On the Eternal and the New In the Current Context of World Politics (on the 800th Anniversary of the Birth of Alexander Nevsky)

On the Eternal and the New In the Current Context of World Politics (on the 800th Anniversary of the Birth of Alexander Nevsky)

Torkunov A.V.,

Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University), Moscow, Russia, tork@mgimo.ru

elibrary_id: 498974 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2021.03.02

For citation:

Torkunov A.V. On the Eternal and the New In the Current Context of World Politics (on the 800th Anniversary of the Birth of Alexander Nevsky). – Polis. Political Studies. 2021. No. 3. P. 8-16. (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2021.03.02


In May 2021, Russia celebrates the 800th anniversary of Alexander Nevsky’s birth. The article, written especially for this date, emphasizes that in the middle of the 13th century, in the context of the collapse of Kievan Rus and the absence of a properly planned movement to something else, a person emerged on the stage of Russian national history who knew how to win when victories seemed impossible. A product of his turbulent times, Prince Alexander Yaroslavovich invested all his forces in pulling Russia out of the historical impasse in which it found itself. He towered not only over many regional landlords of that era, but also over the epoch as a whole. The core around which Alexander Nevsky built practical policy was to find the optimal positioning of originally Russian lands in the “West-East” coordinates. The results of this depended on whether Russia would be relegated to the level of the limitrophe border state under control of the Catholic West and the nomadic East, or would retain its civilizational independence. The choice between a rebuff to the West (and, thus, the preservation of Orthodoxy as the basis of the identity of the Russians) and an involuntary compromise with the Mongols, who had no claims to spiritual control, provided an acceptable solution to the strategic problem. Since then, and to this day, the coordinated game ‘on two boards’ – western and eastern – remains the defining characteristic of Russian behavior in the international arena. In this regard, as in a number of other respects on which the author focuses, Alexander Nevsky appears to be the Father founder of the Russian politics, the main result of which has been the formation of our Fatherland as a state of planetary scale. 

Alexander Nevsky, playing on two boards, Russian politics, Eurasia, strategic focus, Gorchakov, Primakov.


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Content No. 3, 2021

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