Russian Ideology


Russian Politics in Ruins: What Vyacheslav Volodin Left Behind

The political system Volodin leaves behind—that is, a system without any real politics—allows the regime the illusion of control. But the system’s domain has been all but reduced to the tiny world of politicians who agree to the Kremlin’s rules. Activists, ambitious players, and most importantly Russian citizens find themselves outside the bounds of politics.

Sergei Kiriyenko: The Dreamer in the Kremlin

Many say Sergei Kiriyenko, the new deputy chief of staff of the presidential administration, is a technocrat who was brought in to manage a well-established political system. But there’s more to Kiriyenko: like other disciples of the philosopher Georgy Shchedrovitsky, Kiriyenko believes that reality can be altered and society programmed.

Against Everything: Russia’s New Majority

There is a new political majority in Russia. It doesn’t believe in the country’s rulers, its opposition, or its institutions. This nameless, voiceless majority is characterized only by general discontent; it knows only what it stands against.

Authoritarianism by Stealth: Russia After the Duma Elections

The look of Russia’s parliamentary election was different, even if the results were the same. Russia’s ruling regime is trying to preserve its legitimacy by being more flexible and more respectable. This system may eventually contain the seeds of its own transformation.

Russia’s Lost Liberals

Russia’s parliamentary election campaign again dealt a crushing blow to the country’s liberal parties, which still believe the key to their success is appearing on television, whether in commercials or in debates. This is a losing strategy; liberals must learn to listen to the Russian people’s needs to garner support.

Dictatorship 101

Some degree of isolationism—“sovereignty,” in official political parlance—is necessary for every authoritarian regime to survive. But elites and societies as a whole don’t want full-blown isolationism. In Russia and elsewhere, “authoritarian internationalism”—an alliance of quasi-democracies—has come to the rescue.

Russia’s Militant Anti-Atheism

Public expression of atheism can now get a Russian citizen punished by the state. The jailing of a young blogger in Yekaterinburg is symptomatic of a culture of intolerance in which church and state work hand in hand.

Russian-Turkish Relations: Quick to Destroy, Slower to Mend

While the Erdogan-Putin summit in St. Petersburg on August 9 aimed to end the conflict between the two presidents triggered by Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter jet last year, upbeat reports and promises of eternal friendship conceal a long list of problems that can’t be solved any time soon

Why Turkey’s Military Coup Is Impossible in Russia

The military takes over when it feels superior to the rest of society. Its perceived superiority lies in the view of the army in developing nations as the primary instrument of modernization. The Turkish coup failed because soldiers have lost that status in Turkish society—a process that happened long ago in Russia.

Relegitimizing Russian Power

Although Russian officials were initially shocked and concerned about the military coup in Turkey, it has in fact given them a formula for strengthening their gradually declining regime: all they have to do to restore their vanishing legitimacy is declare themselves defenders of democracy.
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