The Narrative Dialogue (1237–2000)
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This chapter will cover the historical context of the Energy Dialogue, from the Mongol invasion of Russia in 1237 to the year 2000, and the months preceding the launch of the dialogue. As such, it will cover the ‘baseline’ narratives of the dialogue, at a time when there was careful optimism in both Moscow and Brussels. In Chap. 1, I argued that time and space affect narratives and that the narrative failure of the Energy Dialogue was never pre-determined. To Bakhtin, and indeed to others such as Kant, time and space, or the chronotope, constituted the only a priori principle of knowledge—the realm within which our narratives are continuously shaped. That is not to say that the essence of time and space is a matter of consensus. Quite the contrary, since we cannot fully fathom either, both space and time are highly contested concepts. For Bakhtin, ‘time in real life is no less organised by convention than it is in a literary text’. This has several practical implications. First, whereas time conditions narratives, the narrative of time and chronology is itself a point of much dispute. A narrative, like being itself, is an aesthetic event. Second, past experiences shape our experience of the present, which in turn shapes our expectations of the future. In dialogue, which means through speech, synchrony coexists with diachrony, or moving through time. In other words, histories matter. Third, while time embeds certain narratives, for instance, through practices and institutions, it also changes them, over and over again.