Vadim Tsymbursky’s Great Limitrophe

Authors: Dmitrii Sidorov*, CSULB
Topics: Russia, Eurasia, Political Geography
Keywords: Russia, Eurasia, geopolitics, political geography, civilizations
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 19
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Vadim Tsymbursky (1957-2009) is often labeled “Russian Samuel Huntington” for the unmatched depth, originality, and relevancy of his geopolitical thinking as well as for challenging the very core hypothesis of the clash of civilizations theory that has made Huntington a household name among western intellectuals. In a direct opposition to arguably the weakest part of Huntington’s thesis of the clash of civilizations, its rigid conceptualization of the so-called “fault lines” between civilizations, Tsymbursky developed a dynamic concept of an inter-continental geopolitical belt of so-called “strait-territories”. Tsymbutsky’s Great Limitrophe is more than a “fault line”. It is rather a borderland between Eurasia’s “civilizational platforms” (such as “Russia Island”) that has been (and still is) affected by dynamic chrono-geopolitical cycles of Russia’s engagement with/departure from Europe (periods of Russia’s “abduction of Europe” followed by its opposite re-orientation to other neighboring territories and inner areas). Tsymbursky saw the Great Limitrophe’s challenges and opportunities for Russia and argued for a Eurasian policy that would both influence and acknowledge autonomy of that system as a protective and enriching limit of Russia. Among insights, Tsymbursky’s concept of the geopolitical Great Limitrophe belt helps to understand such developments as the post-Soviet geopolitical crises in Russian borderlands. Tsymbursky is also visionary in his attention to geopolitical isolationism well before the era of Brexit and Trumpism.

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