Russian Ideology


The Black Hole Where Russia’s Ethics Should Be

In the current Russian political climate, ethical reasoning is no longer a recreation but a necessity. Although the country is stuck in a moral quagmire, a new system of ethics is being born—through contrariness.

Killing Russian Criminal Law

The “Yarovaya laws” threaten to undermine the core principles of Russian criminal law. With the Criminal Code stripped bare and the revival of a number of notorious Soviet legal principles—including the ability to hold people criminally responsible for withholding information—legal textbooks will soon have to be rewritten.

Putin Indulges the Duma

Putin’s address was deeply conservative in content and artfully liberal in rhetoric. He frames being elected to the Duma as being elevated to the ranks of the chosen few. The right to be a Putinist is celebrated, and it’s out of the question that the institution might let in “irresponsible forces”: real threats to power.

The Crime and Punishment of a Russian Liberal

The timing of the very public arrest of Kirov region governor Nikita Belykh for corruption is opportune: the Duma election campaign is about to start, and the fight against corruption will be useful. Belykh—a liberal in government—is a convenient target: he held a prominent position and yet he was extraneous to the overall political system

Russia’s No-Show at Pan-Orthodox Council Reveals Hopeless Lack of Unity

Refusing to participate in the Pan-Orthodox Council is the most hapless and helpless choice possible, and the actions of the four churches are a fairly explicit nod to Orthodox fundamentalists who dismiss the council as iconoclastic and ungodly and say that the main objective of the Greeks is to “codify the heresy.”

The Road From 1996: Russia’s Failure of Democracy

Boris Yeltsin’s reelection in 1996, hailed as a triumph of democracy, now looks like a Pyrrhic victory. The means by which the process was manipulated set a precedent for the Putin era.

Duma Elections: Crimea Effect Caps Protest Potential

The annexation of Crimea in March 2014 fundamentally changed Russia’s political climate: support for Vladimir Putin’s regime rose and remains high, despite a certain cooldown in recent months. Discontent is building but remains far from boiling point, and we are unlikely to see large-scale protest voting or mass rallies in the parliamentary elections this fall.

Putin and the Greeks: The Limits of Orthodox Diplomacy

The central aim of Vladimir Putin’s visit to Greece was to declare the spiritual unity of two Orthodox nations, Greece and Russia. But Putin’s pilgrimage showed the limitations of that message. Greek Orthodoxy is fully compatible with its democracy and place in Europe.

Out From the Underground: Russia’s New Propagandists

The new propagandists who dominated the Russian media were formed by the experience of the trauma of the 1990s and the loss of the certainties of the Soviet past. Their ideology is a fusion of Soviet and imperial Russian ideas. Its chief intellectual weakness is that it must link Russian success to the failure of the West and democracy.

United Russia Primaries Open Pandora’s Box

The primaries have once again highlighted the Kremlin’s domestic policy tactics. First, the administration announces a large project, makes promises, and even begins to deliver on them. Then, fears of failure and loss of control set in, and all work grinds to a halt.
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