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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


About the Author

Pål Kolstø is Professor of Russian Studies at the University of Oslo. He has authored two books and a number of articles and book chapters on Russian politics, Russian history and nationalism. Previously, he was Researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies, 1987–90, and Interpreter at the Norwegian-Soviet border, 1982-83. His main research areas are nationalism, nation-building, ethnic conflicts, nationality policy in Russia, the former Soviet Union and the Western Balkans. He has published roughly 40 articles in English-language refereed journals, in addition to numerous publications in other languages. He is the recipient of six large research grants to study nation-building and ethnic relations in the post-Soviet world and the former Eastern Europe.

Helge Blakkisrud is the Head of the Research Group on Russia, Eurasia and the Arctic, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. Main research areas: federalism and centre-region relations in the Russian Federation, nationalism and nation-building in Russia and Eurasia, including in Eurasian de facto states. Editor in chief of the Nordic journal for East European and Eurasian Studies (Nordisk Østfroum). Fulbright Visiting Scholar, Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, UC Berkeley, 2009-2010, lecturer at the OSCE Academy, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, since 2008.