Russia’s Return as True Europe, 1991–2017
Journal article, Peer reviewed, Embargo
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Original versionConflict and society: Advances in research. 2017, 3 (1), 78-91. 10.3167/arcs.2017.030107
Since the reign of Peter the Great, Russia has identifi ed itself in opposition to Europe. In the late 1980s, Michael Gorbachev and associates forged a liberal representation of Europe and initiated a Western-oriented foreign policy. Against this westernizing or liberal representation of Europe stood what was at fi rst a makeshift group of old Communists and right-wing nationalists, who put forward an alternative representation that began to congeal around the idea that the quintessentially Russian trait was to have a strong state. Th is article traces how this latter position consolidated into a full-fl edged xenophobic nationalist representation of Europe, which marginalized fi rst other forms of nationalism and then, particularly since 2013, liberal representations of Europe. Th e offi cial Russian stance is now that Russia itself is True Europe, a conservative great power that guards Europe’s true Christian heritage against the False Europe of decadence and depravity to its west.