National Identity in Russia from 1961: Traditions and Deterritorialisation

An 'English Pub' in Myasnitskaya Street, Moscow
The rise of nationalism is one of the most prominent and worrying phenomena in modern Russian culture, impacting on diplomatic and trade relations, attitudes to foreigners and migrants, on education, and on cultural politics. However, the background to the problem is often poorly understood, not just in journalism, but in academic work as well. Little so far has been done to investigate the relationship between proclamations of Russian supremacy by politicians and popular attitudes, let alone to investigate Russians’ views of themselves and of Russianness at deeper levels. This AHRC funded major research project moves beyond ideology, political programmes, and voting patterns in order to examine views of the nation and Russianness among ordinary Russians, and to explore how far these may be traced back to the late Soviet era. The central themes are ‘tradition’, by which we mean cultural memory, a self-consciously recognised relationship with the past, and ‘deterritorialisation’, which refers to the stresses placed on national and personal identity by migrancy, travel, and emigration. The term ‘globalisation’ is often used to describe the impact of non-Russian culture on post-Soviet society, but seems facile, given that much conflict, uncertainty, and ‘cognitive dissonance’ is on display in journalism, intellectual debates, and sometimes just out on the streets.

Researchers

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