This book explores how far messianism, the conviction that Russia has a special historical destiny, is present in, and affects, Russian foreign policy. Based on extensive original research, including analysis of public statements, policy documents and opinion polls, the book argues that a sense of mission is present in Russian foreign policy, that it is very similar in its nature to thinking about Russia’s mission in Tsarist times, that the sense of mission matters more for Russia’s elites than for Russia’s masses, and that Russia’s special mission is emphasised more when there are questions about the regime’s legitimacy as well as great power status. Overall, the book demonstrates that a sense of mission is an important factor in Russian foreign policy.
Table of Contents
Introduction I. Messianism as a socio-political phenomenon 1. The concept and typology of messianism 2. The characteristics of the historical development of the messianic idea 3. The sense of mission in the national self-identification process II. Mission in foreign policy 1. Identity and foreign policy 2. The concept of mission 3. Mission: role-identity and ontological security 4. Mission: recognition and status ambitions 5. Mission in foreign policy: analytical categories III. The sense of mission in Russia’s historical process of self-identification 1. Russia’s mission: genealogy and the comparative perspective 2. The characteristics of the mission roles in the Russian intellectual tradition 3. Russia’s mission compared to other discourses in foreign policy after 1991 IV. Characteristics of the mission narrative in Russia’s foreign policy (2000-2018) 1. Method: How to sniff out mission 2. The contemporary mission narrative in Russia’s foreign policy: a panoramic view 3. Who needs saving? From what? And how? Russia’s mission viewed along analytical categories V. The significance of mission narrative in Russia’s contemporary policy 1. Classification of the functions of the mission roles 2. Mission and identity 3. Mission and status 4. Mission and the legitimacy of the government 5. Mission: discourse of the elite or the mentality of society? Conclusion
Alicja Curanović is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Warsaw.