Abstracts 2, 2020

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Political Theories

Alexey Yarkeev

Ancient Greek Origins of Modern Biopolitics

Keywords: biopolitics, polis, state, governance, Plato, Aristotle

Abstract. The article attempts to explain the origins of modern biopolitics. Its purpose is to show that biopolitics as a technology for governing the state and society is the phenomenon as ancient as the Western tradition of the political thought itself. Focusing primarily on the “Politics” of Aristotle and Plato’s dialogues “Politeia” and “The Laws”, A.Yarkeev demonstrates that many of the political and philosophical categories of the ancient Greek thought of the classical period are essentially biopolitical in nature, and the very method of developing political arguments about how to govern polis, largely anticipates modern biopolitical theory and practice. In their political treatises, Plato and Aristotle do not just thoroughly consider all the central topics of biopolitics (sexual relations, marriage, childcare, health care, education, upbringing, security, etc.). For them these topics are crucial for discussing politics and the art of governance.

The analysis of the classical texts of Aristotle and Plato on political art conducted by Yarkeev allows us to conclude that the origins of modern biopolitics lie in the ancient Greek concept of a human being as a “political animal”. This view simultaneously lays the foundation for both politics and bio- politics, the constellation of which (their structural combination, semantic exchange and interaction) defines Western technology of power.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2020-97-2-7-21

Pages: 7-21


Yulia Artamonova, Arthur Demchuk

Universal Consensus, or Faith in Creativity of Masses Today

Keywords: mass, multiplicity, smart crowd, social connection, life world, consensus, deliberation

The second half of the 1980s can be rightly called the time of lovely illusions. After a careful examination of the popular concepts at that time, which were built on the ideas of the universal consensus and conflict-free development (“new thinking”, “end of history”, “free world network” etc.), Yu.Artamonova and A.Demchuk reveal a number of the common premises that date back to the 18th—19th centuries. This is first and foremost about the idea that was popular among the thinkers of the Modernity that the society is “doomed” to be fair, because it is pre-established in the very sociality.

The authors’ analysis of the idea of “implicit sociality,” or the predetermined possibility of creating a “good” society, not only reveals its inherent vulnerabilities, but also indicates the presence of potentially dangerous consequences. First, it is the threat that orientation towards an ever-expanding consensus will degenerate into the coercion to a dialogue, including at the international level. Second, the inevitability of a constant revision of the institutional and legal framework of such dialogue that is not only fraught with the loss of organization, but also calls into question its very existence. But most importantly, the premise of “primordial sociality,” which ultimately requires universal dialogue and consensus, de facto destroys the possibility of meaningful participation in anything. As a result, according to the authors’ conclusion, the adoption of the idea of “primordial sociality” or simply the possibility of self-disclosure of some predetermined essence leads both to political incompetence and to a loss of ability to act politically.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2020-97-2-22-39

Pages: 22-39


Leonid Fishman

Post-Capitalism and Last (Dys)Topia of Our Time

Keywords: intersectionalism, utopia, dystopia, post-capitalism

The article attempts to identify a true role that intersectional discourses and intersectional political movements play in modern societies. The feeling of moral and intellectual superiority experienced by the traditional left with respect to the “primitive” concepts of intersectionalists — is it false? To what extent does intersectionism, often ideologically painted with leftist tints, but subjected to fierce criticism from both the right and the left, correlate with the contemporary projects of the post-capitalist future?

According to the author, the seemingly far-fetched intersectionalists’ concepts and the ensued practices, no matter how unpleasant it may sound to profound left theorists, represent an attempt to pay off their debts. First of all, this is about the concept that capitalism cannot be overcome until it reaches sufficient maturity i.e., inter alia, until anthropological and cultural consequences that it promises as an “ideal type” fully unfold. Capitalism is doomed to eradicate the preceding forms of oppression and enslavement of people, replacing them with its own forms — more advanced, more cynical, but somewhat less painful, because they are not covered by all kinds of hypocrisy. Therefore, unless the obstacles to the realization of this emancipatory capita- list (dys)topia are removed, it is impossible to be serious about any type of socialism, communism, or even “post-capitalism”. The article shows that it is intersectionism that is currently removing such obstacles, while the concepts of transition to “post-capitalism” represent a weak alternative to intersectionism, remaining merely a rational myth of a cabal of intellectuals.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2020-97-2-40-53

Pages: 40-53


Nikolai Gudalov, Igor Chernov

The Role of Language in Realist Tradition of International Relations

Keywords: political philosophy, philosophy of language, International relations theory, political realism, postpositivism

The role of language in political realism has been studied rather poorly. Moreover, in general researchers rarely pose such a question. 

Although there has recently been a tendency to revise the prevailing stereotypes that reduce realism to naive materialistic ontology, primitive correspondent epistemology and ethical cynicism, there are still few works aimed at analyzing the linguistic dimension of realism. Moreover, even in those works where this issue is touched upon, no attempts are made to identify certain general trends of this direction in the theory of international relations. Meanwhile, without taking into account this dimension and its historical modifications, it is hardly possible to fully comprehend this centuries-old tradition of political thought.

To fill the gap, the authors turn to the analysis of the views of a num- ber of major theorists of the realist school — from Thucydides and T.Hobbes to classical realists, neo-realists and neoclassical realists. Their research shows that language plays a significant (although not always clearly defined) role in realism, and it can be considered not only as a political tool, but also as the foundation of a specific community’s worldview or as the footing of a scientific model. At the same time, the realist approach to language is not without its flaws that make it vulnerable to criticism. This is primarily about its inattention to the constructive relationships of linguo-political communities and the correlation between different scientific models or even the absolutization of their incommensurability. According to the authors, realism’s inherent focus on pluralism and conflicts has linguistic reasons as well.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2020-97-2-54-66

Pages: 54-66

Paradigms of Social Development

Nikita Khokhlov, Andrey Korotayev

Internet and Terrorist Activity in Countries with Different Political Regimes (Quantitative Analysis)

Keywords: Internet, terrorism, destabilization, political regime, publicity, mass media

Although many scholarly works have already been devoted to the influence of Internet technologies and social media on protest activity, their impact on the intensity of terrorist attacks has not yet been studied. To fill the gap, N.Khokhlov and A.Korotayev analyzed the relationship between the spread of the Internet and the number of terrorist attacks. The authors hypothesized that an increase in the number of Internet users in autocracies should be positively related to the intensity of terrorist attacks — this is because when political regime controls media, it is the Internet that opens up opportunities for the rapid and wide dissemination of information about terrorist attacks. In countries with democratic or hybrid regimes, where at least part of the media operates relatively freely, such connection should be absent. To test the hypothesis, the authors employed negative binomial regression models. The data were taken from the Global Terrorism Database and the World Bank database.

The study conducted by the authors partially confirmed their main hy- pothesis. The analysis of the empirical data showed that in autocracies the spread of the Internet indeed positively affects growth of the intensity of ter- rorist attacks, while in countries with democratic and hybrid political regimes such relationship is not significant. At the same time, the obtained results do not allow us to state that the revealed differences stem from the variation in the media environment under different types of political regimes. Testing this hypothesis requires further research and refinement of the research methods, in particular, shifting the focus to the level of individual regions, as well as stu- dying causal mechanisms using mixed methods and Bayesian statistics.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2020-97-2-67-86

Pages: 67-86

Religion and Politics

Sergei Golunov

Terrorist Caliphate as Quasi-State: Problem of Conceptualization

Keywords: Islamic State, caliphate, terrorism, unrecognized state, quasi-state

The article attempts to conceptualize the “caliphate” created by the Islamic State terrorist group (IS, banned in Russia) through the lenses of the phenomenon of an unrecognized state. Comparing the “caliphate” with the bulk of the unrecognized states that exist today, the author focuses on the territorial identity of the “caliphate” of the Islamic State, the role of the military factor in its formation, the peculiarities of its domestic policy and the specifics of its relations with the outside world.

The author’s analysis shows that the “caliphate” of the Islamic State represents an entity that is in many ways unique to the modern system of international relations. Unlike other unrecognized states, it did not seek integration into the international community and openly challenged this com- munity, encroaching on the inviolability of state borders, organizing terrorist attacks abroad and explicitly ignoring generally accepted humanitarian norms. Rejecting the model of the nation-state, the “caliphate” refused to identify itself with the actually controlled territory. Not only did it fail to make efforts to create a civil nation out of its population, but it also emphasized its “Islamic cosmopolitanism”. Throughout the short history of its existence, its trajectory of state-building was largely determined by militarization and radical Islamist ideology. At the same time, similarly to other unrecognized states, the “caliphate” had to solve a wide range of problems related to the organization of management in the controlled territories and mitigation of the consequences of the lack of international recognition.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2020-97-2-87-103

Pages: 87-103


Alexey Makarkin

Polyphony of Russian Church: State Factor, Public Demand, and Challenge of Pandemic

Keywords: Russian Orthodox Church, church-state relations, coronavirus pandemic

The widespread idea about the Russian Orthodox Church as an institution incapable of development needs to be substantially modified. The conservatism inherent in the Church should not be confused with reactionism, which is not its immanent attribute. Moreover, it is possible to talk about the internal polyphony of the Church, which incorporates a fairly wide range of views.

Historically, the Russian Orthodox Church has been distinguished by an extremely high degree of adaptability, the ability to integrate different traditions even in such conservative areas as worship, but in the Soviet years it was “encapsulated” and largely turned into a hermetic structure with the focus on preserving tradition. The current situation in the Russian Orthodox community is characterized by a huge gap between the number of “nominal” and “practising” believers. At the same time, the low and diffuse mass religiosity is compensated and, so to say, replaced by the increased activity of the practising minority and priests. But the active minority in the Russian Orthodox Church is heterogeneous and is split into several groups, the most important of which are conservatives and pragmatists.

The internal polyphony of the Russian Orthodox Church was clearly visible during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. The situation touched upon the church-state relations, as well as the question of the role of confessions in modern society, rather than boiling down to the usual confrontation between liberals and conservatives. The pandemic not only exacerbated the contradictions between pragmatists and conservatives, but also led to the serious disagreements between the state and the Church that looked up to its influential conservatives in the decision-making process. However, since the Church as an institution is not ready to oppose state power, the prevailing model of relations between them is likely to remain, although it may become less idyllic.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2020-97-2-104-125

Pages: 104-125


Anastasia Mikhaleva

Political Borders and Religious Solidarity: Orthodox Compatriots in East Asia

Keywords: religion, state, politics, borders, transnationalism

The article is devoted to the analysis of the practices of interaction between the Russian state and the Russian Orthodox Church in East Asia in the post-Soviet period. The nature of this interaction, as the author believes, is largely determined by the concept of “compatriots” — a single transnational community of people who live outside the territorial borders of the Russian Federation, but form a unified whole with Russia. Within the framework of this concept, Orthodoxy is considered to be the most important characteristic that ensures solidarity of this community and its common cultural space with Russia. By supporting actions of the Russian Orthodox Church in the region, the Russian state hopes to strengthen its own position in the region. However, the real influence of the Russian Orthodox Church on the native representatives of the Russian culture who live there shakes these hopes.

According to the author, the Russian state and the Church, by having exclusively focused on the concept of “compatriots” and putting a sign of equality between Russians and Orthodox Christians, have seriously limited the possible returns on the efforts they make to increase their weight in the Asian region. By appealing to the Orthodox community and emphasizing its existence beyond the political borders, both sides declare it a national com- munity. Meanwhile, micro-communities of people with Russian roots scattered throughout East Asia do not form a stable transnational community, held together by religion, which could play a significant role at the regional level. As a result, when the Russian state and the Russian Orthodox Church focus on building a dialogue with the transnational community of compatriots, they de facto interact with disparate structures that are quite different from each other in social, economic and cultural terms.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2020-97-2-126-141

Pages: 126-141

Russian Polity

Andrei Semenov, Elizaveta Popkova

Authorities Response to Political Mobilization in Russia (On the Example of Alexei Navalnys 20172018 Campaign)

Keywords: mobilization, coercion, collective actions, repression

Despite the significant attention paid in Political Science to the problems of repression and state coercion there is still no general theory that would predict what types of coercion are used during mass protests. The “law of coercive responsiveness” and the theory of the “internal democratic peace” are insufficient to explain variations in the scale and content of coercive measures across different political regimes. To fill this gap, A.Semenov and E.Popkova turn to the analysis of the reaction of regional authorities to political mobiliza- tion in Russia and patterns of interaction between authorities and protesters using the evidence from Alexei Navalny’s 2017—2018 presidential campaign. For the empirical analysis the study uses data on protests in 160 Russian cities.

A study conducted by the authors confirms that Russia can be classified as a hybrid regime that usually gives pride of place to the informational control rather than coercive means. At the same time, the authors show that even under centralized conditions, the choice of a strategy for responding to mass mobilization depends not only on structural factors, but also on the attitudes of power holders. In particular, which specific combination of coercive measures to use is decided at the lower governmental levels rather than the federal one. Moreover, after each wave of mobilization, this strategy is modified to fit the changing conditions. The authorities and activists are constantly testing the limits of what is possible rather than searching for the only true strategy within the framework of a general equilibrium, and the equilibrium itself in most cases is temporary.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2020-97-2-142-157

Pages: 142-157

Russian Regions

Leonid Bliakher, Konstantin Grigorichev

Islands in Taiga: Forms of (Re)Development of Empty Space in the East of Russia

Keywords: east of Russia, space contraction, social space, redevelopment, intraregional migration

The struggle for space is one of the relatively new phenomena that have become relevant in the recent decades — it has transferred from the field of international relations and geopolitics into the domestic political sphere. This tendency is especially noticeable in Russia. Moreover, the struggle for space itself takes in Russia various forms, determined by the specifics of a particular territory. While in metropolitan cities the primary forms are rallies and other collective political actions, in the relatively sparsely populated northern and eastern regions of the country it often takes the form of distancing, or going away, from the state.

In fact, this type of social behavior has already been studied by researchers. However, such research was usually devoted to the question of marginal social groups that did not seek self-presentation. This article considers a different situation when distancing is a conscious choice rather than a forced measure, and such choice generates a new type of discourse about social space and a new way of its understanding.

During the initiative field research in the Irkutsk Oblast and Khabarovsk Krai, L.Bliakher and K.Grigorichev found examples of a situation when, contrary to the conventional wisdom, remoteness and isolation are becoming a mechanism for the redevelopment and appropriation of “empty” lands, rather than factors of contraction of the developed space. Their analysis of the genesis and structure of a special type of settlements that arose in the remote regions of the east of Russia over the past decade, their internal stratification and features of communication with the “big world”, indicates the emergence of a new way to fill social space with meanings, which is only possible outside of political authorities’ regulations and large-scale economic projects. Although the cases identified and investigated by the authors are too few to draw generalizable conclusions, they indicate the hidden processes of redevelopment and redefinition of “empty lands” in the eastern part of the country.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2020-97-2-158-181

Pages: 158-181

Book Review

Sergey Khenkin

Spanish Party and Political System: Time for a Test Montabes J., Mart nez A. (eds.) Gobierno y pol tica en Espa a. Valencia: Tirant lo Blanch, 2019

Keywords: Spain, democratic transition, party and political system, electoral system, territorial organization, Catalonia

The collective monograph reviewed by S.Khenkin explores the problems of the functioning of modern Spanish polity. The authors focus on the specifics of the Spanish transition to democracy and its main actors, the role of different branches of government and the relations between them under the conditions of the consolidated democracy, party and electoral systems, political participation and political culture, the influence of the media and interest groups. The monograph shows that the democratic transition of the second half of the 1970s — the first half of the 1980s, laying the foundations of the modern Spanish statehood and setting the current rules of the game, led to conflicting results. The achievements include overcoming a long-standing split in society and building a consensus that allowed the country to avoid a recurrence of the horrors of the civil war. A modern system of representative democracy characterized by separation of powers and broad rights and freedoms for the population has been developed. Spain joined the EU, overcoming centuries of isolation. At the same time, the transition led to a number of problems that negatively affected the quality of democracy, in particular, the caudillist nature of parties, the serious flaws in the electoral system, the low level of political participation and trust in institutions. The recent years have also witnessed another flaw — a crisis of controllability, caused by the transformation of bipartism into a real multipartism accompanied by the fragmentation and polarization of the party system and increased electoral volatility. The problem of the political and territorial structure of the state has not been solved, as evidenced by the rise of separatism in Catalonia.

According to the reviewer, the monograph under consideration is of high scientific and political interest. It does not only highlight the diverse challenges faced by modern Spain but also allows a deeper understanding of the problems that are faced by the countries that have embarked on the path of modernization and democratization.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2020-97-2-182-191

Pages: 182-191

To 70th Anniversary of Yu.S.Pivovarov

Mikhail Ilyin, Andrei Sorokin, Oksana Gaman-Golutvina, Olga Malinova, Svyatoslav Kaspe

Yuri Pivovarovs 70 Year Anniversary

Keywords: Yuri Sergeevich Pivovarov

Editorial note. Politeia could not gloss over this anniversary. Not only because Yuri Pivovarov is a member of our Editorial Council. Not only because he stood at the very origins of our Journal that was founded in 1996. Not only because even a decade before that, he became one of the founders of the Inter-Institute Group of Comparative and Retrospective Political Science Politeia, which gave birth to this Journal, and many other undertakings and institutions. We present this modest homage primarily because Russian Political Science as it is, let alone the Journal Politeia, would not exist if it were not for Pivovarov. Or, in any case, it would be much further away from the very idea of science. There would be much less selfless, passionate love of truth. Much less honor, dignity and nobility. The name and personality of Pivovarov have it all. He has a plethora of these personality traits, which his friends and colleagues can enjoy. The gift that we are presenting here is just a pale shadow of the many gifts we received from him.

The published work presents a collection of texts that tell us about the hero of the anniversary as well as his place in modern Russian social science community. The collection contains texts written by Mikhail Ilyin, Professor at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (NRU HSE), Head of the Center for Advanced Methodologies of Social and Humanitarian Research at the Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences (INION RAS); Andrei Sorokin, Director of the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History; Oksana Gaman-Golutvina, Head of the Comparative Politics Department of Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University), Professor at NRU HSE, Presi- dent of the Russian Political Science Association; Olga Malinova, Profes- sor at NRU HSE, Senior Research Fellow at INION RAS; and Svyatoslav Kaspe, Professor at NRU HSE, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal Politeia.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2020-97-2-192-208

Pages: 192-208