The Russian world (Russian: Русский мир, Russkiy mir; Latin: Pax Rossica) is the social totality associated with Russian culture; it comprises both the Russian diaspora and the Russian culture together with its influence in the world.
Three periods of the development of the concept may be distinguished:
- Times of the Russian Empire
- Early 1990s post-Soviet developments
- 2000s developments of the Putin era in Russia
In the Russian Empire, the idea of the Russian world was of conservative nationalistic type. Vyacheslav Nikonov, chairman of the Russkiy Mir Foundation remarked that the Russian world did not reach beyond Russia proper. He lamented that at these times 1/7th of the world population lived in the Russian Empire, while now the ratio is 1/50.
Major authors behind the resurrection of the concept in the post-Soviet Russia include Pyotr Shchedrovitsky, Yefim Ostrovsky, Valery Tishkov, Vitaly Skrinnik, Tatyana Poloskova and Natalya Narochnitskaya. Since Russia emerged from the Soviet Union as still a significantly multiethnic and multicultural country, for the "Russian idea" to be unifying, it could not be ethnocentric, as it was in the doctrine Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality of the late Russian Empire. In 2000 Shchedrovitsky presented the main ideas of the "Russian world" concept in the article "Russian World and Transnational Russian Characteristics"), among the central ones of which was the Russian language. Andis Kudors of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars analyzing Shchedrovitsky's article concludes that it follows the ideas first laid out by the 18th century philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder about the influence of language on thinking (which has become known as the principle of linguistic relativity): the ones who speak Russian come to think Russian, and eventually to act Russian.
A number of observers consider the promotion of the Russian world concept as an element of the revanchist idea of the restoration of Russia or its influence back to the borders of the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire.
Other observers described the concept as an instrument for projecting Russian soft power. However, in Ukraine, the promotion of the Russian world has become strongly associated with the Russian military intervention in Ukraine. According to assistant editor Pavel Tikhomirov of Russkaya Liniya, the Russian world for politicized Ukrainians, whose number constantly increases, nowadays is "simply 'neo-Sovietism' masked by new names". He reconciled that with the conflation of the Russian world and the Soviet Union within Russian society itself.
Ethno-cultural composition of the Russian world
- Six-level structure of the Russian world:
- 1. Russians
- 2. Ukrainians (Little Russians)
- 3. Armenians, Belarusians, Ruthenians, Serbs, as well as Orthodox Russians and Ukrainians living outside Russia
- 4. Bulgarians, Greeks, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Georgians, Moldovans, Ukrainian Galicians, Ethiopians, Muslims and Roma living in Russia plus any Orthodox living outside of Russia
- 5. Jews, Protestants and Catholics living in Russia as well as Romanians
- 6. Turks living in Russia, as well as non-Orthodox representatives of any ethnic groups, speaking Russian and living outside Russia, Ukraine and Belarus
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