Academician Nodari Simonia the Last Marxist

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-11-131-140
P. Cherkasov,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation.

Received 11.02.2021.

Abstract. The author traces and analyzes the career and activity of Academician Nodari Aleksandrovich Simoniy (1932–2019), a prominent orientalist and expert in international relations who headed the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2000–2006. The article reveals the formation of the general worldview and academic views of N. Simoni, assesses his contribution to the study of the East after the collapse of the colonial system and the formation of young independent states. The author acquaints the reader with the views of the Academician on the European, Asian and Russian revolutions, with his approach to understanding the processes of contemporary world development, explains his civil position, both under the Soviet regime and in post-Soviet Russia. N. Simonia combined a detailed knowledge of realities in the Eastern regions he studied – primarily Southeast Asia – with a deep theoretical approach to the study of complex processes in the East after the end of World War II. Over time, the interests of the Academician went beyond the East, to which he devoted several decades of research. At the turn of the 1990s‑2000s, his attention was attracted by the problems of global world development, as well as the development of post-Soviet Russia. All the works of N. Simonia – he published 18 books and dozens of articles in Russian and foreign academic journals – were written by him, as he himself admitted, on the basis of the Marxist methodology. But Simonia’s Marxism had nothing in common with vulgar ideas in Bolsheviks’ teachings of Marx and their “theory of Marxism-Leninism”. At the same time, the Academician criticized not only Stalin and Lenin, but also Marx himself, who succeeded only in deep analysis of contemporary pre-monopoly capitalism. N. Simonia criticized the Soviet model of socialism as well, believing that there has never been any real socialism in the USSR. He was equally critical of the “liberal” turn of the Russian intellectual elite after 1991, blaming its radical faction, which influenced President Boris Yeltsin, for instilling in Russia a model of the “worst”, as he wrote, “the most parasitic version of bureaucratic capitalism”. For Simonia, the latter was associated with Indonesia under Sukarno. But even there, not to mention Japan and South Korea, the business elite has never been antipatriotic, as it happened in modern Russia. In his opinion, the Russian model of capitalism turned out to be unlike either the Western or the Eastern model, and the modernization, which Russia urgently needs, is inseparable from genuine democratization, but should not represent an imitation of democracy, as is the case.

Keywords: Simoniya, Martynov, Primakov, USSR, Russia, MGIMO, Institute of Oriental Studies, IMEMO, East, modernization, democracy, state capitalism, nationalism, Stalinism, Marxism, liberalism, Perestroika


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For citation:
Cherkasov P. Academician Nodari Simonia the Last Marxist . World Eonomy and International Relations, 2021, vol. 65, no. 11, pp. 131-140.

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