Russians in Neighboring States as a Topic of Russian Domestic and Foreign Policy. State Action in the Tense Arena of State Nationalism and Ethnonationalism
The point of departure of the project is the fact that with the fall of the Soviet Union, 25 million Russian-speaking Soviet citizens were transformed into members of titular non-Russian states. The discussion of their status, and especially the supposed harm done to their rights and interests has played an increasing role in Russian domestic and international policy since 1993. The goal of this research consists in establishing the determinants of Russian Federation policy toward Russian minorities in neighboring states, as well as the significance and function of this issue in Russian domestic policy. To be worked out here is the arena of conflict that lies between understanding the nation as a citizenship-based entity oriented toward the territorial status quo, and understanding it in ethnonationalist terms, as a Russian nation that spreads beyond the borders of Russia itself. Overall, the conflict potential in the 'Russians abroad' policy area is to be estimated, and the question as to preconditions and possibilities for peaceful conflict resolution posed. Theories of the significance of ethnic factors for foreign policy, and in particular the role of ethnically-related groups in interstate relations and historical-comparative nationalism theories, will be used for this purpose.