chapter  2
The Russians: Diaspora and the End of Empire
ByNeil J. Melvin
Pages 31

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian diaspora emerged as one of the critical issues shaping political developments in many of the post-Soviet republics, particularly the Russian Federation. Once the Russian community was deprived of the support of an imperial state, the ambiguous nature of Russian identity and its weakness as a basis for political mobilization were exposed. Migrant communities were encouraged to see themselves as political and economic benefactors and as Kulturtrager for the ambiguous meld of Soviet and Russian culture. Although the russified settler communities received little attention during the Gorbachev era, in the early years of independence the "Russians abroad" quickly became one of the critical issues in the post-Soviet order. Under sustained political attack, the Russian government's initial vision of Russia's relationship with the world was revised at the end of 1992. Leading exponents of the "Atlanticist" vision of external relations were removed from the government.