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Is Russia a Europe?
Mikhail MargelovChairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation
- I put a question mark in the title. Because this issue is at least 500 years old, during which, when defining the borders of Europe for Western, and part of Russian, minds, the main problem was whether to include Russia in these borders or not. And not only Russia - Portugal, Scandinavia, the Baltics, Scotland, Poland, Hungary, Wales, Ireland, all the Balkan countries and so on were periodically denied belonging to Europe. Well, if the list of European countries expanded due to the eastern geographic regions, then in the West Europe was immediately divided into "white" and "black".
With the subtleties of the East I have to face "in the field", on business trips to Arab and African countries. And with the United States and Europe, I am also "familiar with work." For a long time he was in the Russian delegation to PACE, he was the vice-speaker of this organization, he headed the political group of European democrats. With the US Senate, the Federation Council had a joint working group, we work closely with the parliaments of Italy, the French Senate and other institutions. So, to the question whether Europe is Russia or Asia, the West or the East, I am able to respond not by books, but by "experiencing" the life and customs of these parts of the world on my own. And I agree with the point of view, according to which not everything, but "much good and bad in Russia happened and is in contact with the West", primarily with Europe, because Russia is an inseparable part of it. And Russia's cultural difference with what is called Europe is no more than the same difference between the Netherlands and Spain.
The European Union, in spite of the efforts of the Brussels bureaucracy, does not "measure the common yardstick". For example, experienced negotiators know that dealing with representatives of the northern and southern countries of the European Union are different things, although both belong to Europe. Because every time you meet not with abstract Europeans, but with specific Frenchmen, Spaniards, Englishmen, Portuguese and others. And all of them are not products of the supranational European, but of their national cultures, each of them has an idea of the culture and values of the peoples of other EU member countries no more than the resident of Russia who studied at the school and university. And there is an opinion that today's Europeans are united by common citizenship, and not by culture and the values associated with it. However, this does not mean that different Europeans in fact have no common values at all.
I have already had to write that the emphasis on the "gap in values" in the relations between the European Union and Russia is unproductive. I mean the "European values" of the modern era, the era of faith in progress, the cognizability of the world, the attainability of a "bright future". No one in Russia denies them.
There are differences between values and interests — values may be close, and interests may diverge. This gap is observed in the countries of the European Union. Therefore, Russia should not be afraid of those European values that do not threaten its interests. Moreover, a significant part of these values does not belong to Europe alone. But like any sovereign country, Russia has the right to ban. Moreover, now in the West the era is different. The values of modernity remain formally there, but postmodernism not only brought confusion to the interpretation of these values, but also added items to their lists that are unacceptable for the cultural code of Russia. In the eyes of a significant part of the world, the European Union ceases to be a “community of values”.
"European values" have always stood out for values universal, universal, and Western interests - for the interests of the whole "world community". But how does this combine the tolerance of the so-called plurality of truths, created by tolerance? For mentally healthy people - in any way. Tolerance is a complex concept, but in practice it often boils down to equalizing good and evil, vice and virtue. Therefore, in terms of values, the European Union should not hold a mentor's post in relation to us - this posture can be a consequence of paralysis.
The blurring of values in the European Union has led to the fact that Europeans are not able to withstand the aggressive values of migrants, worthily defend their identity. Somehow I had to participate in an international seminar on the future of Europe. And I managed to joke about the fact that I'm not afraid of this future, because I'm fluent in Arabic. The Europeans present answered me with sad smiles.
If we return to the values, then recently the density of criticism of Russia from the European Union has been observed in two directions: juvenile justice and the propaganda of homosexuality. But after all, this and other causes a sharp aversion in Russian society. And if for the sake of something to go to the meeting of the European Union and to solve it, then the number of problems will increase dramatically. And there are already a lot of them. If anything, this essentially distinguishes us in the value field with the European Union. But the European Union is not monolithic, there are also opponents of juvenile justice, eroding traditional families, and propaganda of homosexuality. These are conservative forces upholding their values. In Russia, a recent survey showed that more than half of the respondents believe that conservatism helps them to keep traditions and move forward. And the fact that Russians sympathize with bisexual families, in which one is called “father” and the other “mother”, they do not cease to be Europeans. And perhaps they are even more European than the current citizens of the European Union, because they consciously or spontaneously adhere to the values of classical rather than postmodern Europe.
Published in the magazine "European Club" # 2 (2014)