Predestined to Act for a Greater Cause: The Sense of Mission in Russia’s Foreign Policy

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 12:00pm
4130 Posvar Hall

When stating their policies, states often talk about goals and tasks. Russia, apart from goals, also claims to have a “mission.” One often reads of a messianism deeply rooted in Russian tradition. Survey polls show that Russian society holds onto a popular belief that Russia, in order to develop and prosper, must strive for higher causes. Although Russian messianism is relatively well researched from the historical perspective, we are still lacking a substantial examination its contemporary form. The “messianic drive” is usually explained by the inner characteristics of the actor which claims to have mission. In the case of Russia, this characteristic is the impact of the Christian Orthodox tradition. Alicja Curanović, however, approaches messianism as a phenomenon triggered by external factors – dynamics within the international hierarchy of states. In her talk Dr. Curanović will present her findings about the mechanisms behind contemporary Russian messianism. She will talk about the content, context and functions of mission in Russia’s foreign policy after 1991 as well as changes and continuities in comparison to Russian messianism of XIX century.

Alicja Curanović is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Institute of International Relations at the University of Warsaw. Her main research interests are international relations in the post-Soviet area; Russian foreign policy; religious factor in international relations; perception, identity, image and status in politics. Her publications include the monograph The Religious Factor in Russia's Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2012) and numerous articles published in Politics and Religion, Nationalities Papers, and Religion, State and Society, among other journals. She has conducted research inter alia at the Columbia University, Stanford University, the Russian State University for Humanistic Studies and MGIMO and, currently, is a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.