Guest lecture by Leonid Polishchuk at Tartu

On September 27, Leonid Polishchuk from the Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies (UCRS), Uppsala University, will give a public lecture entitled: “Chronicles of a Democracy Postponed: Cultural Legacy of the Russian Transition”. The lecture takes place at 14.15 at Lossi 36-214, Tartu.

The synopsis of the lecture:

The Russian society today is strikingly different from what it was prior to and shortly after the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Contrary to some social theories and earlier expectations, a quarter century post-communist experience, including a decade of relative prosperity in the 2000s, did not cultivate liberal values and civic culture in the Russian society – in fact, social values and attitudes evolved in the opposite direction. We argue that the illiberal and paternalistic slant in today’s Russia originates in the early 1990s, being a cultural echo of reforms carried out without proper representation of the society.

It is often asserted that Russia’s rejection of liberalism and freedom is rooted in the country’s centuries-old political and social history. Our analysis reveals a much more recent social memory and path dependency reflecting a failure to establish inclusive economic and political institutions at a “critical juncture” on the ruins of the communist regime.