What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

177 - A Map of Russia’s Third Empire (2053)

September 20, 2007, 8:26 PM


It’s the year 2053, and the world looks very different from today. There are no more than 5 superstates left on the face of the planet:

• an American Federation, covering the whole of North and South America;
• an Indian Confederation, consisting of present-day India and Birma/Myanmar (Bangladesh seems to have disappeared under the sea);
• an Asian republic dominated by China, further composed of Mongolia, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand;
• an Islamic Caliphate, occupying the whole of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Indonesia;
• and the Russian Empire, uniting Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, all of Europe and Greenland.
• all states except the Russian Empire own a slice of Antarctica (I suppose that in exchange, Russia rules the North Pole all by itself).

That’s the thesis of Third Empire, a recently published futuristic novel by Mikhail Yuryev. In the book, Yuryev predicts that the Russian Empire will be re-created in a few decades’ time. This ‘Third Empire’ (I presume Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union were the first and second) will obliterate the three Baltic states in 2015 and defeat the USA in the nuclear exchange that many feared for most of the second half of the twentieth century but was thought unthinkable after the end of the Cold War in the 1990s.

Mikhail Yuryev is a Russian businessman, the former chairman of the Russian Government’s Council on Economy and Entrepreneurship (1993-1995) and formerly a deputy speaker of the State Duma (1995-1999). He is an ultranationalist, hoping to create a strong Russia which bases itself on Christian Orthodox values. Some quotes from an article by Yuryev, titled “Identifying Russia’s Foes” and published on 6 November 2004 in the Komsomolskaya Pravda, may elucidate his stance:

“Russia is a great state and must remain as such. This means that our existence as Russians inside Russia, not as nationals of a different country living in this country, however affluent and free it may be, is a value of the highest order.”

“Developing and consolidating the Russian nation and Orthodoxy, and fostering their interests, which in fact are one and the same thing, constitute the major goal for Russia. It has greater significance for us than the interests of other peoples, or religions in Russia.”

“Russia must retain the status of an imperial country.”

“Russia must be a common home to all Russians who live here and abroad; the conditions of our compatriots in other countries is our concern.”

“The people who allege that Western countries and monetary funds of various colors offer the only right methods for building Russia’s national economy and policies are foes.”

“Those who insist that the state has no right to introduce the basics of religion into school curricula on the basis of Orthodox teaching are foes.”

It may be small wonder, then, that a reader of the online edition of The Times of London – not coincidentally from one of the Baltic republics – on May 16, 2007 replied thus to an article about Russia’s Einzelgang in foreign policy matters:

“Just a couple of months ago, a former vice-chancellor of the Russian Duma Mikhail Yuryev published a best-selling novel “The Third Empire.” (…) The present advisor to president Putin, Alexander Dugin, states on the back-cover of the book: ‘This is Russia that one should kill and die for’. It is clear to anyone who lives near the border of this former bloody empire that we are dealing with the real sentiments and attempts at the resurrection of the ‘Third Russian Reich’ . So please don’t tell the Balts about forgetting ‘their historical garbage’. Putin’s Russia is a threat to all the democratic world.”

I was notified of this book, and the intriguing map that accompanies it, by Michael Rovinsky. The book cover shows part of the map; both the cover and the entire map can be found in full here. I have no further information about the plot line of the book, but would like to hear more about it. I don’t suppose it’s out in English translation. Did anyone read it in Russian? Also, can any Russian-speakers help me with the exact translation of the ‘Chinese’ empire’s name?


177 - A Map of Russia’s Thi...

Newsletter: Share: