Conceptual Rationale Of Russian National Interests


This paper provides results of a systematic analysis of problems of conceptual rationale of national security in contemporary Russia. At the same time, the author highlights issues, which are directly related to the national identity crisis. This study based on using methods of systematic induction, content analysis of documents, and comparative notional characterization of the current state identity of modern Russia in the context of the crisis. The author specifically emphasizes the importance of defining the meaning of notions such as the “national dream” and “national interests” of Russia on the basis of analysis of various documents and relevant scientific literature. The conclusion drawn based on a comparative analysis of various documents related to Russia’s national security is the core finding of this study. On the whole, conceptual understanding of the essence of national interests of Russia as a state is of a great importance for decision-makers in the Russian Federation. This issue is directly related to defining prospects of overcoming the national identity crisis in Russia. Furthermore, the issue of overcoming this crisis and the correct notional definition of national interests of the Russian Federation are directly related to efficient resolution of the issues of national security of our country.

Keywords: National interestnational identitynational securityRussian national identity crisis


The national interest, national identity and national security are extremely important to state affairs of any country. Special attention is paid to this fact both by large and small countries of the globally organized world (Shalaev, 2008). This fact is of paramount importance to the Russian Federation, too. However, unfortunately, decision-makers of this country fail to consider it in their daily practice of organization of national and public activity, let alone original interpretation of truly innovative signs of state management.

Problem Statement

This study aims at a systematic analysis of various paradoxes related to the detection and development of the national identity in Russia today. The author was on a long-time business trip in the USA in 1985 where he met Rostow, a famous scholar who substantiated the original concept of interaction between different countries in the world with all stages of growth factored into it. He asked my goal of coming to the USA. My answer was “I seek to gain insight into national interests”. “I have been waiting for you, sir, for 35 years”, he answered. “Take my thesis from that book-shelf and make a proper assessment of my opinions. It may well be that you will be able to put them to good use. You and Russian people may need them.” Moreover, I did as the honoured American professor told me (Kolobov, 2017, p. 62). When I returned home, I was surprised to see that Russian authorities in power had borrowed the interpretation of the national security and national interests from the Americans (Kolobov, 2017). Today the same interpretations are still in use. Moreover, that is tragic since no actions are taken on the side of decision-makers in the Russian Federation. Meanwhile, all countries in the world do realize the extreme importance and necessity of thorough development of the “national idea” containing an image of the desired future (Vodopetov & Kolobov, 2013).

Research Questions

Analysis of various circumstances related to the determination of the national interest scale in today’s Russia is the core problem of this paper. Futility of many scientific concepts of the systematic approach to different conditions of the national identity entails severe consequences. Absence of such concepts can impede economic development even in prosperous countries, as it was the case with Japan and might be expected in any country, including Korea and China (Vodopetov & Kolobov, 2013). In this regard, the USA and countries of Western Europe are in the most favourable situation. Despite all the domestic issues, the USA has not witnessed the collapse of the “national dream”, and in Europe, the image of the future, in general, has endured, despite all the changes in the ethnic composition of the population (Vodopetov & Kolobov, 2013, p. 36). This process has ensured stability in the view of most severe shocks and a somewhat steady (yet declining) level of internal readiness to action (Vodopetov & Kolobov, 2013).

Largely, the multiculturalism has ensured gradual integration of people with different ideas into some “common dream” (emphasizing the ideal future regardless of the diversity of interpretations of the past and the present). However, at the same time, it triggered attempts to make the dream some kind of privilege with the access to it for people of other countries, being restricted by measures taken against migration (Vodopetov & Kolobov, 2013). Thus, the mismatch between the content of the dream formed during previous decades and the current context is becoming more and more distinct. It should be stressed here that the national identity crisis is still topical in countries where the “national idea” is being pushed aside by ideological image projects (Vodopetov & Kolobov, 2013). At the same time, the array of innovative national ideological projects aimed at targeted modernization of the government and society inevitably replaces the “national idea” (Vodopetov & Kolobov, 2013, p. 45). Thus, the fundamental concepts, including the “national dream, “national idea” and “national security” are becoming imperative in all large-scale projects within the framework of the modern national identity.

Rabotyazhev (2018), a Russian researcher, states that the national idea promotes in Russian people confidence in their powers, self-respect and historical optimism.

It can well play a crucial role in that process of gaining a national idea by the Russian society and state, which is capable of consolidating multiple efforts to facilitate development of the country (Rabotyazhev, 2018).

In essence, it is the Russian idea that can reconcile values of socialism, liberalism and conservatism, justice and freedom, modernization and national uniqueness. The synthesis of these values can be called solidarity liberalism. A social and economic interpretation of solidarity liberalism implies an economic system in which the market economy and individual entrepreneurship are combined with the social partnership, elements of corporatism, various forms of economic democracy (participation of companies’ employees in management, profit and authorized capital, development of cooperation), and environmental standards (Rabotyazhev, 2018).

Furthermore, they have failed to play an essential role in the process of the Russian society modernization. At the same time, Russian solidarity remains one of those most important human values, which are bound to become a starting point of the Russian national idea (Rabotyazhev, 2018).

Saraf, a Russian philosopher, rightfully stated that in terms of correlation of the “national interests” and “national dream” with the “national security”, the disintegration of the USSR and persisting threat to Russia’s integrity “have triggered critical national collisions and drastic national contradictions which just some time ago seemed hardly possible in our country. In particular, the issues of ethnonational relationships have turned out to be especially critical, with all the bias in judgments, conclusions and solutions and severe consequences for considerable social populations, which are intrinsic to such issues”.

The fact that primary social groups of the former Soviet society were unable to deliver social initiative and pro-active protection of their interest was all unexpected. It was evident not only in the social domain (in rapid social stratification and declining living standards). Such inability also revealed itself in significant loss of capabilities to reproduce, i.e. in cultural decline, reduced pro-activeness and creative potential of the nation, and loss of Russia’s leading position in the generation of spiritual values. Moreover, it is not a coincidence that in this context the issue for the generation of a new national idea which would, at least, avert the threat of further disintegration, if not create something new, has become so critical (Saraf, 2016).

Similar collisions have emerged in former Yugoslavia where they have become especially critical and conflict, and in former Czechoslovakia which has managed to avoid severe ethnonational complications. In Saraf’s opinion, even the seemingly prosperous Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland face recurrent exacerbations of interethnic relations, which from time to time threaten to turn into national disintegration (Saraf, 2016).   

Saraf (2016) suggests that there hardly is a country in our contemporary world which would not have any nation-related contradictions. The fate of cultures of separate countries and peoples and the fate of the world culture, on the whole, depend on the nature of and tendencies in development and resolution of such contradictions.

By and large, the national security of today’s Russia emphatically requires conceptualization. This notion is clearly described in Order No 638 of the President of the Russian Federation “On the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation” implemented on 31st December 2015 (National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation).

Egorov et al. (2019), Russian researches, suggest that the principle of ensuring security through priorities of steady social development is the fundamental principle of the current national security strategy of the Russian Federation. Issues of ensuring of Russian national security remain the foreground, and paramount issues concerning other problems of political development since the resolution of Russian national security issues is associated with the task of preserving the national identity and unique Russian culture and civilized development pattern.

Egorov, Nikitina and Khokhlova believe that current trends in the development of the state and society reveal the following types of national security: space, innovative, intellectual, biological, psychological, demographic, scientific, technological and national economic security, the security of small peoples, the security of strategic natural resources, the security of development of science and education, the security of development of municipal entities and settlements, national border security, security against terrorism, and other types of security .

On the whole, current Russia’s geopolitical position urgently requires adequate assessment of importance of its geoeconomy, which still is the most vulnerable link in the Russian national security system (Egorov et al., 2019).

Purpose of the Study

This study aims at a systematic analysis of public and national interests of modern Russia.

Research Methods

The following methods are used for conducting this study: systematic induction, content analysis of documents, and comparative notional characterization of the current state identity of today’s Russia in the context of the crisis.


This study was aimed at a systematic analysis of various situations in Russia’s national security, national interest and national identity (Egorov et al., 2019). The core finding of this study is the conclusion drawn based on the comparative analysis of various documents related to Russia’s national security. Today misunderstandings and sanctions are superseding partnership and trust-based relationships between some countries that are manifested in economic, emigrational, social, environmental and other crises, which, in turn, transform into military conflict affecting national security of all countries in the global community, including the Russian Federation (Egorov et al., 2019).

It should be emphasized that the national security is the fundamental and basic notion in the structures characteristic of the entire country, while issues rising in the process of ensuring security in general are global in terms of civilization. That is why the interest in issues of national security will become more and more topical even though some conceptual approaches to this social life phenomenon have already been developed (Egorov et al., 2019).

Security, in its conventional sense, means physical survival of a state, preservation and protection of its territorial integrity and sovereignty and its ability to respond to potential and real external threats. On the other hand, national security is the most complex, multi-aspect and ever-changing system (Egorov et al., 2019). 

National security should be perceived as a reference point of the status of a society and the steadiness of its development. It appeals to the ability to withstand effects of various destructive factors and to adapt to changing conditions of life while maintaining high living standards of the population. “National security” is based on the unity of three fundamental social subjects – state, society, and individual. Future existence, functioning and further modification of the system are determined by multiple historical, geographic, political, religious, cultural, economic, psychologic, demographic, informational, and ethnic and some other situations (Egorov et al., 2019). 

Russia’s geopolitical position can have a great impact on the Russian national security, since Russian Federation is a state featuring parameters of a high power which has a vast territory; abundant natural resources; a population with high intellectual potential; an enormous military and strategic potential; and historical traditions of the great power statehood, national unity and integrity.   

When it comes to geopolitical processes of globalization, regionalization, fragmentation and separatism, the current situation in the world has a significant impact on the strategic position of the Russian Federation in general.

Moreover, it is the process of ensuring national security, implementation of national interests and development of the society and the state that changes the geopolitical position of the Russian Federation (Egorov et al., 2019).


The preceding proves the vital role the national dream, national interests and national security play in overcoming the national identity crisis. This issue is the core issue in the public and social life of Russia. Moreover, the fate of the entire humanity, let alone the fate of our country, depends on how promptly we can solve this issue.


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  3. Rabotyazhev, N. V. (2018). Russian National Idea: Between the Past and the Future.
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  6. The National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation. (2015).
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27 February 2021

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National interest, national identity, national security, public organizations, linguocultural identity, linguistic worldview

Cite this article as:

Kolobov, O. A. (2021). Conceptual Rationale Of Russian National Interests. In I. Savchenko (Ed.), National Interest, National Identity and National Security, vol 102. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 531-536). European Publisher.