The People are Speechless: The West as the Subject of Russian Politics

Open to the Public
Nador u. 9, Faculty Tower
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - 4:00pm
Add to Calendar
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Since the beginning of Putin's third presidential term, the Kremlin has taken a newly assertive position in both domestic and international politics. An important aspect of this development consists in a systematic disavowal of politics, which, inter alia, views politics metapolitically, through the prism of 'the truth of the false' (Rancière). By denying the possibility of the people being the subject of politics, it promotes the paranoid perception of the colour revolutions as instigated from Washington and blocks the emergence of a popular subject in the domestic political space. Russia's claims to international subjectivity, in turn, are compromised by the reactive (and reactionary) nature of its policies. I argue that the consequences of this condition are best assessed by using postcolonial theory. From this perspective, Russia emerges as a subaltern empire, in which the people are silenced, the sovereign re-acts by mimicking the West, while the time and space of Russian modernity is defined by the Western Eurocentric subject.

Viacheslav Morozov is Professor of EU-Russia Studies at the University of Tartu. Before moving to Tartu in 2010, he taught for 13 years at the St. Petersburg State University, Russia. He has published extensively on Russian national identity and foreign policy, and, more recently, also on Russian domestic politics and discourses on democracy. He is the author of Russia's Postcolonial Identity: A Subaltern Empire in a Eurocentric World (Palgrave, forthcoming 2015), Russia and Others: Identity and Boundaries of a Political Community (Moscow: NLO Books, 2009) and the editor of Decentring the West: The Idea of Democracy and the Struggle for Hegemony (Ashgate, 2013). Morozov is a member of the Program on New Approaches to Research and Security in Eurasia (PONARS Eurasia), based at George Washington University.