Vol 22, No 4 (2022): Postcolonialism and Anti-colonial Struggle


Challenge of “Decolonisation” and Need for a Comprehensive Redefinition of Neocolonialism

Bovdunov A.L.


The need for “decolonisation” of the Second world and semi-periphery countries (in the terminology of world-systems analysis) is increasingly raised in practical policy as well as in academic publications. However, the very question of decolonisation as applied to countries that were the targets of European colonial expansion is fraught with both negative consequences in political practice and theoretical confusion. On the one hand, the discourse of “decolonisation” encourages separatist tendencies and leads to new conflicts. On the other hand, the notion of “colonialism” is becoming less rigorous: in this perspective, any territorial expansion by any state at any time in history can be described as colonialism. The notion of “colonialism” loses its specific historical meaning and hence turns from a scientific term into a propaganda cliché. Thus, the possibility to correctly comprehend the phenomenon of European colonialism as a concrete historical reality that determined the fate of the peoples of both Europe itself and other parts of the world in Modern times, the only “colonialism” that the peoples of the world have really faced for the last 500 years, disappears. Theoretical and practical, scientific and political aspects of the problem are closely linked. Within an expansive interpretation of “colonialism”, former colonial powers, moreover, states still possessing unequal dependencies, such as the USA, are able to accuse their geopolitical opponents of “colonialism” as they are multi-ethnic powers, formed as a result of long historical processes, where various practices of ethnic interaction have taken place. The very possibility of interpreting the practices of non-European powers (Russia, China, Iran, Ethiopia) as colonial is linked to the popular paradigm of “internal colonialism.” It has emerged as part of the post-colonial theory of international relations in European and American academic centres and by its very nature is an example of a deliberately biased approach that focuses on the most marginalised groups of “subalterns” but ignores major civilisational entities. The author points out the biases and shortcomings of this approach with concrete examples, reveals its philosophical premises and suggests using the findings of fundamental geopolitics, world-systems theory, philosophy of space and philosophy of culture to clarify the concept of “colonialism.”

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2022;22(4):645-658
pages 645-658 views

Postcolonialism in International Studies: Two Faces of Theory

Loshkariov I.D.


Postcolonial theory is gradually entering the research arsenal of international relations, although it is not yet widely represented in modern international political science. The importance of mastering the tools and techniques of this paradigm or a set of relatively close paradigms is associated both with the gradual rejection of the Eurocentric vision of global and regional political history, as well as the identification of spatial and temporal features of theorizing on international issues. In this regard, it is necessary to identify the internal potential of postcolonial theory and those ontological, epistemological and methodological foundations of this theory, which will allow more concrete application of its concepts, interpretations and causalities to international realities. That is why the article attempts to single out the basic types of the postcolonial theory of international relations while revealing their key methodological principles and assessing the originality of the object and purpose of the study. On the basis of the interpretivist principles of the analysis of theories, the author reconstructs the key ontological and epistemological foundations and features of the interpretation of causal relationships in postcolonial way of thinking. The article highlights two main types of postcolonial theory - Postcolonialism of difference and Postcolonialism of interdependence. Despite the similarity in the basic desire to liberate scientific discourse from the techniques and concepts of Eurocentric science, these types of postcolonial thinking differ in the degree of willingness to break ties with the colonial past, in the requirements for the final result of the study, and also in the appreciation of space and social time in theorizing per se. Based on the identified types of postcolonial theory, the author proposes the trajectories of interaction of the theory with other schools of research in international relations, and also identifies geographically limits of these types. Thus, the article demonstrates porousness, analytical potential and adaptiveness of the discussed approaches that makes them more useful for the current IR studies.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2022;22(4):659-670
pages 659-670 views

Soviet Studies of Neocolonialism

Bokeriya S.A., Davidchuk A.S., Degterev D.A., Dubrovskiy I.R., Zhuravleva E.V., Enokyan A.V., Ivkina N.V., Nikulin M.A., Kassaye N.W., Shpakovskaya M.A.


The article reviews Soviet and East German studies of neocolonialism that have been translated into Russian. A total of more than 60 monographs on Western neocolonialism have been systematically studied and finally compiled into an electronic archive in preparation for this publication. Based on the materials of Soviet studies, the article presents the main features of Western neocolonialism, related both to political manoeuvres and the economic arsenal of the former metropolitan powers. A detailed analysis of the narratives used by Western countries to emphasize their proximity to the “Third World” is given. Particular attention is paid to neocolonial theories, both “variants of well-known bourgeois and reformist concepts addressed to developing countries” and “concepts and theories specially created to support neocolonialism.” Neocolonial approaches were studied both in the context of individual Western countries and groups of states (Great Britain, France, Germany, the European Economic Community (EEC), USA) and by functional areas (technical assistance, food neocolonialism, international organizations). Regarding the UK, the differences in neocolonial policy between Labor Party and Conservatives are examined. The main instruments of France’s neocolonial policy are described and it is concluded that they have hardly changed in recent decades. The role of the FRG in the strategy of “European neocolonialism” is shown, and major characteristics of the neocolonial policy of the EEC are highlighted. With regard to the, authors speak of a new type of imperialist colonialism associated with American leadership in the institutions of the “collective West.” As for the United States, a new type of imperialist colonialism is being put forward, associated with America’s leadership in the institutions of the “collective West.” The origins and “running-in” of the US neocolonial tools are shown in detail, using the actual American colonial experience in the Philippines as an example. The main directions of critical analysis of the participation of Western countries in technical and food aid systems and in the activities of international organizations are presented. In conclusion, some remarks are formulated on the practical component of Soviet studies of neocolonialism. It is also stressed that in the mid-1980s, after the proclamation of the “New Political Thinking” the critical degree of Soviet studies of neocolonialism declined significantly.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2022;22(4):671-687
pages 671-687 views

Postcolonial Epistemology: African “Registers”

Gavristova T.M., Khokholkova N.E.


With global digitalization and the resulting intensification of communication processes, the accumulation and retransmission of ideas and their connotations have accelerated. The academic environment has changed in the course of updating the research field and building up a new picture of the world, complex and diversified. The accumulation of “critical mass” of talented intellectual scholars based both in Africa and within the African Diaspora, focused on “breakthrough” in philosophy and epistemology, was reflected in an attack on the theoretical principles of postmodernism and Postcolonialism and a dynamic transformation of the conceptual principles and content of African studies. Contrary to Eurocentrism, Africa has become an epistemological laboratory, where the developing theories claiming to become metanarratives, within which new metalexemes and metagenres are emerging. Postcolonial discourse contains elements of metascience, a universal system of knowledge production. The interrelation of facts and methodology in their framework fully corresponds to the trends of the time in the era of algorithms, and their choice both forms the mechanisms of scientific knowledge, but also ensures success in the fight against stereotypes, not only racial and ethnic. The theoretical and methodological significance of postcolonial studies refers to the actualization of the “crossroad” problems in the history of Africa and the Diaspora, such as colonialism and decolonization, ethnicity and identity, hybridity and otherness, essentialism and transcendence, exodus and exile. In the present article the authors focus on the results of the interaction of researchers of African descent with postcolonial theory, as well as on the ideas of postcoloniality and decoloniality, which to a certain extent oppose each other. Particular attention is paid to the development of an updated epistemology of knowledge in the process of the formation of the “postcolonial library,” which includes the works of many scholars from Franz Fanon and Leopold Senghor to Kwame Anthony Appiah and Achille Mbembe.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2022;22(4):688-699
pages 688-699 views

Relations between the Non-Aligned Countries of Africa and the Second World (1960-1980s): The Case of Sierra Leone

Shipilov A.Y.


The research covers Sierra Leone’s relations with the Second World through the prism of Sierra Leone’s foreign policy. Two periods of Sierra Leone’s foreign policy are considered: during the Westminster bipartisan model from 1961 to 1970, and when the authoritarian regime led by President Siaka Stevens was established from 1971 to 1985. The central issue of the research is analysis of Sierra Leone’s cooperation with the Soviet Union. The aim of the research is to identify the factors that guided the non-aligned countries within the bipolar confrontation of the second half of the 20th century in building their relations with the socialist bloc. The relevance of the topic is related to the fact that the logic and principles of building relations of small non-aligned countries with both limited power resources and little political and economic ambitions with key world powers are less reflected in studies. The research is based upon comparative and historical-genetic methods as well as case studies. The author makes use of materials from the Sierra Leone Public Archives. The author concludes that Sierra Leone’s relations with the Second World were based on economic pragmatism rather than ideological or political proximity. For Sierra Leone, relations with socialist countries served as a tool for diversifying its foreign policy. This set Sierra Leone apart from its neighboring West African states, which either maintained an orientation towards first-world countries, namely France and the US, or reoriented themselves towards the Soviet Union.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2022;22(4):700-713
pages 700-713 views

Soviet Structural Aid to the Republic of Mali in 1960-1968

Davidchuk A.S., Degterev D.A., Korendyasov E.N.


The article analyzes the phenomenon of the Soviet Union’s structural aid to African countries - technical and economic cooperation covering major sectors of the economy to ensure the self-sufficient development of recipient countries and weaken the neocolonial impact of the West. The case of bilateral relations between the USSR and Mali in 1960-1968 was chosen for a number of reasons - the strategic location of this African country, its place in the structure of French interests, the formats and volumes of Soviet aid, and, finally, rather weak coverage of the issue in Russian and foreign historiography. The authors preface the analysis of Soviet aid with an overview of the country’s economic situation in the 1960s and the difficulties faced by the Malian government in establishing an independent economic system through the introduction of its own currency, the Malian franc, and the nationalization of former French enterprises. The research is mostly based on the archival funds of the State Committee on Foreign Economic Relations of the Russian State Archive of Economy. The analysis of Soviet assistance is conducted in a wide range of areas, from industry and agriculture to health care and education. The final section examines the transport issue and the Soviet role in removal of the transport blockade imposed by Senegal. Both successful projects of Soviet-Malian cooperation, as the gold and bauxite exploration, the construction of a cement plant, and a sports stadium, and unrealized ideas are described. Among the most obvious problems that hindered cooperation between the USSR and Mali were the lack of financial resources, excessive caution, and Mali’s rather active cooperation with its neighbors and capitalist countries. Soviet aid to Mali allows us to trace the Soviet Union’s role in the real decolonization of African countries and the strengthening of their sovereignty. Unlike many other donors, who mostly limited their aid to certain projects, the USSR provided support within the framework of a full cycle of work in all sectors of the economy (resource extraction - construction of enterprises for processing resources - training of personnel to service enterprises - export of finished goods). Obviously, such a comprehensive approach had a truly favorable effect on the sovereignization of the Malian economy.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2022;22(4):714-727
pages 714-727 views

Russia’s Soft Power in Africa: Potential and Challenges of Russian-speaking Women’s Communities

Krylova N.L., Kulkova O.S.


The article refers to one of the integral parts of the of Russian soft power foreign policy, which lies in its interaction with the Russian-speaking women’s communities on the African continent. This topic has not previously been given an appropriate consideration in the domestic scientific discourse. The processes of current social and political transformations in the African countries require the significant increase in soft power, which could become the instrument of developing and consolidating relations between Russia and new African elites and African people. The Russian-speaking communities in Africa and organizations they create are largely composed of women and are developing thanks to their own initiatives. The potential of Russian-speaking women’s communities in Africa, as well as of associations of African graduates of Soviet/Russian educational institutions as prospective soft power providers is quite significant, yet seriously underestimated and untapped properly. Today a variety of associations, clubs, fraternities, unions comprised of Russian-speaking women is widely occurring in the majority of African countries. There are such associations in Zambia, Cameroon, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, Uganda, Togo, Angola, Mauritius, Madagascar, Senegal, Nigeria, Rwanda, Mali, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, and other countries. Russian-African mixed families are considered as the most probable potential mediators in Russian and African societies, cultures and markets. At the same time, the development of ties with the Russian-speaking diaspora in Africa would contribute not only to supporting the foreign policy activities of the Russian Federation on the continent, but also to the implementation of such important national priorities of our country as supporting compatriots abroad and promoting the “Russian world.” This acquires particular importance on the threshold of the second Russia - Africa summit in 2023.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2022;22(4):728-740
pages 728-740 views

Discourses of “Europeanness” in Asylum Practices in the Postcolonial Context

Morgunova O.A., Moraru N.


This article examines the impact of ethno-racial factors on perceptions of refugees and asylum practices in the European postcolonial context. Using Discourse-Historical Approach (DHA) the authors analyse “Europe for Europeans” public discourse against the backdrop of the 2015-2016 migration crisis, the humanitarian disaster on the Polish-Belarusian border in 2021 and asylum seekers’ influx in spring 2022. The study shows that attitudes to refugees and their “right” to asylum in a European country are impacted by ethno-racial markers of applicants. Such discursive practices call into question one of the understandings of Europeanness, namely Europe as the embodiment of advanced political ethics, since European political discourse has recently positioned a refugee from the Middle East and North Africa as an “alien” “non-European,” thus normalizing threats to human life in allegedly “uncivilized” parts of the world. This normalization is consequently affecting the decision making in asylum process. The problematization of discursive aspects of asylum allows us to expand DHA to the international sphere, where different national models and cultural contexts collide, allowing us to talk about the influence of discursive practices on the political decisions in international relations. The evolution of the concept of asylum in the postcolonial context is considered in connection with the ideology of Europeanism, which is currently in the process of formation. Although ideas about Europeanness have undergone major transformations, this study shows that a systematic study of the entire range of conceptual meanings of this discursive object has not yet been carried out. Thus, Europeanness is either interpreted as a set of desired social ideals and values, or, reductively, as a quality associated exclusively with European institutions in their current form. Both interfere with the postcolonial debate about the nature of “Europe” and “Europeanness” in the postcolonial world.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2022;22(4):741-754
pages 741-754 views


The Republic of Türkiye and Ukraine: Using the Crimean Tatar Question in Foreign Policy after 2014

Demeshko N.E., Irkhin A.A.


In historical retrospect, the use of national issues and contradictions has repeatedly become the weakening mechanisms for some great powers in regard to others. In this case, various technologies to construct national myths and ideologies based on tribalism and national exclusiveness and superiority were applied. After the “Crimean spring” in 2014, the Crimean Tatar issue gained a new level of relevance. The Republic of Türkiye and Ukraine are actively using the Crimean Tatar factor to oppose the reintegration of Crimea into the Russian Federation and, consequently, to weaken Russia’s positions in the Black Sea and Mediterranean region. In the article the authors analyze the peculiarities of the influence of the Republic of Türkiye on the Crimean Tatars, as well as the Ukrainian initiatives in relation to the Crimean Tatars and joint Turkish-Ukrainian projects, with the target group consisting of the Crimean Tatars. The methodological basis of the research is system-based, geopolitical, civilizational and institutional approaches, which are implemented both directly and by using a number of general scientific and political science methods. The current policy of Türkiye and Ukraine on the Crimean Tatar issue has common features. Firstly, it is currently topical for the policy elites of these states, both at the domestic and international political levels. Under these circumstances, if the Crimean Tatar issue is an opportunity for Kiev to re-establish its jurisdiction over Crimea, then for Ankara the Crimean Tatar population helps to enlist the electoral support, as well as to consider Crimea and the Black Sea region as a Turkish sphere of influence. Secondly, the conditional Turkish-Ukrainian alliance presents itself as a “protector” of the Crimean Tatars from “Russian aggression.” Thirdly, Türkiye and Ukraine are projecting a positive state image by demonstrating protection of interests and observance of the Crimean Tatars rights on the territory of Russia. Fourthly, the actions of Türkiye and Ukraine in terms of the Crimean Tatar can be characterized as a double standard policy. This thesis is confirmed by the national policy of the Republic of Türkiye, and the approaches of Ukraine to the solution of the Crimean Tatar issue before the reunification of Crimea with Russia.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2022;22(4):755-770
pages 755-770 views


Global Dissipation of Neoliberal Models and the Sovereign State Doctrine

Sumkoski G.


The article examines the mechanisms of quasi-voluntary and coercive dissemination of neoliberal models of development at the global level through the targeted activities and agendas of international organizations. At present, the legitimacy of both the process of promoting global neoliberalism itself and its results appear contradictory and widely challenged. This process has been accompanied by a decades-long erosion of state sovereignty, mandates and powers of nation-states. The result has been a “vacuum” in their ability to fully implement the sovereign state doctrine. However, today, with a multipolar world order transit states are again claiming the need to implement sovereign approaches to their own development, actively forming strategies and operational development plans alternative to neoliberalism. The author extensively analyzes neoliberal models of intervention, as well as those spheres in which there has been the greatest weakening of state powers. The article puts forward the thesis of the necessity for states to formulate national independent models of development alternative to the neoliberal programs globally imposed. This involves providing a broad ideological and philosophical framework and understanding of sovereign development for restoring the nation-sates ability to formulate sovereign state doctrine, vision, and strategy. In order to design and implement operational plans to revitalize the functional capacities of nation-states, it is important to restore relevant knowledge and practical skills, platforms and tools. It seems that this is what will allow nation-states to formulate their own development strategies in the context of dynamically emerging multipolarity. The article puts special emphasis on the doctrine of a sovereign state in the sphere of the economy. However, a similar approach can and should be applied in related spheres of social and political development.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2022;22(4):771-787
pages 771-787 views

Debt Sustainability of Latin American Countries in the post-COVID Economy

Kuznetsov A.V., Morozov S.A.


Annually growing public debt of Latin American countries is a source of a consistent increase in regional crisis potential. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated political instability and deepened socio-economic imbalances in the region. The chronic dependence on debt financing increases the region’s vulnerability to external shocks and makes it much more challenging to implement public policies to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The purpose of the article is to reveal the increasing nature of the debt risks inherent in the Latin American countries, and to propose measures to overcome them. The authors summarize the views of leading Russian and foreign experts on the debt sustainability of the region. Based on the statistical data of international organizations, regional development institutions, as well as analytical materials published by Bloomberg, Fitch, White & Case or Deloitte, the authors analyze the approaches to solving the Latin American debt problem. However, considering recent debt dynamics, new public borrowings may cause a deterioration of the regional debt sustainability in the future. This issue reinforces the uncertainty in international investment circles regarding the future solvency of the Latin American region. The situation in the Latin American countries is exacerbated by the uncertainty whether positive rates of economic growth resume in the medium term that have been lost due to volatile global commodity prices. The study examines the prospects for regional economic stabilization in Latin America and the Caribbean, including through the use of new debt financing mechanisms to meet current financial needs and minimize the risks of financial vulnerability.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2022;22(4):788-801
pages 788-801 views


Book review: Hicks, D. (2020). The Brutish Museums: The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution. London: Pluto Press, 336 p.

Khokholkova N.E., Blinova E.V.



Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2022;22(4):802-804
pages 802-804 views

Book review: Abidde, S. O., & Ayoola, T. A. (Eds.). (2021). China in Africa. Between Imperialism and Partnership in Humanitarian Development. Lanham, Boulder, New York, London: Lexington Books, 397 p.

Deych T.L.



Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2022;22(4):805-808
pages 805-808 views

Book review: Marochkin, S., & Bezborodov, Yu. (Eds.). (2022). The Shanghai Cooperation Organization: Exploring New Horizons. NY, London: Routledge, 263 p.

Kuzmin V.A.



Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2022;22(4):809-811
pages 809-811 views

Book review: Pieper, M. (2022). The Making of Eurasia. Competition and Cooperation Between China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Russia. London, New York: I. B. Tauris, 168 p.

Ismagulov N.N.



Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2022;22(4):812-814
pages 812-814 views

Book review: Kayashima, N., Kuroda, K., & Kitamura, Y. (2022). Japan’s International Cooperation in Education: History and Prospects. Springer Singapore, 365 p.

Melkonyan L.A.



Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2022;22(4):815-819
pages 815-819 views

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