Russian world

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«Russian World». Cover image: O. Kuzmina (CGI, 2015)

The Russian world (Russian: Русский мир, Russkiy mir; Latin: Pax Rossica) is the social totality associated with Russian culture; it comprises both the Russian diaspora and the Russian culture together with its influence in the world.[1]

The periods of the development of the concept may be distinguished:

Russian Empire[edit]

The term "Russian world" was first forged by the Great Prince Iziaslav I of Kiev in the 11th century.[2]

In the Russian Empire, the idea of the Russian world was of conservative nationalistic type. Vyacheslav Nikonov, chairman of the Russkiy Mir Foundation remarked that the Russian world did not reach beyond Russia proper. He lamented that at these times 1/7th of the world population lived in the Russian Empire, while now the ratio is 1/50.[3]


Major authors behind the resurrection of the concept in the post-Soviet Russia include Pyotr Shchedrovitsky [ru], Yefim Ostrovsky, Valery Tishkov, Vitaly Skrinnik, Tatyana Poloskova and Natalya Narochnitskaya. Since Russia emerged from the Soviet Union as still a significantly multiethnic and multicultural country, for the "Russian idea" to be unifying, it could not be ethnocentric, as it was in the doctrine Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality of the late Russian Empire. In 2000 Shchedrovitsky presented the main ideas of the "Russian world" concept in the article "Russian World and Transnational Russian Characteristics"[4]), among the central ones of which was the Russian language.[1] Andis Kudors of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars analyzing Shchedrovitsky's article concludes that it follows the ideas first laid out by the 18th century philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder about the influence of language on thinking (which has become known as the principle of linguistic relativity): the ones who speak Russian come to think Russian, and eventually to act Russian.[1]

Putin era[edit]

Eventually, the idea of the Russian world was adopted by the Russian administration, and Vladimir Putin decreed the establishment of the government-sponsored Russkiy Mir Foundation in 2007.

A number of observers consider the promotion of the Russian world concept as an element of the revanchist idea of the restoration of Russia or its influence back to the borders of the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire.[5][6][7]

Other observers described the concept as an instrument for projecting Russian soft power.[8][1] However, in Ukraine, the promotion of the Russian world has become strongly associated with the Russian military intervention in Ukraine.[9][10] According to assistant editor Pavel Tikhomirov of Russkaya Liniya [ru], the Russian world for politicized Ukrainians, whose number constantly increases, nowadays is "simply 'neo-Sovietism' masked by new names". He reconciled that with the conflation of the Russian world and the Soviet Union within Russian society itself.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Kudors, Andis (16 June 2010). ""Russian World"—Russia's Soft Power Approach to Compatriots Policy" (PDF). Russian Analytical Digest. Research Centre for East European Studies. 81 (10): 2–4. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  2. ^ Laruelle, Marlene (May 2015). "The "Russian World:" Russia's Soft Power and Geopolitical Imagination" (PDF). Washington, DC: Center on Global Interests. p. 3. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  3. ^ Nikonov, Vyacheslav (22 April 2008). "Влиять по-русски". Itogi (Interview) (in Russian) (17). Interviewed by Valeriya Sychyova. Retrieved 2019-06-25.
  4. ^ Shchedrovitsky, Pyotr (2 March 2000). "Русский мир и Транснациональное русское". Russian Journal (in Russian). Retrieved 2019-05-21.
  5. ^ Abarinov, Vladimir; Sidorova, Galina (18 February 2015). ""Русский мир", бессмысленный и беспощадный". (in Russian). Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 2019-05-21.
  6. ^ Nirenburg, Alex (21 August 2015). ""פוטין מהלך אימים עם תפיסת "העולם הרוסי" [Putin threatens with the concept of "Russian world"]. (in Hebrew). Archived from the original on 2015-12-21.
  7. ^ "Екс-радник Путіна назвав країни, на які Росія може напасти після України". Obozrevatel (in Ukrainian). 25 December 2014. Retrieved 2019-05-21.
  8. ^ Dolinsky, Alexei (2 March 2011). "How to Strengthen Soft Power?". Russkiy Mir Foundation. Archived from the original on 2 June 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  9. ^ Zharenov, Yaroslav (9 January 2018). ""Русский мир" в Украине отступает, но есть серьезные угрозы" ['Russian world' retreats in Ukraine, however there are serious threats]. (in Russian). Retrieved 2019-05-21.
  10. ^ "Путин надеется на возвращение Украины в так называемый "русский мир" - Полторак" [Poltorak: Putin hopes to return Ukraine into the so-called 'Russian world']. (in Russian). 5 April 2018. Retrieved 2019-05-21.
  11. ^ Goble, Paul (10 September 2018). "Claims That Many Ukrainians 'Will Never Attend A Moscow Patriarchate Church' – OpEd". Eurasia Review. Retrieved 2019-06-20.