Russia is an ethnic community, which brings in itself specificities. It is a historically built nation which has its significant traits and which prolongs its existence. It is a strong nation which has survived through the years of history and change, and it is a nation, which strongly holds its position in the World and in Eurasia (see Putin 2006).
An official point of view by Igor Ivanov (2001) is that Russia's foreign policy is based on national interests rather than political ideology. He says that Russia believes in the settlement of international problems on a collective basis in strict accordance with the rules of international law will become a fundamental principle of the Russian system. The scope of Russia's activities is expanding to include international cooperation aimed at responding to new global threats and challenges (Ivanov 2001: 12-13).
By reflecting its interests in world politics, the Russian state is in the world order of states. It has its specific identity and behavior, therefore it signifies its important role in the world and makes a commitment to world political composition and behavior. Ideas and behavior are important in shaping International Relations, and Russia behaves accordingly to international rules.
In my research, I will study the identity of Russia, its national identity and their meaning for international politics. I also aim to show that identity is important in state construction. I will mostly concentrate on how Russia formed its identity in the past and in the present, and I will question why it is so important to identify Russia as a nation. I will look more closer at Russia's history. In addition, I will make a brief description between the view of Russian identity introduced by Russian, as well as Western scholars, who reflect ideas about Russian identity, and I will examine these issues.
I see the subject of my study asking topical, because of the search of Russian identity nowadays. Due to some changes in the internal and external politics of Russia, it has brought some changes in the order of states, as well as it influenced the identity of Russia, the way how the other states see a Russian nation, and how the identity in Russia is formed.
The question of identity is quite important because it touches historical, geopolitical and other aspects. Therefore, I will consider these aspects and place them as the most important in the formation of Russian identity. I will use the theory of constructivism to show how the identity is formed in the aspect of states formation and in the wider context, including the identity of Russia as a peculiar phenomenon in history. My reearch will also include the brief observation of the history of Russia, of Russian identity nowadays and the analysis of the official position of Russia in politics. I will therefore examine national specifics, as well as traditions of Russia. Besides, I will also base my research on other sources of formation of national identity, including the views of most well-known Russian politicians.
The formation of Russian identity is an interesting topic because of the constructivist theoretical implications. It is important to see Russia in the context of state formation, in the context of other states, and to see which role does Russia plays in the world politics. It is also important to understand the process, which determines the manner in which Russia interacts. It is interesting because throughout history, geopolitics determined Russia's stand in the world, determined its behavior, as well as provided good economic grounds for development.
A construction of the state is a very important process which involves formations on the state level. It is important from the view of constructivism, which sees identity as the main discourse in the theories of IR. An identity of state shows how state is recognized by other states, on the international level, and it constructs an idea of state on the national level. In combination, one may see it serving as a fundamental value of the state. What kind of Russian state identity is, and what values are making this identity are discussed in my research.
A state is undergoing a process of construction constantly, under certain conditions. It changes its identities and values. However, an identity of state can be defined as a constant value which evolves in time as a result of some processes inside of the state, and the identity formation can be recognized as a value, which recognizes state in its external affairs. However, in my work, I see it also as a process, in which the state is able to change its identity in time, and because of internal influences, it changes its identity. In addition, I aim to show that identity has its core in ethnos of the state, which is in people who compose this state. I tried to recognize it as a value in identity formation. All the other defined issues, such as Orthodoxy, or ideologies can be seen as theoretically approved values which create an identity of Russian state.
Throughout the history of Russia, there was a struggle for Russian identity. Russian politicians have a vivid view on the subject. Chubais says:" ... Russia is experiencing a polysystemic crisis. If the most acute (samyi ostryi) crisis is economic, then the deepest crisis is over ideas and identity". Chubais correctly names the three identity principles that, when taken together, made Russia possible before the Revolution: Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality. Which is the most important? For his part, Kara-Murza states:" We've talked about internal identity, self-identity (samoidentichnost') and ways in which Russia has not completely worked this out. Now we are talking about external identity (vneshniaia identichnost'), Russia on the outside (Rossiia vovne), how the country positions itself in the international sphere".
Chugrov states that: " We have to find a balance. In the Russian mentality there is a sense of inner conflict and contradiction. I fully agree with those who call Russia a torn country (razorvannaia strana)."
From my view, Russian state as a constant value brings in itself these mentioned values, and as process, it can be seen as a state formation process, in which the Russian state is seen in the system of states, and it is being ruled by international laws. Therefore, state identity is being shaped by international structures, and Russian state identity receives an already different value in international order. In my work, I aim to mention the importance of the theory of constructivism which can be applied to the external part of Russian state. The questions are how the Russian values are seen as given, and a new Russian identity of state is its policies and behavior in the international system. The view on the identity of Russia is different from the one which is developed inside of the state. National politics is seen as a rule inside of a country, but external policies of state are being recognized as a result of state rule in time, and the identity which is being developed, is recognized as Russian state identity. In my work, I try to highlight two of the existing identities, however, they are not separated but showed them altogether making an accent on the significance of both. Therefore, I see these values as additional to each other, and their common aim, to open up the state identity of the state, as an entity, and as state as such, as an important value in identity formation.
I try to see more deeply on the constituting values in each of the visions. I will first see state identity from the perspective of nationals, who give their own vision on the problem, and I try to make it clear that internationally, a Russian state can be foreseen as a state which undergoes certain change in time, and with respect to policies of the state, Russia generates its state identity and is accepted in the world system. Then, I gather material which I considered important to open up the question more deeply. I touch all the issues that I consider important for reflecting my ideas about Russian state identity, and I apply to my research question all the necessary theoretical material to highlight the problem.
In my work, I will examine in detail the constructivist point of view of Russian identity, as well as consider the main ideologies inside the Russian state. Those of which I found the most profound and interesting will appear in my work, as well as contradictions which those arised.