A. V.Kovalevsky

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  • № 3, 2023

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

      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

  • № 1, 2021

    • Without Leaders, Mottos or Billboards: Fight for the City and Routine Resistance in the Private Sector of Cities in East Russia (Case of Khabarovsk)

      The article examines the forms of routine resistance of the community that was established within the space of the Soviet private sector in the cities located in the eastern part of Russia. Despite active regular construction, these spaces still make up a significant part of cities. However, in contrast to the Soviet period, when living there was perceived as forced and temporary, today this form of residence is a conscious choice. The former private sector witnesses the emergence of the community, whose existence is based on values, social and communicative practices, and forms of economic activity that are noticeably different from the official ones. This community “produces space” that is appropriate to its lifestyle. For the official authorities (at the state and city levels), this space turns out to be “empty”, representing “promising areas of development”. Its population remains invisible to these authorities. This creates a latent conflict that gives rise to the forms of re sistance described in the article. With all the variety of such forms, there is one main thing that unites them — people’s desire to distance from the state and the city it regulates.

      The authors find out that another group of city dwellers with a much higher socio-economic status — residents of urban mansion districts — share the same aspiration. According to the authors, this desire can be explained by the fact that a resident of a Russian city has few opportunities to find soli da rity community within the existing urban structures and therefore builds his/her life “outside the city wall”, creating analogs of the pre-modern Euro pean municipalities. The remaining “urban” part of the city is increasingly turning into a feudal lord’s castle that from time to time sends troops to punish the “rebels”.

      As long as a feudal lord has an understanding that he really needs townspeople, and they have the opportunity to “escape” from the raid, the situation seems stable. When the raids become too frequent, and it is impossible to escape from them, the population will attack. At the moment, judging by the attitude of the group studied in the article to the rallies in defense of S.Furgal, ex-governor of Khabarovsk region, the authorities still have room for maneuver. However, for how long this situation will last remains to be seen.

      DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2021-100-1-75-105

      Pages: 75-105