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The New Russian Nationalism

The New Russian Nationalism: Imperialism, Ethnicity and Authoritarianism 2000–2015 OPEN ACCESS

Pål Kolstø
Helge Blakkisrud
Copyright Date: 2016
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    The New Russian Nationalism
    Book Description:

    In MAKING THE WHITE MAN'S WEST, author Jason E. Pierce argues that since the time of the Louisiana Purchase, the American West has been a racially contested space.

    eISBN: 978-1-4744-1043-4
    Subjects: Political Science
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Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations
  1. (pp. 1-17)
    Pål Kolstø

    Nationalism is featuring increasingly in Russian society and in public discourse. Previously dominated by ‘imperial’ tendencies – pride in a large, strong and multi-ethnic state able to project its influence abroad – Russian nationalism is now focusing more and more on ethnic issues. This new ethnonationalism comes in various guises – as racism and xenophobia, but also as a new intellectual movement of ‘national democracy’ that deliberately seeks to emulate conservative West European nationalism.

    Western media often fail to grasp the important differences between the various strands of Russian nationalism. Traditionally, Russian nationalists have focused on the perceived need to maintain a large...

  2. (pp. 18-45)
    Pål Kolstø

    On 18 March 2014 Putin held a landmark speech to the Russian Federal Assembly, justifying the annexation of the Crimean peninsula that took place on the same day. Some of the arguments were vintage Putin rhetoric – the need to build and defend a strong Russian state, a lament over double Western standards in international relations and so on. What was new, however, were his references to the Russian people as an ethnic entity. Putin claimed that, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union ‘the Russian people have become one of the largest divided nations in the world, if not the...

  3. (pp. 46-74)
    Emil Pain

    How to explain the continued presence of the imperial legacy in the political life of Russia, and its impact on Russian nationalism? This has been a focus of my research for more than a decade (Pain 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012). The combination of Russian nationalism and imperial consciousness is conducive to the development of a special phenomenon in Russia that may be called ‘imperial nationalism’. That term may sound odd, at least to those within the Western academic tradition who are accustomed to examining nationalism as one of the factors confronting empires, as a factor involved in destroying the imperial...

  4. (pp. 75-103)
    Alexander Verkhovsky

    This chapter examines the evolution of the radical wing in Russian nationalism, from the early days of Dmitrii Medvedev’s presidency in 2008 to the war in the Donbas region that started in 2014.¹ ‘Russian nationalism’ is an extremely broad concept (see Laruelle 2009a); there is no such thing as one unified movement of Russian nationalists. However, in the context of an authoritarian regime and the general weakness of political movements, we may note one important distinguishing criterion: relations with the authorities. This enables us, for the purposes of discussion, to separate those nationalists who oppose the authorities from those who...

  5. (pp. 104-131)
    Anastasia Mitrofanova

    This chapter examines the ideology and the political practice of Russian ethnic nationalists, exploring religio-ideological trends in contemporary Russian ethnic nationalism and assessing their potential. By Russian ethnic nationalists, I refer solely to those individual authors, parties and movements who hold the self-determination of Russians as an ethnic group as a central element of their ideology and political programme. Thus I do not deal here with political movements that are not nationalist but that borrow from the nationalists various popular ideas or political slogans at odds with the basic ideology of that party or movement. Ethnic nationalists do not acknowledge...

  6. (pp. 132-159)
    Natalya Kosmarskaya and Igor Savin

    This chapter examines how ordinary residents of the Russian capital relate to the sharply increased influx of migrant workers to Russia, and to Moscow in particular. For several decades now, Western academics have scrutinised cross-border migration to Western European countries through the prism of local residents’ perceptions. However, far more attention has been paid to the problems of the migrants themselves than to the attitudes of the host populations.

    Similarly in Russia: despite the growing volume of academic literature on diverse aspects of the lives of migrant workers, 1 efforts at viewing this issue through the eyes of the host...

  7. (pp. 160-191)
    Mikhail A. Alexseev

    Rossiiane. It was a word that Eltsin had trouble pronouncing, particularly after indulging in inebriating festivities, yet he clung doggedly to it in public statements, to reassure the ethnic minorities they belonged in the Russian state just as much as the majority ethnic Russians (russkie) did. Putin enunciated the word clearly and smoothly after arriving in the Kremlin in late 1999. But in March 2014, the month Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine, Putin switched over torusskiewhen addressing the joint session of Russia’s two houses of parliament. Crimea was now ‘a primordial russkaia land’, its key port of Sevastopol...

  8. (pp. 192-220)
    Mikhail A. Alexseev and Henry E. Hale

    From May 2013 to November 2014, Russia’s domestic and international environment underwent a tectonic shift. As hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens in neighbouring Ukraine rose up against the Moscow-backed and increasingly authoritarian government of Viktor Yanukovych and ultimately ousted him in early 2014, the Kremlin and the media it controls ratcheted up anti-Western rhetoric, dramatically increased its use of nationalist themes, and even employed military force in a sudden operation to annex the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and its port of Sevastopol, which Ukraine had since independence rented out to the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The Kremlin then expanded...

  9. (pp. 221-248)
    Henry E. Hale

    By some accounts, Russian politics is a realm of cynics, where everything is for sale, leaders rudely dismiss public opinion and politicians mainly pursue their own power and enrichment through a mix of repression and corruption (Gessen 2013; Dawisha 2014). In others, Russia’s leadership is resolutely principled, driven at least in part by a nationalist goal of restoring Russian pride and recapturing the status and perhaps even the territory of the former USSR and Russian Empire before it (Aron 2008; Trenin 2014; Tsygankov 2014). If we assume that each perspective at least partly reflects at least some aspect of Russian...

  10. (pp. 249-274)
    Helge Blakkisrud

    Traditionally, the Russian – and later Soviet – state has always relied on an imperial approach to the ‘national question’: on loyalty to the state and the dynasty/Communist Party rather than to an ethnically defined community. For a long time, the Romanovs tended to treat all instances of Russian ethnonationalism with considerable scepticism; the very idea of casting the nation in ethnic terms appeared antithetical to their dynastic understanding of the state (Kappeler 2001). And despite their purported ‘ethnophilia’, Soviet nation-builders repeatedly denounced all expressions of ‘Great Russian chauvinism’ (Slezkine 1994). The breakup of the Soviet Union did not immediately change this....

  11. (pp. 275-297)
    Marlene Laruelle

    In this chapter I agree with Henry Hale’s double argument that Putin has generally avoided making nationalism a central element of his popular appeal, and that the majority of the population has not interpreted Putin as a standard-bearer of nationalism – other, competing political groups are more distinctly associated with the nationalism niche. I share the view that in his third presidential term, marked by a sharp decrease in popular support and the anti-regime protests of 2011/12, Putin has been advancing a conservative value agenda in order to reinforce some of the regime’s constituencies and to marginalise the liberals – and the...

  12. (pp. 298-335)
    Stephen Hutchings and Vera Tolz

    This chapter explores Russian state-aligned television’s approaches to representing ethnicity and nationhood in its news broadcasts, considering the medium’s effectiveness as a tool for forging a sense of belonging among the citizens of the Russian Federation. The material on which it is based largely precedes the 2014 political crisis around Ukraine. But that material, and our reading of it, is framed by the crisis and by Russian federal television’s role in fanning the flames that continue to engulf the actors at its heart. The pertinence and purpose of the points we make are not restricted to the Ukraine context. Their...

  13. (pp. 336-361)
    Peter Rutland

    This chapter traces the role of economics in intellectual debates over Russian national identity. On one side are the modernisers who believe that the only way to restore Russia’s prosperity and standing in the world is to embrace Western market institutions. On the other side are nationalists who believe that economic integration will erode the political institutions and cultural norms that are central to Russian identity. They argue that erecting barriers to Western economic influence, and creating an alternate trading bloc, are necessary to prevent the exploitation of the Russian economy and even the possible destruction of the Russian state....

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This book is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 3.0 International.
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