№ 1, 2021
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.
№ 4, 2020
The Khabarovsk protest has been going on for months: first, it suddenly made headlines of the world media and then it was pushed to the periphery of the information space. The predictions about the protest fading away stubbornly refuse to come true. Maybe not tens of thousands as it was earlier, but thousands of city residents still take to the streets. Moreover, tension, uncertainty, and discontent persist in the air. Dozens of articles and many reports have been written about Khabarovsk, and even a full-length documentary has been released. Nevertheless, the question remains: why did the population of the city, who for decades preferred to distance themselves from any government’s initiatives, all of a sudden switched to a strategy of protest? What part of this situation is unique to Khabarovsk, and where do we observe more general patterns? This article is devoted to finding answers to these questions.
Having examined the main facets of the events unfolding in Khabarovsk, L.Bliakher and A.Kovalevsky come to the conclusion that these events are about the most important political phenomenon — the formation of the political agency of the population that for many years has been reduced to the position of an object. In the case of Khabarovsk, residents started to perceive themselves as a political agent after the 2018 protest voting. In this situation, people began to view the ex-governor of the Khabarovsk region not so much as a good — or not very good — leader, but rather as a symbol of acquiring political agency, which became a key element of regional identification, the formation of the local community. That is why his arrest was perceived by the residents of the region as a personal insult. And it is their identity that they defend on the streets of Khabarovsk.
Main Page ~ Authors ~ L. E.Bliakher