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The Gumilev MystiqueBiopolitics, Eurasianism, and the Construction of Community in Modern Russia$
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Mark Bassin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780801445941

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801445941.001.0001

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The Political Significance of Gumilev

The Political Significance of Gumilev

(p.306) Conclusion The Political Significance of Gumilev
The Gumilev Mystique

Mark Bassin

Cornell University Press

This concluding chapter discusses the continuing political significance of Gumilev's ideas. It argues that his work has an à la carte quality, which makes it possible for some concepts and theories to be isolated and discarded while others remain intact without losing any of their apparent credibility. His complex ecological theories about the biological nature of ethnies can be endorsed while his associated arguments for the natural cohesion of these ethnic units into greater superethnic entities are ignored or shunned. Alternatively, his historically-based arguments for the necessary obshchnosť of different ethnic groups across Eurasia may be embraced by admirers who are entirely unreceptive to his naturalistic understanding of the ethnogenetic process as driven by variations in the levels of passionarnosť. Indeed, the reality of passionarnosť can even be accepted while at the same time his explanations of it as the product of cosmic energy are lightly dismissed. This à la carte quality combines with the inherent malleability and ambivalence of many of Gumilev's arguments to render them appealing and useful for a wide variety of differing and even contending constituencies. It also means that his concepts and terminology can be developed in ways and to extremes that he himself could not have imagined.

Keywords:   Lev Nikolaevich Gumilev, former Soviet Union, ethnies, ethnicity, ethnic groups, Eurasianism

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