Russian Nationalism under Putin's Church-State: Justifying Acts of Aggression Against Ukraine

22 January 2024, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


This paper aims to analyze President Putin's nationalistic rhetoric and its role in legitimizing Russia's international aggression, particularly in the context of the "Russian World" narrative related to Ukraine. Drawing on data from the Levada Center, Kasianenko (2021), Goudimiak (2014), and primary sources of Putin's speeches, this study analyzes his discourse before and after aggressive actions, revealing themes such as "helping Ukrainian/brother nation" and "projecting blame." The intensified rhetoric during conflicts suggests a correlation between nationalism and aggression, with the Russian Orthodox Church influencing domestic approval. Understanding the interplay of religion and state rhetoric provides insights into Russia's authoritarian regime. As of February 2023, 75% of Russians supporting the war against Ukraine underscore the effectiveness of Putin's nationalism. The paper contributes to predicting Russia's behavior during heightened nationalistic pride and calls for further research into nationalistic claims' legitimacy and their impact on sovereignty and territorial disputes.


Russia-Ukrainian War
President Putin
Russian Nationalism
Russian Orthodox Church


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