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Contemporary Russian Identity between East and West

Duncan, PJS; (2005) Contemporary Russian Identity between East and West. Historical Journal , 48 (1) 277 - 294. 10.1017/S0018246X04004303. Green open access

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Abstract

This is a review of recent English-language scholarship on the development of Russian identity since the collapse of the USSR in 1991. The first part examines literature on the economic and political changes in the Russian Federation, revealing how scholars became more sceptical about the possibility of Russia building a Western-type liberal democracy. The second part investigates approaches to the study of Russian national identity. The experience of empire, in both the tsarist and Soviet periods, gave Russians a weak sense of nationhood; ethnic Russians identified with the multinational Soviet Union. Seeking legitimacy for the new state, President El’tsin sought to create a civic identity focussed on the multinational Russian Federation. The Communist and nationalist opposition continued to promote an imperial identity, focused on restoring the USSR or creating some other formation including the Russian-speaking population in the former Soviet republics. The final section discusses accounts of the two Chechen wars, which scholars see as continuing Russia’s imperial policy and harming relations with Russia’s Muslim population. President Putin’s co-operation with the West against ‘terrorism’ has not led the West to accept Russia as one of its own, due to increasing domestic repression and authoritarianism

Type: Article
Title: Contemporary Russian Identity between East and West
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0018246X04004303
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X04004303
Language: English
Additional information: © 2005 Cambridge University Press
Keywords: Russia, identity, El'tsin, Putin, democratization
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/12931
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