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Tag: Russian history

On the failure of the Russian and Soviet “Hegemonic Projects”

Around 170 years ago the Crimean War put an end to almost forty years of Russian supremacy in Europe. Other Russian and Soviet hegemonic projects were also to fail several times in the 20th century. Despite this, the current Russian leadership is once again advocating for the creation of such a project. Does this aspiration of the Putin team to restore the country's powerful position have any chance of succeeding?

February 5, 2024 - Leonid Luks

Gangster Government: the communist-era “anti-social engineering” at the heart of Russia’s descent into barbarity

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has a long history. In order to understand this, we must look back to the country’s past and especially its experience of communism. This ideology left a brutal legacy that has turned traditional morality on its head.

October 31, 2023 - Dominik Jun

Particularities of contemporary Russian society can be traced both to history and Russia’s oral culture

Russia’s political and social behaviour can seem surprising. It is like there always is, despite a relatively highly educated population and access to western, liberal ideas, a return to archaic, paternalistic, antagonistic and violent structures and behaviours. Can this be due to a combination of traditional family structures, late development of literacy, and relative isolation, rendered possible by a certain economic and political autarchy? Were the changes of the early 1990s illusory, carried by groups and people whose influence was only accidental and now the old structures return?

July 20, 2023 - David Hallbeck

The historical advisors of Vladimir Putin

The decision to invade Ukraine was made by a tiny circle of people within the Kremlin. However, as it turns out, Vladimir Putin’s “advisors” have something unique in common with one another: they have been dead for hundreds of years. What does it mean for Putin, the war in Ukraine and the Russian standoff against the West, when the Russian president lets his actions be inspired and driven by historical precedent?

How many individuals does it take to decide upon invading a neighbouring country? After February 2022, the world learnt that you apparently do not necessarily need to consult a whole lot of people if you are intent on taking what is not yours. For sure, one could suggest that the fear of any leaks concerning your invasion plan could very well mess up your plans in the first place. Therefore, secrecy is a prime matter of recourse.

April 28, 2023 - Benjamin Looijen

Geopolitics, history and memory games. Jumping from the 20th to the 21st century

The geopolitical conceptions of Vladimir Putin are strikingly reminiscent of the visions of Friedrich Ratzel, Karl Haushofer and especially Joseph Stalin. Putin basically thinks the same things as these figures but needs more justification. This is where a “memory masquerade” comes in, involving Nazism, racism, antisemitism and a reminder of the origins of Russia's greatness. The portfolio of historical and memorial references does not stop at European history for Russia.

On June 28th 2005 the Warsaw-based Batory Foundation organised a conference titled “Memory and Foreign Policy”. During this event, Bronisław Geremek, a historian and Poland’s former minister of foreign affairs, asked a question as to whether collective memory is part of foreign policy. His answer was the following: "I think it is a part of international relations, for example when governments protest when national dignity is attacked. Of course, it is a part of international negotiations, for example to open access to archives … but all this is only marginal in foreign policy.” We shall see whether this marginality of memory is true today.

February 15, 2023 - Georges Mink

What was so little about “Little Russia”?

Despite earlier mentions, it was not until Peter the Great’s reign when “Little Russia” was officially co-opted and could be located on a map. The linguistic distinction of Great and Little Russia was also a key part of establishing a separate “Ukrainian” identity. By 1721, the distinctions between Rus’, Russia and all the “Russias” were confused.

Before the 1917 revolutions, “Russian” applied indiscriminately to Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians. They were defined respectively as Velikorosy, Malorosy and Belorusy (Great, Little and White Russians). The Soviet regime did away with this but retained and enhanced the traditional notion of “brotherly” relations, with Russians playing the elder brother role. However, in 2021, Vladimir Putin wrote a now famous article on the “shared history” of Russia and Ukraine. In it, he seemingly revived this pre-revolutionary thinking.

December 7, 2022 - James C. Pearce

Delusions of empires past

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is simply another imperialistic adventure. As history has shown, the end of an empire does not mean the loss of imperial ambitions. Unless Russia faces a complete and total defeat in Ukraine and is forced to contend with its past and current aggressions, there is very little to suggest that Russia will end its imperialistic mindset.

May 26, 2022 - Daniel Jarosak

Kyiv and Putin: a story of a certain hatred

The history of Ukraine has become an obsession for Russian President Vladimir Putin. A central place in this story is occupied by Kyiv, which he and many Russians call the mother of all Russian cities and a spiritual centre.

March 30, 2022 - Adam Balcer

A welcome addition to North Caucasus scholarship

A review of From Conquest to Deportation: The North Caucasus under Russian Rule. By: Jeronim Perovic. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Oxford, United Kingdom, 2018.

September 1, 2018 - Neil Hauer

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