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Laruelle, Marlene. “Beyond anti-Westernism: the Kremlin’s narrative about Russia’s European identity and mission.” PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo 326 (2014): 1-6.


Especially since 2011-12, there has been an observable shift in Russia’s ideological atmosphere. This has included the repeated crafting of new ideological repertoires— sets of arguments that serve as content for the branding of a new “voice of Russia” and that are supported by networks of influence. Anti-Westernism, and especially anti-Americanism, exemplifies this quest for new repertoires. However, the Kremlin’s narrative is multifaceted and dissassociates the West’s liberal values from Europe as a philosophical and historical principle. This has led to a dual discourse criticizing contemporary Western politics but emphasizing Russia’s role in preserving “authentic” European values. In this memo, I explain how Russia’s “European repertoire” should be understood through the historical prism of the “Russian idea.” I then discuss one aspect of this European repertoire—the narrative of Russia as a savior of Christian values—and the political networks in the West that are receptive to it.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.