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Putin is organizing the anti-Western alliance Russia Turkey Iran 

23 July 2022
Yuri SolozobovYuri Solozobov

Yuri Solozobov

Candidate of Science, Physics and Mathematics, Regional Programs Director of CISS

Moving from the present agenda to the new strategy

The official visit of Vladimir Putin to Teheran is finished. Let us remind here that it was the second foreign visit of the Russian Leader after the start of the special military operation in Ukraine. The first one was Putins visit to Tajikistan and Turkmenistan in June (the 6th Caspian Forum).

The reason to visit the Iranian capital was the scheduled meeting of the leaders of the states guarantors of the Astana peace-making process in Syria. The President of the RF also had bilateral negotiations with his counterparts from Iran and Turkey Ebrahim Raisi and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, also met with Vladimir Putin. All this undoubtedly should be viewed in the context of the current complicated military and political situation in the world, which allows to talk about shaping the new anti-Western alliance with the potential of future creation of a geopolitical axis: Ankara Moscow Teheran.

It should be highlighted that the Teheran summit took place shortly after the visit of the US President Joe Biden to the Middle East, where he met with the Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Practically all the analysts evaluated that visit as a failure: the American President was not able to achieve any of the planned goals, including the attempt to persuade Riyadh to increase oil production to bring the global prices down and mitigate the energy crisis consequences, as well as to effectively counteract Russia and China. In Saudi Arabia Biden got quite a cold shower signaling that the problems of the USA are not anyone elses problems, and that the «human rights» slogans should be left for others. 

According to the experts, the meeting of the three leaders Putin, Erdogan and Raisi in Teheran has a very big symbolic meaning. Some commentators even say it may be ranked together with the meeting of the «Big Three» (Roosevelt Stalin Churchill) in Teheran in 1943. Firstly, the trilateral summit allowed Russia, Turkey and Iran (all being under heavy pressure by the West) to emphasize the importance of their political and economic collaboration. These three countries demonstrated to the entire world that they were not in isolation and not on the margins of political trial. Secondly, Moscow, Ankara and Teheran are finding common grounds more and more often lately, and their officials keep announcing their commitment to expanding their interaction in various spheres. And thirdly, the fact of the three leaders of the major Eurasian civilizations with the history of great empires, which are still very influential across their former lands, is very important per se.

On top of the discussions on the situation in Syria, economic affairs became one of the priority topics at the trilateral summit. For example, during the meeting with the President Ebrahim Raisi on the sidelines of the 6th Caspian Forum in Ashkhabad, Vladimir Putin announced the 81% growth of the trade turnover between Russia and Iran versus 2021. As the contradictions between Moscow and the West are escalating, Turkey also became one of the main trading partners for the Russian Federation, and its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more and more often is performing as the key mediator in foreign politics. All these changes are to a great extent underpinned by successful pragmatic and flexible interaction of Moscow with Teheran and Ankara, as well as special attitude of Iran and Turkey to the anti-Russian sanctions and their independent position on the special military operation in Ukraine.

Logistics turned out to be another very important topic of the summit in Teheran. Today Russia can help Iran and Turkey with food supplies, which the countries of Middle East and Africa are so short of. At the same time, Moscow badly needs alternative transportation channels for exporting and importing various commodities. Turkey has already become the important transportation hub and business partner for Russia. Iran has good potential for future transportation of cargos to India and other remote countries via the North South multimodal transportation corridor. Let us remind here, that the railway gauge of Iran is the same as in Russia, and Iran also has a well-developed ports and highways network. After almost full blockade of the European destinations for any types of shipments, the alternative routes via Iran and Turkey are becoming the vitally important priorities for Russia.

We should especially highlight that Iran and Turkey are the two leading countries of the Muslim world, even though there are contradictions between them. That is why the role of Russia as an independent moderator of the complicated trilateral relations is so important. Alexei Malashenko, the Chief Research Associate of the Institute of Foreign Economies and International Relations with the Russian Academy of Sciences, quite fairly believes that «Russia needs to enhance the Islamic vector of its foreign policy». At least for the sake of not limiting its key international ties in the current environment to just China. [1] This well-known expert in Asian and Islamic studies is convinced that today Russian foreign policy is based on the new Eastern strategy to a great extent underpinned by the trust-based relations with Ankara and Teheran. However, before we start discussions about the new Tripartite Alliance or about the future geopolitical axis Ankara Moscow Teheran, let us look into the factors causing the new Russian «turn to the East».

Leaving for Asia and the «Abduction of Europa» cycles

Russian history apparently proves that its rapprochement with the West was not equably progressive, but of a wave-like character. The prophetic book «Abduction of Europa» by Vadim Tsymbursky, a geopolitical analyst fairly called «Russian Huntington», is the best description of this «love hatred» concept. His splendid book well ahead of his time [2] now deserves a new attentive and scrupulous reading because of its exclusive relevancy. According to this scientist, the special Russian Abduction of Europa complex was developing since the times of Peter the Great, and the adoption of Western civilization achievements by Russia was intermixed with the enthusiasm of its direct geopolitical presence in Europe. For Russians «being Europeans» always meant being strong in Europe, and «being strong» was perceived as having direct influence on the European civilization, sometimes even against the will of indigenous Europeans.

Indeed, in the history of the Russian empire we can observe similar «oscillatory movements» forming regular cycles of the «Abduction of Europa». In each cycle, the first phase (run A) includes the attempts of Russia to expand towards the West, simultaneously getting involved in the struggle between the indigenous European forces (or today the Euro-Atlantic forces) for the supremacy. Thus, Russia on a regular basis is performing as an ally of that or another Euro-Atlantic group (wars in the 18th early 19th century; participation in the Triple Entente alliance in early 20th century; Molotov Ribbentrop Pact and the associated territorial changes).

In the second phase (run ) the Western troops invade Russia (Napoleon in 1812, the Central Powers and Entente in 1918-1919, the Nazis in 1941).

In the third phase (run ) Russia repels the Western aggression and then attempts to go on the offensive against Europe, which faces the threat of Russian dominance (military campaigns of 1813-1814 and the Concert of Europe (the Holy Alliance); the Bolsheviks attempts to export the  revolution to Europe in early 1920s; the combat activities of 1944-1945 and the Yalta System).

The fourth phase (run D) is noted by Western deterrent policy on behalf of the West and rolling it back to cold or hot war (the cold war and the collapse of the USSR).

Upon the end of the fourth phase, the «Eurasian interludes» inevitably happen in the history of Russia; for example, in the second half of the 19th century or during the times of the Stalins course for «Socialism in One Country». During such periods Russia splashes out its geopolitical activity to Central Asia and Far East waiting for a favorable moment for its new «coming back to Europe».

It is interesting that the Western assessments of the trilateral summit in Teheran are well-fit into this typical narrative of the «spurned lover». Thus, BBC notes that «the Kremlin is full of determination to show the West that the international sanctions have not succeeded in driving Russia into isolation, and that it still has some friends. For example, Turkey and Iran». [3] In essence, Russia is undertaking some expansive action in the East when its way to the West is blocked, and such Eastern expansion is always targeted at problematic regions, which can really hit the West hard.

«Four-cycle motor» for Russian foreign policy

Tsymbursky himself used a figurative comparison of the Russian-European relations with the four-cycle motor running through our entire history. Summarizing the length chronologic geopolitical dynamics, we may distinguish the basic narratives of the «Abduction of Europa». Run is Russias progression to the West, practically always breakneck and enthusiastic. Then the cold response of Europe came inalterably «the European counter pressure on Russia» (run ). But, as the geopolitical expert fairly notes, «from cycle to cycle, the European influence is expanding covering more and more areas of Russian platform». As for run this is exactly the eternal Russian attempt of the «Abduction of Europa» by force. But every time, Tsymbursky notes, «the comparison shows that out direct penetration into Europe is significantly shallower». Tsymbursky ironically mentions that as the first attempt the Russians captured Paris, their second attempt was stopped at the Elbe River; it appears that our next attempt will be stopped at the Dnieper.

The most important thing is that «leaving for Asia» always was a distinct feature for the fourth phase of the cycle (run D). As Tsymbursky himself writes, «from cycle to cycle the increasing rollback of Russia into the depth of Eurasia from the «straits territories» the limitrophe countries of the Baltic and the Black Sea frontiers. «Starting from 1820s, the biggest countries of the Romano-Germanic world the Great Britain, Austria, and eventually France as well shift to the policy of deterring Russia implanting certain illusions into the Poles», Tsymbursky keenly notes and comes to the following conclusion: «After 1850s, Russia was constantly losing everything it acquired during the first phase and gradually is setting back to the times before Peter the Great». By the way, starting from 1920s, Karl Haushofer, the grand master of geopolitics, came to a similar conclusion; in his global panoramic reviews he portraits Russia as «the country, whose interests lay deep in Asia».

Vadim Tsymbursky finishes his above-mentioned essay with a prophetic question: «We need to remember: run A bringing us back to Europe will be highly likely followed by the same «abducting» runs of the four-cycle motor. Do we want to have such a spin again?». The most recent Russian policy gave a quite positive answer to this question. But in modern history the motor rpm speed grew significantly. So, the Russian policy of the several preceding years can be quite fairly called not «abducting», but «buying» Europe. It was assumed that in exchange of Russian oil and gas reserves the European Commissioners will start from opening the way to Europe for Gazprom. As a follow-up, other Russian major state corporations will establish symbiotic relationship with European concerns. However, nothing good came out of this enterprise. The aligned response of the European Union most clearly is expressed in the new «energy policy of deterring Russia» reflected in the Third Energy. [4]

When such straightforward assets «swap» with Europe failed, the idea of «another turn to the East» gained the upper hand again. This time by accelerating the establishment of its own integration project the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which initially was presented as the format of «long-term association with the EU». Hence, the Russian foreign policy stubbornly continued along the lines of the «Abduction of Europa» until it «tripped over» Ukraine in 2014. At that time, the European Union did not have any long-term strategy with respect to the major Eurasian countries Russia, Turkey and Iran, except for the quite obvious desire to keep them at a distance and soft capture of the post-Soviet rimland, e.g., under the Eastern Partnership program. The NATOs attempt to expand into Ukraine and Georgia was a new threat perceived by Russia as a direct challenge to its security and caused an avalanche of geopolitical consequences.

Today the situation has changed drastically to the worse. The «collective West» declared a total war against Russia, and any country from the candidates to the «hermit countries» may be the next one. As for Moscow, it decisively became convinced that it did no longer need abducting Europe at any cost. The former political patterns and customary international relations formats collapsed at once, the field is now clear for shaping new geopolitical narratives. In this situation, the Teheran summit of countries civilizations (Russia, Turkey and Iran) is interesting from the standpoint of presenting the new idea of value-based civilizations alliance in the continental Eurasia. The concluding clauses of the Joint Declaration confirm the intents of the three countries to continue using this equitable format to coordinate their political and economic collaboration. [5]

Leaving for Asia for the long haul

Today we can acknowledge that the new Russias leave for Eurasia has come about. It was Europe that initiated its divorce with Russia, and it appears to be for good. On one hand, it looks in line with the logic of run D of the current cycle meaning casting off Russia to the East by the consolidated Euro-Atlantic alliance. On the other hand, the nature of the «collective West» has undergone fundamental changes, and it has become a conjunctive symbiosis on both sides of the Atlantic. The European Union now represents not just autonomous forces of the «old Europe», which we could make the arrangements with, but with the European provinces of the «softly» structured empire. The West has become a fully integrated corporation, where territorial and supra-territorial (like IMF or NATO) subcenters got used to each other and learned the rules of the cooperative game. Such perfect synchronization and teamwork is evident judging by the speed of adoption and the degree of detail of the anti-Russian sanctions packages. Hence, venturous bets on polarization of the West or on the Republicans coming into power in the US (after Biden) may not fly, and that dooms the Russian diplomacy to become the wandering hero of The Castle by Franz Kafka.

Such imperial structure of the «Global Center» in reality serves various interests of Western nations in the spheres of economy, defense, prestige and others. The West has already made its civilization choice, including the choice on our behalf. This is the fundamental reason not to believe in the possibility of revival of the geopolitical connection «Europe Russia». All the old strategies are counterproductive as they are based on standard decisions to wait out the troubles and get back to «business as usual» or to prove something to the West making friends «in its spite» with local geopolitical «bruisers». From now on, Russia should be avoiding any projects based on the logic of our old ideas of the «Abduction of Europa». Starting from the times of Peter the Great, all Russias geopolitical claims were linked to this idea, but today this 300-year-old project is completely closed once and for all.

It will be a mistake to think that all serious alternatives for Russia are in between its dependency from the West and confrontation with it. Firstly, the mass-scale confrontation is fraught with nuclear war and mass suicide, and imitating antagonism and building up propagandistic hysteria no longer look impressive. Secondly, any attempt to freeze the situation or to simply «surrender to the conquerors mercy» does not guarantee anything for us. The geopolitical expert Tsymbursky warned in late 1990s: «The conflict with the West will not save us from geographically inevitable work in its interests, and the reckless affiliation with it will not guarantee sustainability, or survival, or future to Russia». Indeed, we can hear more and more public statements from Western politicians about the need for radical change of Russian elites and about the prospects of dividing Russia into a number of quasi-states with autonomous geo-economic roles.

So, what are we to do? We should accept Russias «leave for Asia» as given for long haul this is our rightful seat, the location of our geopolitical interests. We should get back to the real geographic sense of Europe how the great natural philosopher Alexander von Humboldt understood it. In his Cosmos treatise he defined Europe as just the «Western peninsula of Asia». We should thoroughly re-read the geopolitical testament of Vadim Tsymbursky: «I wrote in The Island of Russia and I still think the same our public should take the «shrinkage» of Russia as an incentive for searching for the new civilizational self-determination based on the revised geo-strategy. Everything that the Russians gained from the West will stay with them, and many other things can be gained, but in all likelihood, Russia will never again be a part of the European world with the same rights, as it used to be in the past».

Russia is up to turning the European page of its history and start living a new life according to the new rules. Only strong regional powers will maintain leadership in the modern world the ones, which are based on the identity of big historic societies and symbolize civilizational unity. The specifics of Russia and some other countries (such as China, Turkey, and Iran) is that they view their own «big space» as a historic intrinsically valuable world. In essence, these countries are «counties civilizations» and are destined to collaborate facing the common Euro-Atlantic challenge. Those who maintain the civilizational core, succeed in accumulating friendly rimland, in creating new alliances and strategic partnerships they will be the geopolitical champions.

The Russian-Turkic Alliance concept recently proposed by the Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies is one of the examples of such innovative approach. [6] The trilateral summit in Teheran is in line with the new geopolitical strategy of Russia and opens up a broad horizon for productive work in Asia.

1. Politics «Meeting of equals»: why Putin needs the summit with the leaders of Turkey and Iran in Teheran. National news service, 12.07.2022. https://nsn.fm/policy/vstrecha-ravnyh-dlya-chego-putinu-sammit-s-glavami-turtsii-i-irana-v-tegerane

2. Vadim Tsymbursky. Europe - Russia. The third autumn of civilization http://www.intelros.ru/subject/figures/1074-vadim_cymburskijj_evropa__rossija_tretja_osen_civilizacii.html

3. Vladimir Putin visited Iran. , 19.07.2022. https://www.bbc.com/russian/news-62220120

4. «Abduction of Europa». Who is in the way of integration between Russia and European Union. RIA Novosti, 06.03.2018. https://ria.ru/20180306/1515802028.html

5. Joint declaration of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the President of the Russian Federation and the President of the Republic of Turkey. Official website of the President of Russia, 19.07.2022. http://kremlin.ru/supplement/5825

6. The future of Eurasia: Russian-Turkic strategic alliance. Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies. https://caspian.institute/product/ciss/rossijsko-tyurkskij-soyuz-kak-budushchee-evrazii-37966.shtml

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Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies
Publications

Putin is organizing the anti-Western alliance Russia Turkey Iran 

23 2022
Yuri Solozobov

Yuri Solozobov

Candidate of Science, Physics and Mathematics, Regional Programs Director of CISS

Moving from the present agenda to the new strategy

The official visit of Vladimir Putin to Teheran is finished. Let us remind here that it was the second foreign visit of the Russian Leader after the start of the special military operation in Ukraine. The first one was Putins visit to Tajikistan and Turkmenistan in June (the 6th Caspian Forum).

The reason to visit the Iranian capital was the scheduled meeting of the leaders of the states guarantors of the Astana peace-making process in Syria. The President of the RF also had bilateral negotiations with his counterparts from Iran and Turkey Ebrahim Raisi and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, also met with Vladimir Putin. All this undoubtedly should be viewed in the context of the current complicated military and political situation in the world, which allows to talk about shaping the new anti-Western alliance with the potential of future creation of a geopolitical axis: Ankara Moscow Teheran.

It should be highlighted that the Teheran summit took place shortly after the visit of the US President Joe Biden to the Middle East, where he met with the Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Practically all the analysts evaluated that visit as a failure: the American President was not able to achieve any of the planned goals, including the attempt to persuade Riyadh to increase oil production to bring the global prices down and mitigate the energy crisis consequences, as well as to effectively counteract Russia and China. In Saudi Arabia Biden got quite a cold shower signaling that the problems of the USA are not anyone elses problems, and that the «human rights» slogans should be left for others. 

According to the experts, the meeting of the three leaders Putin, Erdogan and Raisi in Teheran has a very big symbolic meaning. Some commentators even say it may be ranked together with the meeting of the «Big Three» (Roosevelt Stalin Churchill) in Teheran in 1943. Firstly, the trilateral summit allowed Russia, Turkey and Iran (all being under heavy pressure by the West) to emphasize the importance of their political and economic collaboration. These three countries demonstrated to the entire world that they were not in isolation and not on the margins of political trial. Secondly, Moscow, Ankara and Teheran are finding common grounds more and more often lately, and their officials keep announcing their commitment to expanding their interaction in various spheres. And thirdly, the fact of the three leaders of the major Eurasian civilizations with the history of great empires, which are still very influential across their former lands, is very important per se.

On top of the discussions on the situation in Syria, economic affairs became one of the priority topics at the trilateral summit. For example, during the meeting with the President Ebrahim Raisi on the sidelines of the 6th Caspian Forum in Ashkhabad, Vladimir Putin announced the 81% growth of the trade turnover between Russia and Iran versus 2021. As the contradictions between Moscow and the West are escalating, Turkey also became one of the main trading partners for the Russian Federation, and its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more and more often is performing as the key mediator in foreign politics. All these changes are to a great extent underpinned by successful pragmatic and flexible interaction of Moscow with Teheran and Ankara, as well as special attitude of Iran and Turkey to the anti-Russian sanctions and their independent position on the special military operation in Ukraine.

Logistics turned out to be another very important topic of the summit in Teheran. Today Russia can help Iran and Turkey with food supplies, which the countries of Middle East and Africa are so short of. At the same time, Moscow badly needs alternative transportation channels for exporting and importing various commodities. Turkey has already become the important transportation hub and business partner for Russia. Iran has good potential for future transportation of cargos to India and other remote countries via the North South multimodal transportation corridor. Let us remind here, that the railway gauge of Iran is the same as in Russia, and Iran also has a well-developed ports and highways network. After almost full blockade of the European destinations for any types of shipments, the alternative routes via Iran and Turkey are becoming the vitally important priorities for Russia.

We should especially highlight that Iran and Turkey are the two leading countries of the Muslim world, even though there are contradictions between them. That is why the role of Russia as an independent moderator of the complicated trilateral relations is so important. Alexei Malashenko, the Chief Research Associate of the Institute of Foreign Economies and International Relations with the Russian Academy of Sciences, quite fairly believes that «Russia needs to enhance the Islamic vector of its foreign policy». At least for the sake of not limiting its key international ties in the current environment to just China. [1] This well-known expert in Asian and Islamic studies is convinced that today Russian foreign policy is based on the new Eastern strategy to a great extent underpinned by the trust-based relations with Ankara and Teheran. However, before we start discussions about the new Tripartite Alliance or about the future geopolitical axis Ankara Moscow Teheran, let us look into the factors causing the new Russian «turn to the East».

Leaving for Asia and the «Abduction of Europa» cycles

Russian history apparently proves that its rapprochement with the West was not equably progressive, but of a wave-like character. The prophetic book «Abduction of Europa» by Vadim Tsymbursky, a geopolitical analyst fairly called «Russian Huntington», is the best description of this «love hatred» concept. His splendid book well ahead of his time [2] now deserves a new attentive and scrupulous reading because of its exclusive relevancy. According to this scientist, the special Russian Abduction of Europa complex was developing since the times of Peter the Great, and the adoption of Western civilization achievements by Russia was intermixed with the enthusiasm of its direct geopolitical presence in Europe. For Russians «being Europeans» always meant being strong in Europe, and «being strong» was perceived as having direct influence on the European civilization, sometimes even against the will of indigenous Europeans.

Indeed, in the history of the Russian empire we can observe similar «oscillatory movements» forming regular cycles of the «Abduction of Europa». In each cycle, the first phase (run A) includes the attempts of Russia to expand towards the West, simultaneously getting involved in the struggle between the indigenous European forces (or today the Euro-Atlantic forces) for the supremacy. Thus, Russia on a regular basis is performing as an ally of that or another Euro-Atlantic group (wars in the 18th early 19th century; participation in the Triple Entente alliance in early 20th century; Molotov Ribbentrop Pact and the associated territorial changes).

In the second phase (run ) the Western troops invade Russia (Napoleon in 1812, the Central Powers and Entente in 1918-1919, the Nazis in 1941).

In the third phase (run ) Russia repels the Western aggression and then attempts to go on the offensive against Europe, which faces the threat of Russian dominance (military campaigns of 1813-1814 and the Concert of Europe (the Holy Alliance); the Bolsheviks attempts to export the  revolution to Europe in early 1920s; the combat activities of 1944-1945 and the Yalta System).

The fourth phase (run D) is noted by Western deterrent policy on behalf of the West and rolling it back to cold or hot war (the cold war and the collapse of the USSR).

Upon the end of the fourth phase, the «Eurasian interludes» inevitably happen in the history of Russia; for example, in the second half of the 19th century or during the times of the Stalins course for «Socialism in One Country». During such periods Russia splashes out its geopolitical activity to Central Asia and Far East waiting for a favorable moment for its new «coming back to Europe».

It is interesting that the Western assessments of the trilateral summit in Teheran are well-fit into this typical narrative of the «spurned lover». Thus, BBC notes that «the Kremlin is full of determination to show the West that the international sanctions have not succeeded in driving Russia into isolation, and that it still has some friends. For example, Turkey and Iran». [3] In essence, Russia is undertaking some expansive action in the East when its way to the West is blocked, and such Eastern expansion is always targeted at problematic regions, which can really hit the West hard.

«Four-cycle motor» for Russian foreign policy

Tsymbursky himself used a figurative comparison of the Russian-European relations with the four-cycle motor running through our entire history. Summarizing the length chronologic geopolitical dynamics, we may distinguish the basic narratives of the «Abduction of Europa». Run is Russias progression to the West, practically always breakneck and enthusiastic. Then the cold response of Europe came inalterably «the European counter pressure on Russia» (run ). But, as the geopolitical expert fairly notes, «from cycle to cycle, the European influence is expanding covering more and more areas of Russian platform». As for run this is exactly the eternal Russian attempt of the «Abduction of Europa» by force. But every time, Tsymbursky notes, «the comparison shows that out direct penetration into Europe is significantly shallower». Tsymbursky ironically mentions that as the first attempt the Russians captured Paris, their second attempt was stopped at the Elbe River; it appears that our next attempt will be stopped at the Dnieper.

The most important thing is that «leaving for Asia» always was a distinct feature for the fourth phase of the cycle (run D). As Tsymbursky himself writes, «from cycle to cycle the increasing rollback of Russia into the depth of Eurasia from the «straits territories» the limitrophe countries of the Baltic and the Black Sea frontiers. «Starting from 1820s, the biggest countries of the Romano-Germanic world the Great Britain, Austria, and eventually France as well shift to the policy of deterring Russia implanting certain illusions into the Poles», Tsymbursky keenly notes and comes to the following conclusion: «After 1850s, Russia was constantly losing everything it acquired during the first phase and gradually is setting back to the times before Peter the Great». By the way, starting from 1920s, Karl Haushofer, the grand master of geopolitics, came to a similar conclusion; in his global panoramic reviews he portraits Russia as «the country, whose interests lay deep in Asia».

Vadim Tsymbursky finishes his above-mentioned essay with a prophetic question: «We need to remember: run A bringing us back to Europe will be highly likely followed by the same «abducting» runs of the four-cycle motor. Do we want to have such a spin again?». The most recent Russian policy gave a quite positive answer to this question. But in modern history the motor rpm speed grew significantly. So, the Russian policy of the several preceding years can be quite fairly called not «abducting», but «buying» Europe. It was assumed that in exchange of Russian oil and gas reserves the European Commissioners will start from opening the way to Europe for Gazprom. As a follow-up, other Russian major state corporations will establish symbiotic relationship with European concerns. However, nothing good came out of this enterprise. The aligned response of the European Union most clearly is expressed in the new «energy policy of deterring Russia» reflected in the Third Energy. [4]

When such straightforward assets «swap» with Europe failed, the idea of «another turn to the East» gained the upper hand again. This time by accelerating the establishment of its own integration project the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which initially was presented as the format of «long-term association with the EU». Hence, the Russian foreign policy stubbornly continued along the lines of the «Abduction of Europa» until it «tripped over» Ukraine in 2014. At that time, the European Union did not have any long-term strategy with respect to the major Eurasian countries Russia, Turkey and Iran, except for the quite obvious desire to keep them at a distance and soft capture of the post-Soviet rimland, e.g., under the Eastern Partnership program. The NATOs attempt to expand into Ukraine and Georgia was a new threat perceived by Russia as a direct challenge to its security and caused an avalanche of geopolitical consequences.

Today the situation has changed drastically to the worse. The «collective West» declared a total war against Russia, and any country from the candidates to the «hermit countries» may be the next one. As for Moscow, it decisively became convinced that it did no longer need abducting Europe at any cost. The former political patterns and customary international relations formats collapsed at once, the field is now clear for shaping new geopolitical narratives. In this situation, the Teheran summit of countries civilizations (Russia, Turkey and Iran) is interesting from the standpoint of presenting the new idea of value-based civilizations alliance in the continental Eurasia. The concluding clauses of the Joint Declaration confirm the intents of the three countries to continue using this equitable format to coordinate their political and economic collaboration. [5]

Leaving for Asia for the long haul

Today we can acknowledge that the new Russias leave for Eurasia has come about. It was Europe that initiated its divorce with Russia, and it appears to be for good. On one hand, it looks in line with the logic of run D of the current cycle meaning casting off Russia to the East by the consolidated Euro-Atlantic alliance. On the other hand, the nature of the «collective West» has undergone fundamental changes, and it has become a conjunctive symbiosis on both sides of the Atlantic. The European Union now represents not just autonomous forces of the «old Europe», which we could make the arrangements with, but with the European provinces of the «softly» structured empire. The West has become a fully integrated corporation, where territorial and supra-territorial (like IMF or NATO) subcenters got used to each other and learned the rules of the cooperative game. Such perfect synchronization and teamwork is evident judging by the speed of adoption and the degree of detail of the anti-Russian sanctions packages. Hence, venturous bets on polarization of the West or on the Republicans coming into power in the US (after Biden) may not fly, and that dooms the Russian diplomacy to become the wandering hero of The Castle by Franz Kafka.

Such imperial structure of the «Global Center» in reality serves various interests of Western nations in the spheres of economy, defense, prestige and others. The West has already made its civilization choice, including the choice on our behalf. This is the fundamental reason not to believe in the possibility of revival of the geopolitical connection «Europe Russia». All the old strategies are counterproductive as they are based on standard decisions to wait out the troubles and get back to «business as usual» or to prove something to the West making friends «in its spite» with local geopolitical «bruisers». From now on, Russia should be avoiding any projects based on the logic of our old ideas of the «Abduction of Europa». Starting from the times of Peter the Great, all Russias geopolitical claims were linked to this idea, but today this 300-year-old project is completely closed once and for all.

It will be a mistake to think that all serious alternatives for Russia are in between its dependency from the West and confrontation with it. Firstly, the mass-scale confrontation is fraught with nuclear war and mass suicide, and imitating antagonism and building up propagandistic hysteria no longer look impressive. Secondly, any attempt to freeze the situation or to simply «surrender to the conquerors mercy» does not guarantee anything for us. The geopolitical expert Tsymbursky warned in late 1990s: «The conflict with the West will not save us from geographically inevitable work in its interests, and the reckless affiliation with it will not guarantee sustainability, or survival, or future to Russia». Indeed, we can hear more and more public statements from Western politicians about the need for radical change of Russian elites and about the prospects of dividing Russia into a number of quasi-states with autonomous geo-economic roles.

So, what are we to do? We should accept Russias «leave for Asia» as given for long haul this is our rightful seat, the location of our geopolitical interests. We should get back to the real geographic sense of Europe how the great natural philosopher Alexander von Humboldt understood it. In his Cosmos treatise he defined Europe as just the «Western peninsula of Asia». We should thoroughly re-read the geopolitical testament of Vadim Tsymbursky: «I wrote in The Island of Russia and I still think the same our public should take the «shrinkage» of Russia as an incentive for searching for the new civilizational self-determination based on the revised geo-strategy. Everything that the Russians gained from the West will stay with them, and many other things can be gained, but in all likelihood, Russia will never again be a part of the European world with the same rights, as it used to be in the past».

Russia is up to turning the European page of its history and start living a new life according to the new rules. Only strong regional powers will maintain leadership in the modern world the ones, which are based on the identity of big historic societies and symbolize civilizational unity. The specifics of Russia and some other countries (such as China, Turkey, and Iran) is that they view their own «big space» as a historic intrinsically valuable world. In essence, these countries are «counties civilizations» and are destined to collaborate facing the common Euro-Atlantic challenge. Those who maintain the civilizational core, succeed in accumulating friendly rimland, in creating new alliances and strategic partnerships they will be the geopolitical champions.

The Russian-Turkic Alliance concept recently proposed by the Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies is one of the examples of such innovative approach. [6] The trilateral summit in Teheran is in line with the new geopolitical strategy of Russia and opens up a broad horizon for productive work in Asia.

1. Politics «Meeting of equals»: why Putin needs the summit with the leaders of Turkey and Iran in Teheran. National news service, 12.07.2022. https://nsn.fm/policy/vstrecha-ravnyh-dlya-chego-putinu-sammit-s-glavami-turtsii-i-irana-v-tegerane

2. Vadim Tsymbursky. Europe - Russia. The third autumn of civilization http://www.intelros.ru/subject/figures/1074-vadim_cymburskijj_evropa__rossija_tretja_osen_civilizacii.html

3. Vladimir Putin visited Iran. , 19.07.2022. https://www.bbc.com/russian/news-62220120

4. «Abduction of Europa». Who is in the way of integration between Russia and European Union. RIA Novosti, 06.03.2018. https://ria.ru/20180306/1515802028.html

5. Joint declaration of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the President of the Russian Federation and the President of the Republic of Turkey. Official website of the President of Russia, 19.07.2022. http://kremlin.ru/supplement/5825

6. The future of Eurasia: Russian-Turkic strategic alliance. Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies. https://caspian.institute/product/ciss/rossijsko-tyurkskij-soyuz-kak-budushchee-evrazii-37966.shtml