The conflict in Ukraine has sparked many debates on several issues, from military and political to ideological ones. There are numerous narratives and theories linked to Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine, this fiercely contested portion of Russia’s near abroad. Among these, there are the discourses centered on Eurasianism, which provide the Russian elites with strong arguments for the invasion, at least on an ideological level.
This analysis studies the transformations in Russian civil society from the eighteenth through the twenty-first century. It argues that powerful political structures, formed during the Imperial, Soviet and post-Soviet periods, have influenced civil society arrangements in the modern-day Russian Federation. Similar to Russian forms of democracy and the market economy, which diverge substantially from Western European models, civil society as it exists in the RussianFederation has not followed the West’s trajectory of development. This Russian iteration of civil society, which emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union, is the result of successive transformations across social sectors over several centuries and is justified through various factors unique to the Russian socio-political context.