Grygory Perepelytsya*: Russian World Ideology as a Threat to Security of World and Ukraine (peace, security, democracy, and prosperity)


With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia faced a complex set of problems, the solution of which was historically significant for it. The inertia of that disintegration continued inside the Russian Federation itself, as the nuclei of the Russian and Soviet empires. So Russia was in a systemic crisis facing the threat of economic, social, and geopolitical disaster and the loss of its own statehood. Awareness of the consequences of the collapse of the USSR led the Russian elite and the Russian society to understanding the loss of the status of the Great Nation. Thus, the return of this status has been perceived as a fundamental need for Russia. Hence, the return was understood as the return of the former territories of the Russian Empire to Russia and the restoration of the influence of the former USSR in the world.

Approaching the West, Russian liberals in 1992-1994 relied on Russia's recognition as a normal Eurasian Great Nation pursuing their own interests in exchange for its loyalty to democracy, partnership and on the basis of "established rules" [1]. However, it did not happen. After all, the West acted according to its own rules and did not intend to renounce them in accordance with the balance of forces between it and Russia formed after the end of the Cold War and the formation of the unipolar world. Therefore, not only internal political but also geopolitical interests, which for the time being remained the main imperative of its foreign policy, were not defined.

Russian World as another attempt to overcome the existential crisis of Russia in the 21st century.

The history of foreign policy of pre-revolutionary Russia is, first of all, the history of wars for spreading its influence on the European and Asian continent. The power of the Soviet Union was aimed at global influence. Geopolitical interests remain crucial also for today's Russia. Actualization of geopolitical interests among the foreign policy and domestic political priorities of Russia is caused by three important factors. First, there is a need to reconsider its role in the world. The historical heritage left by the Soviet Union to Russia generates its global geopolitical ambitions, its attempts to preserve the "status quo" of the superpower, to have the same influence in various parts of the world, to have the same effect on international events as during the Soviet Union's existence. However, the realities are different. These new realities pose a conflict between the old geopolitical ambitions and the limited foreign policy capabilities that objectively reject the Russian Federation for secondary roles in the world politics.

Second, there is a need to realize the boundaries of the physical body of their own state, the space on which the political power of the Russian statehood should spread. The question of how this power can be organized and implemented on this way also remains determinant. The ultimate uncertainty of this space, its bounds - the borders of Russia, disputes its future as a state, deprives it of the sense of further development, causes a great threat to the existence of neighbouring countries. Third, the need to balance claims and resource potential.

The three unresolved problems sooner or later would drive Russia into a systemic crisis. Russia every time faced such crises due to the loss of efficiency of its chosen model of statehood, exhaustion of economic opportunities, and radical changes in the international environment and world order. Failure to timely and adequately respond to such challenges led to the collapse of the Russian state. In such circumstances of the exhaustion of their own opportunities, Russia counted on the mercy of the victors so that, with their support, to restore their strength and again to begin to reconquer what they had lost, and even grab what it had never owned. That also happened this time with the collapse of the Soviet model of Russian statehood.

So, agreeing on the conditions of the West after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union, the Russian ruling elite counted that in exchange for their loyalty, it would recognize Russia’s "special responsibility ... due to history and the status of a great power," for strengthening "centripetal processes in the CIS for the benefit of Eurasian integration and security" [2] While striving for this status to be recognized, Russia asserted the right for "special responsibility" to maintain order and stability at the post-Soviet area by means of full control over it. Having such a "responsibility", Russia usurped the right to restrict the sovereignty of neighbouring countries.

The reintegration of the CIS countries into Russia under the trend of the European integration has generated hope in the West that Russia would be democratizing, and hence the real project of building "the Greater Europe" would become true. Covering with the slogans of a liberal pro-European policy, Russia at the same time took all possible means of influence to stimulate reintegration processes and establish monopoly domination at the post-Soviet area. However, it could not provide necessary investment potential for the modernization and reintegration of the space, for there is not enough resources in a country of such a large scale as modern Russia, for the maintenance of a normally functioning authoritarian centralized state.

Thus, at the turn of the millennium, Russia could not escape from the geopolitical collapse after the break-up of the USSR, internal disintegration, and default. Thus, at the beginning of the 21st century, as in the past, Russia faced three fatal problems of historical development: defining its civilizational identity; self-identification of the Russian state and its place in the world; mobilization of the resource potential necessary for the implementation of these geopolitical ambitions.

In accordance with the new conditions for solving these historical domestic political and foreign policy tasks, a new ideology was needed that would justify their implementation, and mobilize Russian society and other peoples for their implementation and unite it around the incumbent authorities. So there was a need for a new unifying ideology that would help overcome those historical challenges and ensure the solution of the tasks of restructuring the Russian state and the surrounding foreign policy environment, as well as the return of the status of the Greater Russia as the world power. The doctrine of the Russian World has become such an ideology.


Russian World as a political doctrine.

These three crucial problems of the historical development of Russia have a decisive influence on the internal situation and the state system in Russia, and therefore are emphasized by the Russian government and Russian society as a priority. A representative of the Russian political thought Mikhail Yuriev said: "It is necessary to restore the violated military-strategic balance and the status quo that existed in the past, and most importantly - to restore the usual ideas for us about the worthy place of this country in the general world order, which our people (not to mention the power) do not want to give up, and to reconsider which we are absolutely not ready" [3].

Consequently, the status quo of the Russian state in the format of the Russian Federation did not suit the Russians, because in their belief it did not correspond to the historical development of Russia. The Russian Federation was more likely to be perceived as a rudiment - a republic of the USSR. They needed the Greater Russia with the status of the USSR or the Russian Empire. Without that status, they did not imagine their future. Not accidentally, feeling the historical existential extension of his people, V.Putin pronounced the sacramental phrase: "Russia can be either Great or it will not exist at all." Agreeing with this thesis, the Russian people and its elite began to build or rebuild their statehood project called "the Greater Russia".

But they immediately faced the question: in what boundaries should this Greater Russia exist as a state? By analogy, it must be within the same space as the previous forms of Russian statehood. But part of this space was lost as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which, according to V.Putin's definition, the Russians consider their geopolitical catastrophe. So, in order to cope with the negative consequences of that "national" catastrophe, they decided to regain that so-called post-Soviet space and global geopolitical influence and thus restore the "status quo which had existed in the past".

Though despite the favourable external factors, the first unresolved problem for the Kremlin was a way of organizing the post-Soviet space in Russia's interests, and in what form that space could be reintegrated into Russia. In other words, the issue was reduced to finding the form of the Russian state, which would allow to absorb the space and include it into the Greater Russia. It was obvious for Vladimir Putin that without absorption of the space, Russia was not able to acquire the geopolitical critical weight that would allow it to influence the world processes. On the other hand, such a new form of the Russian state was to meet the internal needs of the country's historical development: to consolidate Russian society around power and mobilize it for the implementation of the grand geopolitical project. At the same time, reintegration of the post-Soviet space into Russia should not lead to the disintegration of its core, which is called the Russian Federation.

Thus, the solution to that problem required an appropriate conceptual justification which could serve as a kind of unifying ideology for post-Soviet countries, as well as provide a clear idea of the plan for the implementation of this geopolitical space of "the Greater Russia", i.e., to act as a political doctrine. Hence, there was a need for a new great-power ideology, which became the doctrine of the Russian World.

Like any ideology in the form of political doctrine, the ideology of the Russian World has its theoretical-conceptual and politico-ideological components. As the philosophical basis of its theoretical-conceptual part, constructivism was taken as a modern variety of subjective idealism and the concept of the Germanic World of the German existentialist philosopher Heidegger. In a broader sense, constructivism appeals to the spiritual sphere, self-consciousness, which is the organizing principle that structures and shapes reality. According to Alexander Wendt, classic of the American constructivism, international relations represent a social process consisting of the interaction of actors that create social reality. This process is based on the ideas of actors about their own role and the role of others [4]. Ideas shared by most actors are considered universal. Thanks to its universality, ideas form a "culture." Culture structures the roles of actors, forming "a structure of roles" [5].

The provisions of the constructivist approach reveal the mechanism of construction: first, of the Russian state and the Russian socium and their interaction, and second, the role functions of Russia in the process of its interaction with the surrounding world. The main purpose of that construct was to construct the Russian state and the Russian nation, as an Eurasian project that would combine claims for succession in the world domination and the ability to resist the West as a competitor in the struggle for such dominance, on the basis of a Mongolian ethno-cultural environment with its Asian political consciousness and traditions of the Mongolian statehood. Accordingly the ideological constitution is a set of universal ideas, and in the categories of constructivism it is denoted by the term of "the Russian culture", which at different times was embodied in various Eurasian doctrines and concepts, the latest version of which was the doctrine of the Russian World.

In a geopolitical sense, such a culture can be considered a Russian strategic culture, since it is based on the notion of the Russian elite and the Russian people about themselves, their identity and national character, which implies a tendency toward a certain type of policy, i.e., behaviour at the international arena. In this sense, constructivism in defining strategic culture, "attaches particular importance to intersubject structures, including norms, culture, identity, as well as ideas about the conduct of states in international relations in general" [6].

Thus, the context of Russian strategic culture is made of the following ideas universal for the Russian identity ("Russian culture"): the idea of the Third Rome to substantiate the imperial succession of Muscovy after the fall of the Roman and Byzantine empires in the European geopolitical space, and the claims to the world domination by the example of the Roman Empire ; the idea of "Holy Rus" to justify Russia's role as the heirs of Christianity, protector of Christian Orthodoxy and the core of the world Christian civilization; the idea of continuity and succession of Kievan Rus to justify the European orientation of the Russian ethnogenesis and ties with Constantinople, Rome, and Jerusalem.

The idea of the continuity of Kievan Rus in the ideology of "the Russian World" plays a special role owing to the fact that, in addition to substantiating the legitimacy of claims to rule the world through ties with Rome, it was quite suitable for constructing the idea of "gathering Rus lands" as projections of expansion into Europe and, as the conquest of its civilization space, built on the antithesis: "Russia as the Anti-West."

In its turn, the universality of the ideas of "gathering Rus lands" and "Russia as the Anti-West" lies not only in the fact that they have become an important component of Russian consciousness, but also that they themselves act as a significant substructure, a certain link for fitting in the structure of the Russian socio-political construct of the following chain of ideas: the "community of space" and Russia as a "besieged fortress". The concept of "community of space" is an important dominant perception of Russians, which forms their national identity and national character, manifested in "the breadth of the Russian soul." Thus, psychologically and mentally, Russians do not perceive borders. They regard them as an obstacle and as a threat to their livelihood, which limits their social development meaning expansion. Expansion is known to be a way of extensive development, the main principle of the life of Russian socium. This principle involves the development and seizure of new territories, if their own natural resources have already been exhausted.

The implementation of the idea of a "common space" involves not only the seizure of new territories, but also their accession to Russia. The accession of the territories of other nations is blessed with such ideas of Russian strategic culture as the concept of "fraternal peoples" and "unification of the Slavs". The origins of the latter concept originate in "Pan-Slavism". This unification, again, should be carried out around Russia or into Russia itself and under the leadership of Moscow. Otherwise, any association of neighbouring nations outside this concept is considered hostile to Russia. The ideology of the Russian World supplements the constructivist idea of a "common space" by an interpretation of the concept of the "Germanic world" of the German existentialist philosopher Heidegger in the Russian version. In abstract form, it is reduced to three theses:

- perception of the common political format of unity within the framework of a national ideal (in Hitler's version it was the Prussian socialism), in Putin's – the Russian world;

- language (Russian, German), as a means of internal relations of space (Germanic, Russian world);

- the national capital that arises through the collection of the environment of the Germans (ethnic Russians) and associated Germans (Russian speakers) - people who speak archaic dialects of the German (Russian) language, are citizens of other countries, but essentially aware of their German (Russian) origin exactly in the format of "the common destiny" of "the German, Russian world".

That Nazi project was completely innovative for Heidegger. He "put the Weimar Germany (which was perceived as a historical incident by a significant part of its population, like modern Russia - the Russian Federation [author]) in the space of the Germanic World , the Russian World which formed the common capital and common resources, and common destiny" [7].

It is obvious that such a philosophy is the best ground for the expansionist nature of Russia's foreign policy. The "shared destiny" - should become the ideological glue that will allow Ukraine to return to the Eurasian civilization space, and to the Russian state through the seizure of the Ukrainian economy by Russian capital and through the Russian language and the incorporation of the Ukrainian political class into a part of the Russian politicum. And most importantly - the reincarnation of the Ukrainian, at least Russian-speaking population, as a part of Russian socium. "We are talking about the possibility of forming an area of common destiny for the Russian World in which all the components of the Russian World will be ready and able to assume responsibility, both for its separate part of this destiny, and for the space as a whole" [8].

As for an individual part of this Russian World under the name of Ukraine, the doctrine of the Russian World poses quite clear task to Russia's foreign policy. The main task of Russia's foreign policy, according to this doctrine of the Russian World, is concentration. It comes down to four main provisions.

1. "The concept of the space of the Historical Russia is officially proclaimed, i.e., the natural area of the Russian world (the present Russian Federation plus Russian ethnic enclaves - Tavria, Novorossia, Narva region, Latgale, Southern Siberia, Subcarpathian Rus, and also the territory of complementary ethnic groups - Belarusians, eastern Ukrainians, Transcarpathian Rusyns, etc.).

2. Russia embarked on the path of the Russian irredenta: the ideology of the return and reunification of territories of historical Russia, for which it has a historical and moral right, and which have a practical sense to return. ... For Russia, this applies primarily to Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan... As we have already noted above, it is necessary to recognize the rights of Russia to a number of territories, as, for instance, in the case of Ukraine, the claims could be minimal for Donbas and Tavria (the Crimea).

3. It is necessary to reconsider some of the basic principles on which the Belovezhskaya system was founded and as a result of which modern Russia has found itself in the present disadvantageous geopolitical situation. At the first stage, it is important for Russia not only to change the real status of all territories of the near abroad, but also to change their ideological and socio-psychological status from "independent" and "post-Soviet" to the temporarily "post-Russian".

4. The vast majority of separated republics had never had their historical national statehood before the 20th century. That statehood was artificially created for them in the framework of the Soviet national policy. The revision of the second "Belovezhskaya principle" should be in recognizing the statehood of most separated republics, as "subsidiary" in relation to the Russian statehood. These political entities should be considered as established within the framework of Russia - the USSR for the sake of the convenience of administrative control and, accordingly, that can exist only on the basis of their recognition by Russia" [9].

And thus, the above provisions of the ideology of the Russian World borrowed from constructivism and the concept of the Germanic World became a certain ideological justification of Russian policy in relations with external actors, such as awareness of oneself with regard to others and awareness of others in relation to oneself. Another important position of the ideology of the Russian World based on the principles of constructivism is "awareness of oneself".

If the application of the first position to Russia as an actor of international relations dealt with the nature of its relations with the closest external environment, then in this context, we are talking about the internal structure of the Russian socio-political construct: an internal culture that involves the "structure of ideas" and "structure of roles”. This role structure forms the identity of the Russian state and Russian national identity, as well as Russian national interests, transformed in the long run, in accordance with the provisions of constructivism.

The central category of this constructivist approach is the idea. "Ideas in the constructivist project support the structure of international relations, and the process of distribution of ideas is responsible for their character" [10]. "Ideas and communication is the core of a constructivist approach to the analysis of social facts and processes" [11]. According to these provisions the central place in the internal structure of roles and ideas in the ideology of the Russian World is the universal "Rus" idea, which consists of a triad: autocracy - Orthodoxy – national roots.

The pivotal construction of "the Russian Idea" in its most archaic manifestation is autocracy - "the pyramid of power, on top of which is the infallible ruler, whose power is sanctified by the great church, and the basis of stability is a broad base of support of the least secured, and therefore, the most dependent on the state strata of the population" [12]. Autocracy acts as the nucleus of the political system of the country, the main form of political self-organization of the Russian people, its political history. Autocracy, according to ideas of ideologists of the Russian idea, is a political system in which power and people are single and indivisible. At the same time, the people are "autocratic", and autocracy is "national". Russian society in this form of political self-organization is a socialist-communal system, according to a social horizontal, and autocracy is organization principle of the power vertical. The third component of the Russian idea – Orthodoxy is called to consecrate this relationship between autocracy and people (national roots). In accordance with its role, Orthodoxy has built a clear vertical structure of Russian society, having put a dynastic narrative of the blessed tsar on its summit, who became the centre of political, social, and religious identity, the macro and the microcosm of Russian identity.

Thanks to such an arrangement, Russian Orthodoxy has formed the eschatological worldview of the tsar's image of being chosen by God and the perception of expansion as a holy deed, which became generic traits of the character and national consciousness of the Russian nation. It confirms eschatological perceptions about the universal hierarchical order in which the individual becomes involved in this Divine cosmic order through the collective structures (the state), since the state, sanctified by religion, becomes part of this Divine order.

However, the embodiment of the ideology of the Russian World during 2000s showed the discrepancy of this triple concept of "the Russian idea" with a new historical and geopolitical situation. The transplantation of these three ties into a single religion in the 21st century has encountered considerable difficulties. First, Russian Orthodoxy, as in the past, remained a state-building religion, and what is most important for today's Russia, it has retained its anti-Western orientation and conservative radicalism. However, it has lost its influence on the Russian electorate, drowning in luxury and political business. The trust in Patriarch Kirill among Russians does not exceed 4% [13]. Besides, the vast majority of Russians who are proud of being Orthodox are non-religious people in fact. Second, in 20 years, the vast majority of Russia's population will be Muslims believing in Islam. Third, the idea of autocracy, perceived both by Russian society and power in Russia, is not perceived in Ukraine or Belarus. On the other hand, the criteria for the identity of the Russian world are rather blurry for the national identification of the Russians themselves as an ethnic group.

Thus, at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, the issue arose about the need to modify the ideology of the Russian World in accordance with the new conditions. An attempt of such a modification was made by Putin after his next reelection to the post of President of the Russian Federation in 2012. It was to combine the concept of "Russian ideas" and ideas of Russian civilization. Such a symbiosis should contribute to finding and identifying common identifiers, belonging to the Russian state and the Russian people, especially for those living in the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, and Kazakhstan.

So, Putin has faced the problem of homogenizing society at the macro level within the framework of the Greater Russia project and at the level of the restoration of Russian socium as a nation. The aggravation of the problem was due, on the one hand, to the growth of the national consciousness of the Russians as a dominant ethnic group, on the other hand, the growth of the share of non-Russian ethnic groups and representatives of non-Orthodox religious denominations in the Russian society, which leads to the erosion and leveling of Russian identity. It forced V.Putin to publish his programme article “Russia and the National Issue” on 23 January, 2012 in Nezavisimaya Gazeta. This article has become a new guideline for the Russian elite and society, how to get out of the deadlock of the uncertainty of the future model of the Russian state. The former model in the shape of the Russian Federation as a part of the USSR no longer corresponded to both the modern realities and the geopolitical ambitions of Russia. The attempt to return to the model of the Russian Empire caused great difficulty, since such a model that existed in the 17th- 19th centuries was anarchism in the 21st century and did not correspond both to contemporary international tendencies and to internal Russian processes associated with the growth of national consciousness . It is no coincidence that some Russian experts evaluated the article as Putin's attempt to pass between "Scylla of nationalism and the Charybdis of imperialism" [14].

Putin's article begins with a key thesis to which the whole sense of the publication comes: "The self-determination of the Russian people is a multi-ethnic civilization fixed with the "Russian" cultural core" [15]. According to V.Putin, "the crisis of the very model of "national state" stands behind the failure of a multicultural project historically built exclusively on the basis of ethnic identity. Moreover, he is deeply convinced that "attempts to propagate the idea of building a Russian "national" monoethnic state contradict the entire millennial history," this is the shortest path to the destruction of the Russian people and Russian statehood" [16].

Thus Russian statehood, according to V. Putin, is not identical with the Russian ethnical state. The subject of the constitution of Russian statehood is not the Russian nation as an ethnic group, but the Russian people, which include not only ethnic Russians, but also Ukrainians and Belarusians, as well as Russified national minorities within the Russian Federation. It follows from this that the legitimization of a political community on the basis of a nation is not suitable for Russia, and therefore V. Putin offers another civilization scale. For this purpose, the Russian people are not a nation, but a civilization community. This community is distinguished from other civilizations by a single cultural code. However, in this case, this "single cultural code" comes exclusively to the Russian cultural tradition. "The core that fastens the fabric of this unique civilization is the Russian people, Russian culture" [17]. "Such a civilizational identity," writes V. Putin, "is based on the preservation of the Russian cultural dominant, whose bearers are not only ethnic Russians, but also all the carriers of such identity, regardless of nationality" [18]. Therefore, Ukrainians may also belong to this civilization community, provided they consider themselves "ethnic Russians".

Further V.Putin passes from the civilization community, which includes Ukrainian society living in the Russian cultural environment, to Russian statehood. It is the Russian, not Ukrainian or other statehood that should be inherent in this civilization community. To substantiate this thesis, V. Putin interprets the understanding of Russia as a "historical state", and on this basis all the problems of the Russian society are directly linked "with the destruction of the USSR, and in fact, the historic Greater Russia, which was formed on its basis as early as in the 18th century, with inevitably following degradation of state, social and economic institutions, with a huge gap in development in the post-Soviet space" [19]. Hence, logical conclusion follows: in order to end these problems, it is necessary to revive Russia as a "historical state" at the entire post-Soviet area.

In this way, V.Putin tries to solve the antinomy of the "national idea (primarily as the national principle of legitimate power) and the imperial idea (as the legitimization of power through a global mission, along with the scale and heterogeneity of the space), which for a long time defined the content of Russian historical consciousness and remained unsolved for it" » [20]. In this context, the implementation of the doctrine of the Russian World should create conditions for the delegitimization of the Ukrainian nation and its melting into the "Russian" people as a civilization community, which will lead to the loss of Ukrainian statehood through its dismantling and replacement with Russian statehood. Such a modernization of the doctrine of the Russian World by V.Putin during his third presidential term was to supplement it with the civilization component.

Having outlined the new civilization project of the Greater Russia, V.Putin formulates the historical task at the end of his article: "We will strengthen our "historical state ", which we have got from our ancestors. This is civilization state, capable of solving problems of the integration of various ethnic groups and confessions" [21]. As it turned out, V. Putin's theses found a great response in Russian society, since they corresponded to the subconscious desire of Russian citizens to live in an imperial country, largely due to which, he won the next presidential elections with the advantage of 64% in 2012 and 76.7% in 2018.

Public support for V. Putin's policy extended from 30% to 75% against the background of the growth of populism, militaristic ideology, anti-Ukrainian and anti-Western great-power propaganda. Such popularity became the basis of the gradual forming of the cult of the leader during 13 years of the actual reign of Vladimir Putin in Russia, which began to be called "Putinism" [22]. So Putinism became the state ideology of Russia, and thus it forms the political and ideological part of the doctrine of the Russian World. On the one hand, Putinism contains the classic features of the cult of the leader. In particular, it is characterized by irrational perception of political relations by carriers of social consciousness, the use of traditionalism, imperial and great-power stereotypes, charismatization of the leader. Putinism, as well as classical leadership, arose on the background of the authoritarian regime and authoritarian consciousness of Russians, which is one of the most archaic forms of consciousness, built on the stereotypical structure of value orientations of society, at the personal and collective levels, close to subconscious behaviour.

The structure of such an archetype consists of three elements, on the basis of which the ideology of Putinism is constructed: 1) the division of the members of the society according to the binary principle: "we-them", "friend-or-foe"; 2) the guidelines with regard to power "he that is not with us - is against us". On the other hand, the specific feature of Putin’s regime, unlike classical leader’s cult, is clientism as a system of political power built on the hierarchy (Putin's vertical) of clan power, which is a relationship built on the type of "client-patron", where the patron provides power guarantees to his clients for their loyalty by appointing governors, the revival of the secret infrastructure of power, which extends to all the authorities of the power vertical, other departments, parties, social organizations and movements.

According to Russian historian Irina Pavlova, the main feature of Putinism is "the fact that the main instrument of subjugation today is not mass violence, but point repressions, provocations, special operations of political technologies, information wars" [23]. One of Putin's ideologists, Gleb Pavlovsky, explains the specific features of these point repressions: "It is possible to create a situation of 1937, in any case, for an individual in a non-violent way, due to the fact that he will begin to mix different layers in his head and he will agree with real, not even realizing the moment when it starts, convinced that he is free" [24]. The cult of force and violence along with leader’s cult, corporatism, and clientism are integral features of the fascist regime. Thus, implementing the ideology of Putinism, in reality means building a pro-fascist political regime in Russia.

By constructing Putinizm as a state ideology, Putin complements it with new components - the touches of paganism, one of which is the "Victory" cult, demonstrated during the march of the Immortal Regiment on Victory Day. Such a symbiosis, the Russian sociologist Igor Eidman, calls the new civic, hybrid religion which Putin forms for his reign, because in this triumvirate: Orthodoxy - paganism - autocracy, the latter occupies a prominent place. "The purpose of the new" religion, as Igor Eidman notes, is to unite the population around the authorities. And not only the citizens of Russia, but also, what is especially counted on, the Russian-speaking diaspora around the world, connected with the genetic memory of the war" [25]. It is no coincidence that the essential element of this hybrid religion is the cult of "Victory" - the victory over the West. "The Victory Day is a holiday of Victory - more precisely the victories, past and future, of the entire Russian-Slavic world throughout Eurasia - over United Europe - from the usurping Empire of the Carolingians to (inevitably) the European Union" - states one of the ideologues of such a new religion V. Karpets [26].

Actually, this new hybrid religion is nothing more, but Russia's militaristic ideology. Finding out its ideological basis, I.Eidman writes: "The ideological basis of the new civil "religion "is chauvinism and xenophobia. In its centre is a myth about the life-long confrontation between Russia and the West, which allegedly tries to take away our natural resources, sovereignty and even the right sexual orientation. The main enemy in such a black and white picture of the world is the USA, who inherited the status from Nazi Germany ... <...>. The new civic "faith" sanctifies any aggressive actions of the state. The annexation of the Crimea, e.g., was declared the return to Russia of its sacred territory. It has become fashionable to talk about the sacred significance of the participation of Russian troops in the Syrian war. Bowing down before dead soldiers living in paradise, in Valhalla, motivated Vikings to participate in endless battles. Similar military cults have always been used for moral preparation of the population to the war. This is what enthusiasts of the new civil religion say" [27]. So the ideology of the Russian World has turned into a weapon of hybrid warfare.


Russian World as a civilizational anti-West project.

However, the goal of Russia's foreign policy is not limited to the restoration of the Russian World only in Ukraine. Ukraine, like other CIS countries, is seen as a springboard for Russia's global expansion. As it is pointed out in the doctrine of the Russian World: "Even under the condition of an independent and ambitious foreign policy, Russia's self-containment on CIS problems would not bring useful results. Russia's near abroad will begin to settle in accordance with our interests only when strategic foreign policy goals are determined and when an active participation of Russia will create a new international hierarchy that is adequate to modern conditions.

The keys to solving the Russian border issue can be two political lines, more obvious and less obvious: 1) it is necessary to recognize the so-called unrecognized states and include them in the circle of satellites of Russia (Abkhazia, South Ossetia [author]); 2) it is necessary to conclude full-scale strategic alliances in security and economic cooperation with India, China, and Iran and make this alliance open to other participants (including non-Eurasian ones). Such "alterglobalization" - the creation of a kind of "large ties" in Eurasia around and through Russia will turn itself into a return of the mission of Russia. But it is also important that such a strategy will not only be the background to the CIS, but its radical decision. The CIS as a "hostile border area" will quickly dissolve, and there will not be a trace of it soon under one of the following conditions: if the geopolitics of large ties will work. Russia should become the brain and spine of a new coalition (China, India, Iran, Syria), taking key positions in it. This will be a "northern civilization of warriors, scientists, and intelligence officers" - a necessary and irreparable (in the event of any damage to Russia) link of a new world security system [28]".

What are the specific interests of Russia in the implementation of the doctrine of the Russian World in the context of such "alterglobalization" of Russian influence and geopolitics of large ties. Russian ideologists attribute its necessity to the shortage of Russia's global influence, as well as the resources at its disposal, first and foremost, human and technological. "The deficit of the able-bodied population will increase with each passing year, and in the end, control over large Russian territories may be irretrievably lost" [29]. Consequently, the idea of a "common space" is intended to serve as the creation of "larger ties" in Eurasia by concluding large-scale strategic alliances and coalitions with China, India, Iran, and Syria.

Thus, it reads about a new global hierarchy of international relations, adequate to modern conditions, in which Russia will take key positions. In this geopolitical context, the ideology of the Russian World is intended to justify Russia's claim to global dominance. The central place in such a justification is given to the idea of "Russia as fortress besieged by the enemy".

From the point of view of the constructivist approach, the "structure of roles" is clearly visible in this structure of the ideas of the Russian World, when one of the actors with which Russia interacts in the international environment is given the role of "an enemy", another - is "brother" and "friend". Moreover, "friend", according to the idea "Russia is fortress besieged by the enemy" is identified with regard to who your enemy is, and friendship is determined on the basis of a notion "against whom we are friends." This structure is intended to simultaneously play the role of designing its own geopolitical civilization space through the expansion and seizure of new territories, and a security role. In this security aspect, it is also associated with the idea of "Russia as a besieged fortress" and the idea of "Russia as the Anti-West", since the role of Russia's main enemy is assigned to the West. The role of these ideas is to create a vitally important social need of Russians, which, according to Olexander Lytvynenko, Doctor of Political Science, looks as follows: "We have to grab our neighbours in order to establish a safety zone, we are approaching a stronger enemy, and we must go farther" [30].

 Such a role of these ideas simultaneously has an apologetic function in which aggressive policies of Russia are perceived as protection as "intimidation for the sake of protection". Unfortunately, this perception has become very popular among the Western political and military-political European and US expert environment [31]. While in reality, Russia pledges not to "intimidate for the sake of defence", but to "intimidate for the offensive" against the Western world.

Based on this structure of the ideas of "the Russian World", Russia has three strategic objectives in the sphere of foreign policy. First, to consolidate its status quo as the main centre of force in Europe. Second, to consolidate its exclusive right to own a part of Europe that does not belong to NATO and the EU. Third, to achieve such a balance of power in relations with the opposite part of this system in order to transform relations with the West from asymmetric into symmetric-asymmetric, in which Russia will become the main dominant of these relations.

Restoration of the status quo of Russia, as one of the world's centres of power, and dominant position in Europe, at least in Eastern and Central Europe, which the Soviet Union had, is impossible without adequate resources and ideology. Ideology is needed to justify such a position and to unite respective regions of Europe around it. During the Cold War, that was the communist ideology that helped unite the countries of Eastern and Central Europe into the socialist camp and its organization - the Warsaw Treaty in confrontation with the West. All that provided the Soviet Union with full domination in this part of Europe.

However, communist ideology has gone not only for Europe but also for Russia itself. The West holds a monopoly on liberal-democratic ideology, and Russia considers it hostile to itself. Only the ideology of the Russian World remains, but it can be perceived mainly in post-Soviet countries with the vast majority of Russian-speaking population and, to a lesser extent, in European socia.

It is obvious that Russia is trying to solve this ideological problem by applying a civilizational approach in interpreting the ideology of the Russian World. Since the 21st century is considered to be the century of civilizational communities covering entire continents, the civilization concept seems to Russian ideologists to be the most appropriate way to return the lost sphere of influence in Europe. It is obvious that professing Eurasianism in the state ideology of Russia is not an acceptable concept for the Eastern, and even more so Central Europe. An acceptable modification of the ideology of the Russian World for this part of Europe and determining the place of Russia in Europe, according to Kremlin ideologists, can be its "western version". The purpose of this version is not so much the Westernizing Russia as the Russification of the West.

The basis of this version is the justification of the Byzantine nature of the European civilization identity of the Russian people. As one of the ideologists of this version, Sergei Markov, says: "We are the heirs of the Byzantine European tradition, and our mission is to ensure the reunification of Europe as two parts of the former united whole, which broke up. It is a great idea and a great mission - to revive the unity and power of European civilization" [32]. "Yes, we - along with Ukrainians, Belarusians, Georgians, Armenians, Bulgarians, Romanians - is a Byzantine part of the great European civilization. But for us today is still necessary to realize ourselves as heirs of the Byzantine tradition in European civilization. Europe, which had a common root - antiquity, at one time divided into Western, formed by various kingdoms and the church separated from them, and Eastern, where there was unity of the empire, connected with the church " [33].

What does this interpretation of European identity mean in the ideological and geopolitical sense? Of course, this is not a unity of Europe, because such an association of two parts of Europe already exists within the framework of the EU and NATO through their expansion eastward. In reality, it means:

first, Byzantinization of Europe as a process opposite to its westernization;

second, the justification of Russia's leading role in this process, which should ensure its full domination over this part of the Byzantinized Europe;

third, the spread of the borders of Russian statehood, as the successor to the Byzantine Empire, united with Orthodoxy;

fourth, the opposition of the ideology of the Russian World to the process of the EU introduced Europeanization in relation to the countries of Eastern Europe.

As far as the borders of the Russian world are concerned, they, according to the arguments of its ideologues, "will be where its citizens will live. Cultures, especially global, do not have clearly defined borders at all. The processes of globalization erase the difference between the external and internal socio-economic status, and the concept of the state as a set of specifically-limited territories gradually, already in our era, will change the perceptions of it as the totality of citizens of the state. The reality is now the coexistence of world superethnic groups, and because of the specificity caused by the peculiarities of historical development, it has all chances to be in the forefront of history" [34].

Ukraine is given a central place (a central role) in the implementation of this civilization project of Byzantinization in Europe. Its central position in Eastern Europe, the Orthodox population and the dominance of the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchy make it an ideal testing ground and a bridgehead for the implementation of such a civilization project. In fact, such Byzantianization cannot lead to unification, but only to the split of Europe, since the Byzantine and Western traditions are based on fundamentally different values, and it is obvious that this split will pass through the territory of Ukraine and in the middle of the Ukrainian socium.

As S. Markov himself noted, Europe, built on Western values, consists of independent national states and a church separated from them. Europe of the Byzantine type is made of a single empire connected with the church. Consequently, Russia's embodiment of this Byzantine civilization project for Ukraine means its actual alienation from modern European civilization, built on democratic values, the refusal of joining NATO and the EU as the institutional foundations of this European civilization, the loss of Ukrainian identity that defines the Ukrainian nation as a European, belonging to a large family of European peoples. All this also means the loss of Ukrainian statehood and democratic system in the country, because in such a project Ukraine cannot be either an independent state or an empire. It can only be a part of another empire.


The Russian World as a threat to Ukrainian national identity and Ukrainian statehood.

As Ukraine is put at the central place (assigned a central role) in the implementation of the great-power and civilization project of Byzantianization of Europe, the question arises about the strategy of building the Russian world in Ukraine. This strategy includes several key areas. First of all, this is the spread of the Russian-speaking environment by giving Russian the status of the state language and ousting the Ukrainian language from all spheres of political, economic, domestic, and cultural life of Ukraine.

Second, the introduction of Russian citizenship based on the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine. "To introduce the concept of" language citizenship ": everyone who speaks Russian and who wants to get Russian citizenship must get it" [35]. Then the principle of protection of Russian citizens comes into force.

Third, on the basis of speaking Russian and Russian citizenship, turn to forming the Russian world nation at the Russian World territories similar to the "Soviet people" community [36].

Fourth, consolidation of the leading role of Orthodoxy in the political and spiritual life of the countries belonging to the Russian World. "Making active the mission of the Russian Orthodox Church in the post-Soviet space may lead to the strengthening of Russia's position, and in the case of concerted actions of the church and constructive "patriotic forces "- to turnaround of the socio-political situation in a number of CIS countries in the direction of gravitating towards Russia. Orthodoxy can and must become a powerful consolidating factor for the Russian and Russian-speaking population of these countries, a serious and long-term factor in Russia's presence" [37].

Fifth, the formation of the elite of the Russian world. It reads about incorporating national elites into the Russian elite and Russian national interests.

Consequently, the most pressing tasks of Russia's foreign policy towards the construction of the Russian World in Ukraine remained and will remain in the future:

1. Providing the Russian language in Ukraine with state status and displacement of the Ukrainian language from the informational space and educational environment of Ukraine. Russia will continue to hold a tough diplomatic position in relation to Ukraine's information space.

2. Promotion of obtaining Russian citizenship by the population of Ukraine.

3. Ensuring large-scale ideological-information and cultural expansion into Ukraine.

4. Assistance in consolidating the leading role of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchy as the only local church in Ukraine.

5. Incorporation of the Ukrainian political class into Russian interests, in the Russian language and cultural environment.

6. Avoiding the revival of the historical memory of the Ukrainian nation and discrediting its national symbols.

7. Creation in Ukraine of an expert pool of political scientists and information centres capable of promoting the ideas of state ideology and politics of Russia in the Ukrainian society.

The implementation of these tasks is intended to create a favourable foundation for constructing the second imperial component of this civilization project on the territory of Ukraine related to Russian statehood, called "Malorossia" as a natural historical component of the Russian empire. Imperial essence of the Russian state remains unchanged. It is conditioned both by the internal and external needs of Russia's development.

The return of Russia to the restoration of the empire is due to purely internal reasons [38]. The main of them, as S.Markov notes, is weak ability of the Russian people to self-organize. The Russian Empire "has always acted as the subject of the organization, and people expected from it organizing control impulses. Therefore, so far, civil society and market institutions remain so weak in Russia - these are the most important elements of self-organization" [39]. These reasons, incidentally, justify the inadmissibility of a democratic regime in Russia and the need for authoritarianism.

 Everything that lies outside the organizing role of the empire, becomes chaos. From this point of view, the USA, China, and the EU are considered by the ideologues of the Russian World as empires. "And Russia is also an empire, but one that lost some of its territories, most of which degraded and balance on the brink of chaos, and some of them became part of other empires and therefore survived (the Baltic states)" [40]. Thus, we may draw a conclusion that, in order to protect themselves and their neighbours from chaos, the empire must certainly expand. Countries of the post-Soviet space, if they want to avoid chaos and degradation, must join Russia, which is the only one that can organize their lives due to its imperial role.

The implementation of such plans would mean depriving Ukraine of its independence and state sovereignty, destroying Ukrainian statehood and joining Russia by the regions of Ukraine. But given the multisectoral, civilizational, mental and geopolitical orientation of the eastern and western parts of Ukraine, "it is possible that the establishment of a protectorate can only be considered as a transitional stage for the further division of Ukraine, probably into three parts, according to the model, promulgated, most likely, by Russian intelligence in the Italian geopolitical magazine "Limes" [41]. As the leading Ukrainian experts have repeatedly stated, "it reads about the direct inclusion of the South and East of Ukraine into the Russian Federation, the establishment of a puppet government on the territory of Central Ukraine and dissociation from Western Ukraine as the main "troublemaker"[42]. In 2014, with the beginning of Russian military aggression against Ukraine, these projections partly came true when Russia tried to occupy these territories after capturing the Crimea and create within them a quasi-state of Novorossia.

Empire, expands and absorbs into its body various nations and ethnic groups, depriving them of any form of self-determination. In this case, this imperial tendency is in contradiction with the tendency of Russia's development as a nation-state. The combination of these two contradictory tendencies is possible only in case of the destruction of not only the statehood of other nations and peoples, but also the deprivation of their national identity while incorporating them into the Russian society. This kind of nation empire is called imperial nationalism, which emphasizes the ethnic and religious identification criteria.

Accordingly, the emphasis on these components, combined with the process of expanding the body of Russian statehood into the surrounding space, requires, on the one hand, the justification of the exclusiveness of the Russian nation, its worldwide messianic mission and the opposition to the West, on the other - the national-mental homogenization of this space. The reflection of this tendency is the introduction of an "anti-West complex" into the ideology of the Russian World, which is combined with elements of xenophobia, chauvinism, and racism.

In the context of this ideology, Ukraine's independence is seen as a casual and temporary phenomenon, as a history error that needs to be corrected. The Ukrainian state is seen as a US puppet and an outpost of the West's influence against Russia. Therefore, Ukraine's state sovereignty is the result of US expansion into the post-Soviet space, aimed at its fragmentation and destruction. The Ukrainian statehood itself is considered to be a terrible blow against Russia's statehood [43].

Consequently, the Russian political class and its ideologists regard statehood of Ukraine and Russian statehood as mutually exclusive antagonistic things. According to their statement, this fundamental contradiction appeared at the moment when Ukraine gained its state independence. Russia cannot feel safe without removing this contradiction.

On the basis of such perception, a hostile attitude towards Ukraine has been formed in Russian society. So according to Y. Levada Centre, 50% of Russians surveyed consider Ukraine the most unfriendly country [44]. As a result, such a hostile perception of Ukraine as a state results in an appeal, e.g., of the president of Chechnya Kadyrov, which he made in his interview to the London Daily Telegraph newspaper: "Ukraine and Georgia are a covert illness of Russia ... We have an army. It is necessary to attack and once and for all put an end to this disease" [45].

Another line of confrontation between the two statehoods is in the plane of opposing, antagonistic political regimes: democratic in Ukraine and pro-fascist, authoritarian in Russia. Russia believes that the democratic regime in Ukraine is inspired by the West through colour revolutions, and therefore carries a chaos and a number of threats to the state system of Russia. Hence, speaking at a meeting of the State Duma, dedicated to the development of the political system of the Russian Federation, V. Putin stressed that in any case it was impossible to prevent the Ukrainization of the political life of Russia [46].

Thus, such perceptions of Ukraine have become deeply rooted in the social consciousness of Russians. According to the Director of the Moscow Carnegie Centre, Dmitry Trenin, the Kremlin managed to direct the "post-imperial wave of nationalism towards the conservative state patriotism", and the "anti-Western complex" allowed "to successfully argue the need for the restoration of the elements of the authoritarian regime, the strengthening of the state (and in fact bureaucratic) control over the economy, limiting public rights and political freedoms" [47].

However, such hostility is aimed against the Ukrainian state, but not against the Ukrainian people, which is considered an integral part and a branch of the Russian people, a part of Russian socium. Hence, the idea continues to be exploited of the eternal brotherhood and the eternal unity of the two peoples, the common historical roots, etc. However, the legality of the existence of Ukrainians as an independent nation, which has a historical right to its political self-determination, is denied. Ukrainians in the ideology of the Russian World are presented as "Russians who speak a dialect of the Russian language. Ukraine has never existed and will never be. There is Galychyna and a part of Russia, artificially cut off from the rest of Russia. Galychyna needs to be separated from Ukraine, which, with more or less honest campaigning before the referendum, will definitely join Russia. Most likely, as the South-West Federal District. This form of organization will be optimal for Ukraine" [48].

Consequently, according to such a concept, Ukraine is not at all an ethnic country. Ukrainian identity does not exist. This, in fact, is a Galychian element - a hostile, alien, brought by the West into the Russian socium, which lives at the primordial Russian territory, which some time ago was called Ukraine. "In other words, Russia is on the path of Russian irredenta: the ideology of the return and reunification of territories of historical Russia, to which it has historical and moral rights, and which have practical sense to return" [49].

Another goal of Russia according to the doctrine of the Russian World is the construction of the Malorossian model for the development of Ukrainian socium, which has to homogenize the mental space of Ukraine on the basis of Russian identity. The construction of this model takes place through the discrediting of Ukrainian statehood, Ukrainian culture, the distortion of Ukrainian history, the formation of Ukrainophobia in the public consciousness of ethnic Ukrainians, hatred and contempt for everything Ukrainian, the refusal of state sovereignty. Instead, a reformation of the population living at the territory of Ukraine into the Malorossian socium is promoted in the society, a community homogeneous with the Russian society is formed based on the approval of the Russian language as a single, with the formation of Russian provincial mentality and Russian socio-cultural identity. This ensures homogenization of cultural and social space, which should contribute to the expansion and restoration of the integrity of Russia at the territory of Ukraine. This goal is achieved in several ways:

- consolidation and strengthening of Russification of Ukraine;

- the displacement of the Ukrainian language from all spheres of public life, including the use in state bodies and state attributes, and its replacement into Russian;

- complete Russification of informational and cultural space and educational sphere;

- providing the Russian language with state status;

- formation of the Malorossian identity of Ukrainian society;

- prevention of the revival of historical memory and the cultivation of the Soviet and Russian heritage, where Ukraine is interpreted as an integral part of the Russian state;

- spreading the Russian state ideology and Russian political stereotypes of thinking in the public consciousness of Ukrainians, as a result, they would become defenders of Russia's national interests, and not the interests of their own state;

- consolidation in the public consciousness of ideas about the prominent figures of Ukraine who fought for her independence, as about criminals, or war criminals, or fascists.

As for the methods of homogenizing the mental space of Ukraine on the basis of Russian identity, they include a whole range of approaches, methods and techniques for the use of soft power. First, it is imposing the state status of the Russian language to Ukraine. Russia seeks to implement this approach using official and informal channels of influence. At the official level, the Russian party appealed to the Agreement on the humanitarian cooperation of the CIS member-states, bilateral documents signed with Ukraine in the cultural, humanitarian sphere, the Grand Treaty, international instruments such as the European Charter on Languages, and uses official diplomatic channels for this purpose. Although, it is quite clear that an independent state should use its own official language at its own territory.

The unofficial providers of the introduction of the state status of the Russian language in Ukraine were the Party of Regions, pro-Russian parties and other pro-Russian movements that have representation at the Verkhovna Rada and representative bodies of local authorities in Ukraine. Unofficial channels of such influence include Russian educational and cultural centres in Ukraine and pro-Russian public organizations.

Second, speculation on the human rights of the so-called "Russian-speaking population". The term has been conceived specifically for the Ukrainian situation, since it does not exist in international humanitarian law or in international legal practice. The Russian side resorted to such sophistic methods based on the fact that the cultural rights of ethnic Russians in Ukraine are very well protected. They are much better protected than the rights of other national minorities in Ukraine.

Third, after Moscow's unsuccessful attempts to create a Russian political party or movement in Ukraine, it has resorted to the grouping of Russian compatriots living in Ukraine into a broad public organization represented by the Ukrainian Russian Association of Russian Compatriots, the Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots, the Russian Community of the Crimea, Registered Cossacks, Sevastopol-Crimea-Russia, Eurasian Union of Youth, Crimean Breakthrough. All these organizations worked closely with the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchy in Ukraine, have direct support from Russia. They are taken care of by the Rusky Mir Foundation specially established by the Russian authorities. This Foundation is a very influential foreign policy instrument. Its strategic goal is to make Russian compatriots patriots in promoting Russian interests and Russian foreign policy in the countries of residence. The Russian World will be unnecessary and inefficient without the integration of Ukrainian citizens into it. Therefore, the majority of such organizations are a direct challenge for Ukraine [50].

Fourth, promoting the acquisition of Russian citizenship by Ukrainians and the official securing of the right for dual citizenship in the Ukrainian legislation. Fifth, the media are used as the most powerful influence on the public consciousness of the Ukrainian population. The main task of these media tools of influence on Ukraine is to capture its national information space, to shape public opinion oriented in support of the position and interests of Russia, as well as the reproduction of the Malorossian identity in this socium.

The spread of such influence on Ukraine is carried out through the broadcasting and distribution of Russian media, as well as the transmission of information and ideological and information-cultural programmes and other products for the broadcasting and duplication by Ukrainian media. The greatest influence is achieved through television, radio, Internet, and printed media.

Television today serves as the main means of shaping public opinion. However, the interest of Ukrainian audiences to the ideologized Russian TV channels has significantly decreased in recent years. The number of Ukrainian viewers watching Russian television did not exceed 7% of the television media space in Ukraine [51].The Russian government and business are trying to compensate such low efficiency with broadcasting Russian information products on Ukrainian TV channels, such as Inter, TRK Ukraina, NewsOne, Channel 112, which own about 30% of Ukraine's television media space. The National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council gave at the time the permission to broadcast 45 foreign programmes, 37 of which were the Russian-language ones [52].

Due to the lack of state censorship and the commercial nature of Ukrainian editions, radio stations and TV channels, Russia quite easily took control of the information space in Ukraine and saturated it with information products of the corresponding ideological orientation. On the one hand, Ukrainian channels and radio stations began to use mainly Russian information products, cinema production, production of Russian show business. On the other hand, Russia was able to place sponsored materials on Ukrainian television channels and other media on commercial terms, as well as to acquire them in their property through outsourced offshore firms and thereby influence their editorial policies. Russia's domination in the informational and cultural space of Ukraine has opened up wide opportunities for it in implementing its own state ideology of the Russian World into the public consciousness of Ukrainians.

Particularly significant these opportunities have been opened up for Russia in the eastern and south-eastern regions of Ukraine. Russian state ideology found a favourable ground here in conditions of the transformation of the mentality of a large part of the population of these regions from Soviet to Russian provincial mentality. Another important tool of soft power, which is used by Russia are the films of Russian film studios. Russian films dominated the Ukrainian television and cinema distribution before the ban on their broadcasting after the beginning of Russian military aggression. The overwhelming majority of them are issued on a state order to create a positive image of Russia and a negative image of the West, propagating the cult of Russian special services, security structures and other attributes of Russian statehood.

Recently, the Internet has become a real theatre of hostilities in the informational-ideological warfare. Russian sites are marked by exceptional aggressiveness and biased character of their information products on Ukraine, aimed at fomenting Ukrainophobia and other tasks pursued in information and psychological operations.

Sixth, Russian pop culture is an important component of Russia's cultural expansion to Ukraine. Russian pop culture dominated the Ukrainian cultural environment in comparison with Ukrainian-language and western cultural products. In addition to business interests, Russian pop culture implements important political functions. It provides an opportunity to support and promote Russian cultural mentality, as well as Russian ideological and cultural values in Ukrainian society, thereby strengthening its Malorossian identity. It is no coincidence that the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine banned entry into Ukraine of Russian performers who supported the annexation of the Crimea by Russia and Russian military aggression against Ukraine.

Seventh, the use of the Russian historical heritage as an important instrument for consolidating Malorossian and  common civilizational identity. The Russian Foreign Ministry strongly opposes the interpretation of Ukrainian history, which is different from the officially approved position in Russia. Thus, the Russian side denies the right of Ukraine to its own history, to revive its own memory. The history of Ukraine, in its conviction, should be seen only following the lead of the Russian political history. To consolidate this kind of perception of history in this sphere, the Russian authorities are trying, on the one hand, to discredit those Ukrainian national symbols and Ukrainian figures who fought for Ukraine's independence, on the other hand, to promote those historical dates and monuments dedicated to the Russian and Soviet history, and also symbolizing the unity of the two fraternal peoples.

Eighth, involvement of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchy in the political purposes. The Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchy plays a central role in shaping the common civilizational identity, homogenizing the Russian mental space in Ukraine. The church represents the most powerful symbol of Russian presence in Ukraine, which associates itself with the forefront of the Byzantine branch of European civilization. The Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchy claims to play a leading role in the spiritual life of the political elite and the population of Ukraine. That is why it is considered to be a key component of the soft power used by Russia to build the Russian World in Ukraine.

Thus, the strategy of implementation of the Russian World in Ukraine is characterized by offensiveness, aggressiveness, clear coordination of actions and complexity of the use of means of implementing the set tasks. These tasks included not only imposing on the Ukrainian society of the Russian language as a state and the homogenization of the Russian cultural environment in Ukraine, but also imposing the Russian identity on Ukraine's population to include it in the Russian civilization and deny the existence of the Ukrainian national identity inherent in the Ukrainian society. Thus, civilizational confrontation in Ukraine turned into a war of national identities. Against this background, in accordance with the tasks of creating the Russian World, Russia's foreign policy towards Ukraine has an openly anti-Ukrainian character. Russia's embodiment of its civilization project for Ukraine means its actual alienation from modern European civilization, the loss of the Ukrainian identity, which defines the Ukrainian nation as a European, belonging to a large family of European nations.

Russia's implementation of the Russian World doctrine became full-fledged in relation to Ukraine and was implemented especially successfully during the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych. The main component of such a success was the complex and coordinated activities of the leading structures of the Russian state power, non-governmental organizations, the Moscow Patriarchy, the activation of pro-Russian political forces and movements in Ukraine, and the coming to power of the Party of Regions headed by V. Yanukovich in the presence of the Malorossian segment in the Ukrainian society. The interest of the pro-governmental Party of Regions to the ideology of the Russian World was in rebuilding Ukraine into Malorossia, since the Malorossian society was united on the basis of Malorossian, Soviet-Russian identity, and formed the main electoral base of the Party of Regions and the ruling class-oligarchic regime in Ukraine.

 The heritage of imperial colonial and post-Soviet past in social consciousness of the Ukrainian socium is an important basis on which Russia reliably calculated in the implementation of its imperial model and the arrangement of the Russian world in Ukraine. Based on this heritage, Ukrainian political scientists and cultural scientists were inclined to divide this socium into three separate national-cultural communities: "Ukrainians, Creoles and" Soviet people "("Scoops" according to household slang) - each with its traditions and historical memory, symbols and myths, civil and legal culture. The common ground for the first two was the historical territory - Ukraine, but it was perceived in different ways: through the prism of self-sufficient or imperial-Soviet vision, through fundamentally different historical myths and sociocultural traditions [53]."

"Soviets" are a scoop of undershaped Soviet community called "Soviet people". For them, Ukraine is a solid abstraction, because their views are connected with the Soviet Union and its ideology and history. They still support the re-establishment of an alliance with Russia and oppose Ukraine's independence and state sovereignty and its orientation towards European values. "Scoop is always an ally of Russia, a potential spy and collaborator" [54]. Independent Ukraine is associated in their minds with the enemy of their homeland, is seen as provocation of the West, a puppet of the world imperialism. Proponents of such Ukraine are associated for them with the image of the enemy and are denoted by the names of former enemies of the people, by such clichés as "banderivtsi" - "banderlogs".

The creoles, according to the definition of the famous culturologist Mykola Ryabchuk, are assumed to be the descendants of immigrants from the metropolis, mixed up with the indigenous local ethnos - "natives". To refer to this phenomenon inherent in the Ukrainian situation, he introduces the concept of Ukrainians or Сreole Ukrainians, or Malorossians [55]. In modern Ukraine, the Creole Ukrainians and Soviet people are joined together by, on the one hand, the hostile, aggressive attitude towards the Ukrainian nation, its national identity, Ukraine as an independent national state, and, on the other hand, a common Russian language and common mental-cultural orientation towards Moscow as a centre, as a capital, as an outpost in confrontation with the West as a defender, as the centre of civilization.

On this basis, the East and South of Ukraine, where the majority of Russian-speaking population resides, cannot be called "Russian Ukraine", since it is Ukrainian in terms of ethnic origin. The name Malorossia is more suitable for the project of development of this part of Ukraine, built on the post-colonial, post-imperial and non-Ukrainian component. On this basis, supporters of the Russian World consider it necessary to recognize the rights of Russia to a number of territories of Ukraine, the least among which could be claims to Donbas and the Crimea. It is no coincidence that, therefore, V.Putin launched a military aggression against Ukraine in 2014 from the territory of the Crimea and Donbas, being absolutely sure that the local population would fully support the Russian military intervention. The differences and resources of such a society are quite capable of providing for the existence of the Russian World at these Ukrainian territories in the form of autonomy under the full military and political control of Russia under the name of Novorossia or Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk (LPR) people's republics with an authoritarian political regime, which can be considered a segment of the Russian World.

Thus, since Ukraine's independence, two alternative development projects have been built on its territory: "Ukraine" and Malorossia. In the first two decades, the development project titled "Ukraine" was dominant. But the main disadvantage of that period was that the state-building process was not backed by the construction of a nation. As M. Ryabchuk explains, "the incompleteness of nation-building processes in the vast part of Ukraine has at least two negative consequences. On the one hand, it nourishes Russian imperial myths and revanchist aspirations, giving them the impression of amorphous Ukraine, its, so to say, infertility and tolerance for any imperial manipulation, including direct expansion. On the other hand, the above incompleteness fuels the inferiority complex in Ukrainians themselves, forming in them a sense of being in a "besieged fortress" [56].

People not united into a nation cannot gain independence and build a sovereign state. Lipinsky pointed out this historical problem of many nations, drawing our attention to the quality of democracy in post-communist societies. In particular, he drew attention to "democratic chaos in the colonies, where freedom was not obtained through their internal efforts, but because of the feebleness of the metropolis" [57]. Ukraine also fell under that same tendency of gaining independence.

Such marginalization of Ukrainians and creolization (Russification-Sovietization) of Ukraine had not only internal but also foreign policy implications related to Russia's interests. First, it contributed to the construction of the Russian World and the consolidation of Ukraine in the Russian civilization area. For the Russian imperials, the very existence of some distinct Ukrainian national identity, and even more so of the state, is a historical misunderstanding, a challenge to their own imperial identity built on the mythical idea of the continuity of the "Rus" (in their imagination of "Russian") Kiev and the more mythical Ukrainian-Russian (Malorossian-Great Russian) "unity" and "indivisibility". A compromise with the Ukrainians would be to recognize their being alien, their cultural difference and political sovereignty. In practice, this would mean abandoning its own imperial identity and creating a completely different identity - the Russian-national, limited by the historical-geographical framework of today's Russian Federation. Russian imperial consciousness is not ready for such "surrender"; it requires instead "surrender" from Ukrainians - the recognition of their subordination, being secondary, provinciality as compared to Russians, i.e., the adoption of a regional-Malorossian identity as the only compatible with the identity of the Russian imperial one - in contrast to the incompatible Ukrainian national identity [58]. Second, it was a prerequisite for building an authoritarian political regime in Ukraine congenial to the Russian one. Viktor Yanukovych took an example from the Kremlin in the vast majority of his political reforms, or rather in their absence. As a unifying idea, the pro-government team headed by Viktor Yanukovych was considering not the one that would have to unite Ukrainians, but the one that should unite Ukraine with Russia. It is no coincidence that the doctrine of the Russian World was borrowed as an unofficial ideology of the power of Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine, which was implemented quite persistently by the ruling team. Such a move to the Russian World was another indication of the intellectual inability of the modern Creole-Malorossian elite in Ukraine to build its own post-imperial model of the state.

Russia's attempts to destroy the Ukrainian national consciousness and national memory, i.e. to destroy the Ukrainian society as a nation, turning it into the Malorossian socium, are treated as nothing but an ideological violence against the Ukrainian people. Undoubtedly, such ideological violence generated some resistance in the Ukrainian society, which manifested itself in the form of ideological warfare, which has always preceded the stage of its open escalation with the use of military force. The driving force behind the process that triggered the war was the revival of the Ukrainian nation and Ukrainian identity.


The Russian World as a weapon.

The combination of Putin's model of fascism and militarism, on the one hand, and the feeling of a lost victory over Ukraine and the emergence of Euromaydan, which demonstrated the birth of the Ukrainian nation, on the other hand, made it impossible to implement the doctrine of the Russian World by peaceful means through the implementation of various reintegration scenarios, those were the factors, which led V. Putin to conclusion about the need to build the Russian World in Ukraine only by means of force. As one of the bloggers states, in Russian mentality "good should be with fists. This is an axiom. Otherwise, how will it naturally overcome evil? [59]". Thus, the construction of the Russian World in Ukraine as a civilization project has become a stage of preparing and implementing a large-scale military occupation of Ukraine.

The ultimate goal of such a construction of the Russian World through the war is to destroy Ukraine as a nation state and Ukrainians as a nation. Intermediate goals of this war on the part of Russia are federalization or decentralization of the Ukrainian state, bringing to power the puppet authorities controlled by Russia, isolation of the country from the West, prevention of its integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures, which ultimately involves the complete and final deprivation of Ukraine's state sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In accordance with these goals, a key information role was assigned to the strategic information operation as the main component of the hybrid war. It is aimed at changing the political course of Ukraine from European to pro-Russian and overthrowing its state sovereignty. That operation was characterized by massive political and informational influence on the Ukrainian and Russian society, as well as the political elite of Ukraine.

The content part of the strategic information operation of Russia was based on the doctrine of the Russian World, the implementation of its basic provisions should have been subject to rigorous violent methods through military intervention and the occupation of Ukrainian territories. One of the main tasks in the implementation of this doctrine is the formation of the "image of the enemy" in the person of Ukrainians, on whom the mass media intensively began to hang up such horror-cliches as "Bandery", "fascists", and the Russian information space was carefully sculpting the image of "enemy state" from Ukraine. It is obvious that such massive propaganda was aimed at both the inhabitants of Eastern and South-Eastern Ukraine, and at the Russian society itself. In the external sense, it is intended to deepen the mental divide in Ukrainian society and lead to a social conflict between Russian-speaking and Ukrainian-speaking citizens of Ukraine, on the basis of which claims should be made for violations of the rights of the Russian-speaking population. Such a plot was to create the grounds or the reason for the military occupation of Ukraine and the annexation of part of its territory, as it was embodied in relation to Abkhazia and South Ossetia during the Russian-Georgian war of 2008. In order to implement the information impact on Ukraine and the international environment, Russia has invested enormous resources both at the domestic Russian, regional and global levels, including the use of the potential of such world news agencies as CNN, BBC, and Al Jazeera.

In the internal dimension, such special propaganda was aimed at preparing Russian society for a military aggression against Ukraine. Creating a situation for such a social psychosis is necessary to support the war and increase the confidence of Russian society in V. Putin, in the eyes of which the Russian president looks a priori as a hero, because he dared to destroy the enemies of Russia.

The political formulation of this forcibly established Russian World at the territories occupied by the Russian troops is made by means of their annexation, as was done with the Crimea, and the proclamation of such quasi-structure as "Novorossia ", with its subsequent joining Russia. The creation of the full-format Novorossia, where the southern (Odessa, Mykolayiv, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk provinces) and eastern (Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv provinces) regions were supposed to enter, should have taken place as a result of the completion of the second stage of the military campaign of the Russian hybrid war against Ukraine.

In addressing his compatriots on 17 April, 2014, V. Putin, speaking of Ukrainian statehood, said that "Eastern Ukraine is Novorossia. It is rooted in Russia. In 1920s, that territory was for unknown reasons included by the Soviet government in Ukraine" [60]. With that programme thesis, Putin gave his compatriots three essential messages as for his decision. First, Eastern Ukraine is an ancient "Russian land", which never belonged to Ukraine as a state; second, it was illegally transferred to Ukraine; third, accordingly, it should be returned to Russia similar to the Crimea. This message to V. Putin was clearly understood both in Donetsk and in Luhansk, and other cities of Eastern Ukraine.

On the whole, this thesis was interpreted as an appeal to irredentism, after which Russian propaganda began to actively explain to the inhabitants of these eastern and southern regions of Ukraine that they, by example of the Crimea, could easily return to Russia, receive large pensions and Russian citizenship and Russian life as soon as they go to protest actions and vote at the referendum for joining their regions to Russia. After such an appeal, they began to write in the Kremlin the Constitution and Fundamentals of the state system of "Novorossia" as a confederative republic (the second Russia) with the right to join the Russian Federation on the rights of its subject. In line with this scenario, on 11 May, 2014, separatists held a "referendum" in captured cities and villages. On 24 May, 2014, the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics signed a document on the association with the Confederation of "Novorossia".

Although from all southern and eastern provinces, only residents of the Donbas and Kharkiv region were more inclined to support and participate in the blockade and seizure of Ukrainian military units led by Russian sabotage groups and special forces, being confident that the Ukrainian military would not shoot civilians, despite the fact that such persons act on the side of the aggressor. Thus, the "Novorossia" project could not be created in a full-scale format on the basis of the socium in the East and the South of Ukraine. The latter is by no means consistent with this project. Therefore, the second phase of the Russian military campaign in its hybrid war against Ukraine could only take place within Donbas, with minimal chance of success in the Kharkiv region. In the future, the advancement of the Russian World in such a bloody violent way was stopped by the Armed Forces of Ukraine and Ukrainian volunteer battalions.

Meanwhile, the war continues and Russia has not abandoned its goals in this war. After all, Russia managed to satisfy only the minimal claims about Donbas and the Crimea (Tavria) in establishing the Russian World in Ukraine. Therefore, the implementation of the Russian World doctrine in Ukraine will continue. The main point of this war is to create a chaotic situation in Ukraine and bring the pro-Russian puppet forces into power at the presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine in 2019. At the same time, Russia is inclined to apply already worked out, old methods of spreading influence mentioned above, as well as to rely on the branched network of the 5th Russian column in Ukraine.

Consequently, 2019 year will be the period of a new revenge of Russia and pro-Russian forces in the implementation of the Russian World in Ukraine. Such a revenge will be carried out with the support of the remnants of the Party of Regions,  united into Opoplok, Vidrodzhennya and other party clones, as well as the establishment of new, more radical, such as the party Za Zhyttya by V. Rabinovich and party-clone of the Putin movement Nashi by Yevgen Muraev.

The main strategic directions of the new revenge of the Russian World in Ukraine are: first, the concentration of a powerful media resource in the hands of managers-providers of the Russian World, such as Viktor Medvedchuk, who has gained control over such leading channels as the 112th and NewsOne. Second, the creation of a leading pro-Russian force based on the primary structures of Za Zhyttya party, bringing it into the parliament and support of the pro-Russian presidential candidate.

Third, the broadcasting on Ukrainian TV channels of odious politicians with slogans of the Russian World and manipulative technologies introduced by a specially trained pool of political technologists and experts. Russia's stereotypes about Ukraine are based on a number of abstracts: "Ukraine is a failed state"; Ukraine belongs to the Russian cultural and mental space; "The Ukrainian language does not exist"; "Civil/fratricidal war continues in Ukraine"; " Power in Ukraine belongs to ultra right/Nazi-Banderivtsi"; "There is total chaos in Ukraine", "The Crimea is Russia"; "Ukrainian roots come from Russia"; " The rights of Russian speakers are violated in Ukraine "; "Western Ukraine is the centre of Banderivtsi and Lviv is their capital"; Ukrainians are "younger brother", etc.

There is some shift in emphasis in the formation of stereotypes and messages in the context of the election. Pro-Russian political forces in the media send the following messages: " There is the civil war in Ukraine "; " Federalization is necessary for Ukraine" ; "It is necessary to recognize" LPR / DPR "; "Donbas needs a peacekeeping mission under Russian conditions"; "The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchy is the only true church in Ukraine"; "The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchy is an enemy of God, unworthy and unrecognized"; "Ukraine and Russia are one people", "There is only a future for Ukraine in tandem with Russia," "Ukraine is not able to solve its own problems," etc.

Hence the main propaganda thesis is spread in the Russian media: the peace in the Donbas will be achieved only in the event of a change of power in Kiev after the presidential election. In this way, Russia wants to intervene in the intra-Ukrainian political debate and to impose the idea that there is a connection between a certain election result and peace in the Donbas [61].

Fourth, activization and mobilization of the resource of pro-Russian organizations in Ukraine. Currently, there are public organizations in Ukraine that work for the Russian World under a cover. These are Trudova Kharkivshchyna, Orthodox Union "Radomir ". In particular, these public organizations rely on the support of parties such as Opoblock, Ukrainskiy Vybir, who advocate rapprochement with Russia.

Such preparing of Russia for revenge during the presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine is a serious signal for Ukrainian civil society, patriotic political forces in order to prevent the second revenge of the Russian World.


Conclusions and suggestions.

To be efficient in combating the ideology of the Russian World, the West must realize the futility of Russia's reintegration into the European political and civilizational space. Moreover, such an integration of Russia with its Russian World will lead to a complete destruction of the European commonwealth and European democratic values, since the imperial Russian statehood, and therefore the ideology of the Russian World, are based on the antithesis: as the Anti-West. As history shows, whenever the West attracted Russia to its civilization and geopolitical projects, they eventually collapsed. This has happened with the liberal project of building the Greater Europe, which so far European liberals try to believe.

Attempts to develop economic relations with Russia on the principle of "business as usual" necessarily required ideological concessions from the West according to the principle: the Russian market and energy in exchange for the Byzantineization of the West. In the security sphere, the West should abandon the thesis "European security is impossible without Russia" and accept the reality that the only possible "European security can only be without Russia". The West must realize that Russia has been, is and will be a permanent threat and cease to believe that Russia's leadership is mistaken in its policy, or that with its change, Russia will become democratic. Attempts to carry out democratic reforms led to disintegration processes in Russia. The need for authoritarianism and imperial model is due to the very historical development of Russian statehood, which allowed it every time, after the next cataclysms to revive again.

At the same time, the West must build an efficient strategy to protect its own democratic values, otherwise the Russian World will destroy European solidarity and democratic order in the countries of Europe. And the West has already a fairly successful experience in overcoming such a Nazi ideology. It only needs to understand the reality of the threat of the Russian World and to show a sufficient political will to apply this experience in relation to Russia.

As for Ukraine, such a strategy of countering the pro-Russian ideology of the Russian World should be based on two key principles: first, to dispel myths and narratives of the Russian World, and second, to affirm their own Ukrainian national identity. Thus, all humanitarian, internal and, to some extent, foreign policy of Ukraine should be aimed at strengthening the nation-building processes and completing the formation of the Ukrainian nation. For this, the main efforts of the state authorities and civil society in Ukraine should be concentrated in such directions.

1. Introduction of a grant system for researches, publications and monographs on the critical analysis of the conceptual foundations of the ideology of the Russian World and the doctrinal foundations of Russian foreign, security, information and humanitarian policy, Russian political history, geopolitics, and cultural studies.

2. Conduct a broad educational work on defining the ideology of the Russian World and explaining the threat of that ideology for Ukraine.

3. Creation of TV and radio programmes on: "Russian World as a threat".

4. Conduct a broad campaign of Internet derussification with mandatory submission of Ukrainian content with Ukrainian domains.

5. Derussification of business environment and the whole document circulation in business and banking.

6. Adoption of the new Law on the state status of the Ukrainian language and linguistic policy in Ukraine with its introduction in all spheres of public life, which would make further russification of Ukraine impossible.

7. Adoption and strict adherence to the new Law of Ukraine On Citizenship of Ukraine, which would provide for the automatic deprivation of Ukrainian citizenship in case of foreign citizenship for Ukrainian citizens and administrative and criminal responsibility for concealing such foreign citizenship.

8. Assistance in consolidating the leading role of the only Ukrainian Orthodox local church after receiving the tomos and re-registering the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchy into the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchy by the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine.

9. Ensuring a large-scale company to counter Russian ideological, informational, and cultural expansion in Ukraine.

10. To introduce systematic monitoring of information about Russian, pro-Russian, and Ukrainian skeptic or euro-skeptical messages that go through national media. Establish a strong interdepartmental analytical office to use the experience and practice of initiatives already in Ukraine, and consider information protection - Detector Media, StopFake, Information Security, Internews Ukraine, etc. In this context, it is important to implement regular surveys for mass media, politicians, and leading bloggers who have been noticed in creating or sharing: disinformation, Ukrainophobia, hate speaking, Russian propaganda messages. Surveys should be held by leading NGOs with the financial support of national or international funds.

11. Conduct a systematic monitoring of Russian media and activities of pro-Russian organizations and political parties in Ukraine as for Russian misinformation and propaganda and disseminate the results of this monitoring among Ukrainian institutions. In this context, it is necessary to analyze areas with the most active Russian propaganda machine - history, economy, human rights, geopolitics, etc. We need to be active in these areas: digitizing archives, visualizing data and creating content for various categories of people, from viral videos to animation and educational programmes [62].



*Information about the author:

Grygory Perepelytsya – Professor of the Institute of international relations at the Kiev National University, expert of the CRS.

The article is based on the address at the International Conference «Russia in the CRS’s researches: the main results and perspectives»



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