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Russian Diaspora and the politics of Russian Nationalism in the Post Soviet Era

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2008
Değirmen, Burcu Fadime
This thesis examines how Russian political elites and intellectuals have approached the issues of Russian nation and diaspora since 1991. This thesis observes that while Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin claim to advocate a civic definition of a nation in the boundaries of Russia; they extend the definition of Russian nation to cover the ‘Russian diaspora’ as well. This thesis argues that the inclusion of the term Russian diaspora in Russian discourse of nationalism has paved the way for developing a consensus about Russia’s new identity among its political elites and intellectuals. Accordingly, Russia which is defined as a homeland of ethnic Russians identifies itself as the protector of the rights of Russians in ex-Soviet republics. Moreover, this diasporic politics has been used to legitimate the Russian engagement in the internal and external affairs of post-Soviet states. Nevertheless, as this thesis demonstrates, ethnic Russians residing in the post-Soviet states have significant diversity in terms of their political orientations towards Russia. There are five parts in this thesis. After the introduction, the first chapter explains the role of Russian diaspora in the politics of Russian nationalism under Yeltsin and Putin. While the second chapter examines intellectual approaches to the issues of Russian national identity and diaspora, the third chapter focuses on the conditions of ethnic Russians in the post-Soviet states. The final part is the conclusion.