Making Russia always great: imperialist component in the Kremlin’s foreign policy

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The article outlines the geopolitical rationale behind contemporary Russian expansionism, as well as presents the asymmetric and “hybrid” mechanisms utilized by the Kremlin to solidify its authority in the post-communist space. To do this, the article refers to the findings of American, British, Polish and Ukrainian intellectuals on the nature of the Russian political identity. The four commonly used theoretical frameworks explaining contemporary Russian expansionism are described and critically assessed (imperial, diversionary, divergent identities and “angry guy”). Apart from this, the Russian and foreign political philosophic thought of the XIX-XXI centuries is referred to. The latter was done to trace the evolution of the Russian Byzantium-type governing tradition and national identity. The article puts forward the hypothesis that Russian expansionism, alongside the Russian sentiment towards an imperialist worldview, are tested by historical patterns of national policy-making which bring the state to its civilizational glory. In this light, it will be futile to expect that Russia can fully democratize, build a Western type of a nation-state and start conducting open policies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-59
Number of pages19
JournalYearbook of the Institute of East-Central Europe
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Russian foreign policy
  • Russian political identity
  • Russian neo-imperialism
  • Russian expansionism

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