Russia and Its New Diasporas

February 2001
240 Pages
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On the morning after the Soviet Union’s collapse, millions of ethnic Russians living on the fringes of the former Russian Republic suddenly awakened to find themselves in foreign countries—newly independent non-Russian successor states that most Russians now refer to as the "near abroad."

Igor Zevelev here examines the political significance of these ethnic Russian "diaspora" communities and their implications for the future of Eurasian security. The "Russian Question" centers on Russia’s identity and its territorial reach: Is Russia confined to its post-Soviet territorial border, or do Russians in the "near abroad" lend support to the nationalist proposition that Russia extends beyond this "artificial" demarcation?

As Russian politicians and intellectuals reassess the "Russian Question" in the post-Soviet era, these ethnic Russian communities—mostly in Ukraine, Belarus, and northern Kazakhstan—serve not only as a significant factor in Russia’s quest for a national identity, but also as a political conduit for Russian influence. In addition to his thoughtful and insightful exploration of nationalism and national identity throughout Russia’s history, Zevelev skillfully dissects the multifaceted nature of the Russian Federation’s official policies toward these ethnic Russian communities.

Igor Zevelev

Igor Zevelev was Professor of National Security Studies at George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in 2017-2019. He was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Center for Security and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington in 2016-2017. He also taught at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University in 2017. Igor Zevelev was Director of the Russia Office at the MacArthur Foundation in 2008-2016. He holds a Doctor of Sciences degree in political science from the Institute of International Relations and World Economy (IMEMO) in Moscow, where he served as Head of Department. He has held visiting professorships at the University of Washington, the University of California at Berkeley, Macalester College, and has published five books and numerous articles. His current research interests are in the fields of national identity discourses, nationalism, foreign policy, and Russian-American relations.

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