Abstracts 3, 2022

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Political Theories

M. M. Rodionova, N. M.Smirnov

The Ship of Theseus: Transformations of the Concept of Violence in Political and Social Theory

Keywords: violence, power, state, social theory, political philosophy, conceptual analysis, metatheory

The article analyzes the process of transformation of the concept of violence in the political and social theory of the 20th — 21st centuries. The authors document a tremendous growth of interest in this phenomenon despite the absence of a coherent metatheory and attempt to trace possible reasons for the appearance of the latter. For this purpose, they distinguish two analytical categories — “classic” and “new” violence — and consider both concepts in terms of the specifics of the action, the object and subject of violence, as well as the prevailing models of theoretical explanation.

Such simplification allows to trace transformations that the category of violence has gone through: the transition from a fundamentally observable action to a concealed one; from the state, group or person as subjects of violence to an impersonal structure; from capturing subject’s experience to its “loss”; from a functional explanation of violence to a dysfunctional one. According to the authors, these changes in the conceptualization of violence mean a significant expansion of the concept and a simultaneous blurring of its boundaries, which ultimately leads to the loss of its discrimination ability. After having diagnosed the reinvention of the concept, they highlight three potential solutions: to think about violence as a stable concept, in which the constitutive elements do not change, but their semantic content does; to interpret new conceptualizations of violence as additions to rather than replacements of the previous statements; and, finally, to recognize the possibility of the coexistence of several understandings of violence.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2022-106-3-6-27

Pages: 6-27


I. V.Demin

The Concept of the State in the Philosophical-Political Theories of Sergei Hessen and Ivan Ilyin (Legal Socialism vs. Legal Conservatism)

Keywords: state, law, natural law, political philosophy, “legal socialism”, Sergei Gessen, Ivan Ilyin

The article is devoted to the comparative analysis of the interpretations of the state presented in the works of Sergei Gessen and Ivan Ilyin, two Russian philosophers of the first half of the 20th century. The article demonstrates that the similarity between these interpretations lies primarily in the rejection of legal nihilism and legal positivism. Both philosophers distanced themselves from the mechanistic view of society and the state, which is germane to classical liberalism, and defended the principle of the sovereignty of law in public life. Differences in the understanding of the essence of the state by Gessen and Ilyin are caused by the discrepancy between the initial axiological, worldview, philosophical, and methodological presumptions. Conceptually, Ilyin compares the state to an integral spiritual organism, while for Gessen the state is nothing more than the highest coordinating body in the system of public life. According to Ilyin, the state performs a dual function: it ensures the spiritual unity of the people and protects the spiritual autonomy of an individual. Gessen, for his part, sees the main task of the state in protecting the “impenetrability” of an individual and asserting her supra-legal status. The interpretation of the relationship between the state and law proposed by Ilyin is monistic: “law and order” equal to the “state law and order”. Gessen’s concept of “legal socialism” is pluralistic: the state legal order coexists with non-state (social) legal orders that emerge in various communities, while state power loses its role as the only source of positive legal norms.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2022-106-3-28-47

Pages: 28-47

Religion and Politics

A. V.Matetskaya

After Political Religion: Special Aspects of Russian Post-Secularism

Keywords: post-secular society, political religion, civil religion, ideology, sacred, post-Soviet society, secularization

The concept of a post-secular society proposed by Jurgen Habermas has become quite popular in Russia, and not only within the framework of scientific discourse. However, in the Russian context, the very concept of “post-secular” is most often interpreted through the prism of desecularization. According to the author’s conclusion, the special aspects of the religious revival in the country after the collapse of the Soviet regime can largely explain this.

The article shows that the transition to a post-secular state in Russia included not only a rethinking of the perspectives of religion in a secular society and an awareness of the need for the participation of believers in public discussions, but also a change in the institutional position of religion, the rapprochement of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and the authorities, the formation of a new idea of collective identity on the basis of Orthodoxy as the dominant confession, as well as an attempt to construct an official ideology, or a secular religion, an important element of which would be the symbolic heritage of Orthodoxy. Religion turned out to be in demand primarily for solving social and political problems: determining national specifics, reviving lost cultural traditions, and legitimizing political power. Religious revival in that form did not imply proper religious conversion and thus was not accompanied by a noticeable increase in real religiosity. The author explains the predominantly “secular” perception of the functions of religion by the authorities and a significant part of society by the legacy of the Soviet political religion, which pushed traditional religions with their transcendent sacred to the periphery of social life and gave rise to specific forms of the secular sacred.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2022-106-3-48-64

Pages: 48-64


S. A. Gorokhov, R. V. Dmitriev, M. M.Agafoshin

Religion and the State: Types of Relations in the Religious Market

Keywords: market of religions, state-confessional relations, religious monopoly, religious oligopoly, religious monopolistic competition

The article presents the attempt of using the marketing paradigm in the analysis of state-confessional relations. Considering such relations through the prism of market structures, the authors identify three main types: religious monopoly, religious oligopoly, and religious monopolistic competition. Religious monopoly implies the dominance of one religion, which enjoys the full support of the state that protects it from competition from other religions. In the modern world, religious monopoly exists in two forms — closed and open, with the differences between the two lying in the degree of monopolization of the market by one of the confessions. According to the authors’ conclusion, the religious monopoly imposed from above (by the state) ultimately has a secular effect, reducing the level of participation of the population in religious activities and thereby weakening the monopoly of religion, which, in turn, can lead to the termination of state support for it. Religious oligopoly implies that several dominant religions or their branches that are equally supported by the state and have the same status compete in the market; the emergence of new ones is difficult (open oligopoly) or even seriously limited (closed oligopoly). Religious monopolistic competition is characterized by the inclusion in the process of competition not only of religions and their branches, but also religious denominations. Each of these “players” produces its own unique religious product and has relatively free access to the market of religions, which is almost not limited by the state. The proposed typology is historical in its nature, which makes it possible to predict the dynamics of state-confessional relations. 

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2022-106-3-65-79

Pages: 65-79

Political Parties

E. Yu. Meleshkina, I. V.Fomin

Using Images of the Soviet Past in the Discourse of United Russia and CPRF

Keywords: USSR, Soviet past, United Russia, Communist Party of the Russian Federation, political rhetoric, discursive strategies, politics of memory

The article is devoted to the study of the specificities of the use of the Soviet past in the rhetoric of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and the United Russia. Based on the analysis of the texts of the leaders and functionaries of these parties, the authors reveal the goals of addressing the Soviet heritage, the distinguishing features of its interpretation, the invoked discursive strategies and macrosemantic structures. The authors show how interpreting the Soviet past and establishing its connection with the present and future of Russia serve the tasks of political identification of the party and legitimization of its position.

According to the authors’ conclusion, the specifics of the studied parties’ appeal to the Soviet legacy is largely determined by the position they occupy in the country’s political system, as well as the history of their creation and development. With the help of the references to the USSR and certain aspects of its existence, representatives of the United Russia are trying to legitimize the current political course. By focusing on the achievements of the Soviet period, they demonstrate the historical continuity of the current political regime and its orientation towards stability; while by noting the shortcomings of the Soviet system, they highlight how current regime is different and emphasize its successes. Representatives of the United Russia use analogies with political organizations of the past to self-identify as a force that supports and largely ensures the course towards strengthening the Russian state, as well as to present the non-systemic opposition and external players as forces that undermine its stability.

The main purpose of referring to the Soviet past in the texts of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation is to demonstrate the continuity of the party in relation to the Soviet period, with the latter being interpreted mostly positively. At the same time, the appeal to certain events of the past allows communists to criticize the current domestic political course, present themselves as an opposition force and support the actions of the Russian government in the international arena.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2022-106-3-80-104

Pages: 80-104


Yu. G. Korgunyuk

The Soviet Past Theme in the 2021 Duma Campaign

Keywords: political agenda, Soviet past, political parties, elections, political dimensions, electoral cleavages, post-Soviet Russia

The article is devoted to the theme of the Soviet past in the 2021 Duma elections. The author shows that, in comparison with 2016, the relevance of this topic has not decreased, but has in fact increased. While in the previous Duma elections the confrontations on the issues of the Soviet past dissolved into broader cleavages, this time they manifested themselves very clearly.

The author documents the change in the structure of the confrontations on the issues of the Soviet past. If a year earlier such confrontations ran along the lines of “Communists vs. Anti-Communists” and “Liberals vs. Statists”, in 2021 they rather went along the lines of “Defenders of the Soviet period vs. its Critics” and “Reds vs. Whites”, with communists surpassing liberals and assuming the leading role in such confrontations. The author explains this shift by the growing importance of the topic of the Soviet past in the interparty discussion, because it is the communists who are its main promoters and beneficiaries.

The article reveals that the confrontation “Defenders of the Soviet period vs. its Critics” quite convincingly explains the second electoral cleavage. In one of the models, it even displaces the general confrontation between liberals and conservatives in the worldview issues. 

The use of an alternative methodology based on a double factor analysis allowed the author to detect the opposition “Communists vs. Liberals”, as well as an additional one associated with the special position of the Liberal Democratic Party on the issues of the Soviet past. These confrontations colored a number of electoral cleavages, including some of those that otherwise would be impossible to interpret politically.

The author interprets an increase in the importance of the Soviet past in the mass consciousness as the evidence that the process of “Left vs. Right” confrontation shifting from the socio-economic area to the socio-cultural one, which is typical for the European and North American democracies, has partially affected Russia.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2022-106-3-105-129

Pages: 105-129


R. F.Turovsky, M. S.Sukhova

Party Leaders in the Regions of Russia: Analyzing the Logic of Resignations

Keywords: party elite, party system, United Russia, Communist Party of the Russian Federation, regional party leaders, electoral cycles

The article is devoted to the analysis of the dynamics and factors that explain resignations of regional party leaders in Russia via the example of the United Russia and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). The authors studied rotations of the leaders of the above mentioned parties’ regional branches and revealed the general logic of this process, documenting important differences in its intensity. Possessing limited resources, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation does not seek to frequently replace its first secretaries in the regions; on the contrary, the turnover within the regional organizations of the United Russia is extremely active. The authors found a correlation between personnel turnover in the United Russia and electoral cycles, with federal elections having a more profound effect on them than regional ones. In the recent years, resignations after elections have become a priority choice, while earlier, during the formation of the United Russia party network, replacements often took place during the preparation of election campaigns.

In turn, the regression analysis has revealed only an unstable influence on the removal from office of regional leaders of Russian parties of external and internal factors, usually identified by researchers of Western democracies, including the results obtained by these parties in the elections. One possible explanation for this finding, according to the authors, could lie in the high importance of intra-party patron-client networks, the analysis of which is hampered by the difficulties with data verification. Another reason is the impact of the principles of personnel selection, set by the central party leadership, on the turnover. This influence is especially clear-cut in the United Russia that in the recent years has relied on the combination of the posts of regional party leaders and governors, the practice that was previously discouraged. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation, which is experiencing a shortage of personnel, is more likely to demonstrate a tendency towards conserving the party leadership. Therefore, the replacement of party secretaries in the CPRF is more often due to the advanced age or death of the former leader, as well as internal conflicts.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2022-106-3-130-157

Pages: 130-157


N. V.Rabotyazhev

Alternative for Germany: Between Conservatism and Right-Wing Populism

Keywords: Alternative for Germany, right-wing populism, nationalism, conservatism, euroscepticism

The rise of the right-wing populism has become a distinguishing feature of the political life of European countries at the beginning of the 21st century. Over the last 20—25 years, right-wing populist parties have turned from once marginal associations into an important component of the partypolitical system of the EU countries. The key components of the ideology of the parties of this type include ethno-cultural nationalism, anti-immigrant attitudes, anti-globalism, and euroscepticism. Similarly to other populists, their representatives claim to express the interests of the “true” people, which they understand as an organic unity that is opposed to the self-serving and morally degraded establishment.

The German version of right-wing populism manifests itself in the Alternative for Germany (AfD), which stands somewhat apart from the European right-wing populist organizations and differs from most of them in its genesis. The AfD was founded in 2013 by the conservatives and national liberals and in the first few years of its existence it used to be in fact a national conservative eurosceptic party. Although later its right-wing component became stronger, the party still decisively dissociates itself from right-wing radicalism and denies any connection with the German right-wing tradition. The preservation of the national and cultural identity of Germany, the restriction of the influx of immigrants, the rejection of the euro and the transformation of the European Union into an association of sovereign states are among the most important AfD’s principles set out in the party platform.

The electoral base of the AfD consists of those Germans who lose out from globalization, do not accept multiculturalism and are concerned about the influx of migrants from other cultures into Germany. The party is most popular in the eastern lands of Germany. In addition to the extreme right movement, which gravitates towards right-wing radicalism, the party also retains a moderate conservative one. Nevertheless, the AfD remains a party that no one wants to “shake hands” with and has almost no chance of entering power.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2022-106-3-158-178

Pages: 158-178

Foreign Policy

S. M. Khenkin

New Forms of Employment and New Social Groups: Projection into Politics (Case of Spain)

Keywords: Spain, European Union, post-industrial era, new forms of employment, precariat, party-political system, social protest

The post-industrial era that the modern world ushered in has radically changed the labor market structure. The share of population employed in primary (agriculture) and secondary (industry) economic sectors has noticeably decreased while the third (services) and fourth (education, science, and healthcare) sectors have gained significance and increased shares of employment. However, unlike the first sector and especially unlike the second sector, in which labor is almost always systemic, the third and fourth sectors possess a huge demand for unstable (flexible, unsustainable, atypical) forms of employment. Therefore, the social structure of the society has witnessed the emergence of a massive layer of population who is not permanently employed. This is the so-called precariat, deprived of stable social guaranties that the workers enjoyed in the industrial era. In this context the case of Spain is of interest, since it outpaces the majority of the European Union countries in terms of the share of atypical employment. The precarization in this country leaves a deep imprint on various spheres of the society, including the party-political system. Precariat demonstrates a whole gamut of reactions to the surrounding world — ranging from extreme apathy and alienation from the political system to different forms of activism. Nevertheless, the precariat is far from turning into the “class for itself”, as it does not have a specific political consciousness. Without making political demands and lacking organizations that promote their interests, the politically active precariat frequently uses new types of social movements organized by social networks in order to express its discontent. The Spanish experience demonstrates that, in general, unstable employment becomes a source of societal risks. The reduction of the scale of such employment is the imperative for that part of the ruling class that is seriously concerned with the nefarious implications of mass precarization.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2022-106-3-179-196

Pages: 179-196