“Import Substitution,” and What Comes After

The authorities and society, apart from the war, of course, are now most concerned about how to adapt to the new conditions. The novelty of these conditions is that we have been excluded from the West, and we have excluded the West from ourselves. Not that this is something completely new and unprecedented—in our history, we have very often found ourselves in exactly this kind of relationship with the West. And it’s no big deal. And this time nothing terrible will happen. But still, our lives will change significantly.

The first intuitive move in such a situation is the desire to replace the West with something. And we can replace everything. In this way, we will create a certain phantom of the West, which will trickle down to us through third countries, sorts of import substitution hubs. In this way, we will reproduce the West in ourselves. In the beginning it will seem that all these measures are temporary and that the West will come to its senses. But then we will begin to realize that the break with the West is irreversible. It is not possible to return to the old relations with them at all. And a simple reconciliation is achievable either if they fundamentally change, or if we fundamentally change. It’s obvious that everyone will persist in not changing, to the end. And consequently, import substitution will indeed have to happen, too. When this becomes crystal clear, there will be a resonance—of our idea of reality with reality itself.

Here we have an important decision to make: either to import-substitute the West indefinitely, or to do something else. Both decisions are quite responsible, and both will have a huge impact on our lives.

Substituting indefinitely is, on the one hand, easier, since the West remains a beacon and reference point with which we will henceforth have to deal not directly, but indirectly. They’ll think of something there, and we’ll import-substitute it, once and for all. It’s not that hard. But this will make us dependent on the West again, albeit in a new way. Someday this will become obvious; but you can lose quite a lot of time following this path.

If we do something other than import substitution, we need to work out a new strategic plan, a new model, new ways of development. And it is theoretically possible to do this, but this is what our society has really become accustomed to. We perfectly adapt to the conditions, whatever they are; and this is our constant quality, so that we only manage to create something principally new from time to time. It is also possible and sometimes not bad, but it does not happen often.

This second way, of course, is difficult. Here we have only to begin and finish, and most importantly to decide. In this case, Russia will build its own world entirely, on its own principles and using its own methods. There are no ready-made scenarios and textbooks for this case. It is possible to rely on historical experience or on non-Western countries (some of which have achieved impressive results). But much will simply have to be created, created anew, invented. And all this without clear guarantees; by experiment.

Of course, we can assume that our cutting off from the West will be stopped by the fact that the West itself will go haywire without us. Already, the consequences of severing all ties with Russia and frenzied support for the Kiev regime are hurting the politics and economies of Western countries, contributing to the departure of leaders, the growth of mass protests, and political crises. It turns out that we cannot be forced to do anything, and many red lines have been irreversibly crossed. By a combination of factors, and in combination with some other catastrophic processes, the West, or rather the power of the maniacal globalist oligarchy, may also collapse. But it is impossible to count on this; and in the present state we are not capable of delivering a fatal blow to the West. Only as a last resort; but then no one would survive at all. Perhaps this scenario is worth considering, but only in order to avoid it.

If the West’s omnipotence ends by itself, with or without our help, then everything in the world will change. But to make the forecasts realistic, we should still assume that the West will last for some time and remain as it is now. This is the inertial scenario.

And now let’s put it all together.

In the short term, we will be intensively engaged in import substitution. This is perhaps the main and obvious imperative.

Gradually we will realize that this is for the long term, if not forever, and we will create a “simulacrum of the West.” China is partly doing just that, but without breaking with the West as sharply as we have. Although, if the crisis around Taiwan climaxes, the Chinese will find themselves in a similar position. For now, they are closely watching how we are dealing with a similar situation. And they are drawing conclusions.

And finally, either we voluntarily and right away begin to think about building in Russia an alternative and independent socio-political and economic model, or we will come to it out of necessity, when all the resources of import substitution strategy will have been exhausted.

If everything goes by inertia, it is possible to imagine these three phases as consecutive and stretched out over time. But theoretically, we can think about creating something original.

The more clearly we understand that the divorce from the West is a done deal, we will not throw a tantrum and accept the formula, “go away,” the more attention we will pay to the search for alternatives.

Of course, the rhetoric about our own way is already being heard. And it is right and good. But it can simply hide import substitution. Which is necessary and I have nothing against it. But our own way is a very serious topic. I would say too serious for the state of mind of our ruling class, which is used to living in short cycles. But here everything is more profound and fundamental.

The stupidest thing in this situation is to persist in believing that something, if not everything, can be reset to its factory settings, that is to say, before February 24, 2022. Nothing can be rolled back at all. Once we acknowledge that—welcome to reality. Otherwise, we’ll just be delusional.

Alexander Dugin is a widely-known and influential Russian philosopher. His most famous work is The Fourth Political Theory (a book banned by major book retailers), in which he proposes a new polity, one that transcends liberal democracy, Marxism and fascism. He has also introduced and developed the idea of Eurasianism, rooted in traditionalism. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Geopolitica.

Featured: “Horizon,” by Erik Bulatov; painted ca. 1971–1972.