A Map of Russia’s Third Empire (2053)
Almost ten years after its first publication, are the predictions in this book any closer to coming true?
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
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 futuristic novel by Mikhail Yuryev first published in . 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.”
Strange Maps #177
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Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.
- Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
- Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
- Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.
- Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
Civil discourse has fallen to an all time low.
The question that the American populace needs to ask itself now is: how do we fix it?
Discursive fundamentals need to be taught to preserve free expression
In their findings the authors state:
upholding First Amendment ideals.
Talking politics at Thanksgiving dinner
- Progressive Activists: younger, highly engaged, secular, cosmopolitan, angry.
- Traditional Liberals: older, retired, open to compromise, rational, cautious.
- Passive Liberals: unhappy, insecure, distrustful, disillusioned.
- Politically Disengaged: young, low income, distrustful, detached, patriotic, conspiratorial
- Moderates: engaged, civic-minded, middle-of-the-road, pessimistic, Protestant.
- Traditional Conservatives: religious, middle class, patriotic, moralistic.
- Devoted Conservatives: white, retired, highly engaged, uncompromising,
It's interesting to note the authors found that:
"Tribe membership shows strong reliability in predicting views across different political topics."
Here are some statistics on differing viewpoints according to political party:
- 51% of staunch liberals say it's "morally acceptable" to punch Nazis.
- 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
- 65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
- 58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
- 47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.
Here are some guidelines for civic discourse that might come in handy:
- Practice inclusion and listen to who you're speaking to.
Civic discourse in the divisive age
dangerously tribal, fueled by a culture of outrage and taking offense. For the combatants,
the other side can no longer be tolerated, and no price is too high to defeat them.
These tensions are poisoning personal relationships, consuming our politics and
putting our democracy in peril.
Once a country has become tribalized, debates about contested issues from
immigration and trade to economic management, climate change and national security,
become shaped by larger tribal identities. Policy debate gives way to tribal conflicts.
Polarization and tribalism are self-reinforcing and will likely continue to accelerate.
The work of rebuilding our fragmented society needs to start now. It extends from
re-connecting people across the lines of division in local communities all the way to
building a renewed sense of national identity: a bigger story of us."
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