The Concept of Pax Russica, Russian Strategic Narratives and their Possible Impact on Populist Movements and the Russophone Community in Estonia




Pax Russica, Estonia, Populist Movements


In recent years, the Russian Federation has increased its aggressive rhetoric and information campaigns against the Baltic states as they identify these countries among the most vulnerable part of the West, which may be potentially handled by the Kremlin as a potential target audience for information and influence operations in their status conflict with the West. Moreover, the tools of information and influence operations of Russian Federation include all kinds of intimidation and manipulation techniques from cyber-attacks to political extortion among others. The research focuses on studying political influence Russia expectedly pursues through strategic narratives that find their way to reaching target audience. The research is primarily based on media analysis of Estonian media outlets in Estonian and Russian language and on structured interviews with various political figures and experts, opinion leaders, and representatives of Russophone community in Estonia.Probably the most fundamental idea of the modern state philosophy of the Russian Federation is the concept of the ‘Pax Russica’ (Russian World), which has been intensively developed during the last decade, promoted by abundant PR companies and information campaigns for the Russian-speaking internal and external audiences in mass media, social media,  but also in popular and scientific literature. The concept of ‘Pax Russica’ has been used by Russian political elites as an ideological tool to unite all Russian-speaking people worldwide and to create a global Russian-speaking cultural, ideological, historical, social, political, economic and informational space as a powerful alternative to the Soviet Union or the Russian Empire. The concept of ‘Pax Russica’ is closely related to the compatriots policy of the Russian Federation, in which Russia has declared that its duty is protect Russian-speaking people not only in Russia, but also abroad.Russian-speaking population makes up 26-27% of the Estonian 1,300,000 population, and approximately 80% of them live in two counties: Harjumaa (including capital Tallinn) and Ida-Virumaa (northeast of Estonia) and it has been a valuable target for information and influence operations coming from Russia. The Russophone audience in Estonia constantly receives messages and narratives from Russia’s media channels, many of them promote negative perceptions against the West (e.g., about the "immorality" of the West, about "misdeeds" and "aggression" of NATO), stoking up the fear of migrants and refugees and other harmful narratives that break down positive images related to European identity, values and security architecture. What is characteristic to the Russian strategic narratives, these tend to be rather destructive, with the aim to destroy their potential adversary than to promote positive images on Russia. Besides the Russian-speaking community, Russia often targets various populist movements in Europe (also in Estonia) from left to right, etc. Russia pretends to protect, and promote worship against liberalism.

Author Biography

Vladimir Sazonov, University of Tartu

Dr. Dr. Vladimir Sazonov (PhD in history, PhD in cultural research) works as Research-Professor at Estonian Military Academy and Associate Professor at the University of Tartu. He teaches lectures on politics, history and security (Middle East, Russia). His research fields comprise hybrid warfare, Middle Eastern, Russian state ideology and particularly information war. Sazonov published many articles, several books and volumes - in Springer Verlag (2021), in Tartu University Press 2010, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2020 in Jim Eisenbrauns (Penn State University Press) 2016; Äripäev 2020, 2022; Ugarit-Verlag 2016, etc on Russian state ideology, propaganda, Middle Eastern history, politics and security. 

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How to Cite

Vladimir Sazonov. (2022). The Concept of Pax Russica, Russian Strategic Narratives and their Possible Impact on Populist Movements and the Russophone Community in Estonia . TSU-TI — THE INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC JOURNAL OF HUMANITIES, 1(1).