Reading Russia: Is There a Key?

Issue Date April 2009
Volume 20
Issue 2
Page Numbers 56-60
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Of all of the national republics that emerged out of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia has had the most profound difficulties in determining its national identity. What is the essence of being Russian, and where are the boundaries of the "Russian World"? There has never been a Russian national identity that was anything other than imperial in its substance and ambition. Especially worthy of note are two areas where Russian state power is now omnipresent-the realms of the economy and civil society.