BIRYUKOV S.V., OMELICHKIN O.V. Current Western Myths about Russia


Sergey V. Biryukov

Doctor of Sciences (Politics), Professor, Researcher,

Centre for Russian Studies, East China Pedagogical University,

North Zhongshan Road, 3663, 200062 Shanghai, China

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Oleg V. Omelichkin

Doctor of Sciences (Politics), Professor of Department of World History and Sociopolitical Sciences,

Kemerovo State University,

Krasnaya St., 6, 650043 Kemerovo, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. The paper discusses the most common features of political myths which, with reference to Russia, are mainly built on superficial historical and cultural views on the political past of our country and a biased ideological assessment of contemporary political processes. In their research the authors use such methods as culturological, sociophilosophical and discourse analysis of public practices. The paper outlines the major topics highlighted in Western scientific literature and the media – Russia’s underdevelopment, the authoritarian essence of the regime, its repressive nature, corruption, nationalism, violation of human rights and freedoms, aggressive foreign policy, etc. In the course of the analysis it is admitted that the Russian reality gives some grounds for such assumptions. At the same time, using some specific empirical data the authors put the critical judgments under corrective analysis and, consequently, refute many of them. Our opponents’ main claim is Russia’s inability or intentional unwillingness to become an organic part of Western civilization. Thereby, the critics refuse to recognise the right of the country to be conscious of its historical identity and to search for alternative routes of development. The research results consist in the conclusion that most Western myths manifest the denial of Russia as an autonomous power with its independent policy, and make an attempt to impose their own ideas and interests. However, a well-grounded and objective assessment of Russia is also to be heard from Western experts. The authors believe that the process of refusal from mutual accusations and stereotypes will be a long and difficult one, but it is crucial, too, if both sides are interested in establishing equitable partner relationships. To succeed in this, Russia has to overcome its internal challenges and contradictions and to secure ideological consensus and political consolidation of the society. O. V. Omelichkin has studied the peculiarities of political myths and their reflection in political consciousness of modern Russia. S. V. Biryukov has paid special attention to the analysis of Western mythologems and the prospects of forming the foreign political image of the country.

Key words: myth, identity, culture, history, political processes, state, international relations.

Citation. Biryukov S.V., Omelichkin O.V. Current Western Myths about Russia. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4, Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2018, vol. 23, no. 6, pp. 185-196. (in Russian). DOI:

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Current Western Myths about Russia by Biryukov S.V., Omelichkin O.V. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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