The current issue of OZ focuses on the theme of a New World Order, or rather it makes an attempt at understanding whether there is any justification to the alarming talk of an impending era of world chaos following the demise of the political (Yalta) and economic (Bretton Woods) systems.

Fyodor Lukianov. Twenty Years Without World Order

On 7 December 1988, in a speech at the UN General Assembly, Mikhail Gorbachev put forward a program calling for a “new world order” that would impart to the traditional power rivalry a “quality of sensible competition in conditions of respect for freedom of choice and a balance of interests.” The program failed – mostly, according to the article, due to traditional thinking by politicians clinging to the notion that any war, even a Cold War, must have winners and losers. This division into “winners” and “losers” has, in the West, led to a dangerous moral and political complacency coupled with a belief that there is no alternative to a particular set of liberal ideas, while in Russia it led to a growing desire for revanche. It soon transpired that old international institutions were no longer able to meet challenges posed by the new reality. The unsettled state of world affairs, brought about by the “passing of ideology”, has produced a desire for some sort of a quasi-ideological standoff that would restore the familiar perspective by drawing up new “battle lines”. However, such efforts are obviously misplaced and misguided, as they fail to provide even an illusion of reflecting the processes that are really taking place.

Alexander Medyakov. From Munster to Saraevo: Consistency of International Relations in the Modern Era

The modern system of international relations emerged following the demise of a medieval concept of European Universalism. The world as a hierarchical structure, headed by an emperor and bonded together by religious unity, was superseded by the world made up of sovereign and formally equal states. The first such system came into being on 24 October 1648 with the signing of the Peace of Westphalia. For the next two centuries, the world order rested on the concept of equilibrium as tool for attaining the lofty goal “peace and concord”. The equilibrium mechanism was based on the principle of “convenance” (consent), which implied that any territorial gain by a state must require the consent of other powers, including the provision of adequate compensation. This European equilibrium mechanism lasted well into the late 18th century when it was finally shattered by the French Revolution. An international system that emerged in 1815 was the Vienna system, named after the Congress of Vienna that marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars. It was based on the notion that international equilibrium should arise not just from conflict between competing states, but also through concert between them. This ushered in the concept of the Concert of Europe, whereby, in order to maintain unity and preserve peace in Europe, the great powers pledged to compromise and make concessions even at the expense of some of their own interests. Thus the 18th century equilibrium, based on confrontation and compensation, was superseded in the 19th century by an equilibrium of containment and compromise. So for the first time, the European system came to be organized as a conflict prevention mechanism, as a strategic equilibrium relying on the support of all states, thereby preventing any single state from achieving overall dominance. This system came under severe strain at the end of 19th century with the emergence of two rival power blocks, and it finally collapsed as a result of World War I.

Matthias Zimmer. Moderne, Staat Und Internationale Politik

A synopsis of the book that explores the basic framework of the current political world order as well as discussing new trends that have appeared in political philosophy since the breakup of USSR. The 17th-century Peace of Westphalia marked the end of attempts at forcefully imposing a world order to suit this or that religious or ideological conception. The article’s main argument is that the Westphalia system has had a fundamental impact on the way the world has developed over the past 350 years, with the world’s continued and ongoing transformation being driven by a “normative potential” rooted in the image of man characteristic of the Modern Era. The Westphalia system is still going strong and shows no sign of going away any time soon.

Anne-Marie Slaughter, William Burke-White. The Future of International Law is Domestic

Until recently, international law has been just that – international, with its legal rules and institutional law designed exclusively to govern relations among states. The article reveals that more recently, international law has started to impact domestic politics of sovereign states, and, in this sense, the emerging international legal system is radically different from any of its predecessors. We are entering a period when international law and the system of international relationships should contain a right and even an obligation to intervene and bring pressure to bear in areas that previously constituted the exclusive preserve of national governments and their national legislations. The article refers to this type of international law as the European model, since the European Union has been at the forefront of this new trend. Over the past decade, the EU has admitted ten new members and, in the process, used its own laws as a tool in persuading new candidate-states to implement reforms required to absorb new members into EU structures.

Boris Zhukov. “Law of Nature”

The article looks at the way international environmental conventions have evolved over the years, with first such conventions dating back to as early as the middle of 19th century. Since the mid-20th century, there has been a gradual shift in government attitudes toward the environmental, first in the West, and then in the East. The Kyoto protocol has set a precedent of applying the market approach to resolving global environmental issues and creating a mechanism for achieving tangible progress in safeguarding the environment. The Kyoto process has demonstrated that a cohesive group of rich and powerful nations, driven by a clearly defined lofty objective, can come up with enough incentive to have the world community move in the right direction. Unfortunately, Russia’s own role in international treaties and processes is all too often limited to submitting to rules and regulations that were, in effect, drawn up without its participation.

Richard Robert. Russia and EU: New Prospects.

A discussion of prospects for an improvement in relations between Russia and the European Union following a severe chill in the relationship caused by the Russo-Georgian conflict. Both sides have solid reasons for resuming closer ties.

Fredrik Erixon, Brian Hindley. Russia and WTO

According to the commonly held view in Europe, the way to approach Russia is to treat it as a friendly partner - extend WTO membership, conclude a new EU strategic partnership agreement, and provide assistance. However, without putting this fundamental premise into doubt, the article expresses some skepticism about Russia’s WTO accession, suggesting that the matter needs further consideration and greater circumspection.

Yakov Berger. China: Worldview and Self-Identity

The article discusses China’s national development model. China has clearly been opening up to the outside world, primarily in the economic field. However, the Chinese authorities realize that globalization is bound to bring greater openness in areas like culture, ideology and politics, and are therefore acting with a great deal of circumspection, loosening controls very gradually and cautiously. Nevertheless, once the public has been exposed to new ideas, it is difficult to put the lid back on again – and true enough, China has seen the emergence of a wealth of new lifestyle trends, most of them of Western origin. In an effort to stem this growing tide of foreign influences, Beijing has been keen to revive traditional Chinese values and culture at home, as well as promoting them worldwide. China’s globalization and the world’s Chinazation, in the view of the Chinese leadership, are two sides of the same coin.

Pavel Kandel. “Debalkanization” of the Balkans

In 2005-2008, the US and the EU succeeded in implementing their scenario of breaking Kosovo away from Serbia without provoking an ethnic or nationalist backlash in the region. They managed to restrain Kosovo Albanian violence; minimized a potential hostile reaction from Serbia and Republica Srpska; ensured that the power in Belgrade remained in the hands of pro-Western political forces; and bolstered stability in Macedonia. However, the article argues that over time, an uncontrolled external Albanian migration is bound to lead to yet another flare-up of the “Albanian issue”. As for Serbia, the author believes its diplomatic efforts should focus on maintaining sovereignty over the northern part of Kosovo populated mostly by Serbians.

Dmitry Trenin. World Crisis and World Order

The article contends that the current economic crisis will lead to the emergence of a truly global community. The world has become a global village both in material terms and in terms of a growing awareness of universal interdependence. The crisis will push individual states into making a major move toward creating a global management system – a move the countries were reluctant to make in the years of relative prosperity. This global management system should be based not so much on the balance of power, but rather on shared vital interests or, at minimum, on compatible objectives. In the real world, this system will not have a uniform structure. Instead, it will constitute a network of independent, interconnected bodies – a set of organizations representing countries, business communities, civil initiatives, scientific centers etc, with each body implementing specific objectives within a niche they will themselves define and protect by demonstrated efficiency. On the face of it, this type of world system will seem imperfect, but its very imperfection will provide the required flexibility. As for the UN, it must be reformed on a pragmatic basis. Universal representation should not mean that everyone should have the same influence – influence should be proportionate to members’ budget contributions and to responsibilities they assume in carrying out commonly adopted decisions.

Vladislav Inozemtsev. Collapse of the “Yalta System,” and Democracy’s Destiny: A Contrived Linkage

Contrary to what is generally assumed, the Yalta system’s passing was an evolutionary process, rather than any catastrophic event. Moreover, what will matter in the new century is not whether or not the world is multi-polar. Instead, the world will be multi-level. The world is already split into a core part where liberal and human rights values/principles inspire national polities, and a periphery part where those values/principles remain an empty sham. This “fundamental split” has nothing to do with the Westphalia or Yalta systems, and yet it will become a determining feature of the world’s set-up in the 21st century. A major challenge currently facing the world community is to ascertain, using a set of criteria, which countries qualify to be part of the core group of decent developed states, and then to consolidate that group. The objective of this project would be to create a “zone of prosperity” that would act as a center of attraction for most other countries left outside the zone. The “zone of prosperity” community, however, should be open to accession by other states under transparent conditions of admittance. The European Union has been a model for the shape of things to come, with splits in the world along liberal/human rights lines becoming ever more apparent and periphery states becoming ever more willing to adopt the core’s values. The failure to achieve the 1990s dream of rapidly democratizing the world should not be seen as a critical setback for modern democracy. On the contrary, 21st century should be a time for “deepening” democracy, rather than expanding it, particularly since key challenges faced by democracy have been internal, rather than external – notably, the democratic process is becoming too complicated for the citizenry.

Martin Gilman. Changing Roles

The article looks at some of the reasons for and consequences of the world financial crisis, while discussing possible short-, mid- and long-term measures aimed at resolving the crisis. The author argues that the time has come for an overhaul of the system of international financial institutions to reflect the growing influence of new creditor nations of the East and the South. These institutions should either undergo reform or should be replaced by new bodies that would no longer be dominated by debtor countries.

Dmitry Faleev. No Impasse

The article presents several sketches providing an account of the author’s travels to Altai; his reflections about St-Petersburg, the city where he currently lives; Ivanovo, the city where he was born and where he spent his formative years; about life in a gypsy camping ground, and about Khanty shamans.

Nadezhda Lisitsyna. Pre-Revolutionary Situation in Tver

The author, a high school student, has based her historical research on a diary by Anna Zhdanov, older sister of the well-known Soviet politician Andrei Zhdanov. Anna kept the diary during 1910 and 1914-1915. The first part of the diary provides an insight into political events leading up to World War I, while the second part deals with events as they unfolded during the war. At the time, Anna worked at a military hospital and dreamed about becoming a front-line nurse.

Andrea Graziosi. The new Soviet archival sources: Hypotheses for a critical assessment

A final section of the article (for the previous ones see: OZ, 2008, No 4,5) raises the problem of the huge lacunae in the documentation pertaining to the life and the mentalités of the Soviet people. The abundance of political police reports cannot make up for the dearth of autonomously produced documents and the special features of their surrogates (letters to newspapers, etc.). A brief discussion of the possible remedies to the many problems plaguing the student of Soviet history concludes the essay.

Sergei Filatov, Roman Lunkin. “Teach All Nations…”

An analytical review of a precarious situation faced by national minorities within the Russian Orthodox Church which in recent years has increasingly defined itself as a national church of ethnic Russians. The authors conclude that the Church ethnic minorities issue has been allowed to fester by not being openly addressed, causing mounting strains. This situation cannot last for much longer. Either the Church sets its face toward the minorities and lets them assume a rightful place within the Church, or simmering strains will rise to the surface and cause inevitable schisms.

Prior Pyotr (Mescherinov). Moral Issues of Character Building

The emergence of Western civilization’s polity has depended on educating the “subsidiarity person”, a person who combines public interest with personal pursuits. The article contends that it would be impossible to educate such a person in today’s Russia because Russia has ceased to exist as a Christian civilization. The country’s Christian tradition had been uprooted, and all attempts to resuscitate it have merely led to a revival of the Soviet tradition, precluding any biblical, moral view of history and, instead, opening the way for all manner of mythology and demagoguery which, in their turn, lead to moral relativism and precipitate the biblical scenario of “punishing” the nation gone astray. It would be futile to expect the Church to turn things around and take upon itself the task of educating a “subsidiarity person”, if only because society is far larger and stronger than the Church. The society that has passed the moral point of no-return is dictating its lifestyle to the Church, not the other way around. The only solution is for the Church to stop clinging to old ways in attempting to revive the past, but, instead, provide a Church perspective for addressing today’s challenges.

Dmitry Vaysburd. Two Histories

The article draws a distinction between scholarly, fact-based history, and history built on myths. In Russia, the former is being taught in specialized university humanities courses, while the latter – at all other education institutions, including high schools. Myths are often unavoidable - scientific learning frequently proves to be beyond an average person, while one cannot do without teaching history altogether. Therefore one needs myths that would explain to an average person who he is, what binds him with other members of the nation, where that bond has come from, and why it should be preserved. But myths can be democratic or totalitarian. In today’s Russia, the school is dominated by the totalitarian myth. However, the country would be better off with myths along Old Testament lines: instead of pride for one’s nation, they should teach responsibility for its present and its past.

Igor Kurukin. Popular Will

The article presents the text of a 1730 report by Baron Gustav von Mardefeld, Prussian ambassador in Russia, providing a vivid account of the final day in a constitutional crisis that saw Russian Empress Anna, who had shortly before signed constitutional “conditions”, go back on her promises and reclaim absolute autocratic powers.