Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

The Soviet and post-Soviet borders and symbolic geography of Russian nationalism

Fri31  Mar03:10pm(20 mins)
East Quad Lecture Theatre
Dr Alexander Titov


Alexander Titov1
1 Queen's University Belfast, UK


The question of the nature of Soviet era borders and their sustainability in the post-Soviet era have been brought into focus by Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s territories since 2014. This paper looks at the role Soviet and post-Soviet borders play in constructing the symbolic geography of Russian nationalism. Starting with looking at Khrushchev era arguments for the transfer of Crimea to the Ukrainian SSR and Putin’s justification of its annexation in 2014, the paper draws a list of appropriation tools employed by Russian nationalists in questioning the legitimacy of Soviet era borders and compares it with Soviet era policies of border management. The core argument is that the difference in perception between imperial, Soviet and Russian ‘national territories’ has persisted despite Soviet attempts to mute it. This has allowed Putin to use the ‘national appropriation toolkit’ in his wars with Ukraine.