Roseline Gray

Wolf Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellow

20222023 Forum on Heritage

Roseline Gray

International Relations; Russian and East European Studies

CAS, 2023

Roseline Gray is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is pursuing majors in international relations and Russian and East European studies. While she hopes to eventually explore these interests in the world of diplomacy, she approaches her work from a cross cultural perspective. An American born and raised overseas in Brussels, Belgium, she is excited to learn about how people of different national, political, and linguistic identities relate to one another. Recently, Rose has been working on the Global Attitudes team at Pew Research Center. Outside of her work, she is an avid cook, baker, and guilty-reality-tv binger.

Historical Imagination and Political Power: The Role of Premodern Narratives in Contemporary Russian National Identity

The concept of “Moscow as the Third Rome”, sometimes referred to as a case of translatio imperii in Russian historiography, is one that has reappeared and been subject to different interpretations throughout history. Rooted in pre-modern narratives of Christian religious heritage, the idea has been expounded upon and repurposed in more recent history as a secular political concept to legitimize imperialism and justify expansion. Historical reimaginings of “Moscow as the Third Rome” in imperial rhetoric became more appealing in the context of nineteenth-century nationalistic discourse. These ideas were perpetuated by some in the Soviet era and have recently emerged in the rhetoric around the war in Ukraine. This project aims to debunk such interpretations as historiographical and political myths which disregard and oversimplify the original meaning of this concept and its religious implications. I investigate the appeal and productivity of the “Moscow as the Third Rome” theory at different moments in Russian history, and the agenda it has evoked in each context.