Head of the Organising Committee
Sanna Turoma
sanna.turoma [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Coordinator
Kaarina Aitamurto
kaarina.aitamurto [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Secretary
Maarit Elo-Valente
maarit.elo-valente [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Intern
Miikka Piiroinen
miikka.piiroinen [at] helsinki.fi

Conference e-mail:
fcree-aleksconf [at] helsinki.fi

The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki
phone +358-(0)50-3565 802

aleksanteri [at] helsinki.fi


Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Veera Laine (Finnish Institute of International Affairs)

Contemporary Russian Nationalism – The State, Nationalist Movements, and the Shared Space in Between

When contemporary Russian nationalism is discussed, the term itself can refer either to the official rhetoric, so called 'state nationalism', or to the various nationalistic movements that have formed around or against it. The field of nationalistic movements is very diverse and fragmented, and has grown even more sporadic after the Ukraine crisis. At the same time the nationalistic rhetoric in the state leadership has intensified. With the help of a recent case study (to be published by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs in August 2015), this paper aims at explaining the relationship between the official interpretation of nationalism and nationalistic movements. In the case study, two different nationalist movements were studied: the Eurasian Youth Union and the annual Russian March. The first represents the fundamentally anti-Western, neo-conservative current of thought whereas among the latter the emphasis has mainly been on xenophobic interpretation of nationalism, combined with demands of fair elections and representational democracy. The state, for its part, enhances the nationalistic mood in order to unify the people at the time of a crisis, but tries at the same time not to strengthen the ethnocentric features that could destabilize the multiethnic state from within. In order to analyze the relationship between the movements and the state, regime management theories (G. B. Robertson, R. Horvath and others) were applied: the state uses coercion and channeling measures, and with those it manages nationalist movements both online and offline. Official nationalism of the Russian state and the nationalism(s) of the two chosen movements share some features with each other. The state has been monitoring and also controlling the nationalistic movements, but this does not mean that all the ideas they promote would be rejected. The paper shows crossing points for the mentioned nationalistic movements and the current leadership, and argues that even though the state monitors and manages the nationalistic field, there are also shared views between the state, the conservative nationalists and even the ethnocentric nationalists. As a conclusion it is presented that the state has to certain extent combined both the statist (civic) and ethnic features of nationalism.