In her research, Dr. Natalia Mamonova applies the concept of naïve monarchism (i.e. the traditional peasant expression of reverence for the tsar as their benefactor) to study grassroots resistance and mobilisation in Putin’s Russia. Although Russia is not a monarchy, and its citizens are not peasants, the naïve monarchist myth in a benevolent tsar and loyal peasants manifests itself in many local grievances. At this seminar, Natalia will discuss three types of contentious politics that have traits of naïve monarchism: written petitions to the president, pro-Putin pickets and demonstrations, and geographical renaming in honour of Putin. Grievances voiced in this way are rarely subjects of repression from above, as they reinforce presidential authority and the existing order. This raises the question of whether protesters faithfully believe in a benevolent president or intentionally exploit their subordinate position and Putin’s image as the present-day tsar.

Natalia Mamonova is a Research Fellow at the Russia and Eurasia Programme of the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI). She received her PhD degree in 2016 from the Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University, the Netherlands. Natalia’s research interests primarily focus on rural social movements, everyday (hidden) resistance, food sovereignty and state-society relations in Russia and Ukraine.