Cover Osteuropa 2-3/2011

In Osteuropa 2-3/2011

Eurasians or Scandoslavs?
The North in Russia’s Cultural Self-Understanding

Ulrich Schmid

Deutsche Fassung


The attention-grabbing act of planting a national flag of titanium on the seabed beneath the North Pole in 2007 made clear just how serious Russia’s geopolitical ambitions in the north are. Several important lines of cultural-historical discourse verify Russia’s self-understanding as a “northern” nation. This dimension has often been neglected in favour of clichéd comparisons of Russia and Europe. But even Russian concepts of the north are by no means homogenous. In the past two centuries, the north was repeatedly imag-ined as the place of origin of Russia’s national culture and form of government. Simultaneously, there were movements towards disengagement and rejection, in which the autochthonous Slavic element was played off the northern, Scandinavian element, something that was seen as alien.

(Osteuropa 2-3/2011, pp. 327–346)