AbstractsPolitical Science

'Between Commonality and Particularity'. The nation-building practices of Russian officials in Kaliningrad

by Jens Glissenaar

Institution: Leiden University
Year: 2015
Keywords: Russia; Kaliningrad; nationalism; politics; officials; nation-building; identity
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2065953
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/34342


The question of Russian national identity has become quite significant again after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Especially after Vladimir Putin came to power and the country regained its political and military strength, the Russian state embarked on the (sometimes ambiguous) road of nation-building. Scholars of nationalism and Russian national identity have tried to analyze this ‘Russian Question’, whereby most concluded that there is not a coherent Russian national identity. In this sense, it is useful to look at national identity in some of Russia’s specific regions. This thesis analyzes this process in the case of Russia’s most-western region, Kaliningrad. This so-called exclave has only been part of Russian since the Second World War and due to its German history and geographical distance from homeland Russia, it occupies a special position inside the country. In the process of nation-building by the Russian state, officials cannot solely use ‘common’ Russian markers of identity but also have to take Kaliningrad’s ‘particular’ circumstances into account. This thesis therefore argues that the Russian nation-building process in Kaliningrad lies ‘between commonality and particularity’. It will analyze this two-sidedness through the symbolic, military and anti-Western dimensions of nation-building in Kaliningrad; the speeches and statements of Russian officials in this light are used as the main points of analysis. Advisors/Committee Members: Frear, Matthew (advisor).