Abstracts 3, 2023

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Political Theories

A. R. Tretiak

Stasis and Political Philosophy of Contemporary War

Keywords: war, stasis, global order, the political, Antonio Negri, Michael Hardt, Giorgio Agamben, Nicole Loraux

In recent years, political philosophy has increasingly faced the question about the nature of the contemporary war. Despite the invention of nuclear weapons, war has not disappeared from the historical scene. However, has its essence remained unchanged? In an era of global political communication, when it is increasingly difficult to separate foreign policy from domestic policy, do the trends in the development of military conflicts correspond to the classical ideas about war? One definitely needs a clear paradigm that would help to trace the common logic behind the whole variety of such conflicts taking place in the world today.

The article is devoted to the consideration of one of these paradigms, which is gaining momentum among political theorists. It concerns the conceptualization of all the modern military conflicts as a global civil war. Based on the works of Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt, the author outlines the general contours of this approach, after which he turns to the analysis of the phenomenon of s civil strife, described by the ancient Greek notion of stasis — a term that Giorgio Agamben put back to the current political vocabulary. His detailed study of the original meaning of stasis and its interpretation in the works of Nicole Loraux and Agamben reveals the potential of this concept to be a theoretical tool for understanding the logic of modern war.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-110-3-6-22

Pages: 6-22

Russian Polity

L. E. Bliakher, K. V. Grigorichev, A. V.Kovalevsky

Baron Is Dead Long Live Baronet (Political Mediation on the Border of Empty and Filled Space)

Keywords: space, territory, empty and filled social space, control costs, power, population, mediator

Based on a series of expeditions to the northern area of the Irkutsk region, the article examines the process of the formation of a special kind of quasi-political actors, denoted in the text by the term “taiga baronet”. These actors emerge under the conditions when, as a result of the “optimization” of the structures responsible for collecting information about social space, the latter, from the point of view of authorities, becomes “empty”. Along with the array of interpretable markers of the filled space, a number of operators capable of interpreting them decreases and at the end disappears. As a result, the government turns out to be blind, physically deprived of the ability to perform managerial functions. At the same time, having become invisible to the eye of the authorities, this space retains itself as an administratively and politically structured territory, in which representatives of local authorities are forced to carry out the activities prescribed to them and legally assigned to them. Due to the “blindness” of the authorities, this activity inevitably turns into an imitation. The problem, however, is that the space that the authorities perceive as “empty” still have residents, for whom this space remains both social and “filled,” and who continue to expect from government institutions that they provide a certain amount of public goods. Thus, a conflict arises, manifested in complaints, appeals to law enforcement agencies and higher authorities, which poses a threat to the favorable picture drawn in the reports. It is the need to somehow neutralize this threat that gives rise to the need for an agent who is not bound by the restrictions associated with the authorities’ view and is able to focus on the “here and now” situation, without universal standards. This agent not only assumes a number of functions of the local government, but also acts as a universal mediator between the “empty” and “filled” space, between the local community and the state structure.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-110-3-23-46

Pages: 23-46

L. G.Fishman

Our Wrong Ruling Class: What to Expect from It?

Keywords: bourgeoisie, bureaucracy, nomenklatura, ruling class, ideology, social contract

The article presents an analysis of the double problem that arises in the study of the contemporary Russian ruling class: one aspect of this problem is related to an adequate theoretical description of this class, and the other aspect concerns its self-positioning. The author considers the main paradigms of theoretical understanding of the nature of this class — as bourgeoisie, as bureaucracy, and as nomenklatura. The article demonstrates that, regardless of the adequacy of the description of Russia’s ruling class within the paradigms of bourgeoisie and bureaucracy, in the current situation the class prefers to position itself as the heir to the Soviet nomenklatura. Such a positioning endows the Russian ruling class with a much greater historical subjectivity than it could claim if it positioned itself as bourgeoisie or bureaucracy.

The catch, however, is that in reality the Soviet nomenklatura possessed a very limited historical subjectivity and needed an external “editor” (regulator). The modern Russian ruling class has inherited this trait, which caused a number of difficulties that it experienced in the ideological and axiological spheres. Therefore, one should not expect global world-building projects from this class. The maximum that it can offer to other citizens is to increase their share of rent in the form of social payments, a Far Eastern hectare, and salaries to members of the special military operation. Taking populist steps, manifested in the refusal to show off their success, could become another component of the strategy of rapprochement with ordinary citizens. An “ideology” that is being formed around such a strategy will become a design of a new social contract. Today one can only guess what such contract will be about.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-110-3-47-66

Pages: 47-66

Yu. A. Balandin, Yu. O.Gaivoronsky

Patronal Politics and Turnovers of Regional Governors in Russia (Evidence from Social Network Analysis)

Keywords: patronal politics, patronal network, governors, federal center, Social Network Analysis

The article is devoted to testing different approaches to explaining the turnover of the heads of the Russian regions after the return of direct gubernatorial elections. Until recently, two basic explanatory models of gubernatorial turnovers — electoral and socio-economic — were the most popular among the Russian political scientists. The influence on such turnovers of informal institutions and practices, which play a significant role in Russian politics, largely remained outside of view of researchers, and even today it is rather understudied. Therefore, the authors focus on identifying the possible role of this factor, employing network and regression analysis for this purpose.

Based on the Henry Hale’s concept of patronal politics, the authors operationalize informal practices as patron-client relations, which implies unification of federal political and economic actors (patrons) and heads of regions (clients) into a patronal network, the position in which is potentially capable of influencing political stability. To measure a key indicator that reflects the weight of the head of the region in the patronal network, the authors make use of the centrality index that they calculated on the basis of their unique database, which covers all individuals who held the post of a governor from 2012 to 2021, as well as federal actors associated with them.

The authors’ regression analysis of the factors that influence governors’ turnover testifies to the high explanatory power of the network model: the governor’s presence within the patronal network and his proximity to the key (central) actors of this network reduce the likelihood of resignation. At the same time, alternative explanatory models (electoral and socio-economic), as well as personal characteristics of governors (age, length of tenure, end of term at the office) retain their significance.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-110-3-67-90

Pages: 67-90

Social Consciousness

O. Yu. Malinova

Memory of the 1990s as Resource of Adaptation to New Crisis: Analysis of Russian Media Discourses

Keywords: frames of remembering, framing, the 1990s, adaptation to crisis, public discourse

The article is devoted to the problem of memory functioning as a symbolic resource for adaptation to a crisis as a situation of high uncertainty. The author analyzes public practices of articulating memory about the early period of the post-Soviet transformation when discussing social and economic problems associated with the special military operation in Ukraine, that was declared by president Vladimir Putin on 24 February, 2022, and subsequent unprecedented extension of international sanctions. The study is based on Iwona Irwin-Zarecka’s theory of frames of remembrance. By revealing typical ways of framing the experience of the 1990s in media discourse during the first six months after 24 February, 2022, the author attempts to identify how this experience was tied to the current problems and thus determine the role of memory as a resource for adaptation to the new crisis. The analysis is based on publications in printed and online media that target different audiences. In order to reveal ways of framing statements about the 1990s, the author utilized the method of qualitative content analysis using the MAXQDA application.

The results of the study confirm that in a situation of uncertainty caused by the forced restructuring of economic relations, social expectations and political goal-setting, the memory of a collective traumatic experience acts as an adaptation resource, which is associated with a partial transformation of its semantic framework. At the same time, the ideological splits tied to the memory of the 1990s persist and continue to determine the structure of the public discourse about the past.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-110-3-91-114

Pages: 91-114

E. B. Shestopal

Political Parties and Their Leaders Public Perception against Background of Current Psychological State of Russian Society

Keywords: party image, party leader’s image, political perception, psychological state of society, new political reality

The article is devoted to the images of the Russian parties and their leaders against the background of the changes in the psychological state of our society in the modern conditions. The study was based on qualitative and quantitative research conducted in late 2022 — early 2023 in 22 regions. The object of the study were five parties represented in the State Duma (United Russia, The Communist Party of the Russian Federation, The Liberal Democratic Party, A Just Russia — For Truth, New People) and their leaders (A.Turchak, G.Zyuganov, V.Zhirinovsky, L.Slutsky, S.Mironov, and A.Nechaev). The research methodology included a survey, an in-depth interview, a semantic differential, a projective test, and a directed associations method. The study was not representative of the country as a whole, but the sample was balanced in terms of gender, age and education.

The study demonstrated that the high level of anxiety and concerns of citizens about military actions did not affect a number of perception parameters, such as the attitude towards parties as a necessary part of the democratic process, the lack of a clear ideological identification of parties, and the personification of party images. At the same time, some parameters have undergone a significant transformation. First, the perception of a position of parties within the framework of the dichotomy “power — opposition” has changed. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation, A Just Russia — For Truth and The Liberal Democratic Party have lost a significant part of their image as opposition in the perception of citizens, while support for United Russia, which is clearly associated with the authorities, has increased. Second, the popularity of a flamboyant style has become a thing of the past, and today the image of the centrist party is the most attractive for voters. The new political reality requires that parties work to consolidate the society in the face of an external threat rather than demonstrate their independence and distance themselves from the authorities. Third, if before the beginning of the 2020s the demand for conservatism prevailed in the society, in the current situation social democratic and liberal values are more in demand.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-110-3-115-133

Pages: 115-133


K. V. Dushenko

Prison of Peoples: Birth of Metaphor

Keywords: political language, nationalism, empire, Russian-Ukrainian relations, Astolf de Custine, Józef Ignacy Kraszewski, Mikhail Grushevsky, Vladimir Lenin

The article discusses the emergence of the image of the prison of peoples in the European culture. Most often, this image is traced back to the book by Astolf de Custine “Russia in 1839”. However, de Custine, in essence, talks only about one enslaved people in the Russian Empire, namely the Polish. The idea about the prison of peoples took root only after the “non-historical” peoples of the Central and Eastern Europe entered the political scene. The image of Russia as a prison of peoples dates back to the Polish and even more so to the Ukrainian literature and journalism. In the Ukrainian press, referring to Russia as a prison of peoples becomes common practice in the 1900s. Mikhail Grushevsky in his article “Unity or disintegration?” presents this metaphor in its most extensive form. The image of the prison of peoples played an important role in the program documents of the Austrophile Ukrainian organizations of the First World War era. At the same time, Ukrainian leaders did not forget about Polish nationalism, which “would like to build a new „prison of peoples“” in a revived Poland. In the Polish press in 1900— 1917 the prison of peoples was mentioned less frequently, and not in program documents. Lenin most probably borrowed the formula “prison of peoples” from the Ukrainian or Polish press. From Lenin’s journalism it moved into the Soviet political language. Until the First World War, Russia was referred to almost exclusively as the prison of peoples; then the metaphor began to be applied to other countries, primarily to Austria-Hungary.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-110-3-134-148

Pages: 134-148


A. V.Korotayev, A. I.Zhdanov

Quantitative Analysis of Political Factors of Revolutionary Destabilization (A Systematic Review)

Keywords: revolutions, political factors of revolutionary destabilization, quantitative analysis

The article presents a systematic review of the results of testing political factors of revolutionary destabilization in the works that the authors classify as the fifth generation of research on revolutions. The article demonstrates that according to the existing quantitative cross-national studies, the same political factors can have a different effect on the probability of armed uprisings, on the one hand, and unarmed revolutionary actions, on the other hand. The studies reviewed by the authors show that holding elections increases the risks of unarmed revolutionary destabilization. The diffusion effect in the modern world is more typical for unarmed than armed revolutions. Similarly, the long-serving leader acts as a trigger for unarmed rather than armed uprisings. In turn, armed revolutionary clashes occur especially often in countries characterized by ethnic and religious heterogeneity, where a significant part of the population is excluded from politics on ethno-religious grounds. The same applies to the countries that pursue a policy of discrimination directed against minorities. At the same time, there are factors that impact all types of revolutionary destabilization. The likelihood of both armed and unarmed revolutions is highest in countries with a political regime that lies in between full autocracy and full democracy, that is, in partial autocracies and partial democracies. Both armed and unarmed revolutions are more likely to occur if preceded by the similar events in the recent past (armed revolutionary uprisings increase the likelihood of new armed uprisings, while unarmed — new unarmed protests).

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-110-3-149-171

Pages: 149-171

Yu. A.Nisnevich

Influence of Political Islam Factor in Modern World

Keywords: political Islam, Muslim world, Islamic, quasi-Islamic and secular Muslim states, radical Islamic organizations

The article is devoted to the problem of the influence of the factor of political Islam in the modern conditions. In order to reveal such influence, the author examines the situation in 45 UN member stat es, where more than 50% of the population adheres to Islam, tentatively subdividing these states into Islamic, quasi-Islamic and secular. His analysis shows that the influence of the factor of political Islam in the field of politics of the Muslim world, and, consequently, in the global political space, is limited.

The direct impact of political Islam on political processes is visible only in 12 Islamic states with stable political regimes and secular Turkey. In all these states, except for theocratic Islamic dictatorships Afghanistan and Iran, as well as Qatar, the authorities severely suppress any manifestations of radical political Islam. The interreligious Sunni-Shia conflict exerts a significant impact on the political situation in a number of Islamic states.

In 20 quasi-Islamic and secular Muslim states with stable political regimes, political Islam, if present, is only on the periphery of the political field. At the same time, in some of the states in this group, the authorities have to fight cross-border terrorist activity of radical Islamic organizations.

In almost a quarter of the states of the Muslim world, the political situation is currently unstable. Herewith, one of the factors of political turbulence in these states, along with ethnic and clan conflicts, is the terrorist activities of both international and national radical Islamic groups and movements.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-110-3-172-192

Pages: 172-192