolitical constants that establish the framework within which political course variations are possible. This second component (the geopolitical position of Russia) unequivocally affirms the continental significance of the Russian Armed Forces, the orientation to the fact that the main “potential adversary" of Russia is the Atlantic bloc. And this automatically entails the continental orientation of the entire military doctrine, the unconditional priority of strategic types of weapons, focus on a global conflict of a planetary scale. Moreover, it does not matter at all what the political design of the regime will be.The geopolitical confrontation will not necessarily be duplicated by an ideological confrontation. This depends on the specific situation and can affect the verbal design of the political course, mitigating or, conversely, emphasizing the geopolitical confrontation, which persists in any circumstances. Without claiming the final formula of military doctrine, geopolitics sets its framework, the violation of which immediately entails a total socio-political crisis and the territorial collapse of the state.violation of which immediately entails a total socio-political crisis and territorial disintegration of the state.violation of which immediately entails a total socio-political crisis and territorial disintegration of the state.
Even in the case of a complete ideological understanding with Atlanticism, the Russian military doctrine should still determine the US and the western camp as the number one potential enemy, and only on the basis of this principle build the entire structure of the armed forces. And this, in turn, will affect the general structure of Russia's internal geopolitics in a broader sense.
The military doctrine of Russia must be absolutely Eurasian. Only in this case, and from such an angle, can one responsibly analyze Russia's internal geopolitics and outline priority development vectors. Without this, any analysis will only predict the catastrophic degradation of Russian regions, territorial disintegration, a chain reaction of destruction and geopolitical self-liquidation. Theoretically, such a turn of events cannot be ruled out, and the modern “military doctrine” of the Russian Federation, which does not mention the US and NATO bloc among the “potential adversaries”, but including them among the potential geopolitical allies of Russia in the Eurasian bloc, gives many reasons for this. However, based on a more general historical and geographical perspective, this condition should be considered as a “temporary anomaly”,which will soon be eliminated under any political regime as an excess of a difficult transition. It is possible to describe the scenario of “geopolitics of catastrophes”, which would highlight the collapse phases of the “geographical axis of history”. But such a position should be of more interest to the Atlantic camp, and therefore it is quite natural if such models are studied by geopolitics of thalassocratic powers. Russian geopolitics, which cannot but be Eurasian, should accordingly be guided by positive prospects, analyzing the current and future situation, based on normal historical and geopolitical laws of the development of continental and civilizational dualism. And in this case, an admission should be made (even if at the moment this is not so), that the “military doctrine” of Russia corresponds to the general continental logic and is based on strict geopolitical constants.
This circumstance should be borne in mind in the course of further exposition.
1.3 Center and periphery
The historical center of heartland is not a constant geographical value. The current capital of Russia, Moscow, inherits at the same time the line of Slavic capitals (Kiev, Vladimir) and the line of steppe rates of Chingiz. Being a geopolitical synthesis of the Forest and the Steppe, Russia immediately has two historical and geopolitical traditions, the combination of which underlies the originality of the Russian path.
The Petersburg period was also associated with territorial expansion, although the Baltic location of St. Petersburg embodies the European orientation of the state, “geopolitical Westernism”. In the Petersburg period, the territorial expansion of Russians was less organic and more artificial than before. The nature of the synthesis was not so obvious, although many Eurasian peoples of Asia and Siberia adopted the power of the "white king" on the basis of ancient continental traditions.
Moscow is geographically most responsive to the Eurasian mission of Russia. It is equidistant from all the main geographical areas that make up the originality of the Russian landscape. Distances to the polar north, east European west, steppe and subtropical south and taiga east are approximately the same. Therefore, the “normal” (from a geopolitical point of view) Eurasian capital, the continental center should be considered it. In this regard, the current state of affairs coincides, in general, with geopolitical constants. Moscow is the natural capital of heartland.
A cursory cartographic analysis of Russia at the same time immediately reveals some asymmetry in this situation. The fact is that beyond the Urals (which, however, is not a natural intra-Russian border due to the low mountain height and the homogeneity of climate on both sides of the ridge), a rather uniform taiga zone extends thousands of kilometers inland to Siberia, thus turning Moscow into the center of only "European Russia". Such a purely quantitative view is balanced, however, by other geopolitical considerations.
First, Siberia does not represent the climatic and relief structural diversity that characterizes pre-Ural Russia. From this point of view, all this gigantic space is only a disproportionate extension of the eastern landscape, the scale of which far exceeds the zonal picture of Russia itself. Thus, in the landscape sense, the gigantic spatial volume is reduced to a limited climatic quality.
Secondly, the exact same imbalance is present at the demographic level. Behind the Ural ridge there lives the same number of people that is characteristic of each of the landscape zones of European Russia that are vividly distinguished by nature.
Thirdly, the development of this region in terms of communications, cities, communications, etc. also not comparable with its spatial volume.
Therefore, in the current situation, the geopolitical role of Siberia cannot be considered in proportion to its space. This is a special, “reserve space”, which represents the last “undeveloped” part of the Eurasian continent.
Thus, taking into account the special quality of Siberia, Moscow is really identified with the geopolitical center of the “geographical axis of history”. Note: it was the undeveloped Siberia (especially Eastern Siberia) that forced Mackinder in his later works to include “Lenaland”, i.e. the space to the east of the Lena River, into a special geopolitical entity that, strictly speaking, does not belong to heartland.
But Spengler already noted that moment that Siberia is a geographical space, the role of which may become clear gradually and prove crucial in the historical process. He foresaw that it was from Siberia that a special unique culture could develop that would put an end to the “decline of the West” and its “Faustian” civilization. The same idea was supported by the Russian "Asians", an extreme branch of the Eurasianists, who believed that the East (Asia) was more important not only of the West, but also of Eurasia itself (in particular, V. Ivanov and some "Pacific", Pazifiker, Haushofer school Kurt von Beckmann, etc.). Thus, in the distant future, which involves a change in the demographic and informational state of the development of Siberia and its equalization with other Russian (or European) regions, we can assumethat the geographical position of Moscow will lose its centrality, and the geopolitical center of Eurasia will shift to the east.
But at the moment, this should be taken into account only as a futurological perspective. (More on this in the chapter on the Russian East).
From the center (Moscow) you can draw rays to various areas of the peripheral Russian lands. These rays are not segments, since their length is not fixed. Centrifugal and centripetal forces act on regions with a variable magnitude, depending on many historical factors. In addition, physical distances from the geopolitical center (Moscow) do not always correspond to “geopolitical distances”. These distances depend not only on the quantitative, but also on the qualitative side of relations, on the independence of regional entities, their form, their cultural and ethnic specificity.
All these rays converging toward the center can be reduced to four main categories or “internal axes”:
On the other hand, the corresponding peripheral spaces are “zones” or “bands”, each of which has specific characteristics and a special structure. These bands can be called, respectively, “Russian East”, “Russian West”, “Russian North” and “Russian South”. The definition of “Russian” in this case has not ethnic, but geopolitical meaning, emphasizing the connection of the region with the central “continental axis” of Moscow.
The main content of the topic of “internal geopolitics” of Russia will be the elucidation of the geopolitical structure of these four “peripheral zones” and the quality and nature of the “rays” that connect them with the center. The structure of the zones will be discussed in more detail in the following chapters. The nature of the rays, in the most general terms, can be considered now.
1.4 Internal axes ("geopolitical rays")
Four geopolitical rays connect Moscow with the periphery of the "Russian space". These rays have different quality.
They can be divided into two pairs: rays Moscow West and Moscow South, on the one hand, and rays Moscow East and Moscow North, on the other.
The first two rays, from a geopolitical point of view, are "unfinished", "open." They rest against a complex geopolitical system of significant territorial volume, which separates the continental mass of Russia from the ideal border of the coastline. From the geopolitical point of view, the southern and western borders of Russia are wide belts that separate the central part from the coastline. In this regard, these two rays represent the most vulnerable directions for Russia, and all the geopolitical dynamics along these axes is extremely intense, complex, with many levels and dimensions.
The axes Moscow West and Moscow South combine both domestic and foreign policy aspects, since here the regions of Russia-Eurasia itself smoothly move into zones under the control of other states, and some of these states belong to the opposite planetary block, to the camp thalassocracy.
The second two rays: the Moscow North and Moscow East axes are very different from the first pair. Here, the Russian border coincides with the coastline, there are no “laying states", and therefore the political dynamics in these areas is limited to domestic political themes. In the North and in the East, Russia has complete geopolitical borders. And the main task in this case is to maintain the status quo.
Moreover, it is precisely at the expense of the oceanic borders that the North and East are the reserve and perfectly protected rear areas of the “geographical axis of history”, where at critical moments it is always possible to create additional spatial platforms for geopolitical and strategic restructuring.
The difference between the West and South axes and the North and East axes is not a consequence of historical coincidence. The geographical landscape itself, and later the ethnic and cultural map of the respective regions, is a matrix that, as the course of political history, is filled with specific state content. Developed inflorescences of cultures, states and ethnic groups, with their political and spiritual traditions, statehood, etc., have developed in the western and southern outskirts of Russia and in adjacent territories of neighboring countries. This is a zone that enters rimland on one side. Objective and artificial prerequisites for "separatism" are actively developed here, and that, in turn, is identified on a planetary scale with thalassocratic strategy.
The North and East of Russia, on the contrary, are extremely landscape homogeneous, and are not densely populated by peoples who do not have developed political and state traditions or who have long lost the historical initiative of imperial construction (for example, Altai Turks, Buryats, etc.). Here, Moscow has free access to the seas, but the quality of the seas is appropriate. They are poorly navigable, cold, covered with ice for a significant part of the year, torn from the central part due to poor communications, their ports are underdeveloped. Certain strategic advantages are offset by corresponding disadvantages.
Two pairs of rays give complete geopolitical symmetry. The length of the northern and eastern coasts of Russia is associated with demographic tensions and communication underdevelopment. The western and southern borders are land, densely populated, landscape-diverse and are voluminous bands of considerable area.
The geopolitical relations of the center with the periphery in Russia are thus divided into two types: purely internal axes with oceanic linear boundaries (North, East) and semi-internal axes with land borders of “strip” (“zonal”) quality (West, South). The dynamics of "South and West" implies entry into the sphere of international relations, diplomacy, etc. The dynamics of North and East is limited by internal political problems. However, a purely geopolitical approach makes this picture, to some extent, relative. Where the “independent” state is currently located, the geopolitician sees the “future province”, and vice versa, the coastal part of the territory of one state at some point may become the coastal bridgehead of an alternative geopolitical force (that is, the new “sovereign” state )
Rays going from the center to the periphery, “impulses of continental expansion”, are constantly faced with the opposite force pressure. The Atlantic bloc seeks to limit the centrifugal energy of Moscow, using the “separatist” tendencies of the marginal peoples or neighboring states, based on those coastal zones that are already under the sure control of thalassocracy. In the South and in the West this opposition is quite distinguishable in concrete political reality. In the North and East, the counteraction is less obvious and obvious. But, nevertheless, it exists in the form of a strategic military presence of the Atlantists in the oceanic coastal zone (especially nuclear submarines),and at certain critical periods it can be expressed in direct political interference in domestic affairs and support (or provocation) of the separatist sentiments of ethnic and cultural minorities.