August 20, 2007 (the date of publication in Russian)

Andrey Kobyakov


Speech at the Proceedings on the Russian Doctrine at the Universal Russian National Sobor (Assembly)

The Collegiate Proceedings of the Universal Russian National Sobor (Assembly), focused on discussion of the Russian Doctrine Project, were held in the St. Daniel Monastery, Moscow, on August 20, 2007. The Proceedings were opened by the Most Reverend Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, Deputy Head of the Universal Russian National Sobor, who emphasized in his keynote speech that consolidation of the Russian society on the basis of traditional values is likely to become a platform for unification of all those whore are concerned of Russia's temporal and spiritual welfare. "The cynical power of greed should be overcome with the state's concern of the people and each individual citizen… The major task of the genuine national Russian elite is to return decent revenue to the state and social justice to the people", said Metropolitan Kirill.

Below is the presentation of Andrey Kobyakov, head of the group of authors and co-editor of the Russian Doctrine, at the Proceedings.


Your High Eminence!

Esteemed Leaders of the Universal Russian National Sobor!

Dear ladies and gentlemen!

Dear colleagues and friends!

In March 2005, a group of volunteers, including myself, started work on a theoretical document, designed as a detailed blueprint of comprehensive transformation of the political, economic and social system of Russia. The central idea of this book, issued under the title of "The Russian Doctrine", was to revise the experience of centuries of Russian statehood, Russian social mind, and generally, the Russian civilization as a whole, involving ideological, political and administrative, economic, moral and cultural aspects, in order to instrumentalize the traditions of the Russian nation, mostly based upon Orthodox Christian views, for creative application to the reality of today, with regard of the present and potential challenges of the time.

This work, involving around seventy experts in political sciences, economic management, as well as specialists in practical education and social work, encompassed a multitude of subjects – from theology to particular diplomacy, from economic and military industrial development to social policy, from cultural peculiarities to principles of law, from demographic problems to breakthrough projects, initiating large-scale comprehensive and dynamic modernization. The whole range of these subjects is integrated with a systematic approach, based on coherence and harmony with the Russian civilizational code.

In a concise form, this integral approach was determined as dynamic conservatism, viewing transformation of the nation as self-revelation of basic principles and values, impregnated in the Russian culture.

Its even briefer definition is tradition-based modernization.

At the beginning of our work, many of us were somewhat skeptical over the possibility of recognition of our views by the supreme authorities. We did not expect the whole of our concept to be appreciated by the powers at once; the possibility that our system of views could be shared by a powerful political opposition, seemed even smaller. We rather hoped that the establishment of the nation would listen to some of our proposals. This hope was based on the firm belief that the ideas, presented in our work, are of essential demand, dictated by the reality itself, and on the anticipation of a crucial change in the national thinking, marking the end of the time of troubles.

Therefore, we were trying to irradiate our ideas not only upward but equally downward, seeking for creative minds and unrevealed talents in the Russian province, and intending to propel creative initiative throughout the whole society.

After the first presentation of our document in Greece, we propagated the Doctrine in Yekaterinburg, Moscow and St. Petersburg, reaching out to major TV channels of Russia, and to the Russian communities of Baltic States. The Doctrine is now in general circulation; its complete text is available on a special website. During the past two years, it evoked a wide response. Today, it is obvious that the document has attracted high interest not only in the expert community but on a broad public level.

The Doctrine was presented to the leadership of Russia, and conveyed to major administrative bodies. Our intuition has proven to be right. Many of our ideas were positively assessed, and we saw some of the Doctrine's provisions penetrate in programmatic documents of the Government and even reflect in the Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly.

Raising the most crucial issues of national development in a programmatic form, we intended to implement substantial quest into the practice of political parties and public organizations, in order to create an atmosphere encouraging exchange of ideas between the power and the social medium. We were very concerned with the tendency of replacement of ideas with popular slogans in public policy, with substitution of essential problems with illusionary production of imagery by means of the so-called media technologies, addressed rather to a subcortical level of response than to the mind of the nation. This deficiency of dialogue between the power and the population was exemplified, especially, in the elimination of basic social guarantees by the infamous Law No.122, adopted with support of major political forces with astounding neglect of both the essential needs and views of the people.

Though the Russian Doctrine was designed and presented as a non-partisan, or supra-partisan project, it invigorated a broad discussion on crucial issues in the realm of public policy, stimulating political leaders to adopt a number of provisions into party programs, while the document itself was highly appreciated by many politicians. We conclude today that the basic ideas of the Doctrine are paving their way into the public thinking and initiating a public and political debate of a qualitatively higher level. This encourages all of us, as we witness the fact that our ideas are of real demand, and that they produce a visible impact on the ideological and political process.

Still, our major objective was to initiate a quest for routes of further development, for shaping the course of the ship of Russia.

In the introduction to our document, we admitted that a real ideological competition should develop around a dozen or two of programs of Revival of Russian Future, though viewed from various standpoints and from various systems of values. This expectation also came true: today, we witness a productive dialogue between authors of various projects. The process of constructive competition of ideas has really started.

The intellectuals of my generation used to smile at Nikita Khruschov's slogan: "Catch up and surpass America!" Still, we could not expect that once, we would be proposed to follow the supposedly unreachable ideal of Portugal. We could not expect, and we also could not and would not accept the reduction of the nation's self-esteem and ambition, revealing a methodological deficiency of the very process of goal-setting.

A catch-up development is deficient per se. Authentic development is available only on the base of a design of one's own Ц a design oriented towards modernization as well as implementation of the organic tradition and basic values of national culture.

In the conditions of today, the society needs to clear response to the basic questions of the way and sense of survival, the overcome of the crisis, and further progress Ц in other words, the image of national future, capable of integrating the nation into a healthy and capable organism. In this regard, the Russian Doctrine was probably the first attempt to overcome the paradigms of alien models, imposed on Russia, and to formulate an independent and comprehensive vision of the nation's mission, path, and destiny on the current stage of world history.

For me as an economist by profession, it is more convenient to elaborate in examples from the relevant sphere. By the way, the "Russian Economy" section of the Doctrine comprises approximately one third of our document. In this section, we undertook a detailed analysis of the economic situation in Russia, with regard of the global economic context, the effects of the national catastrophe of the 1990s, and the agenda of necessary changes in economic management. It includes the formula of an "optimal economy" for Russia, and the strategy of its achievement, i.e. an anti-crisis program.

The authors of the Russian Doctrine are definitely convinced that the neoliberal model of economic management is absolutely incompatible with the very essence of the Russian civilization, with the popular spirit, with traditions, with public values, with the precious experience of centuries, with the quality of the earlier stages of economic development, as well as with structural and demographical restrictions.

In order to choose an adequate economic model, we have to realize that economic objectives are secondary to the objectives of the society. In Russia, the economic model cannot be isolated from the dominating (essentially Orthodox) values, and is obliged to correspond with a definite set of principles. For instance, the principle of sufficiency, as opposed to irrational self-enrichment.

The principle of justice is equally crucial. We have to consider the peculiarity of public attitude towards wealth in Russia. In a broad public view, wealth should serve to the purpose of common welfare.

We have to assume that in Russia Ц on the contrary to a liberal individualistic view Ц sovereignty of a community, of a family succession, and eventually, of the nation is regarded as a precondition for individual freedom and development.

We have to consider the superiority of constructive values and creative motivation of human economic activity in a civilization for which the design of a society of development is more inherent than a society of consumption.

It is essential to recognize the imperative need of a cult of responsibility on all the levels of human practice, and the significance of the balance of freedom and responsibility.

It is essential to understand that implementation of a neoliberal economic and social model substitutes the relations of common existence in economy and social life with hostility, mistrust, predacious behavior and confrontation, destructive for the spiritual aspect of life and for the personality itself. The split of personality, resulting from this tendency, induces a feeling of permanent dissent and eventually to despair and fundamental doubt in the meaningfulness of life.

Not an insipid "homo economicus" but a passionate "homo moralis" is the cornerstone of the new paradigm of development. The Russian model of economy should be based on the balance between mechanisms of competition and solidarity.

This independence of economic development, corresponding with national values, obviously suggests that Russian economy, as well as Russian cultural life, should be open to the world to an optimum extent, and not to a maximum extent.

The Doctrine's proposals of large-scale transformations in political and management, economy and social policy, as well as in the spiritual life of the nation, based on the experience of centuries and regarding the current challenges of the global environment, are destined for upbuilding an organically designed, internally stable, and boldly developing state and society, for elevation of the competitive capacity and sovereignty of the nation. It is quite obvious that the beneficiary of such a development is the people's majority.

The solutions, proposed by the Doctrine for most important complex problems, such as issues of ownership, sovereignty of the financial system, partnership of the state and private and institutional investors in large-scale infrastructural, capital-intensive and science-intensive projects etc., are destined to create a favorable investment climate, indispensable for long-term dynamic development of national economy. In this process, the state is supposed to play an active role in defining an optimal and just balance of interests and simultaneously, in organization of a constructive summarizing vector of forces in the triangle of society, business, and power.

One of the cornerstones of the Doctrine is the principle of protectionism and patronage of national business by the state, encouraging competitiveness of national business on foreign and domestic markets. The Doctrine envisages construction of a substantially powerful financial system as the basis of economic sovereignty, enabling large-scale state issue of credit and implementation of efficient and transparent mechanisms of investment and control.

The Doctrine's proposals on significant corrections in budget and credit policies, as well as measures of stimulation and regulation of a stable domestic demand are directed towards establishing efficient mechanisms of self-development of the economy, oriented towards the demands of the domestic market, as well as business activities, sufficiently safe from external conjuncture.

The proposed methods of developing natural resources, as well as priority projects of transcontinental transport corridors, are destined to create centers of gravity for both domestic and foreign investments, opening new possibilities, niches and markets for Russian business.

Active structural policy, along with state-supported institutions, using flexible mechanisms of boosting innovations, is viewed in the Doctrine as a precondition for development of high-tech business, outreach to markets of advanced technologies and goods with high added value, allowing Russia to achieve a decent role in the international division of labor and in the global "table of ranks".

The concept of an "energy superpower", reflecting mostly the egocentric ambitions of a limited number of corporations, should be outmatched with the concept of new industrialization, or super-industrialization of Russia, enabling the nation to become one of the most developed countries of the world, as it was in the middle of the former century. With its powerful natural and intellectual resources and the precious posterity of the Soviet industrial potential, Russia is able and is obliged to regain the status of one of the world's leading nation.

The Russian Doctrine was designed as an address to all those intellectual and public forces which are concerned of the nation's revival and progress, to all the people who are convinced that the nation should overcome its dependence from alien concepts and scenarios. The support, received y the authors on the political and public level, as well as the political developments, accordant to the Doctrine's ideas, encourage us for a new intellectual offensive, for a further search of creative ideas, for translation of the Doctrine's provisions into the language of applied programs, methods and practical undertakings. This new effort should remain non-partisan, and the Universal Russian National Sobor could become a hearth and home for further elaboration of a comprehensive program of Russia's transformation.

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