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Russia Is Western

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Russia, the EU member state

"Russia's only real geostrategic option — the option that would give Russia a realistic international role and also maximize the opportunity of transforming and socially modernizing itself — is Europe."

Any sort of setting in which Russia (or Kievan Rus', if in this continuity it never disintegrated into Russia, Belarus and Ukraine) is an inalienable part of the Western community, closely integrated with the Atlantic powers, and a member state of EU, NATO or whatever conglomerate of Western countries. If the storyline involves any sort of geopolitical confrontation, it would generally be between this alliance of countries and some Eastern bloc, usually led by China or Islamic states.

In Real Life, it is a matter of debate whether Russia should be seen as a Western country or as a separate entity (possibly a "bridge" between East and West); however, most agree that Russia is culturally closer to Europe and the West than to any other civilizational type (such as Middle Eastern states or Central Asian countries, which were previously part of the Russian empire). The issue is that if one were to look at works presented even before the east-west divide was cemented in the Cold War, the Russian Empire was considered to be distant enough (and also due to most of its land being east of the Urals and in demographics) to have a lot of Orientalist tropes applied to it. Nor is this idea exclusive to Western Europe. Russian monarchs as far back as Peter the Great even made it a point back then to "westernize", showing this idea is Older Than Steam.


Nations once part of Russia such as the Baltics, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova are considered western, however. The Central Asian nations are obvious, and the three Caucasus nations of Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan find themselves in a similar bridge with Russia.

Compare Heroic Russian Émigré, for post-1917 Russian emigrants who are Western-oriented and opposed to the Soviet regime.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Code Geass, Russia is initially a part of the European Union, and later becomes a part of the Holy Britannian Empire (with St. Petersburg becoming the Empire's capital). The third bloc, which opposes both EU and Britannia, is the Asiatic Chinese Federation.
  • In Bubblegum Crisis 2032 continuity, Russia, together with Germany, is the most important member of the franchise's version of the EU, and helped Japan to both rebuild after the disastrous 2023 New Kanto Earthquake, and to maintain its neutrality in the 2025 Sino-American war. Well, at least in one version of the timeline. The first episode, created before The Great Politics Mess-Up and the end of the Cold War, discusses that the critical technology may leak to the Communists.

  • In Ada, or Ardor by Vladimir Nabokov, most of the world is ruled by a Russo-Anglo-American dominion (North America is settled extensively by Russians, and Russian is one of its languages, along with English and French). They are fighting the Golden Horde in this world's version of the Cold War.
  • In The Bear and the Dragon by Tom Clancy, US and Russia cement a friendship after the Cold War, and join forces to confront China.
  • Victoria has the restored Russian Empire ally with America, the Catholic states, and the German and British empires against their common enemy, a Middle Eastern Coalition.
  • In Nineteen Eighty Four, Russia has conquered continental Europe to form the superstate of Eurasia, while the rest of Asia is unified as "Eastasia." Unusually for this trope, Great Britain (where the story is set) is not part of this European bloc, instead becoming "Airstrip One" of the US-dominated Oceania.


    Video Games 
  • A common outcome in Crusader Kings 2 if the 867 start date is picked. The Rurikids who rule over Rus will often convert to Catholicism due to proximity to, and power of the western catholic realms, and will not convert to the orthodox church. This will lead to close diplomatic relations with western kingdoms, them joining crusades, etc.
  • Empire Earth 2: Russia was added in the expansion as part of the Western civilizations (the Far East had Korea, Japan and China, while the Middle East had Turkey, Babylon and Egypt), allowing them to build Wonders such as the Parthenon, the Brandenburg Gate, and the Pentagon.
  • In Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn Russia is one of GDI's allies which is mostly supported by western countries in contrast to most of Eastern Europe and China which are either allied or controlled by Nod at the start of the war.
  • In People's General, Russia comprises the Western Alliance with the US and several other nations against China-dominated Eastern Alliance.

    Real Life 
  • Becoming a NATO and EU member is actually a possible scenario for Russia's future, but even amid detente, relations with NATO and the EU are likely to sour as they are to sweeten.
  • From the cultural aspect, Russia (particularly its literature, music, painting, philosophy and architecture) is classified as a part of the West. The fact that Slavs as a whole are unambiguously European helps the case. For Asian countries especially, the description of the Soviet-US conflict during the Cold War as "East vs. West" is liable to cause some head-scratching, since they see both Americans and Russians as part of the Western World.
  • The Islamic countries invariably see Russia (and all the other Christian states) as a part of the Western world; a number of European scholars are also inclined towards this point of view (for details, check out the Other Wiki). Ironically, Christianity itself originated in the Middle East, and the Russian Eastern Orthodox faith itself is a cousin to the appropriately named Oriental Orthodox churches such as those in Egypt and Ethiopia. Thus, while the Russian faith is "Eastern", Oriental Orthodoxy still treats it as western.
  • Many Russians also think their country belongs in the West, while others may actually be inclined to Eurasianism which rejects the idea that Russia can be classified as East and West, so that it has a form of exceptionalism and special role in the world as a bridge. Interestingly, almost nobody among Russians thinks that the country is Asian, largely due to the above mentioned point of Slavs being a European ethnicity.
    • Another school of thought in Russia makes a distinction between "Europe" as a historical and cultural entity and the "West" as a political bloc, typically associated with NATO and US leadership. This school of thought is generally sympathetic to the former and critical of the latter, and defines Russia as "European but not Western".
    • After the end of the Cold War, this was distorted to very unfortunate undertones that still endures to this day, especially when dealing with products made in Asian countries (and Russia) and exported to western countries, and it can be classified to any of these following cases: Any reference to "the West" in English-speaking media (and other western countries, for the sake of fairness) could be refering to 1)All western countries, plus Russia, Latin America and the Slavic countries, 2)All the member countries of the NATO, 3)All the countries from the Anglosphere, and in the most extreme cases, 3)The U.S. and Canada, and finally, 4)The United States exclusively.
  • Defied by Those Wacky Nazis. Part of their propaganda effort to justify Operation Barbarossa was the claim that Russia was an Asiatic country, often accompanied by racial imagery of the Soviet Union's ethnic minorities.
  • Russia and the Slavic countries are not the only ones which suffer of this dilemma, as there's some countries with similar situations:
    • Israel is a very notable example, and for a myriad of reasons: While it is located in Asia, specifically in West Asia (aka The Middle East), cultural and politically speaking it belongs to both the Western and the European sphere of influence. This is because most of its native population are immigrants from other countries, mainly Europe and America, and as such, their culture is very different, even if compared with other Asian countries outside the Middle East, like India, Japan, both Koreas, China, etc. Even Japan and South Korea, both East Asian countries with very notable western influences, are still very different regarding their relationship with western culture compared with Israel.
    • Turkey is in a similar situation to Israel, except the continents are swapped: Turkey is culturally Eastern but politically part of the Western world due to a combination of reasons, including having a secular version of Islam and being a member of NATO.
    • While not as exaggerated as the previous examples, Mexico is this as well in regard to its relationship with both English-speaking North America (U.S. and Canada) and the rest of Latin America. While being a Latin American country at heart, Mexico is more related to the already mentioned countries mainly because traditionally Mexico has always sought help from both of them when needed, and it rarely does with their Latin American neighbors. This is also for many reasons: Mexico, along with Costa Rica and Puerto Rico, was one of the three Latin American countries which didn't suffer being ruled by military dictatorships that were in vogue in the region during most of the 20th century, and its role was to be the Only Sane Man or being a neutral actor with regards on regional politics. On the other hand, being close to the States caused Mexico to assimilate many elements of the American culture more easily compared with its neighbors, but despite this, Mexico has traditionally kept a neutral, or negative stance regarding many of the politics from the U.S. and sometimes, it has even defied them without serious consequences, compared with everyone else in the region.note 
    • Africa is also in a very similar situation like Russia and the Eastern European countries, but unlike those countries, Africans consider themselves as a very separated entity from the western civilization, due to the centuries-long painful story of European colonization. Some Asian countries, especially East Asian ones, consider Africa as part of the western world due to the already mentioned points, something that angers many Africans to no end.
    • Latin Americans zig-zags with this trope, depending of which person you're talking to: Unlike Africans, the people of that region, mainly those with mixed ancestry (mestizos) or with European origins, consider their region as part of the western world, no matter what other western countries says otherwise, due to their more intimate links with both European and North American culture. On the other hand, those with Native origins consider their continent as a very different culture from the European one for the same reasons as Africans, a fact that piss them off continously, especially during the anniversary celebrations of the Discovery of America.
    • Oceania is a very extreme version of this trope: Australia and New Zealand are considered western countries by anyone else, including their close neighbors, by the fact European colonization was much deeper than any other country of that continent and their ties with both Europe and the rest of the Anglosphere are also much closer, with everything that goes with it.


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