International Conference on Conservatism at Uppsala

Russian intellectual history has long been associated with right- and left-wing extremities, but in the last years Russia has become a showcase of a relatively moderate conservative and right-wing populist ideas. It might be a stretch to identify an originally Russian conservative ideology, but one can certainly speak of the ubiquity of the conservative political culture in present-day Russia. The conservative turn became especially visible during Vladimir Putin’s third presidential period, when the Russian leadership and intellectual elite explicitly point at conservatism as their ideological source of inspiration, and eagerly draw on ‘Political Orthodoxy’, discourses about traditional values, and unique Russian civilization. This conservative turn has not happened overnight but had been prepared by decades of the ideological work of the right-wing and pro-government think tanks and groups of intellectuals. Besides, there has always been an indigenous conservative tradition in Russia, which is being unearthed and recycled in our days. Russian conservatism does not exist in an intellectual vacuum; by contrast, there has always been a transit of conservative ideas from the West, or rather a dialogue between Russian and Western conservative intellectuals. Today, this dialogue boomerangs in a way, that has made Russia a major exporter of conservative concepts and visions across the globe.

Grounding on the empirical research in Russian intellectual history, the conference aims to refining our understanding of the ideology of conservatism by situating it within three planes of interpretation: history of ideas, popular visions, and moral-political reasoning. The conference will specifically discuss how conservatism as an ideology mediates the dilemma between modernization and authenticity; how the Russian Orthodox Church is contributing to the conservative ideology; how today’s conservative intellectuals make sense of the conservative tradition, formulate the conservative ideological canon, refer to Russian and Western conservative classics. By so doing, the conference will approach a theoretical examination of how conceptual constructs of Russian conservatives challenge the theoretical framing of an ideology.

Please visit our website to find out more about the event.

If you wish to attend the conference, please sign up by email to

For further information, please contact conference organizer Mikhail Suslov

Admission is free of charge and open to the public.

The conference is arranged with financial support from the Uppsala Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala Forum on Democracy, Peace and Justice and the University of Innsbruck, the project ‘Postsecular conflicts’, financed by the Austrian Science Fund FWF START GRANT 2015 Y919 G22, and by the European Research Council ERC STG 2015 676804 (principal investigator Kristina Stoeckl)