Populist justifications for war? The Russian intervention in eastern Ukraine

Revista CIDOB d'Afers Internacionals. 2018;(119):135-160 DOI 10.24241/rcai.2018.119.2.135


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Journal Title: Revista CIDOB d'Afers Internacionals

ISSN: 1133-6595 (Print); 2013-035X (Online)

Publisher: Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB)

Society/Institution: Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB)

LCC Subject Category: Political science

Country of publisher: Spain

Language of fulltext: Spanish

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Sofia Tipaldou (Investigadora Marie Skłodowska-Curie, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, University of Manchester (Reino Unido))

Philipp Casula (Investigador posdoctoral, Fonds national suisse de la recherche scientifique (FNS), Departamento de Historia, Université de Zurich (Suiza))


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 20 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

In the context of the war between Ukraine and Russia in the Donbass and the earlier crisis over Crimea, this paper examines four speeches by Vladimir Putin to identify and map populist elements in his discursive and formal strategies of justifying and creating a specific form of conflict. The analysis shows how this populism goes beyond the people/establishment dichotomy and is based on complex notions of enmity and alliance, a very broad definition of the Russian nation, a new division of the political space, and the introduction of new symbols of unity and the reaffirmation of old ones beyond the borders of today’s Russia. This casts a new shadow over Russian foreign policy in the post-Soviet space. Clarity is sought on questions about the Ukrainian conflict, but it is also hoped new elements will be brought to the existing literature on populism.