The Russian language is an important item in the authorities’ toolbox that is used both to strengthen the regime inside Russia and to spread Russian influence abroad.
Russia is in a situation in which it must preserve its federal structure inside the state, while at the same time the nationalist tendencies of the authorities lead to the dominance of the Russian language and culture. This nationalism has an outlet in the form of the “Russian World” policy, which spreads Russian-ness outside the country, and which has become one of the tools of Russian foreign policy. The current tendency to reinforce the ethnic Russian identity is contrary to the civic, multi-ethnic national identity expressed in the Russian constitution. These developments can be a source of instability inside and outside Russia.
Download: The Russian Language as a Soft Power Tool: The Construction of National Identity by the Kremlin (PDF)