Abstracts 2, 2023

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Political Theories

S. A. Kucherenko

The Concept of Power and Its Transformation in Political Realism

Keywords: power, might, International Relations Theory, political realism, Hans Morgenthau

The article is devoted to the analysis of the transformation of the concept of power in political realism. In recent decades, the International Relations Theory has witnessed an emerging consensus about the nature of this transformation. According to an increasingly popular point of view, classical realists, primarily Hans Morgenthau, interpreted power as power relationships between two individuals that have psychological and normative dimensions. The reform of realism by Kenneth Waltz and other structuralists stripped power of these dimensions, turning it into quantifiable material might.

Critics of structural realism interpret such a rethinking as impoverishment and erosion of the concept, fraught with dangerous consequences for the International Relations Science. In their eyes structural realism is nothing more than a disguised ideology of power politics, which could and should be overcome by returning to the roots of the realist tradition and using classical concepts, which are supposedly richer and deeper.

The study shows that the transformation of the concept of power can be explained by the objective rather than ideological reasons: in the era of quantitative methods, attempts to define power as something immeasurable were perceived as a rejection of “scientific”. At the same time, classical realism itself already contained the prerequisites for such interpretation of power, which was largely viewed as a might. In comparison to the general theory, Morgenthau's approach to the definition of this concept slightly stands out, but is not fundamentally different. At the same time, Morgenthau’s concept of power in its original formulation is poorly applicable as an analytical tool, revealing a number of contradictions and difficulties associated with the ontological dimension of the project of political realism.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-109-2-6-18

Pages: 6-18

I. V. Kazakov

Political Facts and the Production of Meanings in Discourse

Keywords: : fact, semiotics, sign, interpretant, intersubjectivity, speech act

The article proposes conceptualization of a political fact as a semiotic sign, based on Peirce’s models, which were reexamined by a number of modern researchers and filled with a discursive content. Facts are defined as statements with illocutionary power that represent a state of affairs to the mind, which interprets that representation as valid. Political facts differ from others in that the process of their interpretation is politically motivated i.e., pragmatically and normatively. Fact is also considered as a special case of a speech act: following John Searle, the author believes that such acts are always illocutionary, although there is not always a direct connection between the structure of an utterance and its intended meaning.

On the basis of such understanding of facts and Peirce’s classification of interpretants, the author builds semiotic typology of facts. He distinguishes between eight types of facts depending on the position of an interpretant in relation to a sign. All types of facts are located in a three-dimensional conceptual model, which is presented in the article in three tables. The author reveals possible prerequisites that determine a subject’s choice of this or the other mode of the interpretation of facts. The author finds a connection between certain types of interpretants with behavioral choices of subjects, as well as with the concept of intersubjectivity.

According to the author, such conceptualization can work as an intermediary model that connects various scientific traditions via a single apparatus that allows overcoming the differences between individual approaches through an appeal to more general characteristics of the subject. The constructed typology of facts also has practical significance, especially in the study of political discourse, where dispute about facts plays a central role. It gives a researcher an opportunity not only to focus on certain categories of facts, but also, when faced with any facts, to effectively categorize them, identifying their key characteristics.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-109-2-19-36

Pages: 19-36

Paradigms of Social Development

M. E. Nikitin

Military Experience of State Leaders and Conflict Potential of Authoritarian Regimes (Case of Africa)

Keywords: state leaders, military experience, armed conflicts, authoritarian regimes, Africa

In the last decade, the International Political Science has witnessed an emergent trend to put an individual back to the focus of research. A growing number of researchers acknowledge that in order to understand the behavior of the state, it is necessary to take into account attitudes and behavior of state leaders. They assume that such a view angle will help to defy a cliché perception, according to which conflict situations arise solely due to the influence of exogenous factors, and if a certain event occurred, it only happened because it was determined by the external environment.

The article attempts to analyze the influence of the military experience of state leaders on their countries’ participation in armed conflicts using the case of the authoritarian regimes in Africa. Employing the method of regression analysis, the author traces how the past military experience is reflected in the proneness of a state leader to conflict actions in the foreign policy sphere. He focuses on three types of such experience: (1) military service without participation in military actions (mainly staff work); (2) personal participation in military actions; (3) participation in rebel formations.

The conducted research proves that military experience has a significant and robust influence on the subsequent behavior of leaders. If a state leader used to serve in the military as a staff group member, the probability that he will initiate an armed conflict is 2.7 times higher than in the absence of such experience. Participation in rebel groups increases the likelihood of initiating military actions as well. In contrast, combat experience in the military has the opposite effect: leaders with combat experience are only half as likely to initiate military conflicts as leaders who have not been to the battlefield.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-109-2-37-54

Pages: 37-54

D. O. Timoshkin, F. A. Smetanin, Iu. O. Koreshkova, N. N. Zborovitskaya, A. A. Voloshin, D. E. Bryazgina

Search Engines as Mechanism for Constructing Boundaries of Imagined Communities (Case of Internal Migrant Image in Siberian Regional Digital Media)

Keywords: internal migration, agenda, borders, imagined societies, search engines, political actor

The article analyzes the process of constructing boundaries of imagined communities by search engines, using the case of the image of internal migrants arriving in Tomsk, Krasnoyarsk, and Irkutsk. Combining quantitative and qualitative content analysis, the authors analyzed the image of internal migrants created by the texts that make up the first pages of search results of Google, Yandex, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Mail.ru. They found that in most texts, an internal migrant is presented as a poor, low-skilled man who constantly finds himself in extreme situations, more often — crimes, in which he is either a victim or an offender. At the same time, some essential details of the image may differ depending on the chosen ethnohoronym and the name of the host city in the search query.

According to the authors’ hypothesis, the fact that all the search engines under question modify the image of a migrant depending on the host city indicates the presence of regional specifics in the agenda formation. At the same time, the similarity in social actions, spaces and actors that make up the image of an internal migrant in the search results with the same components in the image of a cross-border migrant indicates that crossing regional borders becomes a sufficient condition for classifying a person who crossed borders into a separate, stigmatized category. Search engines fragment the “imagined community” in the agenda by putting first texts that draw regional groups as outsiders who are dangerous to each other. This finding allows to hypothesize that algorithms construct/reproduce perceptions of local communities about themselves, which falls out of the political myth of a unified Russian community defined by national borders. If the hypothesis is true, it could mean that search engines are beginning to function as an actor (or its representative) that defies contemporary political mythology.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-109-2-55-76

Pages: 55-76

Russian Polity

Yu. G.Korgunyuk, C. Ross

Political Preferences of Young Voters in Contemporary Russia

Keywords: Youth, political preferences, post-Soviet Russia, State Duma elections, regional elections

The article is devoted to the political preferences of young voters in contemporary Russia’s elections. Building on the conclusions of their previous research on the relationship between modernisation and political pluralism in Russian regions, the authors attempt to evaluate the role of the age factor in voting behaviour by means of correlation and regression analysis, using as control variables the factors of modernization tested by them earlier.

Their research showed that the perception that young voters are more likely to support liberal and democratic parties than older generations is not entirely true. Voters aged 18 to 24 were indeed more prone to vote for opposition parties, but not necessarily liberal and democratic ones. In the 2016 Duma elections, the caricature neo-Stalinists from Communists of Russia benefited the most from the support of the youngest category of voters; in the elections to regional assemblies in 2016—2021 the radical imperialists from the Liberal Democratic Party did it. In the Duma elections of 2021 the greatest support from the youngest age cohort received, on the one hand, the “systemic opposition” in the face of the Communist Party and the Liberal Democratic Party, and on the other hand, the debutant of the election campaign, the New People Party, that adheres to liberal positions in the economic sphere, but is quite loyal to the existing regime.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-109-2-77-112

Pages: 77-112

M. S.Sukhova

Subnational State Capacity and Pro-Government Voting in Russia

Keywords: state capacity, economic voting, elections, regional politics, electoral behavior, authoritarian regime

This paper examines how the level of subnational administrative state capacity, measured as the success of the implementation of the May 2012 presidential decrees in the regions, affects the electoral support for the government. The research study focuses on the indicators that reflect the dynamics of the salaries of public sector workers (doctors, teachers etc.), which are considered one of the electoral groups that the authorities count on.

The results of the study show that in regions with higher salaries, public sector workers tend to vote more actively for the government. According to the author’s conclusion, these findings not only demonstrate that a high level of subnational administrative state capacity has a positive effect on the loyalty of citizens, but also confirm the efficiency of a strategy of distributing material wealth for maintaining and strengthening stability of authoritarian states. At the same time, the study shows that salary manipulation as a tool to increase loyalty does not work in all cases, even when it comes to public sector workers. The same applies to such indicators of socio-economic development as the level of urbanization and the value of GRP per capita, which are negatively correlated with pro-government voting. All this indicates that, along with economic considerations, other factors also influence electoral behavior, which requires further research.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-109-2-113-129

Pages: 113-129

Foreign Policy Perspective

E. S.Arlyapova, E. G.Ponomareva

Ankaras Activation in the Western Balkans (Approaches, Tools, and Components)

Keywords: Western Balkans, Turkey, foreign policy, neo-Ottomanism, Erdoganism, socio-humanitarian cooperation, ethno-religious factor, soft power

In recent years, Turkey has increasingly moved away from the affiliation with the powers of the transatlantic bloc and seeks to play its own game. There are several reasons why Ankara has a special interest in the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, and the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo): historical, socio-cultural, religious and geographical proximity; the absence of strict institutional restrictions due to the stalling of the process of the inclusion of the Western Balkans into the EU; the complex history of the relations between Turkey itself and Brussels, as well as Turkey’s political ambitions and claims for regional leadership. All these factors increase the chances of the Republic of Turkey to gain a foothold in the Balkans as a serious player. The fact that the region is formally outside the EU expands the opportunities for political maneuvering both for Ankara and for the Western Balkan capitals.

The article focuses on four analytical blocks: the evolution of Turkey’s foreign policy strategy; its integration proposals for the countries in the region as an attempt to replace Brussels’ initiatives; ethno-religious and migration components of the Turkish influence; tools of socio-cultural penetration. The analysis carried out by the authors shows that, despite Turkey’s well-thoughtout strategy, the resources involved, the political will and perseverance, in the medium term the country is unlikely to become an alternative to the EU for the Western Balkan countries, or even an influential economic player in the region. Ankara will have to continue to weight its goals against the actions of the geopolitical grandees. At the same time, since the struggle for influence in southern Europe is only going to intensify in the face of the deepening international conflict, the corridor of opportunities for Ankara remains open.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-109-2-130-150

Pages: 130-150

V. A.Avatkov, D. G.Evstafyev

Post-Soviet Eurasia in the Mirror of Global Processes (Key Development Trends and Dilemmas of Russian Politics)

Keywords: Eurasia, post-global world, Eurasian integration, socio-cultural identity

The peculiarity of the current moment in the development of post-Soviet Eurasia is its ever-increasing involvement in the processes of redrawing the previously relatively stable field of world politics and economics. In a changing global political environment, the region is facing a number of new challenges. At the same time, the situation is unique in that the region exists in the “post-economy” mode, when the problem of self-identification becomes fundamental, from the point of view of both formulating internal development goals and determining one’s place in the world.

The increase in external pressure on post-Soviet Eurasia gives birth to two contradictory tendencies: towards the weakening of internal ties, which is fraught with the destruction of its integrity, and towards the consolidation of space in response to expansion from outside. The transformations taking place in the region largely reflect global trends, including the increasing role of ideological aspects that sideline economic considerations, the global search for ideological and value orientations, and the growing importance of ethnic and religious affiliation.

Having analyzed in detail the processes unfolding in the Eurasian space, the authors come to the conclusion that the confrontation of various civilizational identities will be the most important factor in its further development. According to the authors, post-Soviet Eurasia might face either a complete loss of subjectivity, or a partial loss of economic sovereignty and preservation of subjectivity through its political affiliation with Russia. However, the implementation of the second scenario requires from Russia not only its readiness, but also its ability to assume the functions of the core of the region.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-109-2-151-165

Pages: 151-165


A. F.Pavlovskii

In Search of Global Memory: Where Does the Transnational Turn in Memory Studies Lead?

Keywords: global memory, transnational memory, transcultural memory, Memory studies, places of memory, Holocaust, simultaneity

The article is devoted to the transnational turn in the research of collective and cultural memory in the 21st century, reflecting the desire of scientists working within Memory studies to go beyond “methodological nationalism” and explore the formation and circulation of historical memory across borders. Based on the English-language literature of the 2000s—2020s, the author analyzes the emerging field of Transnational Memory studies from the point of view of the categorical apparatus, disciplinary features and research approaches.

Having documented that discussions about the transcultural dimension of collective memory are present even in the works of the classics of Memory studies, the author shows that the efforts of their modern critics are driven by the attempts to conceptualize the memory of the Holocaust, World War II, colonialism and other events of the “difficult past”. The abundance of closely related concepts elaborated in recent years creates an illusion of competition in this field, but these concepts are often based on fundamentally different ideological and methodological settings, and if some of the concepts possess a certain empirical potential, others are completely normative.

The author identifies six main research lenses within the current state of Transnational Memory studies — international, supranational, diasporic, mediatized, digital and, finally, global, associated with the problem of memory synchrony/simultaneity. At the same time, according to his conclusion, getting rid of the national perspective in understanding transnational memory is still far from complete, and the very fact that scientists look beyond borders indicates that such borders still exist.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-109-2-166-194

Pages: 166-194