Enlightened Statism (A.D. Bogaturov and Russian International Relations Theory)

Enlightened Statism (A.D. Bogaturov and Russian International Relations Theory)

Tzygankov A.P.,

Ph.D., Professor, San-Francisco State University, andrei@sfsu.edu

Tzygankov P.A.,

Dr. Sci. (Philos.), Professor, Lomonosov Moscow State University, tsygankp@mail.ru

elibrary_id: 72302 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2017.04.13

For citation:

Tzygankov A.P., Tzygankov P.A. Enlightened Statism (A.D. Bogaturov and Russian International Relations Theory). – Polis. Political Studies. 2017. No. 4. P. 175-185. (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2017.04.13


The recently published collection of papers by Aleksei Demosfenovich Bogaturov is an excellent opportunity to reflect on his contribution to the theory of international relations and its future in Russia. Bogaturov introduced, polished, and popularized a number of important ideas and concepts such as the “paradigm of adjustment,” the “pluralistic unipolarity,” the “enclave-conglomerate” structure of the world, the “strategy of grindering “ of in world politics, and others. Russian IR scholars know and exploit these concepts in theoretical and applied research. There have been three influential traditions or ways thinking about the world in Russian science of international relations. Their representative value experiences of the West (Westernizers), independent statehood (Statists), and distinct system of cultural values (Third Rome), respectively. Each tradition of school of thought possesses its own images of Russia and international system that, historical changes notwithstanding, has preserved its internal coherence, continuity, and difference from other schools. Unlike Western realists, who assumed the centrality of the West in the international system, Russian enlightened statists take Russia’s internal development seriously. They seek to combine the ideals of strong, independent state with those of human rights learning from others. In the post-Soviet period of Russian international relations theory (RIRT) the school of Enlightened Statism was best represented by the work of A. Bogaturov and his students. Following M. Khrustalev, Bogaturov sees the main tasks of RIRT in synthesizing theory and applied analysis of international relations. In terms of applied analysis, the main challenge for RIRT after the Soviet dissolution has been to understand the new system of international relations and Russia’s role in it. In this respect, it is important to study political, military, normative-institutional, as well as geo-economic dimensions of the problem. The important theoretical conclusion is the need to develop Russian school of international relations while preserving flexibility and active dialogue with the West. Russia’s academic experience teaches us to not be limited to schools and paradigms, but instead develop approaches and concepts grounded in empirical realities. This is hard to follow model that should serve as an important goal in further RIRT development. 

A.D. Bogaturov; international relations theory; Russian school; Enlightened Statism.


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Tsygankov P.A. Russia International Relations Theory: What Should It Be Like? – Comparative Politics Russia. 2014. Vol. 5. No. 2 (15-16). P. 65-83. (In Russ.) DOI: https://doi.org/10.18611/2221-3279-2014-5-2(15-16)-65-83

Tsymburskii V.L. Eurasian Geopolitics for Atlantis. – Pro et Contra. 1999. No. 4. P. 141-175. (In Russ.) 

Content No. 4, 2017

See also:

Alekseyeva T.A., Lebedeva M.M.,
What Is Happening to the Theory of International Relations. – Polis. Political Studies. 2016. No1

Konyshev V.N., Sergunin A.A.,
International relations theory: on the threshold of new «Great Debates»?. – Polis. Political Studies. 2013. No2

Alekseyeva T.A.,
Reflections on modern world politics. – Polis. Political Studies. 2010. No3

Kosov Yu.V.,
The Russian International Relations Science: to Acquiring the Image of Its Own. – Polis. Political Studies. 2005. No5

Alekseyeva T.A.,
The Debates about “Great Debates”: How to Structure the Theory of International Relations. – Polis. Political Studies. 2016. No6



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