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The new Russian nationalism: imperialism, ethnicity and authoritarianism 2000–2015

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The idea of a purely civic nationalism has attracted Western scholars, most of whom rightly disdain the myths that sustain ethnonationalist theories of political community. Civic nationalism is particularly attractive to many Americans, whose peculiar national heritage encourages the delusion that their mutual association is based solely on consciously chosen principles. But this idea misrepresents political reality as surely as the ethnonationalist myths it is designed to combat. And propagating a new political myth is an especially inappropriate way of defending the legacy of Enlightenment liberalism from the dangers posed by the growth of nationalist political passions.
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This article surveys nation-building efforts in post-Soviet Russia. There have been five main nation-building projects reflecting the dominant ways of imagining the ‘true’ Russian nation but each has been fraught with contradictions and therefore have been unable to easily guide state policies. At the same time, a solution to the Russian nation-building dilemma may be emerging. This solution does not resolve the contradictions associated with each of the nation-building agendas but instead legalises the ambiguous definition of the nation's boundaries in the 1999 law on compatriots and the 2010 amendments to it. The fuzzy definition of compatriots in the law allows Russia to pursue a variety of objectives and to target a variety of groups without solving the contradictions of existing nation-building discourses.
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Book synopsis: The impact of liberal globalization and multiculturalism means that nations are under pressure to transform their national identities from an ethnic to a civic mode. This has led, in many cases, to dominant ethnic decline, but also to its peripheral revival in the form of far right politics. At the same time, the growth of mass democracy and the decline of post-colonial and Cold War state unity in the developing world has opened the floodgates for assertions of ethnic dominance. This book investigates both tendencies and argues forcefully for the importance of dominant ethnicity in the contemporary world.
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In the post-Soviet region, nationalist practices are necessary sources of power for semiauthoritarian regimes, since material sources of power are seldom sufficient to secure compliance and support during the "quiet" periods between noisy election cycles. Yet they also expose these regimes to a variety of unexpected risks.
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1. From the impossible to the inevitable 2. The tide and the mobilizational cycle 3. Structuring nationalism 4. 'Thickened' history and the mobilization of identity 5. Tides and the failure of nationalist mobilization 6. Violence and tides of nationalism 7. The transcendence of regimes of repression 8. Russian mobilization and the accumulating 'inevitability' of Soviet collapse 9. Conclusion: nationhood and event.
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Much current theory concerning nationalism holds that elites commonly create or cause popular nationalism. In part, that thesis may be due to an overwhelming emphasis in research on nationalism on positive cases: cases where nationalism has appeared, ignoring cases where it has not. In this article, I challenge the thesis by showing numerous historical cases in which elites have promoted nationalisms that ordinary people have not adopted, or in which ordinary people have adopted a nationalism before it was taken up by elites. Even if elites do not create popular nationalism, however, they can and do shape its expression in a variety of ways, such as organizing it, providing relevant information, or providing opportunity or incentive for it. I show this through historical examples.
Dominant Ethnicity: From Background to Foreground.” In Rethinking Ethnicity: Majority Groups and Dominant Minorities
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Kazhdyi chetvertyi boitsia delitsia mneniem s sotsiologom” [One out of Four People Is Afraid to Share Their Opinion with Sociologists
  • Korchenkova Natal
  • Goriashko Sergei
Obrashchenie Prezidenta Rossiiskoi Federatsii” [Address by the President of the Russian Federation
  • Putin Vladimir