Turkey and Russia: A paradox of family resemblance
Both Russia and Turkey are ethnically diverse former empires that underwent similar processes of modernization and had similar relationships with the West. Today, they have revived a civilizational paradigm with a strong authoritarian and anti-western character. Precisely this resemblance is resurrecting rivalry for power and influence in the region.
Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Turkey increasingly resemble sisters under the skin. Domestically authoritarian and internationally assertive, traditionally suspicious of the West’s designs, and cold-shouldered by the United States and the European Union because of their growing illiberalism, Ankara and Moscow appear intent to forge a strategic relationship and challenge western hegemony. Yet, paradoxically, the similarities between the two Eurasian powers’ imperial strategic cultures make their flourishing entente fragile and fraught with potential conflict.
On 19 November 2018, the two leaders met in Istanbul after the ceremony marking the completion of the TurkStream gas pipeline’s offshore section. Turkey’s president gave his Russian counterpart a curious gift: four exquisitely bound volumes of the Russian translation of Gogol’un İzinde (‘Following Gogol’), a massive tetralogy by the best-selling Turkish novelist Alev Alatlı.1 Although Erdoğan says he admires Alatlı and has recently made her a member of the presidential council on culture and arts policies, his bookish present appears to be more than just a reflection of his reading preferences.
In her epic work, Alatlı – a staunch supporter of Erdoğan’s policies – has created a complex and colourful tableau intertwining real events in Russian and Turkish history. Over a staggering 2000 pages, the novel revisits Russian literary titans such as Gogol, Dostoevsky, Nabokov and Solzhenitsyn, interpreting their insights in the context of Russia’s (and Turkey’s) turbulent transformations past and present. At the heart of Alatlı’s narrative is the perennial clash of two intellectual strands – westernizing and nativist – and their quest for the ‘authentic’ Russia. Readers follow Russia’s trials and tribulations through the eyes of the narrator (and Alatlı’s alter ego), the Turkish Muslim and intellectual Güloya Gürelli. She participates in heated debates about Russia, while being haunted by a related problem: where is the ‘authentic’ Turkey to be found? In its Islamic past or semi-European present? The novel’s conclusion is unambiguous: the glory and historic grandeur of both Russia and Turkey should be sought not in the Enlightenment-based foundations of modern western civilization, with its cult of progress, unlimited consumption and cultural imperialism, but in the distinct spiritual principles of Russian and Turkish-Islamic civilizations.
With his gift, it would seem that Erdoğan was seeking to draw Putin’s attention to the similarities between the two countries and, specifically, to underscore how Turkish-Russian relations, which he says have ‘reached their peak’,2 rest not only on a whole raft of mutually beneficial trade and energy deals, but on a similar political-philosophic outlook. At the core of this lies the vision of a world divided into distinct civilizations. The implications of this are threefold: first, that a just world order can only be multipolar; second, that no civilization has the right to assume a hegemonic position in the international system; and third, that non-western civilizations like Turkey and Russia are in the ascendant. Anti-westernism and self-assertiveness are the crucial elements of this outlook. As Alatlı put it, ‘We are the second wave. We are the ones to have adopted Islam as an identity, but to have become so competent in playing chess with westerners that we can beat them’.3
Does Erdoğan have a point? A comparison of the two nations’ historical trajectories would indeed produce an astonishing image of family resemblance. There are some intriguing similarities and numerous parallels between the persistence of their imperial legacies, their continuous grappling with ethnic diversity and nation-building, their modernization and patterns of democratization, and their historical relation to – and perception by – Europe.
The persistence of the imperial imaginary
The drama of imperial collapse and the difficulties of post-imperial readjustment are central to understanding the mindset of governing elites in Russia and Turkey. These are classical post-imperial states where the imperial past still powerfully influences the present. Both countries’ governing elites insist that their strategy does not involve a restoration of empire. They are also quick to point out, however, that they are not just ‘ordinary nation-states’, and like to talk about ‘privileged interests’ in their strategic environment. Hence Dmitry Medvedev’s assertion after the 2008 Russo-Georgian war that ‘the countries on our borders are priorities, of course,’ while adding that ‘our priorities do not end there’.4 There seems to be a consensus among Russian policy elites that, because of its history and traditions, Russia’s international conduct is destined to be ‘quasi-imperial’ (velikoderzhavnost). A recent policy paper stated it bluntly: ‘Let’s face it … We simply like to play an important role in the world. We should not coyly deny velikoderzhavnost. It exists; over 300 years of imperial history, it has become deeply imbedded in the national value system.’5
In the same vein, ‘neo-Ottomanist’ politicians and ideologues in Turkey assert the country’s ‘special status’, on the basis of its historical and geographical depth. Erdoğan was already saying in the early 1990s that ‘if Turkey wants to take its place as a prestigious member of the global community in the 2000s … then it is obliged to adopt an imperial vision’, based on its ‘history, geography and ethnic composition’.6 According to Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkey’s former foreign minister and prime minister, ‘Turkey is considered the inheritor of seven hundred years of Ottoman history and is still seen as a political centre by the people in its close territorial basin’. This inheritance, he argued, compels Turkey to be proactive and prepared for all kinds of ‘regional missions’.7 The task of reintegrating their immediate neighbourhoods – economically or otherwise – appears high on the agenda of policy makers in both Russia and Turkey. Popular notions of the Russkii Mir, ‘Eurasian Union’ and the historical ‘Ottoman sphere’ reflect the persistence of the imperial imaginary in both countries.8
Paths to ‘alternative modernity’
In land-based empires, with their blurred borders between the national ‘core’ and the periphery, an imperial identity hinders the development of ethnic and civic nationalism and the emergence of nation-states. After the collapse of the Romanov and Ottoman empires, the Soviet and Kemalist elites sought to resolve the tension between empire and nation that had proven fatal to the pre-war imperial polities. Russian Bolsheviks and Turkish nationalists appeared to have chosen opposing strategies. While the Soviets attempted to deal with cultural diversity through constructing a sui generis communist ‘empire of nations’ based on ethnic federalism, the Kemalists opted for Turkification to assimilate national minorities. Yet, in contemporary Turkey and Russia, the process of nation-building remains incomplete, and the very notions of ‘Turkishness’ and ‘Russianness’ are heavily controversial.9 In both countries, the concept of national unity is largely understood as state unity, and all separatist forces are ruthlessly suppressed. Unlike the ‘postmodern’ EU countries, which delegate powers both upwards and downwards, Turkey and Russia are still ‘modern’, in that they put a special premium on statist nationalism, centralism and sovereignty.
Historically, Turkey and Russia have also displayed distinct patterns of ‘alternative modernity’.10 Modernization via mobilization in both countries was characterized by the enhanced role of the state and the relative weakness of the domestic bourgeoisie (long reflected in its subservience to the state bureaucracy). The result was the underdevelopment of independent economic actors and the feebleness of democratic institutions. These mutations of modernity were themselves effected by a key feature of political culture that Russia and Turkey appear to share, predating both countries’ encounter with the technologically superior West: ‘the sacralization of the institutions of rule and the concentration of power at the top and in the centre’.11
This autocratic tendency helped shape the image of Turkey and Russia as Europe’s ‘opposites’. According to the nineteenth-century Russian historian Vasily Klyuchevsky, western European diplomats, merchants and travellers saw the customs and mores in both the Ottoman Empire and the Muscovite Tsardom as quite similar: ‘They perceived both Muscovy and Turkey as the Oriental lands’.12 Despite the profound social changes over the last two centuries, the European public continues to perceive them as ‘Other’.13 Unlike Russia, which considers itself equal to the EU as a whole, Turkey has become an EU candidate country and started negotiating for EU accession. Yet even this difference is being progressively eroded because of the comatose state of Turkey’s accession process. This effectively leaves Turkey and Russia on the same page, since in the future Ankara will probably have to look for other forms of association with the EU than full membership.
This is not the only similarity, however. Both Turkey and Russia are themselves uncertain about their European identity, as heated domestic debates clearly illustrate. Putin’s top aide, Vladislav Surkov, recently argued that, ‘notwithstanding the external similarity of Russian and European cultural models, they have dissimilar software and different connectors. They cannot form a unified system’.14 Referring to ‘the chasm between the two parties’ outlooks and values’, foreign policy expert Andrei Tsygankov contends that ‘excessive convergence with Europe is inimical to Russia’s civilizational interests’.15 For their part, the Turks ‘are disenchanted with Europe’, writes Orhan Pamuk.16 Several decades ago, ‘Europe was a rosy land of legend … But this rose-coloured dream of Europe, once so powerful … has now faded’. Pamuk attributes this change of heart to Turkey’s improved economic situation, enhanced self-esteem, the failures of Europe’s Middle East policy, and the reluctance of the mainstream European public opinion to see Turks as fellow Europeans.
Turkey and Russia belong, of course, to different religious realms: the one is overwhelmingly Muslim, the other largely Orthodox. Yet there appear to be striking parallels throughout the twentieth century in the ways Russians and Turks conceived of the relationship between religion and modernity. Turkish and Russian mobilizational models clearly saw religion as the enemy of modernity. Driven by faith in reason, belief in progress and extreme forms of scientism, the Soviets and the Kemalists sought to undermine the grip of religion in their societies and even to suppress it altogether. However, both Orthodox Christianity and Islam today are on the rise.17 The increasingly prominent role of religion has sparked a crucial debate in both societies on how a nation’s religion and culture correlate with its striving to become modern.18 Put simply, the question under discussion is: how does a particular religious faith or confession affect the country’s modernization? Does it facilitate or slow down social development?
In both Turkey and Russia, Max Weber’s famous works in the sociology of religion – in particular, his contention that Calvinist (and more widely, Protestant) religious ideas had a major impact on the social innovation and development of the economic system of the West – are being reappraised. Conservative thinkers argue that the western trajectory was not the only pathway to modernity. According to the Moscow Patriarch Kirill, it makes no sense for Russia to ‘blindly follow the rules [of western civilization] developed by someone long ago without [Russia’s] participation, and without the consideration of its inhabitants’ philosophy of life, simply because these rules are applied today in the materially prosperous countries of the West’.19 Similarly, in his early theoretical works, Davutoğlu questioned the claim that western-style liberal democracy represented the crowning glory of the humankind’s historical evolution.20
Conservatives point out that their countries’ sought to realize particular institutional and ideological interpretations of the modern program based on their own cultural and religious codes.21 The embrace of traditional religion by growing numbers of Turkish and Russian elites, and their extolling of indigenous cultural sources of development, have contributed to Turkey’s and Russia’s diminishing reliance on western templates, and to their growing sense of strategic independence.
Civilizational proximity, imperial rivalry
A civilizational paradigm has become extremely popular with policy elites in both countries. This emphasises cultural uniqueness and geopolitical autonomy – concepts with a long pedigree in both Russian and Turkish political thought. Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov sees the world today as one where ‘competition is becoming truly global and acquiring a civilizational dimension: that is, this competition now includes values and models of development’.22 This echoes Davutoğlu, who described the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries as a time of ‘civilizational revitalization and political confrontation’.23 Today, significant numbers of policymakers and ideologues in Moscow and Ankara see distinct civilizations and cultural coalitions as the main units of international relations and principal building blocks of the new world order.24 A civilizational perspective has a strong appeal for contemporary Russian and Turkish elites.
In the late 1860s, Nikolai Danilevskii argued that Russians should reject the idea of linear progress, discarding ideas such as ‘catching up with’ or ‘superseding’ the West. Instead, Danilevskii argued, each individual civilization should focus on its own development and evolve according to its own logic, on the basis of indigenous principles.25 By the same token, the notion of ‘western values’ and their universal applicability is also discredited. Each civilization possesses a unique set of values. ‘The rhetoric of the free world, human rights and democracy causes “westoxication”’, Alev Alatlı has written.26 ‘These attractively looking dishes are served to poor [non-western] countries, which afterwards suffer from western poisoning.’ Neither Erdoğan nor Putin would seem to disagree with this contention.
The big question, then, is whether these structural similarities, philosophical affinities, and political resemblances between Erdoğan’s Turkey and Putin’s Russia can serve as a foundation for a strategic alliance between the two countries.
Despite their leaders’ increasing reliance on civilizational discourse and imperial imaginaries, and musings about a ‘revival of the Turkish and Russian empires’ by a top aide of the Turkish President, the prospects do not look good. The political philosophy of empire is one of universalism and exceptionalism. Empires are not good at building equitable relationships with neighbours. They have either enemies or dependencies. Unlike nation-states, with their clearly defined and fixed boundaries, empires are not status quo powers and are wary of strict borders, especially in what they regard as their ‘strategic backyard’. The imperial-civilizational paradigm, on the other hand, inevitably implies the notion of ‘frontier zones’ – buffer territories over which historical empires have continuously fought.27 One important result was the lack of well-defined boundaries between different ethnic groups. For Turkey and Russia, the mixed and mingled lands of the Caucasus, the Balkans, and the Middle East have historically formed such frontier zones.28
Narratives of the past, patterns of political imagination, historically conditioned values, symbols, traditions, and ideologies constitute what some scholars define as ‘strategic culture’. This shapes decision-makers’ perspectives on their polity’s security and on international politics at large.29 Interactions between Turkey and Russia as neighbouring, land-based imperial rivals have strongly affected the formation of their respective strategic cultures. Since the late seventeenth century, when Russia joined the anti-Ottoman European Holy League, and until the collapse of both empires in 1918, Russia and Turkey waged at least dozen wars against each other.30 The Ottomans lost most of them. This explains why, in Turkey’s case especially, ‘fear of Russian expansionism – directly through war and indirectly through internal subversion of disgruntled minorities – emerged as an enduring legacy for Ottoman, then Turkish, strategists.’31
The only period when Moscow and Ankara had a good relationship was in the 1920s and ’30s. After the First World War, imperial collapse and internal conflicts, the two enfeebled countries consciously avoided imperial adventures, turned inward, and focused on domestic transformations.32 Turkish Kemalists and Soviet Bolsheviks were mostly preoccupied with protecting the hard-won borders of their post-imperial polities, and carrying out unprecedented, radical internal reforms. That was the context in which republican strategic culture emerged, together with its most famous tropes: ‘Peace at Home, Peace in the World’ in Kemalist Turkey and ‘Socialism in One Country’ in the Soviet Union.
Interestingly, it was during this time that Andrei N. Mandelshtam sketched the contours of the future multipolar world order in which Russia and Turkey might become members of the same cultural coalition. Mandelshtam was a legal scholar and trained Oriental Studies specialist who, in 1898–1914, served at the Russian Imperial Embassy in Constantinople. Writing in 1930, he put forward what he called the ‘future legal structure of the world’. Along with the ‘Union of all peoples (League of Nations) that would take care of the common interests of the entire humankind’, there would be also ‘large groups of states connected by common interests (e.g. European, American, British, and Russian groups)’. Turning his analysis to Russo–Turkish relations, Mandelshtam suggested that, if the Turks would realize that their ‘cultural and economic interests were closer to Russia’s interests than to those of Europe and Asia’, Turkey ‘might become a member of the Russo-Turkish grouping with physiognomy as distinct as the European and American groupings’. Maybe, he added, ‘Persia would also join this [Eurasian] grouping after a while’.33 In the 1930s, however, Mandelshtam’s scenario did not come to pass. The revival of Soviet imperial ambitions after 1945 immediately prompted Turkey to flee under the western security umbrella and join NATO in 1952.
The imperial legacy as obstacle to alliance
A halcyon era of the Russo-Turkish rapprochement in the 2000s – not unlike that of the 1920s and ’30s – was to a large extent conditioned by the persistence in both countries of a strategic culture that put a premium on international restraint. Today, however, ruling elites in both Ankara and Moscow operate within the imperial strategic culture paradigm, readily deploying tropes like ‘New Turkey’ and ‘Russian state-civilization’. While both the Turks and the Russians work assiduously to ‘compartmentalize’ various aspects of their ‘multifaceted relationship’, the logic inherent in their imperial strategic cultures nevertheless undermines the potential for building genuinely neighbourly and trust-based relations.
This is a paradox of Turkey’s and Russia’s family resemblance: attempts by both sides to revive imperial grandeur resurrect the spectre of imperial rivalry in the ‘in between’ borderlands. The geopolitical issues that divide Moscow and Ankara today are Crimea, Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Kosovo, Cyprus and Syria. Turkey recognized neither the legality of Russia’s 2014 land grab in Crimea (a precious piece of real estate that the Russian Empire seized from the Ottomans in 1783), nor the establishment of ‘independent state’ in Abkhazia, following the Russo-Georgian war in 2008. Russia’s heavy militarization of both territories is of serious concern to Turkish military planners, since it negatively affects Turkey’s strategic position in the Black Sea. Ankara is deeply unhappy about Moscow’s unilateral actions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, when the 1994 Russia-sponsored ceasefire agreement left the Azeris – a fellow Turkic people – deeply humiliated, after losing control over a chunk of their territory.
Unlike Moscow, Ankara immediately recognized Kosovo’s independence. Moreover, Turkey sent aircraft to take part in the 1999 NATO bombing raids against Yugoslavia. Russia regards this war, sparked by the Kosovo crisis, as a gross violation of international law. In the eastern Mediterranean, Russia appears intent on continuing to stall the protracted process of the Cyprus negotiations. It would seem that Moscow sees the prospect of the unification of the island as disadvantageous to its interests and weaken Russia’s political clout in Nicosia. Finally, current attempts at finding points of contact notwithstanding, Ankara and Moscow have supported opposing sides in the Syrian Civil War. Most of these divisive issues broadly belong to the region over which the Ottoman and the Romanov empires clashed for several centuries.
Alev Alatlı, Gogol’un izinde, 4 vols., Everest 2004–2009. The Russian language translation of this work is Alev Alatly, Po sledam Gogolia. trans. from Turkish by Irina Driga, 2 vols., Chetverta khvylia 2010–12.
See Erdoğan’s remarks in ‘Ceremony Marking the Completion of TurkStream Gas Pipeline’s Offshore Section’, November 19, 2018, http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/59152.
Alatlı quoted in Ahu Özyurt, ‘Turkey: From Euphoria to Reality’, Hurriyet Daily News, August 31, 2016.
Dmitry Medvedev, ‘Interview given by Dmitry Medvedev to Television Channels – Channel One, Rossiia, NTV’, August 31, 2008, http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/48301.
Anastasiia Likhacheva and Igor Makarov, Natsional’naia identichnost’ i budushchee Rossii, Valdai Club 2014, 30.
Erdoğan quoted in Malik Mufti, ‘The AK Party’s Islamic Realist Political Vision: Theory and Practice’, Politics and Governance 2.2/2014, 31.
Ahmet Davutoğlu, Stratejik Derinlik [Strategic Depth], Kure Yayinlari 2001, 143.
Igor Torbakov, ‘Neo-Ottomanism versus Neo-Eurasianism? Nationalism and Symbolic Geography in Postimperial Turkey and Russia’, Mediterranean Quarterly 28.2/2017, 125-45.
Soner Cagaptay, Islam, Secularism, and Nationalism in Modern Turkey: Who Is a Turk?, Routledge 2006; Pål Kolstø and Helge Blakkisrud, eds., The New Russian Nationalism: Imperialism, Ethnicity and Authoritarianism, 2000–2015, Edinburgh University Press 2016.
D.P. Gaonkar, ed., Alternative Modernities, Duke University Press 2001.
Carter Vaughn Findley, Turkey, Islam, Nationalism and Modernity: A History, 1789-2007, Yale University Press 2010.
Vasily Klyuchevsky, Skazaniia inostrantsev o Moskovskom gosudarstve, Universitetskaia tipografiia 1866, 70–71.
Iver Neumann, Uses of the Other: ‘The East’ in European Identity Formation, University of Minnesota Press 1999.
Vladislav Surkov, “Odinochestvo polukrovki,” Rossiia v global’noi politike, 9 April 2018, http://www.globalaffairs.ru/global-processes/Odinochestvo-polukrovki-14–19477.
Andrei Tsygankov, ‘Sosredotochenie ne po Gorchakovu: tsivilizatsionnaia geopolitika na rubezhe epokh,’ Rossiia v global’noi politike, Spetsvypusk: Konservatizm vo vneshnei politike: XXI vek, May 2017, 102.
Orhan Pamuk, ‘The Fading Dream of Europe’, New York Review of Books 58, no. 2, 10 February 2011, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2010/12/25/fading-dream-europe/. See also Nora Fisher Onar and Ahmet Evin, ‘Convergence and Resistance: The European Dilemma of Turkish Intellectuals’, in European Stories: Intellectual Debates on Europe in National Contexts, ed. Justine Lacroix and Kalypso Nikolaidis, Oxford University Press 2010.
John Garrard and Carol Garrard, Russian Orthodoxy Resurgent: Faith and Power in the New Russia, Princeton University Press 2008; Ali Çarkoğlu and Ersin Kalaycıoğlu, The Rising Tide of Conservatism in Turkey, Palgrave Macmillan 2009; Jenny B. White, Islamic Mobilization in Turkey, University of Washington Press 2002.
Nilüfer Göle, ‘Snapshots of Islamic Modernities’, Daedalus 129.1/2000, 91–117; Andreas E. Buss, Russian-Orthodox Tradition and Modernity, Brill 2003.
Kirill quoted in Elena Chebankova, ‘Russian Fundamental Conservatism: In Search of Modernity’, Post-Soviet Affairs 29.4/2013, 303. See also Aleksandr S. Panarin, Rossiia v tsivilizatsionnom protsesse, Institut filosofii RAN 1994; idem, Pravoslavnaia tsivilizatsiia, Institut russkoi tsivilizatsii 2014.
Ahmet Davutoğlu, Alternative Paradigms: The Impact of Islamic and Western Weltanschauungs on Political Theory, University Press of America 1993; idem, Civilizational Transformation and the Muslim World, Mahir 1994.
Sibel Bozdoğan and Reşat Kasaba, eds., Rethinking Modernity and National Identity in Turkey, University of Washington Press 1997; Kristina Stoeckl, ‘Modern Trajectories in Eastern European Orthodoxy’, in Domains and Divisions of European History, ed. Johann Arnason and Natalie Doyle, Liverpool University Press 2010.
Sergey Lavrov, ‘Russia and the World in the 21st Century’, Russia in Global Affairs, 3/2008, https://eng.globalaffairs.ru/number/n_11291.
Ahmet Davutoğlu, ‘İslam Dünyasının Siyasi Dönüşümü: Dönemlendirme ve Projeksiyon’, Divan: Disiplinlerarası Çalışmalar Dergisi, 12/2002, 26–35. Quoted in Murat Yeşiltaş, ‘Turkey’s Quest for a “New International Order”: The Discourse of Civilization and the Politics of Restoration’, Perceptions 19.4/2014, 48.
Andrei Tsygankov, ‘Crafting the State-Civilization: Vladimir Putin’s Turn to Distinct Values’, Problems of Post-Communism 63.3/2016, 146–158; Elena Chebankova, ‘Russia’s Idea of the Multipolar World Order: Origins and Main Dimensions’, Post-Soviet Affairs 33.3/2017, 217–34; Menderes Çınar, ‘Turkey’s “Western” or “Muslim” Identity and the AKP’s Civilizational Discourse’, Turkish Studies (2017), DOI: 10.1080/14683849.2017.1411199.
Nikolai Danilevskii, Rossiia i Evropa, Kniga 1991. Danilevskii’s civilizational thinking is experiencing a revival among contemporary Russia’s intellectual and political circles: see Andrei Tsygankov, ‘In the Shadow of Nikolai Danilevskii: Universalism, Particularism, and Russian Geopolitical Theory’, Europe-Asia Studies 69.4/2017, 584.
Alev Alatlı, “Erdoğan’la Putin’de Asyalılık var,” TurkRus, July 21, 2018, www.turkrus.com/653791-Erdoğanla-putinde-asyalilik-var-xh.aspx
Owen Lattimore was the first to develop the concept of frontier zones with reference to Inner Asia. See his Studies in Frontier History: Collected Papers, 1928–1958, Oxford University Press 1962.
Alfred J. Rieber, Struggle for the Eurasian Borderlands: From the Rise of Early Modern Empires to the End of the First World War, Cambridge University Press 2014.
On the origins of the concept of ‘strategic culture’ and subsequent discussions of this concept, see Rashed Uz Zaman, ‘Strategic Culture: A “Cultural” Understanding of War,’ Comparative Strategy 28.1/2009, 68–88.
Matthew S. Anderson, The Eastern Question, 1774-1923: A Study in International Relations, Macmillan 1966; Michael A. Reynolds, The Clash and Collapse of the Ottoman and Russian Empires, 1908-1918, Cambridge University Press 2011.
Malik Mufti, Daring and Caution in Turkish Strategic Culture: Republic at Sea, Palgrave Macmillan 2009, 10.
Samuel J. Hirst, ‘Transnational Anti-Imperialism and the National Forces: Soviet Diplomacy and Turkey, 1920-23’, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 33.2/2013, 214-26; idem, ‘Anti-Westernism on the European Periphery: The Meaning of Soviet-Turkish Convergence in the 1930s’, Slavic Review 72.1/2013, 32–53; Rasim Dirsehan Örs, Rus basınında Kurtuluş Savaşı ve Atatürk: devrim yılları, Cumhuriyet Kitapları 2010.
Andrei N. Mandelshtam, ‘Vvedenie’, in Zarevand, Turtsiia i Panturanizm, Kliuch-C 2015, 30–31.
Published 27 September 2019
Original in English
First published by Osteuropa 10–12/2018 (German version); Eurozine (English version)
Contributed by Osteuropa © Igor Torbarkov / Osteuropa / EurozinePDF/PRINT
The Kremlin and the media
On coming to power, Vladimir Putin set about restricting the freedoms that Russian media enjoyed under Yeltsin. After the protests of 2011–12, even the smaller-audience media that still pursued editorial independence came under pressure. Recently, a rise in civic activism and the rapid expansion of internet technologies have brought a new vibrancy – although non-government media remain powerless before the Kremlin’s political monopoly.
Concerned to avert a ‘singing revolution’ in Russia, the Kremlin has co-opted the country’s independent music scene. Apolitical and nihilistic, it is doubtful whether Russian artists could ever play the same role as their Ukrainian counterparts on the Maidan. The group Shortparis is a notable exception – for now.