Political ideas and ideologies
CORUSCANT study group
  • Dr Juliette Faure
    Teaching and research fellow, Paris-Panthéon-Assas University.

  • Dr Jules Sergei Fediunin
    Postdoctoral researcher, EHESS.

This study group aims to research the intellectual and ideological transformations in Russia in the context of the full scale invasion of Ukraine, with a particular focus on the effects of the war and authoritarian repression. We will look at four main lines of inquiry:

  • The ideological production of the Putin regime
  • The transformation of intellectual fields in Russia
  • The transnationalization of intellectual and ideological circles
  • The European attitudes to Russia

The first is the ideological production of the Russian regime itself, in order to grasp its influences on Russia's defense and security policies, its foreign policy, its strategic culture, and its "soft power" aimed at an international audience. Within the country, we notice the development of an ideological state apparatus through the military-patriotic education provided in schools and universities, propaganda campaigns in the mainstream media and on social networks, as well as memory policies and the rewriting of history. However, this production of ideas is not the monopoly of the regime. A variety of state, non-state and para-state actors are involved in the creation of ideological frames of reference, reinforcing competition between their agendas.

A second line of inquiry concerns the deep transformations of Russian intellectual and ideological fields in times of war. We will examine the ways in which expertise was placed at the service of the regime, through structures such as the Russian Council on Foreign and Defense Policy (SVOP) or think tanks like the Institute for Expertise in Social Research (EISI). In the academic field, institutions such as the Higher School of Economics and the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Service were mobilized to support the war effort. At the same time, the media field and the editorial field have been considerably affected by the war, as opposition, liberal, or anti-war media outlets have been forced to close down and leave the country. Various platforms such as RT and the Telegram channels of military bloggers (voenkory) have played an essential role in disseminating official narratives. Meanwhile, the cultural and artistic fields have seen the emergence of multiple forms of resistance to and subversion of the Russian regime, but also the appearance of a militaristic and patriotic culture, known as "Z culture".

The third line of inquiry is to explore the dynamics of transnationalization of Russian intellectual and ideological circles. To study the dynamics unleashed by a new wave of emigration, we will analyze the positions, discourses, networks and institutions of exiled or emigrated actors. At same time, epistemological debates on theories and concepts such as "decolonization", "decentralization" and "fascization" are reshaping the way in which the humanities and the social sciences are thinking about Russia.

Our fourth and last line of inquiry concerns the effects of war on relations, attitudes and positions of European actors towards Russia. This issue is at the heart of the political and legislative debates on the European support of Ukraine, but also on the transformation of the European Union. The Russian invasion of Ukraine also represents a key moment in the reconfiguration of transnational networks of ideas between Russia and Europe, which are maintained by intellectuals and political movements of the radical right.

Juin 2024

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