The presence of absence: ethnicity policy in Russia

The presence of absence:
ethnicity policy in Russia

Rutland P.,

Professor of Government, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT,

For citation:

Rutland P. The presence of absence: ethnicity policy in Russia . – Polis. Political Studies. 2011. No. 2. P. 172-189. (In Russ.)


This article looks at Russian national identity through the prism of Western theories of nationalism, and finds that Russia is something of a special case. The Russian Federation does not have a clear and consistent narrative of what is the national identity which unites its citizens. A concept based on ethnic Russian (Russkii) identity could alienate the one in five of the population who are not ethnic Russians. Efforts in the 1990s to create a purely ‘civic’ national identity, based on individual rights, were unsuccessful. The legacy of Soviet times, where loyalty to the state was separate from ethnic identity, continues to shape the Russian state’s approach to the nationality question.


Content No. 2, 2011

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Prokhorenko I.L.,
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