chapter  4
50 Pages

Saving the Nation

Nationalism is an underlying presupposition of what it means and what it should mean to be of some 'nationality', and it is continuously 'flagged' with ubiquitous and almost 'neutral' national symbols into our thinking. In contemporary scholarly debates about nationalism, there seems to be two presuppositions that are widely subscribed to: the constructivist nature of a nation and the potential harmfulness of nationalism. The most influential attempt to distinguish 'good' forms of nationalism from 'bad' ones derives from Kohn's famous division between Eastern and Western types of nationalisms, a division that nowadays is more often denoted as ethnic and civic nationalisms. A model for defining the less or non-discriminative forms of nationalism is made by a scholar of ethnic and cultural minorities, Kymlicka, who introduces the terms 'liberal' and 'illiberal' nationalism. 'Nationalism' regularly has a more patent echo than 'patriotism'. In Russia, however, these terms have a specific history and thereby some additional connotations.