On July 21, the Valdai Discussion Club hosted a discussion titled “National Identity as a Form of Geopolitical Struggle”. Oleg Barabanov, Programme Director of the Club, who moderated the discussion, invited the participants to discuss the processes of shaping national identity and the possibility of its formatting, as well as the role of society in these processes and the risks associated with them.
Miša Đurković, Director of the Institute for European Studies (Serbia), author of the books “Dark Corridors of Power” and “The Illusion of the European Union”, postulated that we live in a time of unstable identity ideology based on the fact that nothing is permanent, either at the personal or at the national level. Such ideology is in the interests of transnational corporations. The great powers also use this constructivist ideology to their benefit, creating regional and quasi-national identities to counter the geopolitical interests of other states and to change political reality. Đurković considers the actions of the West in Ukraine and a number of historical moments associated with the formation of Croatian, Montenegrin, Bosnian and Albanian identities and with the reform of the Serbian language carried out in the 19th century by the linguist Vuk Karadžić as characteristic examples of such identity construction. He paid special attention to the dangers associated with dual identities and the problems of identity blurring, which are generated, among other things, by migration.
Oleg Bondarenko, Director of the Progressive Policy Foundation, Editor-in-Chief of The Balkanist project, noted that nowadays people of the world, in a sense, live “in different orbits” and therefore different things can be named “national identity” in different regions of the world. At present, in his opinion, it makes more sense to talk about national identity, which has become a political tool of various major geopolitical actors, in terms of “metamodern”, and not in the academic terms of the last century. Speaking of modern Europe, he noted that, despite the proclaimed transhumanist values, it continues to live in the old paradigm of nation-states and its countries actively resist the attempts of their regions to “exercise sovereignty”. This is what prevents Europe from becoming a major geopolitical actor and makes it vulnerable, for example, to the American policy of “divide and conquer”. He also considered the issue of local identity, primarily in the context of globalization, noting that although globalization is inevitable and fighting against it resembles a quixotic fight against windmills, the question is what kind of globalization it will be: a globalization of “hundreds of languages and cultures” or an “Anglo-Saxon” one, with total unification.