Russia Before and After Crimea

Nationalism and Identity, 2010–17

Edited by Pål Kolstø, Helge Blakkisrud

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Explores the momentous changes that have taken place in the Russian nationalism since Putin’s return to the presidency

Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 marked a watershed in post-Cold War European history and brought East–West relations to a low. At the same time, by selling this fateful action in starkly nationalist language, the Putin regime achieved record-high popularity.

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List of figures

List of tables

Notes on contributors


Introduction: Exploring Russian nationalisms
Pål Kolstø and Helge Blakkisrud

Part I Official nationalism

1. Contemporary Russian nationalism in the historical struggle between ‘official nationality’ and ‘popular sovereignty’
Emil Pain

2. Imperial and ethnic nationalism: A dilemma of the Russian elite
Eduard Ponarin and Michael Komin

3. Kremlin’s post-2012 national policies: Encountering the merits and perils of identity-based social contract
Yuri Teper

4. Sovereignty and Russian national identity-making: The biopolitical dimension 129

Andrey Makarychev and Alexandra Yatsyk

Part II Radical and other societal nationalisms

5. Revolutionary nationalism in Contemporary Russia
Alexandra Kuznetsova and Sergey Sergeev

6. The Russian nationalist movement at low ebb
Alexander Verkhovsky

7. Ideologue of neo-Nazi terror: Aleksandr Sevastianov and Russia’s ‘partisan’ insurgency
Robert Horvath

8. The extreme right fringe of Russian nationalism and the Ukraine conflict: The National Socialist Initiative
Sofia Tipaldou

Part III Identities and otherings

9. ‘Restore Moscow to the Muscovites’: Othering ‘the migrants’ in the 2013 Moscow mayoral elections
Helge Blakkisrud and Pål Kolstø

10. Anti-migrant, but not nationalist: Pursuing statist legitimacy through immigration discourse and policy
Caress Schenk

11. Everyday patriotism and ethnicity in today’s Russia
J. Paul Goode

12. Identity in Crimea before annexation: A bottom-up perspective
Eleanor Knott


Pål Kolstø is Professor of Russian and post-Soviet Studies at the University of Oslo. Kolstø specializes in ethnic relations, nationalism and religion in Russia, other former Soviet republics and the Western Balkans. He is the author/editor of ten English-language books on these topics, including The New Russian Nationalism: Imperialism, Ethnicity and Authoritarianism, 2000–2015, 2016, and Russia Before and After Crimea: Nationalism and Identity, 2010–17, 2018, both published by Edinburgh University Press and co-edited with Helge Blakkisrud. His latest monographs are Strategic Uses of Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict: Interest and Identity in Russia and the Post-Soviet Space, Edinburgh University Press 2022, and Heretical Orthodoxy: Lev Tolstoi and the Russian Orthodox Church, 2022.

Helge Blakkisrud is Associate Professor of Russian Studies at the University of Oslo, Norway, and a Senior Researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI). His research interests include centre–region relations in the Russian Federation and nation-building, nationalism and national identity in Russia and Eurasia. His books and edited volumes include Russia Before and After Crimea: Nationalism and Identity, 2010–2017 (Edinburgh University Press, 2018, co-edited with Pål Kolstø), and Russia’s Turn to the East (2018, co-edited with Elana Wilson Rowe). He has also published in such highly accredited journals as Demokratizatsiya, East European Politics, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Eurasian Economy and Geography, Europe-Asia Studies, Nationalities Papers, Nations and Nationalism and Post-Soviet Affairs.

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