This article discusses the fluctuation of Russian attitudes towards Europe during the last twenty-five years. ‘Europeanness’ is connected to EU efforts of ‘Europeanisation’ and ‘normalisation’ of Russia on EU terms. At the same time, the EU has tried to monopolise the notion of ‘Europe’ and pretends to fulfil all its ideals and values. The continued expansion of the EU towards Russia’s former partners, and conflicts in contested neighbourhoods, has ushered in the feeling among Russians of being ‘different’ (‘Europeans’, yet with a desire to be great, strong and feared). Russia once again plays the role of a revisionist power, thus undermining the EU claim to represent the whole of Europe. Russia may be excluded from formal European organisations, but it cannot be excluded from an ‘imaginable’ community of Europe as a cultural phenomenon to which many Russians still attribute personal and collective meaning.