Tsar-struck: How Vladimir Putin uses the history of the Russian Empire
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How does Vladimir Putin use imperial history? Scholars have written extensively about the ways in which the Russian president employs the past in his policy, but an overarching analysis of how Putin has instrumentalised the history of the tsars and the Russian Empire is still missing. Based on over 20.000 speeches and other primary sources that were scraped from the Kremlin website, this thesis supplements the existing literature by analysing how Putin has used history as a usable past to consolidate his power base. Systematically, it traces and plots the development in Putin’s usage and timing of different historical modalities between December 1999 and December 2021. While Putin initially used imperial history as an inspirational tool to strengthen society and international ties, the past gradually transformed into a weapon. Putin waved and swinged this rhetorical sword at home and abroad to justify his actions and secure his power position. By analysing how this occured, this thesis adds more insight into the cards that Putin holds and plays, as history is one of the key weapons of the Kremlin to uphold domestic support.