Between Pluricentric Russian and Russian Neoimperialism

Activity: Talk or presentation typesPublic lecture/debate/seminar


All the world’s ‘big’ languages of international communication (for instance, English, French or Spanish) are pluricentric in their character, meaning that official varieties of these languages are standardized differently in those states where the aforesaid languages are in official use. Nowadays, the only exception to this tendency is Russian. Despite the fact that Russian is employed in a (semi-)official capacity in numerous post-Soviet states (alongside Mongolia and Israel), it is still construed as a monocentric language whose single and unified standard is (and must be) solely controlled by Russia. From the perspective of sovereignty, this arrangement affords Moscow a degree of influence and even control over culture and language use in the countries where Russian is official. It appears that after 2007, the Kremlin made monocentric Russian into a hard instrument of geopolitics (that is, hybrid warfare) for transforming Russia into a typical ethnolinguistic nation-state, and for claiming foreign territories compactly inhabited by Russian-speakers as ‘unredeemed’ parts of this country.
Period30 Apr 2021
Held atHokkaido University, Japan
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • pluricentric language
  • monocentric language
  • Russian language
  • Russian neoimperialism
  • ethnolinguistic nationalism
  • hybrid warfare
  • cyber warfare
  • language politics