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SPP 419

Author: Richard Rose & Neil Munro
Description: The historic differences between Russian elites about whether the country's future lies in Europe or to the Eurasian east is addressed afresh here by examining what the Russian public thinks, using data from the New Russia Barometer survey. More than two-thirds see the country's future with the CIS and less than one-third see it with Europe. Alternative explanations about why Russians differ in their view of the world are then tested statistically. Traditional identities and age are most important in making Russians look to the near abroad. Even though cosmopolitan contacts of individuals with the West encourage people to be pro-European, this group is so small that it has little impact on society as a whole. The evidence suggests that even if Russians become more open to information about the world beyond their national borders they are likely to view it as a CIS space. This orientation does not indicate a popular demand to re-establish Imperial dominance of the region but reflects a durable commitment among most Russians to see the world in a Eurasian rather than European perspective.

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland