The project explores the nexus between patriotism and militarism in today’s Russia. During the last twenty-year period, there have been consistent efforts to consolidate Russian society, and foster a sense of unity and common purpose. To this end, the Russian authorities have activated various channels, from educational programmes and youth organizations to media and popular culture. With the war in Ukraine, the manipulation of public sentiments – feelings of pride and threat perceptions – has become more systemic. The traditional view of Russia as being the Other when it comes to Europe has been replaced with a narrative about enmity. The West is portrayed as a threat to Russia’s historical-cultural originality and Russia as a country encircled by enemies. However, Russian society remains sceptical towards state-led projects that mix patriotism and militarism.

The project studies the evolution of enemy images, the ways in which societal actors perceive official projections of patriotism, and the growing role of militarism in Russian society. It is argued that these are key variables when analyzing the trajectory of Russia’s foreign policy and the transformation of society in general.

The book The Nexus of Patriotism and Militarism in Russia: A Quest for Internal Coherence, is published by the Helsinki University Press (HUP 2021) and is available online. DOI:

Project leader: Katri Pynnöniemi

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