Sometimes the world becomes cramped and suffocating, like a small quadrature of a student in a dormitory or a small room of a simple city dweller in a super-urbanized town. The statement made by the director of the EAEU Institute, Vladimir Lepekhin, about the “external block” on the path of Russia, brings slight concern about the situation in the society of a significant and strategic neighbor. Maybe it seems so to receptive people and idealists. Either, feeling the healthy and active attention of Russia and the EAEU, we in Uzbekistan unintentionally pay excessive attention to macro-social trends in Russia.
Since 2017, Uzbekistan has been actively raising new interesting projects and is turning to neighbors, regional and global partners. Similarly, neighbors and partners have equally interesting proposals and projects for Uzbekistan’s participation. Therefore, not only have the flows of goods, services and money between Uzbekistan and the outside world become active and voluminous. The intellectual, ideological, spiritual dialogue has become intense and wide.
If an economic interpretation is applicable to such a mental dialogue, we can speculate about the banal “export and import of values.” Our inhabitants “import” something for consumption, domestic mind factories “import” something for further processing and creating added value for subsequent consumption. Similarly, domestic consumers and factories “export” something to the outside world recipients. In general, the reforms of Uzbekistan have given a great impetus to this important process of value exchange and cooperation.
In this context, it is rational to grasp the immanent and transcendent explorations and experiences of the surrounding countries, especially strategic partners. Usually, when it comes to strategic partners, elites quickly pave the channels for value exchange. Here we stop and return to the main idea.
So, according to Vladimir Lepekhin, the Russian economy is not developing in the right direction and has already reached a deadlock. Important indicators of people’s quality of life – real incomes, life expectancy, and birth rate – are deteriorating due to the series of economic policy measures. The government “strangely” and on the recommendations of the IMF implements ineffective measures – accession to the WTO, tax increases, excessive reduction of the money supply and limitation of domestic aggregate demand, raising the retirement age, overborrowing the population and enterprises at inflated interest rates, and others.
It is interesting to note that expert finds the presence of some invisible external block as an important reason leading to such deterrent policy measures and such an attitude of the elites to their people. So, Russia’s economic development is blocked from the outside. That is, external forces have imposed on Russia a certain strategy that leads its elites and masses to a certain point of globalization.
It is clear that speculation about external influence is no longer news, but a classic hypothesis in Russian politics and political philosophy. Here you can excavate a lot of interesting and sophisticated, superficial and extremely sick theories. It would be strange if there were no healthy imperial interests in strong or small states to the rich resources and markets of Russia. Here, in general, every rational person will find rich and fertile soil for his creative activity. Bloggers and talk-show moderators with enthusiasm debate and discuss, students and research contenders write theses and dissertations, professionals make a career or create and develop a business.
Vladimir Lepekhin believes that Russia “is at a standstill, waiting for something.” The expert expects that “in the coming years some kind of global foreign policy project will appear”, that “hooks from the West have long been planted where they should be.” Simply put, the development of Russia, as Vladimir Lepekhin advocates, is under external control, which prevents the exploitation of internal resources of the country in the interests of the people.
Most of my mind wants to discard this speculation of a respected expert about the responsibility of external and invisible adversaries for the existing internal imbalance and uncertainty in the perception and being of the Russian state. After all, immensely strong elites and state institutions of Russia today rigidly and not unsuccessfully oppose the somewhat obsessive expansion of Western values. Would they just hand over the country to external control? Still, “I want to believe” that the responsibility for the situation lies on the shoulders of the Russian elites. With all due respect to the invisible and potential world government, my consciousness does not want to belittle the huge and capable force of the state bureaucratic machine of Russia.
It is good that the expert still contradicts his concept of the “external block” as he talks about the formation of a “safeguarding” elitist system in Russia, which preserves the surviving mechanism of power distribution and blocks national development. As a result, the vision of the expert becomes more complicated. We see two blocks to the national development of Russia in Vladimir Lepekhin’s scheme – the external block and the internal block.
Why does the topic of Vladimir Lepekhin’s speech deserve the attention of Central Asian elites? Because the elites of Central Asia need and have to live and partner with Russia. The question arises – which blocks (external or internal or both) advance the EAEU concept deep into the Central Asia region? Or the integration values of the EAEU are independent of the forces/blocks that “suppress” Russia. And the “hooks” of these blocks will never reach the national interests of small states.