Russian identity and Self-image - Russian citicens view and threats, internal affairs and external relations


  • Maria Löfstrand

Publish date: 2008-05-14

Report number: FOI-R--2503--SE

Pages: 67

Written in: Swedish


  • Russia
  • national self image
  • national identify
  • The Other
  • threats
  • security politics
  • foreign politics
  • domestic politics


Due to the few last years of events, the understanding of the political of development of contemporary Russia has become an even more vital concern, especially in matters related to security aspects. What are the reasons of Russia´s - at least from a Western perspective - movement towards a clearly undemocratic and confrontational policy? To at least partly solve this puzzle of policy, it is important to examine the identify and self image of the Russian people. What is Russia according to the Russians - and what is Russia not? This report combines qualitative (in depth-interwievs) and quantitative (large-scale opinion polls) data in an effort to compare the Russian self image with the political reality. In other words, this study examines whether the policy of Kreml enjoys the support of the people. Such support does not only legitimise the policy, but could also fuel the political development. However, questions concerning the causal mechanisms related to this - that is, if the polititical situation forms the opinion of the people or the other way around - remains unanswered. The aim of this study is to identify direct or indirect methods to influence Russia´s political development and thus the purpose of this report is to work as both an explanation and a tool. The findings of the report indicate that there is indeed a correlation between the self image of the Russian people and the political development in Russia. The anti-democratic tendencies of Russian politics are evident, but are not perceived as a problem by a large proportion of the masses. Neither does the recent aggressiveness in external relations, mainly due the belliefs that it might enhance the Russia´s voice in the international community.