Russia under President Putin stands, as often before, at a crossroads. Can the reforms of the 1990s provide the foundations for a stable, democratic society, or will a new authoritarianism, more in keeping with Russian political traditions, take shape? With the collapse of empire and the creation of the Russian Federation, Russian nationalism is becoming increasingly important in Russian politics. Yet Russian nationalism is not a new phenomenon. Who were the Russian nationalists before the creation of today's Russia? What were their views? What was their political influence? This book seeks answers to these questions by looking in detail at the USSR from 1981 to 1991 through the eyes of a group of leading Russian nationalist intellectuals gathered around the literary journal Nash sovremennik. The author suggests that, in the twenty-first century, a specifically Russian type of nationalism, ethnic and statist, could provide the ideological underpinning for a new authoritarianism.

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