Galym Zhussipbek

Galym Zhussipbek

Independent Scholar, Almaty

Education

PhD in International Relations, Ankara University

Masters and Bachelor degree in International Relations, Ankara University

Research Interests

EU and post-Soviet area

Regional integration

Orientalism, critical approach

Critical theories in IPE

Today, there is a total confusion about what liberalism means in a number of post-Soviet societies.

First, critics and opponents of liberalism accuse it of creating a society of spoiled people; they blame liberalism for creating societies without moral standards. A stereotypical view of liberalism shared by a great majority of conservative Russians assumes that liberalism, specifically a liberal understanding of liberty, defends “liberty to commit sin, even liberty to live like a beast, therefore, liberalism downgrades human dignity, while the Orthodox Christian understanding of liberty means liberty from sin”[1]. Moreover, liberalism is perceived as “elimination of God’s image in human nature, making humankind devoid of the sacred”.[2] Similarly, liberalism is equated with absolute profaneness and hedonism.[3] It can be argued that these perceptions of liberalism by conservative Russian Christians are also shared by a majority of Muslims living in Russia and Russia-leaning countries.

One of the results of the Soviet atheistic period is a confusing even substitution of concepts pertinent to the state-religion relations. Let alone politicians and journalists, sometimes experts and academicians confuse the concepts such as secularism and laicism, secularism as a constitutional norm and secularist ideology.

Despite of the fact that Central Asian nations have common ancestry, close blood relations (e.g. intermingled and intermarried in the course of centuries in some regions), common pre-Soviet and Soviet history, intimate cultural, religious and linguistic affinities, unfortunately, the political and intellectual elites of these countries have adopted to one degree or another an exclusivist discourse of national identity which not infrequently contradict with those adopted by other states in the region. Therefore, the ongoing processes of building national identity in the region let alone facilitate, they, conversely, appear to impede the perspectives of building friendly relations as well establishing regional integration and security.

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