- The Japanese Association for Russian and East European Studies
- ロシア・東欧研究 (ISSN:13486497)
- vol.2010, no.39, pp.82-92, 2010 (Released:2012-06-20)
This paper traces the changing course of the patriotic policies of Putin’s government, and shows that the ‘color revolutions’ in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyz had a great impact on the Russian political process. Post-communist Russia has suffered from serious political and economic disturbances, comparable with smuta in tsarist Russia. In the first period of the New Russia, while Yeltsin’s government adopted a series of western-oriented policies, the opposition put forward an alternative line based on Russian nationalism. As Russian citizens displayed anti-western sentiments, however, president Yeltsin also changed course and modified policies to take national feelings into consideration. As a result, almost all political forces in Russia became proponents of Russian patriotism. Therefore, we need to examine the real contents of the patriotism held by political forces, particularly in each administration. President Putin, who followed president Yeltsin in 2000, stressed the importance of patriotism in his policies. Valerie Sperling, who analyzed patriotic policies in post-Soviet Russia, argues that Putin practiced various policies based on ‘militarized patriotism’ toward Russian youth, because his government needed to foster their loyalty to the state and their interest in joining the Russian army. Although I agree with her claim that Putin pursued patriotic policies, Sperling appears not to have grasped a turning point in policy transformation under Putin, in particular the real meaning of the ‘color revolutions’ that took place in the former Soviet Republics in 2003–2005. This paper analyzes the two programs for promoting patriotism among Russians, each of which was adopted under Putin’s government in 2001 and 2005. The difference between both programs is that the first was directed at all social and age groups, while the second mainly targeted the younger generation. Why did the latter program focus on youths? This paper examines the political impact on Putin’s administration of the ‘color revolutions’ in the CIS countries in which the younger generation played a significant role, and clarifies Putin’s efforts to prevent these revolutions from spilling over into Russia, through organizing a new youth organization named ‘Nashi,’ publishing a new edition of the guidebook for teaching Russian history, and other efforts.