The past decade has witnessed a growing discussion about the “Russian World,” the idea of a distinct Russian “civilization,” united by a common set of “traditional” values, often oriented in opposition to the West. Despite having gained increased publicity, both the concept and the motivations behind it remain obscure. While the Russian government sees it as a means of projecting soft power in the near abroad, many in the United States and Europe see the project as a way for Russia to broaden its sphere of influence while maintaining the ability to interfere in the internal affairs of neighboring states. Still others see the Russian World as a civilizational project that places Russia at the center of a broader Eurasian identity. Whatever one’s interpretation, the issue has yet to receive significant scholarly attention in the United States. The Russian World program will seek to clarify and examine this phenomenon, along with its consequences for Russia’s relationship with the West and the rest of the world.
“The Russian World: Russia’s Soft Power and Geopolitical Imagination” (2015): author Marlene Laruelle, Director of the Central Asia Program at George Washington University, discusses the origins of the “Russian world” concept and outlines how it fits into contemporary Russian foreign policy.
VIDEO: A discussion with Marlene Laruelle and Gerard Toal, Director of the Government and International Affairs program, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University discuss the “Russian world” at the report launch.