Cover Osteuropa 4-6/2005

In Osteuropa 4-6/2005

Just wars
War and land as ethical categories

Aleksej Levinson

Deutsche Fassung


The verdict of Russian public opinion is that the Great Patriotic War was a just war. All other wars of the 20th century, including those fought in Afghanistan and Chechnya, are considered unjust. What is being expressed here is not just the idea that a defensive war is a priori more legitimate, but also the fact that when the Russian population makes such judgements it is heavily influenced by considerations of territoriality. This is an imperial tradition of thought. Space is the most important resource of an empire, and war is considered justified when it is fought over space and continues the “gathering of land”.

(Osteuropa 4-6/2005, pp. 387–393)