Evgeny Bazhanov: "Natalya Bazhanova taught two presidents"
The Molodaya Gvardia publishing house published a book titled "Natalya Bazhanova (1947-2014)" as part of the Life of Remarkable People series, dedicated to honorary doctor of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry, orientalist, economist, political scientist, teacher and diplomat. Preface says: "This is a book about truly remarkable person: a world-famous scientist, Natalya Bazhanova. Most people remember her as bright and pure person. At the same time, she's also compared to recognized standards of beauty: Audrey Hepburn, Jacqueline Kennedy, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna... South Korean President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kim Dae-jung once said: "Natalya Bazhanova is the best specialist on North Korea in the world."
Almost simultaneously, tenth volume of the "Moment and Eternity" multi-volume series was published. Author of both books, Yevgeny Bazhanov, director of the Actual International Problems Institute of the Diplomatic Academy and Natalya Bazhanova’s husband, told Vestnik Kavkaza about these books.
- Recently two books of your books have been published. What is the tenth volume of the "Moment and Eternity" series dedicated to?
- Tenth volume covers years from 2000 to 2006. It includes everything related to the Diplomatic Academy, events in Russia, international issues. And the 11th and 12th volumes, which will soon be released, are dedicated to the same period, but focus on our trips abroad. There are Switzerland, Romania, the Czech Republic, Japan, the USA, China, and a number of other countries. This is an analysis of what we saw, of things that caught our interest. In 2000-2006, the Diplomatic Academy was headed by Yuri Evgenievich Fokin. The 10th, 11th and 12th volumes are dedicated to this period. In 2006-2010, Alexander Nikolaevich Panov became the head of the Diplomatic Academy. This period will be reviewed in the 13th volume. In 2011, I became rector. 14th volume will be dedicated to this...
- The "Moment and Eternity" series is not a biography, but a way to tell readers about the world that existed at that time. What conclusions do you want to convey to readers?
- You're right. On the one hand, these are memoirs, and, on the other hand, we're not in the center of attention here. We simply describe our life, life of different countries. And thoughts in the book are completely different. There are, for example, observations of economic reforms in China — you can learn a lot from this experience. We analyze our problems in relations with the West, reasons why these problems exist, whether we can overcome them, and, if we can, how can we do it. We tell about peculiarities of cultures of different countries - Romanian culture, Czech culture. There are details about Switzerland, which some consider to be a perfect model of the world order. Switzerland consists of small cantons, which are peaceful, democratic, which have developed economy. Switzerland is one of the most developed countries, which many want to copy. Many people want to go there, have the same products as this country, use its experience. This book also tell readers about England, its attitude towards Russia, the United States, other countries, and describes how British economy works. If we talk about conclusions, there are, of course, hundreds of them. Some will agree with them, some will disagree, but these are our personal impressions, our personal analysis.
- Could you share some of conclusions about relations between Russia and the West?
- When the Soviet Union collapsed, the United States decided that it was their duty to lead the world. That they know where to lead the world, how to put them on rails of market economy, to spread democracy and American values. For a while, we put up with this. That's when we were weak and thought that we would join the "family of civilized countries" and everything will be fine. But it turned out that it's very difficult to deal with Americans. First, they tried to impose their will, then we lost friends and ties in other regaion - in Asia, in the south, and so on. Then Americans didn't really give us anything. Attempts to establish equal economic cooperation with them didn't lead to anything. We tried to copy American and Western methods, but they didn't work for us. Advisors were invited to Russia to carry out reforms - it didn't work out. In the end there was only disappointment. Russia as a major power, as a country with rich history, with huge territory, huge military, economic and intellectual power, couldn't stay junior partner. As soon as we gained strength, we announced our own agenda in foreign policy. Then clashes with the West began. The US recognizes only those who obey them. Not only Russia, but also China, and India and other countries, to some extent, don't like this American policy.
America's attempt to maintain hegemony and resistance from other countries created a rift in international relations. This fight will continue. America is a powerful nation, and not a single country in the history of mankind, having such power, voluntarily refused to try to lead others. Moreover, the US has global interests, an economy associated with the entire world. This also pushes America to pursue such aggressive policy. That's what creates problems.
There's also China. China is gaining economic and political power, and this raises concerns and fears in the United States, since they want to lead the entire Asia-Pacific region. China is developing its military sphere, which leads to increased tension in relations with the United States and they allies - Japan, Australia and others.
And then there's Russia. While we were weak, the West felt pity and promised to help us. As soon as we gained power, frictions began to appear, especially in the post-Soviet space. This situation is even more complicated than it was during the Cold War. After all, at that time, the United States and the West in general didn't try to get into our zone of influence - the countries of Eastern Europe and especially Soviet republics. Our interests collided in remote areas - Vietnam, Nicaragua, Angola. And now the United States don't recognize any equality and invades Russia's zones of influence, which are crucial for our security. This applies to both Ukraine and Georgia. Russia, as our leaders say, is still determined to cooperate, to overcome differences. But in other to achieve this, it's necessary to recognize each other’s interests and negotiate on the basis of equality. The most pressing issue is the issue of disarmament. Right now Americans are withdrawing from all agreements and treaties, so this situation is becoming very complex and unmanageable.
- Natalya Bazhanova carried out active scientific and research work, wrote a huge number of works,. In addition, she taught a lot of prominent experts in international affairs. Under her guidance, two presidents wrote their theses - former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and current head of Kazakhstan, Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev. Do you write about it in books?
- Of course. The book from Life of Remarkable People series talks about this briefly, since the book itself is pretty small. But tenth volume of "The Moment and Eternity" has many different interesting details. By the way, some people are surprised that Natalya Bazhanova was included in the Life of Remarkable People series, saying she's not too well-known to general public, she's not some movie star. Regarding, I can say that if coach has trained an Olympic champion, he should receive orders and titles. In Natalya Bazhanova's case, there are not just Olympic champions, but two presidents of very important countries. South Korea is one of the largest and most developed countries in the world; Kazakhstan is also a very large and important country, especially for Russia. In addition, 24 more people wrote their theses under guidance of Natalya Bazhanova, including former Foreign Minister of Kyrgyzstan Alibek Jekshenkulov, who now heads the Kyrgyz diplomatic mission in Moscow, UAE ambassadors in Russia, Yemen and Syria's ambassadors in Russia, MGIMO rector Anatoly Torkunov, former president of North Ossetia Alexander Dzasokhov and many other distinguished people. Natalya Bazhanova was their supervisor and consultant. This is a great contribution to science.
As for Kim Dae-jung, we knew him back in the 1970s when we worked in the USA. He was a dissident, hiding from the South Korean authorities when military was in power in South Korea. He wanted to write a thesis on how to improve relations with North Korea, and did it under guidance of my wife. In this thesis, he developed "solar heat" policy, a policy of improving relations with North Korea. After becoming president of South Korea in 1998, Kim Dae-jung began to implement this policy, developed in his thesis. And so he successfully did it and received the Nobel Peace Prize. However, after that another party came to power, which pursued strict policy towards the North, and both sides were on the verge of war. But now Kim Dae-jung's party has returned to power and resumed his policy. We cann see the results: summits between the North and the South, meetings of US President with Kim Jong-un. Kim Dae-jung himself repeatedly said that Natalya Evgenievna Bazhanova helped him develop theoretical outline of how to pursue his policy in relations the North.
The same can be said about thesis of president of Kazakhstan Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev. Under leadership of Nursultan Nazarbayev, he was Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan before that, he worked on development of foundations of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy, establishing relations between Kazakhstan and outside world. It was a very complicated matter - it was necessary to build relations with Russia, China, the United States and the Muslim world in a new way. His thesis was dedicated to how Kazakhstan should develop its policy. There's obvious theoretical contribution of Natalya Bazhanova to this thesis.
- This is second edition published under the Life of Remarkable People series dedicated to Natalya Bazhanova. What makes it different from previous one?
- Previous edition included Natalya Bazhanova's biography, a list of all the works she published, a list of all scientific and political events in which she participated, her teaching activities, all her achievements in life, correspondence, letters, which she received. I chose the most interesting of those letters (and there were a lot of them), which told about other countries and cultures. In addition, the first book included memories of Natalya Bazhanova, of statesmen who worked with her on theses or for other reasons, of friends, co-workers, diplomats... at least 154 people. Basically, it's was like a reference book about her life.
And the book we see now is something in between of the previous one and and "The Moment and Eternity" volumes. It's a special book, which tells about life of a person in a slightly different way. In this case, I was told what to write about: they told me what was unnecessary, what should be added, where to include her diaries, her personal memories, where I shouldn't include reviews of her books, so that it wouldn't be boring to read and so on. My friends, management of Biblio-Globus, Boris Semenovich Yesenkin and his deputy Susanna Yuriyevna Mkrtycheva, helped me with all previous books. It was they who, after reading all of this or listening to my speeches at presentations of books, came to conclusion that such book should be made for the famous Life of Remarkable People series. Today, discussion about this book on social media has already begun, and supporters of this book have appeared. Some advise people to read it, some express doubt that this book fits the format of this seires, some writes that Natalya Bazhanova looks similar to actress Klara Luchko. Biblio-Globus has Instagram page, there are already quite a few responses. In other words, this new book received huge feedback.
Natalya Bazhanova was a honorary doctor of the Diplomatic Academy, University of California, Peking University, Seoul National University. She published articles in press, in scientific journals, was a columnist of various publications, columnist of the Renmin Ribao newspaper and two South Korean newspapers, received awards as the best columnist - once in Taiwan, twice in South Korea.
As for diplomatic work, Natalya Bazhanova worked as press attache in the United States in the 1970s. Books tell about who she talked to, communicated with, how she contributed to improvement of mutual understanding between the peoples of the Soviet Union and the United States, and improvement of political relations at the official level. Then she worked in China. There are pieces of memories of various people who emphasize this direction of her activity. Both Chinese ambassador in Moscow, ex-president of South Korea, and president of Kazakhstan say that she played a huge role in normalizing Russia's relations with China and South Korea, and in establishing contacts between North and South Korea. This is a real contribution to our diplomacy.