chapter  18
14 Pages

Eurasia: the burden of responsibility


The idea of Eurasia as a region united by something more than geography emerged in the early twentieth century, a time when the relatively new field of geopolitics was gaining popularity in the West. The foundational thinkers of geopolitics regarded Eurasia as a structural element of the world system, a type of strategic space that had given rise to a distinct consciousness that stood in stark contrast to the psychology and behaviour of maritime nations.1

Russia at the time was engaged in an intense ideological search for a modern national identity against a backdrop of relentless change. As an ideological current, Eurasianism sought to establish Russia as a distinct civilization within a broader international context, in contrast to the more isolationist Slavophiles of the nineteenth century.2