Going regional the Russian way: The Eurasian Economic Union between instrumentalism and global social appropriateness

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In his A Russian idea (1946), the philosopher Alexander Berdyaev divided Russia’s history in five major epochs: “There is Kiev Russia, Russia during the Tatar invasion, Moscow Russia, Russia of Peter the Great, Soviet Russia. It is possible that there will be some other new Russia. Russia’s historical development has been catastrophic”. Expanding Berdyaev’s periodization, the current stage of Russia’s history might be defined ‘Eurasian Russia’, at least to the extent that the country’s current foreign policy seems to be actually underpinned – if not utterly driven – by the willingness to embrace an epochal trend orienting its development. This sort of ‘manifest destiny’ hinges on the East/West divide that has  constantly characterized the country’s identity – as well as the political agenda of its leaders, These powerful opposing pulls have often resulting in an ambition for a distinct ‘Russian way’, more or less consistently combined with the Eurasian perspective, bestowing on Russia the role of bridging between the Western European and Eastern cultures.