The question of national identity is central to the future of Russia. This extensive analysis, spans three centuries of Russian cultural history to place post-communist Russia within a broad historical background. The author focuses on three ways of defining Russia and Russians: Russia as a counterpart to the West; Russians as creators of a unique multi-ethnic community; and Russians as members of the community of Eastern Slavs. She then demonstrates how these three perspectives have dominated the views of Russia in the modern era and traces their origins back to writers and historians in the eighteenth century. Combining a rich historical study with a rigorous analytical framework, the book is an essential tool for understanding contemporary Russia.
Theories of nationalism and their applicability to the Russian case; forging the matrix of the Russian national idea; the Russian orthodox church; the main currents of Russian nationalism in the 19th and early 20th centuries; nationalism and the empire; Bolshevism and nationalism; nationalism and the demise of the USSR; Post-imerial Russia in search of new self definition; conclusion.