(CGI paper) The concept of the “Russian World” (russkii mir) has a long history rooted in the 1990s, but it was propelled under the media spotlight in 2014, when Russian President Vladimir Putin used it to justify Russia’s interference in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. The Kremlin’s actions in its so-called “Near Abroad” — a reference to the post-Soviet space — are motivated mainly by its perception of Russia’s national security interests and the need to protect the country and the current political regime from destabilizing influences, be they coming directly from abroad or fed by domestic factors. The concept of the Russian World offers a particularly powerful repertoire: it is a geopolitical imagination, a fuzzy mental atlas on which different regions of the world and their different links to Russia can be articulated in a fluid way. This blurriness is structural to the concept, and allows it to be reinterpreted within multiple contexts. First, it serves as a justification for what Russia considers to be its right to oversee the evolution of its neighbors, and sometimes for an interventionist policy. Secondly, its reasoning is for Russia to reconnect with its pre-Soviet and Soviet past through reconciliation with Russian diasporas abroad. Lastly, it is a critical instrument for Russia to brand itself on the international scene and to advance its own voice in the world. The Russian World is thus by essence a floating signifier developed by diverse actors around the Kremlin, one that speaks to different audiences and that can take specific flavors to be operationalized depending on the context. This paper analyzes the trajectory of the term, its genesis and development, and moves on to discuss its dual identity — as Russia’s policy for the Near Abroad and Russia’s voice in the world. Finally, it explores the articulation of this term with Russia’s foreign policy orientations.