Russian Federation: National State or a State of Nations?

Russian Federation:
National State or a State of Nations?

Gadzhiev K.S.,

principal researcher, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences,

elibrary_id: 71506 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2018.03.09

For citation:

Gadzhiev K.S. Russian Federation: National State or a State of Nations? – Polis. Political Studies. 2018. No. 3. P. 130-146. (In Russ.).


The article attempts to identify and analyze the key factors that determine the current state and prospects for the formation and institutionalization of Russia’s national identity. The author attempts to answer the question whether the Russian Federation is a national state or a state of nations. The research is focused on the factors that cause the fragmentation of Russia’s national identity, which faces numerous challenges related to differences in traditions, lifestyles, cultures, natural conditions, the historical differences in the development rates of individual regions, subjects of the federation, and nations. The author identifies the differences between the two main types of nationalism – civil-political, based on the institution and culture of citizenship, the idea of nation and national sovereignty, and the so-called primordial type, primarily or exclusively based on the ethnic criteria of understanding the nation and national identity. The author substantiates the thesis that the Russian nation and, accordingly, the Russian national identity are formed in the process of “remelting” the multitude of ethnoses in the single organic whole. In order to disclose the systemic and structural components of Russian national identity, considerable attention is paid to the factor of its ambivalence, the essence of which is that representatives of the vast majority, if not all the peoples of Russia, realize their identity simultaneously as representatives of the respective ethnic groups and citizens of the Russian Federation. The author shows that the process of forming a sense of socio-cultural, political-cultural, national consolidation of Russian citizenship and, accordingly, Russian national, civil or political identity, is still incomplete. The author deploys arguments designed to define the hierarchy of identities, based on the supremacy of all-Russian identity in relation to the ethnic identity, and draws attention to the fact of duality of the phenomenon of nation, formed both from below by the will of peoples, and from above under the leadership of the state. In this context, the article substantiates the idea of the decisive role of the federal center in the transformation of many constituent peoples into a single Russian polyethnic nation.

Russian Federation; politics; republic; state; constitution; nation; power; people; ethnos; identity; language; culture.


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Content No. 3, 2018

See also:

Tishkov V.A.,
Language Situation and Language Policy in Russia (Revising Categories and Practices). – Polis. Political Studies. 2019. No3

De Vreede E.,
Culture, civilization and identity. – Polis. Political Studies. 2012. No5

Drobizheva L.M.,
Russian Identity: Discussions in the Political Space and Dynamics of Mass Consciousness. – Polis. Political Studies. 2018. No5

Tishkov V.A.,
On principal actors of civilizational dialogue. Cultural and language diversity of modern nations. – Polis. Political Studies. 2012. No5

Smorgunov L.V.,
Political identity and the concept of the political. – Polis. Political Studies. 2012. No6



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