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Modernization, Geopolitics, and the New Russian Conservatives

Prof. Dr. Katharina Bluhm

Institute for East European Studies

Freie Universität Berlin

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

4:00 p.m.

223 Moses Hall

UC Berkeley Campus


The rise of a new political conservatism in Russia did not just start with Putin’s publicly celebrated turn towards conservative values in 2012. Rather, it grew out of the disappointment with Western recipes for a catch-up economic development, the search for an alternative path, and geopolitical concerns among the Russian elite and intellectuals. The core idea was to construct a counter-ideology, a counter-movement to the two progressive ideologies of the 19th and 20th Centuries: Liberalism and socialism. To call this new ideology “Putinism” fails to grasp the universalist claims made by the promoters of this new ideology. As a first step, the lecture will analyze the genesis of this new conservatism, its core concepts and the two main strands of ideologists who do the conceptual work in clubs, think tanks and foundations. In a second step, I will explore the implications of two self-perceptions of Russia as “civilization of its own” and as “the other Europe” for the ways in which the conservative project addresses itself towards Europe within a new multi-polar world.

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