Yury Gromyko, a well-known Russian teacher, methodologist, psychologist, futurologist, has given an interview to EADaily. As the director of the Institute for Advanced Studies and Human Resource Management named after Eugene Shiffers (Shiffers Institute or IAS), Gromyko is engaged in development of regional and federal development projects. He is one of those who directly shape the future of Russia.
Let’s begin with the foreign policy. Is Pax Americana (where the United States enjoys domination) still relevant or it tends to decline?
The American world is in a deep crisis. One of the great minds in the world, sociologist and philosopher Immanuel Wallerstein fairly states that the financial imperialism and all-embracing system of dollar that underlies Pax Americana are declining gradually. The power of global liberalism with the center in U.S. was based on creating wealth by means of U.S. dollar not backed by gold.
On the top of it are attempts to make the destruction of traditional family trendy by propagating homosexualism. This way of economic performance and related views and values are experiencing decline, but this process may last very long. Therefore, it is senseless gloating quietly at the thought that U.S. may collapse one day, and dollar may turn into a paper. Big Powers like Russia, China, India, and Brazil should step up efforts to create a new, post-American world, offering different projects and values.
What kind projects do you mean?
In particular, we need fundamentally different, new social systems. The system of financial imperialism is not good, since it makes the rich richer and the poor poorer. The worldwide public and historical phenomenon of development must be set against it. There can be no local, peripheral, regional development, like there can be no national Russian, American, German or Jewish development. Development is always a universal breakthrough that embraces all aspects of life of all the people on the Earth, all nations and peoples.
This is always a breakthrough in the masses, in all levels of the world history, in all aspects of spiritual life. However, to break into that huge life-sustaining activity of people and reorganize it, that substrate for development, we need to concentrate an unprecedented power of mental efforts in one point. We need “a mental laser” able to change climates, help creating new spacecrafts, transform machine-building etc. The major problem here is to form a method and theory of development that would help outlining some basic contradictions of the modern world and offer forms to remove those contradictions.
Is the development you were speaking about understood everywhere in the world?
At least many have realized that living the way they did is no longer possible. Trump’s victory in U.S., Brexit suggest that people have given up on liberal values – but liberalism will not disappear unless something comes to replace it. Recently, I have returned from an international economic conference in the Philippines, where they discussed methods to ensure growth of the government sector efficiency through a large-scale introduction of innovations. Various interesting forms of cooperation of the government, NGOs and the private sector were discussed as well. At present, the Asian region is the key driver of the world’s economy, and the countries in that region are known to be rather far from the West-promoted ideas. The Asians have succeeded since they have relied on their traditions of hard-working, modesty, self-containment, respect for the elders, ability to work in a team. Noteworthy that Russia is partially an Asian country due to its geographical location. There is no reason to hide head, quite the contrary, Russia needs to adopt all the good things characteristic to the Asian countries.
For how long will the ongoing “Cold War 2.0” between Russia and the Western bloc continue?
Recently, together with well-known expert Yuri Krupnov we have published a report entitled “Putin and the Breakthrough.” The report particularly says that the ongoing conflict between U.S. and Russia has reached the final phase. The latest sanctions suggest that all oligarchs, corporations having close ties with the Russian leadership may lose their financial resources by February. By February 2, the secretary of state, the national security and defense ministry leadership should submit a report to the Congress on Russian businesspersons having ties with the Kremlin, on assets owned by them and their relatives, on their cooperation with foreign companies. They will try to confiscate money of the “blacklisted” oligarchs in Western banks. I am speaking about incredible amounts of money belonging to wealthy Russian families. These amounts may exceed one trillion dollars. This will result in a fundamentally new strain in the relations of Russia and U.S.
Oligarchs will face a dilemma: either to bring their “honestly earned” money back to Russia and invest in its economic, scientific and technical breakthrough or lose their wealth. Actually, American sanctions again give us a chance to carry out “de-oligarchization” and fund development of the motherland, its neo-industrialization. We need money extremely to establish a series of industries from the naught (for instance, laser industry, new machine-building), introduce new types of transport, improve the nuclear energy sector. In other words, the coming three-four months will show how will Russia’s financial elite behave.
Does the government understand its tasks adequately?
I’d like recall that at the meeting of the Innovative Development Council both this year and two years ago, President Putin strictly mentioned that we need a breakthrough. Not sluggish “innovation,” not slowly progressive development, but mobilization, a breakthrough in all areas! I repeat, in this sense, aggravation of the relations with the United States is in our favor, provided that we use it the right way. We need to understand that many seek a breakthrough. The people backing Donald Trump - a person who gets too much attention from our mass media – are trying to carry out an infrastructure revolution in U.S.
One of its elements is to split the cost of oil and our own fuel. There are already five types of vehicles in U.S. – with engines operating on “traditional” fuel, on electricity, hydrogen, and hybrid ones. Americans started developing hydrogen energy that will enable reducing oil price dramatically by separating them from the vehicle fuel price. Russia too needs to build hydrogen energy, the more so as we have a series of necessary technologies.
It turns out that we need to be vigilant not to miss another energy revolution…
Sure, our further relations with the West will depend on whether we will manage to make a breakthrough. An episode from the film “Ivan The Terrible” comes to mind. Particularly, the moment when the principal character says he is going to take the gown of the Russian Tsar, one of the foreign ambassadors says the West will not recognize it. In response, papal nuncio says profoundly: They will recognize, if he is strong! The West will start easing tensions with Russia only if it becomes strong.
As a scientist, you are engaged in the educational field too. What we need to do in that field?
We urgently need the project “Russian School of the Future” able to take all the best from the Soviet and the Russian Empire educational systems. I mean the high-quality disciplinary education on disciplinary-mathematical subjects, first of all. I think it would be wrong restoring the Soviet school automatically, since the world has changed fundamentally during the past decades. We need to develop a project-based education when the youth is taught to promote various projects and bring them to the phase of practical implementation with the help of scientists and representatives of corporations. How to combine the disciplinary education and the project-based one?
This can be done through meta-disciplinary education, it develops reflexive thinking and a series of important skills necessary to a contemporary person: ability to act in uncertain situation, self-determination on the ground of basic values. It is very important to learn developing diagrams – business, entrepreneurship is based on this.
Besides, a person needs an ability to organize and build confidence in a multi-level staff. In contemporary society, a person cannot do much alone, so he needs organizational and self-organizational skills in the complicated social mechanism. Our Institute of Advance Studies named after Shiffers has created and developed a system of teaching meta-disciplines and our methods have been introduced into real education activity. However, it is important to ensure that meta-disciplinary education is integrated into the system of fundamental academic education and not applied just as facultative, auxiliary methodology. That is why we need the abovementioned project “Russian School of the Future.” Our staff proposed its own option of that project. Afterwards, I was invited to China, where projects of schools of the future are promoted at the Party level. They are well aware that this is the key to the global leadership. It is extremely important for us not to miss that moment as well.
Sometimes, one can get an impression that a silent civil war is underway in Russia between the supporters of “democratic” 90s, fans of USSR and “Russia that we lost in 1917.” Is it possible to reconcile them all?
We can “sew together” different periods of Russia’s life only on the basis of value system. Certain fundamental ideas underlie each period of the Russian history, we need to bring them together. Imperial Russia is the idea of serving that united the best representatives of aristocracy and the people. The Soviet Russia was built on social values and ideas of self-denying acts of bravery. Present-day Russia is based on the idea of freedom, which has not been revealed at full yet. Our youth is torn between extreme interpretations of freedom. We need self-determination here and now, as well as our millennia-old historical experience. This should be laid in our systems of education.
Are you optimistic about Russia’s future?
I am an absolute optimist, since I believe in power of human genie and mind. Russia’s mental achievements are great and able to serve as a kind of “ark” for the entire humanity, a basis to make a step towards the future. Realizing continuity of the Russian history and rise of the Russian genie inspires with absolute confidence in our future.