Spring 2017

Ideas, Ideology & Intellectuals in Search of Russia’s Political Future

Author
Elena Chebankova
Abstract

The intellectual discourse of any state can function within two broad paradigms: consensual and pluralistic. In the first case, political elites, intellectuals, and the public agree on the base parameters of what constitutes “the good life” and argue about the methods of application. In the second case, participants hold radically different, incommensurable views, which coexist in society. This essay argues that the Western political system broadly rests on the politics of liberal consensus, formed throughout the period of capitalist modernization. But Russia's history took a different turn, following a path of alternative modernization. This engendered the politics of paradigmatic pluralism, in which a number of radically different politico-intellectual frameworks struggle for the dominant discourse. This essay examines these paradigms and argues that, due to the nature and substance of these models, fundamental change of Russia's dominant discourse, along with its main politico-institutional parameters, is unlikely.

ELENA CHEBANKOVA is Reader in Politics at the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Lincoln. She is the author of Civil Society in Putin's Russia (2013) and Russia's Federal Relations: Putin's Reforms and Management of the Regions (2009).

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