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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

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00014 University of Helsinki
phone +358-(0)50-3565 802

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Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Daniel Philipp Müller (Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, Germany)

Contradictions in Putin´s Recent Nationality Politics: ´Rossiyane´ as Russians

Examining central programmatic documents, proclaiming the principles of Russia´s recent nationality, cultural and identity politics, I will elucidate certain contradictions and conceptual manipulations therein. Facing the cultural, ethnic and religious heterogeneity of Russia´s population, Putin strives to establish an all-embracing civic Russian state identity («общероссийская гражданская идентичность»), securing national uniqueness («национальная самобытность»), a common uniform cultural space («единое культурное пространство») and territorial integrity («террироиальная целостность»). Sharing this main objective, various documents differ in defining the substance of this common cultural code («единый культурный код») of the multiethnic nation. Hypocritically or not, the ´Strategy of the State Nationality Policy´ (19.12.2012) obsessively stresses, that it consists both in the conservation and development of the Russian culture and language, on the one hand, as well as in the conservation and development of the historical and cultural heritage of all peoples of Russia, on the other hand. This promotion of a multicultural Russian state culture («российская культура») of a Russian state nation («российская нация/российский народ») is contradicted by several documents, emphasizing the primacy of the Russian ethnic culture, see e.g. ´Foundations of the State Cultural Policy´ (24.12.2014).

Already in Putin´s programmatic pre-election article ´Nationality Question´ (23.01.2012) the Russian ethnic nation and Russian ethnic culture are metaphorized as core («ядро»), kernel («стержень»), connective tissue («скрепляющая ткань») and dominant («доминанта») of Russia´s civic identity. The adjective «русский», indeed, shows here a twofold, manipulative meaning: Alongside it´s traditional ethnic meaning «русский1», Putin uses «русский2» in reference to all peoples of Russia: «Самоопределение русского2 народа – это полиэтническая цивилизация, скрепленная русским1 культурным ядром»; «Великая миссия русских1 – объединять, скреплять цивилизацию. Языком, культурой, «всемирной отзывчивостью», по определению Федора Достоевского, скреплять русских2 армян, русских2 азербайджанцев, русских2 немцев, русских2 татар.» In Putin´s culturosophy the fate of «русские1» is to assimilate, the fate of «русские2» to be assimilated. The common cultural code propagated turns out to be the traditional Russian1 culture, which all peoples of Russia have to adopt beside their ethnic identity.