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Nation-building and nationalism in today’s Russia (NEORUSS)

About the project

The nation-building program designed by Yeltsin for post-Soviet Russia is under strain. Central to this program is the concept of the ‘Rossiiskii’ nation, signaling a non-ethnic nation model with significant cultural and political rights to non-Russians, but held together with a high degree of common values and traditions. Today, the loss of the large, multiethnic Soviet state is accepted by an increasing number of Russians, but in the process the civic understanding of the nation is being jettisoned, and Russian nationalism, for the first time in history, seems to be turning towards a focus on ethnicity: ‘Russian’ is increasingly being understood as ‘ethnic Russian’ (‘Russkii’).


This project examines the nationality question in Russian discourse and aims to determine to what extent the Russian national identity is shifting from an imperial (and implicitly multiethnic) understanding of the nation, towards an ethnic and exclusive one. We will also look at the potential consequences this shift might have for Russian politics.

In order to document and analyze the new preconditions for nation-building in Russia, four key issues will be taken up for separate scrutiny;

  • Changes in political signals as well as the state’s actual policies
  • The nationality issue in the opposition and political fringe groups
  • Role of the media
  • Changes in the public mood

For further information on the details of this project, please see the following document


Call for Papers

to a conference on


Nation-building and nationalism in today’s Russia


organized jointly by the University of Oslo and Tallinn University,

 to be held in


Tallinn, Estonia

28-29 April 2016



Proposal deadline: January 15, 2016


The conference “Nation-building and nationalism in today’s Russia” represents the final event within the scope of a 3-year project funded by the Research Council of Norway.  While the conference on the one hand intends to serve as the public promotion of our edited volume (The New Russian Nationalism: Imperialism, Ethnicity, Authoritarianism, 2000– 2015, Edinburgh University Press, March 2016,

produced by the members of the research team, on the other hand we invite scholars to participate in analyzing the results of our research project and contribute to a broader discussion on nation-building and nationalism in today’s Russia.  The project and the accompanying volume focuses on the period since Putin took office in 2000 – but conference paper proposals are not limited to this period, and comparative or theoretical approaches are also welcome.


We encourage submissions from both established scholars and advanced graduate students.  Participants chosen to present at the conference will have their accommodation (three nights) and meals provided, but only a limited number of grants are available for travel funding. (Junior researchers from Russia will have priority)


There are no conference fees and all panels are open to the public.


Keynote lecture will be delivered by Professor John Hutchinson (London School of Economics).




We encourage scholars who are interested in participating in the conference to consult the quantitative results of the research project (surveys conducted in 2013 and 2014 available at and incorporate them in their paper proposals.


Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Case studies or comparative research in nation-building, national identity, nationalism
  • The role of religion and religious institutions in nation-building
  • The politization of ethnicity and minority policy in Russia/the Soviet Union
  • Language and identity politics
  • The impact of migration on Russian nationalism and Russian national identity
  • The role of ethnicity and nationalism in the Ukraine crisis
  • Commemorative practices as nation-building
  • Debates in historiography and history textbooks
  • Geographical identities  and debates about borders
  • Construction, destruction, and reinterpretation of monuments and memorials
  • Popular culture and national narratives
  • Theoretical reflections on the relationship between state- and nation-building
  • Economic factors and the success (or failure) of nation-building.
  • Sports and the nation


We intend to publish selected papers from the conference as an edited volume.



All proposals must be sent in a single email message to Sofiya Khayitova <>, with an attached proposal in a Word document containing contact information, an abstract (300-500 words), and a 150-words long biographical statement in narrative form.



Organizing Committee:

Pål Kolstø, University of Oslo

Helge Blakkisrud, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs

Raivo Vetik, Tallinn University

Sofiya Khayitova, University of Oslo


The conference and the project were made possible by generous funding from the Research Council of Norway.


The preliminary programme for the conference




Servey data from Krasnodar, Moscow, and Vladivostok in 2013, Stavropol in 2014, and from National serveys in 2013 and 2014:


Krasnodar 2013 Krasnodar 2013 (excel) Krasnodar 2013 (dat)
Mosocow 2013 Moscow 2013 (excel) Moscow 2013 (dat)
Vladivostok 2013 Vladivostok 2013 (excel) Vladivostok 2013 (dat)
National survey 2013 National survey 2013 (excel) National servey 2013 (dat)
Stavropol survey 2014 Stavropol servey 2014 (excel) Stavropol servey 2014 (dat)
National survey 2014  National servey 2014 (excel)  



The project is coordinated by Pål Kolstø, Professor of Russian Studies at the University of Oslo. The main project partner is Helge Blakkisrud, Head of Department of Russian and Eurasian Studies, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI). The third member of the Norwegian research team is a PhD candidate Christine Myhrdal Lukash. To complement and strengthen the Norwegian team, we have recruited a team of leading international experts in the field of Russian nationalism.

At the core of the project will be a large survey carried out in partnership with ROMIR, a Russian polling agency. In the various sub-studies, quantitative data will be complemented with qualitative insights.

As part of the project we will organize a series of ‘New Russian Nationalism Seminar,’ scheduled to run throughout the project period with seminars once every three months at NUPI and with presentations of all national as well as external partners.

Distribution list

We issue a distribution list with information on current publications and upcoming events.

Tags: Russia
Published Jan. 17, 2013 04:44 PM - Last modified June 2, 2016 02:22 PM