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The end of Russia's imperial innocence - Russia Post
Russia's invasion of Ukraine signals the end of imperial innocence. The approval of the war among Russians should be seen not only as a product of a powerful media machine, but also a result of the fact that the war has been translated into a tale of a liberator saving the world from evil. This narrative has its roots not only in the memory of World War II (the Great Patriotic War in Russian), but also in a centuries-old discourse on imperial Russia as a savior.

If the British and French imperial discourses are based on the premise of a civilizing mission, the Russian imperial discourse functions on the premise of liberating: Russia does not simply civilize, it saves and liberates the colonized, as well as itself, from external oppression. This narrative is exemplified in Putin's speeches about Ukrainians needing to be "de-Nazified" in order to become themselves again (that is, becoming Russians' "brothers" who share a common motherland). The "stickiness" of this imperial vision in which the Ukrainian "younger brother" needs to be protected from Western perdition by the Russian elder brother signals Russia's failure at replacing old imperial linkages with a new genuine partnership based on common strategic interests, both in the past and future.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Jun 4th, 2022 at 06:31:07 PM EST
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