Russian Imperial Nationalism Destroying Post-Soviet Russian People – OpEd


Russian imperial nationalism is destroying the Russian people “as we have known it for 30 years,” Kirill Medvedev says. It is “an anti-Russian and anti-people ideology” that seeks to bind the people and the autocracy together. But in that combination, “one of the elements inevitably perishes” and now the Russian people seems the more likely to do so.

Putin’s mobilization is destroying it even as so-called patriots celebrate what he is doing, the Moscow commentator says. “The post-Soviet Russian people with all its good and bad aspects is fading away” and with it are disappearing all the hopes that animated so many people in the late 1980s and 1990s (

Before Putin declared his mobilization, Medvedev continues, “one could at least understand in part the hopes of the Z public that malicious liberals and hipsters would now leave and new forces would rise from the Russian land in a powerful renewal. But now that is definitely impossible.”

What options are left if mobilization is not stopped in the near term? the commentator asks. He suggests that there are three. First, Putin may conclude a peace to his liking. In that case, Russians can look forward to “a heavily fascist neo-Putin order … in which elites control a frightened country and the people live passively for another 10 to 20 years.

A second possibility is that Russia loses after Putin uses nuclear weapons. In that event, Russia will be subjected to occupation and an order imposed from above. That will finish off any possibility that those remaining can act in defense of the Russian nation even if they have help from abroad.

And the third option, one that seems both naïve and unlikely, would involve a rebellion against the regime that has taken Russia to war and now seeks to mobilize its entire population to fight in Ukraine. As Medvedev observes, “mobilization has turned out to be ‘partial’ only in the capitals.” Everywhere else, “every thirtieth man of military age will be called up.”

What might such a rebellion look like? It would certainly involve women who are already the leaders of protests, workers who are losing their jobs, and other nations who fear they will go down with Russia if they don’t get out now. Could such a combination lead to a reformed and democratic Russia? Tragically, there is little chance of that.

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

One thought on “Russian Imperial Nationalism Destroying Post-Soviet Russian People – OpEd

  • September 27, 2022 at 4:57 pm

    The best option, although quite improbable, would be:

    1. A government coup with arrest of Putin who would be subject to international courts
    2. An immediate end to the war with return of all occupied territory being returned to Ukraine including Crimea
    3. Formal international apologies and a coordinated plan by Russia for reparations to help rebuild Ukraine

    This is the only course that will allow Russia to move forward with respect, dignity, and hope for its citizens.


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