Sergei Karaganov

In a few years we will understand that we are no longer the eastern periphery slowly disappearing into the past, although close to most of Europe. Moving to Asia, to new wealth, strength and progress, we return home.

The Valdai Club report “Toward the Great Ocean – 6: People, History, Ideology, Education. Rediscovering the Identity” is about the Russian pivot to the East in its various humanitarian dimensions. The first stage of Russia’s pivot to the rising Asia was successful – the Far East is developing more than twice as fast as the entire country. But more obvious is the restriction, about which we did not think before. The development of the Eastern Russia did not become a common and understandable affair for the whole country, which obviously lacks big projects. Many residents of the Far East did not believe in this project, either. The outflow of the population decreased, but it did not stop. The need became obvious for a qualitatively different involvement in this process of the inhabitants of “Russian Asia” – the Far East, Siberia, who have closely interacted for many centuries with their neighbors, who know and feel them. It is also necessary to change the all-Russian attitude to the pivot, understanding that it leads the country to the economic, technological and cultural markets of the future.

No less important task for the continuation of the Russian movement towards the new eastern borders is the return of the history of Siberia and the Far East, brilliant and fascinating, to the historical self-consciousness of the whole Russia. It is necessary for the self-assertion of the Siberians to overcome the attitude of a part of Russia to Siberia and the Far East as something alien.

While developing the human capital of Siberians and Far Easterners, it is necessary not only to master new technologies, but also to inspire them morally, to give them the opportunity to feel again as pioneers, leaders, who bring the whole Russia to new economic, political and spiritual horizons – now the Eurasian ones.

In a few years we will understand that we are no longer the eastern periphery slowly disappearing into the past, although close to most of Europe. Moving to Asia, to new wealth, strength and progress, we return home; taking Europe’s high culture and enriching it, taking a military organization and becoming a great power, we now occupy our own civilizational place of the great Eurasian power – the original and independent fusion of many civilizations. We become ourselves, we return home. This is the main point of this report, to be released during the Eastern Econonic Forum in Vladivostok on September 11, 2018.

We still know Asia very badly – the continent of resurgent and rising cultures, civilizations, technologies. Now and urgently we need to introduce advanced courses in the study of Asian history, languages in school programs, massively prepare orientalists in universities. The conclusion, which was not presented in the report, but which became apparent after its completion, is the need for a drastic increase of investments in Siberian and Far Eastern universities, connecting them with other major universities of the country.

There are obvious tools to strengthen the all-Russian and local motivation for accelerating the movement to the most promising markets of the future. These are compulsory school and university courses of oriental studies, a series of films and multimedia programs about the brilliant and difficult history of Siberia, about its courageous and persistent people, about its wealth. Of course, it is necessary to involve actively local elites in the development of the all-Russian policy in Asia, exploration, critical as it may be, of the experience of Asian countries. Constantly operational clubs are also needed, that unite the business and intellectual elites of the East of Russia with the elites of Central Russia and Asia.

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club’s, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

From: http://valdaiclub.com/a/highlights/why-russia-s-pivot-to-asia-is-about-coming-back/

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