The military conflict in Ukraine today is the central flashpoint in relations between Russia and the West, and largely sets the tone for security policy in the Euro-Atlantic region. It also has many global implications. In the ideological sphere, it is increasingly presented as a struggle between the liberal world order and the “mutiny of the malcontents.” It is Russia that today has assumed the role of the vanguard of such a rebellion, openly challenging its Western rivals.
The use of the concept of a revolt here is not accidental. The West is promoting a liberal world order based on clear ideological assertions. These include the market economy; the globalization of standards, trade and technologies; liberal democracy as the only acceptable political form for the organization of states; an open society and a diversity of cultures and ways of life; and its interpretation of human rights.
In practice, the implementation of these principles varies from country to country and changes over time. However, the diversity of practice has little effect on the integrity of the ideology. Unlike the West, Russia does not offer an alternative ideological menu. So, Moscow, today, differs from the Soviet Union, which at one time adopted another modernist creed –socialism– and actively promoted it as a global alternative.
At the same time, both liberalism and socialism are Western doctrines. The pair are based on the ideas of progress, rationality and emancipation. There are more similarities between them than you might think. Socialists offer a different view of private property, pointing to the excesses of the uncontrolled market. Already in the twentieth century, however, there was a convergence of liberal and socialist ideas in the form of a combination of state regulation and the market. With regards to their political ideation, democracy and the power of the people are no less important for socialism than for liberalism. Traces of the idea of globalisation could be found in the concept of international worker solidarity. Liberation from prejudices and the rationalisation of all spheres of life are expressed as clearly in socialism as in liberalism.