This paper argues that nationalism and neoliberalism should not be considered as conflicting ideologies, but can enter into a productive association. This association creates an entrepreneurial nationalism that people can actively embrace as self-governing subjects in pursuit of a good life and successful career, rather than as subjects governed through state-mandated projects from above. The paper illustrates this argument with material from nine months of fieldwork at a Russian elite university. While students at that university strive to develop their potential and increase their market value to be successful in the competition for the best jobs, they also emphasize that developing themselves is not antithetical to serving Russia and being true to one’s country. On the contrary, advancing Russia and advancing one’s own career are articulated as two sides of the same coin. At the same time, the Russian nationalist project is reframed in entrepreneurial terms: making the Russian nation strong is about developing its potential and raising its competitiveness in the global marketplace.

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