by Alexey Drobinin, Director of Russia’s MFA’s Foreign Policy Planning Department
Abridged. Full text is published in the journal “The International Affairs,” 1 December 2023.
Russia, as well as other countries, has launched and is conducting an in-depth revision of ideas that were assimilated, at first glance. These ideas largely shaped the economic, political and cultural world that emerged after the Cold War in the context of the unipolar concept and related globalisation processes. This long overdue and certainly beneficial process is directly related to the strengthening of the multipolar foundations of international life. Obviously, there can be no technological sovereignty without national science and production facilities; nor can any country be truly independent without the unique practices and values of its population.
Russian experts in all managerial spheres are rationally placing an emphasis on forms, methods and approaches, borrowed from the longstanding tradition of Russian statehood. Nor do we reject appropriate aspects of advanced foreign experience.
Global development has now entered another crucial phase. Russia is once again facing foreign attempts to hamper its development. One of the main directions of attack comes in the form of the Western values agenda (or rather, that of the globalist elites who have seriously encroached upon their domestic rivals, including nationally-oriented elites).
They believed that the religious and traditionalist factor would eventually recede into the background in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, just like in post-Christian Europe.
However, despite the aggressive imposition of narratives seen as profitable by the ruling Western elite via globalist media outlets and NGOs, the rift between Western values and those of the rest of the world is not narrowing. It is becoming wider and deeper. Moreover, conservative circles in Western society are increasingly rejecting the neo-liberal ideology.
It would be appropriate to analyse the paradigm of neo-liberal values in greater detail and to divide it into four tentative aspects, including the economy, politics, society and technology.
The first and main postulate in this area is the dominance of the US dollar as a reserve currency and means of payment in international trade. De-dollarisation is seen as an existential threat to Western hegemony.
The next sacred cow is commodities and sales markets that are open to Western capital, including speculative capital. In the United States and the European Union, protectionism is declared a reasonable measure to regulate cross-border flows. Others are encouraged to believe in the “free market” and to “improve the investment climate” for Western capital in their territory.
The governments in the West are facing a difficult challenge right now: they need to find the best way to portray the planned confiscation of private assets from Russia. The answer seems obvious within the neoliberal paradigm. The inviolability of private property is certainly a fundamental principle that underlies the “market economy.” So of course, private property cannot be seized — except when it is really necessary, but only by the West, from representatives of countries with “authoritarian” regimes.
The Western approach is increasingly drifting towards eco-extremism. They are imposing the most stringent standards and regulations for the “green transformation” on the countries of the Global South, where developed countries used to establish hazardous industrial facilities in the past. Developing countries are required to accelerate the energy transition, which implies drastic cuts in the use of fossil fuels and in investment in the conventional fuel and energy industry. This is fraught with many countries being starved for energy and, as a result, facing a shortage of resources for development.
Democratic procedures in Western countries long ago turned into a way of legalising power and they have nothing to do with the rotation of elites in the leadership of these countries. It is not surprising that the term “deep state” has become popular or that big monopoly business has dominant positions in Western governments because pseudo-democracy is designed to serve its interests.
Another Western “democratic value” is “free and fair” elections. The level of “freedom” depends on the existence of “independent” media foreign agents who are controlled by the West, and “fairness” depends on allowing “independent,” that is pro-Western, candidates or parties to take part in elections and on ensuring results that will satisfy the West.
Distortion of the concept of human rights by prioritising political and civil rights and at the same time depression of socioeconomic and cultural rights have become for the United States and its satellites the pretext for interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. There is a long list of “colour revolutions,” none of which improved people’s lives.
Contrary to the proclaimed principle of freedom of speech, the neoliberal West is implementing a “digital Gulag” project, that is, total control by IT giants and oligarchic clans over public opinion and historical memory.
A vivid example is the campaign of Russophobia unleashed in the West. Anti-Russian racism, meaning the broad use of hate speech towards Russia and the Russians, has become a fact of life that is regarded as politically correct in the West. The Western media and public opinion leaders are promoting chauvinistic tales about Russia based on the use of dehumanising and alienating rhetoric with regard to Russian people and false ideas of “collective responsibility” for the security crisis created by the West itself and, consequently, about the need for “collective punishment” of Russians. This media campaign is being fostered by modern-day Western politicians and has all the elements of totalitarian propaganda.
It is notable that this approach has not been condemned, not to the least degree, by the passive international organisations whose executive bodies have been “privatised” by the West. For more than nine years, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) turned a blind eye to the death of Donbass children during Ukrainian armed attacks.
In the West, they openly advocate for blurring the line between soft and hard drugs, destigmatising drug use and positioning drug addicts as normal, healthy members of society.
Phenomena that were once marginalised and that lead to a fracturing of people’s consciousness, such as the obsessive LGBT agenda, radical feminism, the cult of social political correctness to the point of absurdity, and “critical race theory” (based on the assumption that race is not a biological but a socially engineered characteristic to oppress non-whites) have become a standard of everyday life in Western countries.
Sexual minorities are part of all societies. They should not be discriminated against and they should have the same civil and socio-cultural rights as all other citizens. Of concern is the propaganda of non-traditional values, which is becoming more and more aggressive.
“Cancellation culture” and “deplatforming,” encourage reports to the authorities, collective bullying and unsubstantiated stigmatisation with insulting labels: racists, fascists, communists, sexists, homophobes, gender haters and the like.
At the same time, work is underway to include the concept of the “third sex” in the World Health Organisation’s guidelines on gender issues in health care; calls are being made to revise ethical standards regarding reproductive choice, the medical alteration of human nature, and the sexual integrity of children (in fact, a step towards the legalisation of paedophilia). In Spain, it has even come to the point of decriminalising bestiality. There, relevant amendments to the legislation were introduced in February 2023.
It is clear to a sober-minded observer that the “renewalist” part of the West has deviated greatly from the generally recognised standards of human morality, which, incidentally, were not rejected by classical liberalism. However, neoliberalism is already aimed at breaking the spiritual, cultural and social heritage of various civilisations. The values of the Enlightenment, Christianity, other monotheistic religions and even post-Christian atheism are being supplanted by the tenets of the “new ethics” under the supposedly plausible pretext of fighting discrimination against minorities. To replace humanism, neoliberal ideologues promote the concept and practices of transhumanism, posthumanism and posthumanity.
The cultural and ethical mechanisms that regulate social relationships and relations between individuals are being replaced by technological permissiveness.
This paves the way for promoting trendy research and development projects to change human nature using modern bioengineering technologies. For example, the West is using puberty blockers more actively to prepare teenagers for sex-reassignment surgery. Predictably, this is motivated by huge corporate profits. In 2022, the sex-reassignment surgery market was worth an estimated $2.1 billion in the United States alone.
Biomedical methods aimed at changing a person’s appearance are becoming more subtle. Businesspersons are fascinated with the idea of giving birth to genetically modified children and performing head transplants. One can also mention projects aimed at boosting human endurance, doping studies and efforts to make people more resistant to pain and other irritants.
The entire neoliberal agenda is, in one way or another, a product of big money, designed to serve the interests of transnational corporations through political, economic, and social shackles. The pseudo-democratic and neoliberal attitudes imposed by the West are not at all what Russia or other countries signed up to as part of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1975 Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, or other international commitments that we took on after 1991.
Every nation has the sovereign right to choose its own path of development. However, this does not mean that Russia will not defend itself against such a lifestyle being imposed on it.
As Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his remarks at the 9th St Petersburg International Cultural Forum — the Forum of United Cultures on November 17, “The experience of the millennium-old history of our country convincingly shows that cultural diversity is the greatest blessing while the interaction of cultures is one of the conditions for stable and peaceful development. After all, some of the main reasons for today’s international tensions are rooted in the claims of some forces to exclusivity, including cultural exclusivity, their disregard for the customs and spiritual values of others, a striving to subject everyone and everything to unification under their own pattern that they consider the best and most universal. This distasteful globalisation and, let me add, cultural expansionism, have led to cultural suppression and deprivation and have multiplied the potential for conflict.”
The goal of the intellectual and political community, which cares about the future of its own people, is to identify and consistently neutralise any threats to the original way of life and traditional values, which are crucial to Russia’s full-scale and successful development in the 21st century.