Russian Ideology


Rapping for the Kremlin: The Regime Hijacks a Youth Subculture

The Kremlin must win over Russia’s youth, but it does not speak their language, as its dialogue with rappers has demonstrated. Initiated amid a controversial crackdown on rap, the Kremlin’s outreach to rappers has seen it attempt to co-opt an entire youth subculture—to no avail. In the absence of a coherent policy on cultural figures, Russia’s federal agencies, including law enforcement bodies, will continue to prefer the stick to the carrot, impeding any efforts to make peace, let alone ally, with rappers and, by extension, their fans.

The People Vs. the President: United Russia’s Survival Strategy

The United Russia elite will now be caught between two voters: Vladimir Putin, on whom domestic policy managers are oriented, and ordinary people, who increasingly express their discontent through protest voting. The more efforts the Kremlin makes to turn United Russia into a corporation, the more often United Russia politicians will look to voters, who have already proved quite capable of teaching the regime a lesson.

Do Russians Really Believe Moscow Didn’t Interfere Abroad?

Most Russians are not ready to publicly recognize their country’s interference in other states’ affairs. But in less formal conversations, far more people allow for the possibility of such interference than polls show. This reflects Russians’ complicated relationship to their country’s political narratives and its standoff with the West.

No Left Turn in Russia

A protest vote is growing in Russia. But this is not a pivot toward socialism; rather, it is an expression of anger that the government has torn up the Putin-era social contract.

Chavismo, Russian Style: The Winners of Russia’s Regional Elections

The opposition victors in Russian regional elections were not anti-establishment liberals but traditionalists and paternalists, unhappy with the Kremlin’s modernization agenda.

Far East Defeat: How the Kremlin Lost an Election

The Kremlin’s chosen candidate lost the gubernatorial race in Russia’s Primorsky region. In part, that can be chalked up to local economic and political conditions. But while the Primorsky loss might seem like an outlier now, it may also foreshadow problems that the Russian regime will encounter as the country moves into the 2020s.

A Tactical Retreat: The Kremlin Reins in a War on Online Extremism

A crackdown on online “extremism” has drawn rare resistance from both the Russian public and the political elite, forcing the Kremlin to support changes to the country’s main anti-extremism law.

System Failure in Russia: The Elections That Didn’t Go as Planned

The Kremlin obviously understands that elections held under the old rules will result in more defeats. The rules, therefore, will have to change. Just like in 2013–2014, when opposition candidates started winning mayoral elections, the Kremlin first welcomed their victory, but then dispatched local legislatures to scrap mayoral elections altogether. They remain in just seven out of 83 regional centers. A similar fate may now await gubernatorial elections.

Depoliticization in Russia: The Growth of the Protest Vote

Unhappy with plans to raise the retirement age, the decline in their living standards, and tax hikes, Russians can’t vote for the real opposition. Strong candidates are either not allowed to run or prefer to cooperate with the authorities by not running, while in-system parties deliberately tone down their rhetoric. Under such conditions, the protest vote becomes random: people are willing to vote for anyone but the ruling regime candidates.

The Doors are Still Closing: Russia and the World Cup

Russia has opened its doors to thousands of foreigners for the World Cup, but the realities of Putin’s Russia are bigger than the feel-good spirit provided by the football.
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