Biopower and geopolitics as Russia’s neighborhood strategies: reconnecting people or reaggregating lands?

08 Feb 2017

(Nationalities Papers) (Co-author: A. Yatsyk) In this article, we address geopolitics and biopower as two different yet mutually correlative discursive strategies of sovereign power in Russia. We challenge the dominant realist approaches to Russia’s neighborhood policy by introducing the concept of biopolitics as its key element, which makes analysis of political relations in the post-Soviet area more nuanced and variegated. More specifically, we address an important distinction between geopolitical control over territories and management of population as two of Russia’s strategies in its “near abroad.”

Geopolitics is an instrument of sovereign powers competing for ruling territories, while biopolitics is a set of power tools for administering populations. This distinction can in particular be exemplified by the discrepancy between Eurasianism (as a set of mainly geopolitical ideas focused on governing territories) and the Russian World (as an overwhelmingly biopolitical doctrine premised on protecting an imagined trans-territorial community of Russian speakers allegedly sharing a common macro-identity). [...]

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Chapter in Nationalities Papers: The Journal of Nationalism and Ethnicity

Published: 2017