12 Dec 2022

Putin and the Third Rome

Source: Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Mount Athos / REUTERS
Source: Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Mount Athos / REUTERS

Imperial-Eschatological Motives as a Usable Past

Niels Drost and Beatrice de Graaf

In this article we use the concept of ‘radicalization’ and ‘usable past’ to analyze how the Russian president Vladimir Putin crafted a specific narrative to legitimize the war against Ukraine. This narrative is the product of a series of ideologically, religiously and historically informed frames that Putin developed over the past 22 years. We outline how Putin made use of christian-imperial history as a ‘usable past’ for him to 1) formulate a new state ideology, 2) mobilize society behind the mission of the Holy Russian Empire, 3) demonize enemies and legitimize their planned destruction, and 4) embed this mission and ideology in an overarching apocalyptical, metaphysical scheme, in which death and war are noble goals for Russians to embrace, in order to obtain their place in heaven.

Read the full article here.

Clingendael Institute

Clingendael is an independent think tank and a diplomatic academy, based in The Hague - City of Peace and Justice. We aim to contribute to a secure, sustainable and just world through our analyses, training and public debate. We work with partners across public and private sectors, including policymakers, members of the armed forces, diplomats, politicians and business executives.