Regionalization and Globalization in the Modern World Economy: Perspectives on the Third World and Transitional Economies

By Alex E. Fernández Jilberto; André Mommen | Go to book overview

4

ECONOMIC REFORM AND NEW PATTERNS OF POST-SOVIET REGIONALISM

Andrey S. Makarychev

Within the framework of political and scholarly discussions concerning the future of the Russian Federation one of the central categories is expressed by the term ‘regionalism’. In today’s Russian political science, perhaps, no other issues are as important as a complex of problems connected with regionalization. Absolutely unknown contradictions are emerging on the political and economic arenas, and the future of the country will to a great extent depend upon their resolution. The vast changes that have occurred in the ex-Soviet geopolitical space over the past decade bring us face to face with the opening of a new era in contemporary history, one in which peoples themselves have rejected totalitarianism and are seeking to restore civil society through the introduction of democratic regimes. Taking into account the recent political developments within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), it does not seem necessary to underline the fact that the above subject is of an ever growing importance for the future of this area, which, by its sheer geographical extension and demographic weight, is undeniably destined to exert a considerable impact on the rest of the world. That is why the different manifestations of regionalism are of crucial importance for post-communist Russia.

DEFINING REGIONALISM

The first problem discussed in this chapter is related to the very notion of region. What indeed is the region and how ought it to be conceptualized? All debates on regionalism should primarily be based on comprehending the region as a complex and very controversial phenomenon. It seems obvious that there is no universal definition of region. In fact, this is one of the most elusive and vague notions in modern political science. To illustrate this point let us dwell upon different—and sometimes mutually exclusive—interpretations of region.

Region is frequently used in foreign policy connotation. Thus, in the American political parlance, ‘regional problem’ touches a whole geopolitical area—for example, such as Northern Africa or South-East Asia. There is also a philosophical interpretation. For Braudel in the Mediterranean, ‘region’ might be an analogy of the ‘world’ of a peculiar mentality. There are also historical viewpoints. In the Middle

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