Iran and Russia are experiencing their own modernity at a time when the very paradigm of modernity is being radically questioned in the west, its place of origin. Having passed through the labyrinth of social contradictions, both Russia and Iran have reached a point where they are transcending the logic of development of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Today, Russian and Iranian modernisation represents a unique interaction of universal value patterns and specific cultural codes – a trajectory that can be qualified as an autonomous and adaptive modernity. As such we need a broader cognitive space to allow the emergence of ‘multiple modernities’. The era of fixed, Euro-centred, and non-reflexive modernity is reaching its end – modernity, as an epistemological category, is transcending the totalising narrative in whose grip it has been enchained. The ethnocentric west needs to acknowledge the heterogeneity of the modernisation experience, and accordingly subdue its impulse to ‘homogenise’ and ‘orientalise’ the ‘other’. It needs to move away from a unilateral logic toward a genuine cross-cultural encounter that takes a much broader view of the modernisation process by placing it in the long-term context of cultural adaptation of civilisational complexes to the challenge of modernity.