From Ideology to Culture in Putin’s Russia

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Although Putin laments the excesses of communism, he identifies two problems that ideology or otherwise a “national idea,” as a pragmatic tool, could theoretically solve: 1) a lack of moral clarity and purpose and 2) “the nationalities question.” Since resuming the presidency in 2012, Putin has engaged in a project to solve these problems by a state-directed cultural policy that is absolutely not, under any circumstances, to be called “ideological.”

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The Strength and Flexibility of Maria Kolesnikova

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While the possibility for political change has seemed nearly unimaginable under Lukashenko’s long tenure, the penetration of global consumer culture over the past decade has nonetheless helped to shape a different type of citizen-subject, even in the absence of substantial economic reform. This emerging subject strives to achieve a set of orientations that scholars associate with neoliberal economic regimes: constant investment in the self, flexibility, self-reliance, and perpetual positivity.

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A Brief History of an Indo-Soviet Cultural Affair

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The collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s led to the end of an era of robust cultural exchange between Russia and India, but lingering artifacts of this longstanding cultural affair still exist within literature, music, and theater, awaiting excavation by historians, scholars of literature, and eager internationalists.

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Bigger Nets Mean More Goals: Russian Cultural Diplomacy and the KHL

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Despite not being an official government entity, or perhaps precisely because it is not associated with the Kremlin and thus is not seen as a propaganda tool, the Kontinental Hockey League thus serves as an ideal vehicle for Russian cultural diplomacy, projecting a favorable image of successful, Russia-based hockey clubs while also creating people-to-people ties that foster an interest in Russia across several countries.

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Conversation in the Kitchen: Sasha Dugdale’s Voiced Translation of Maria Stepanova

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Some may argue that there is a conflict of interest in translating a friend, but Sasha Dugdale’s deft translations of Maria Stepanova, with whom she is close, suggest that friendship can be a source for a powerful, mutual, and reflexive embodying of the written word, particularly between two women enjoy defecting from the word as much as they do living in it.

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New-Generation Warfare and the Fringe Right: How Russian Interference Impacts Right-Wing Extremism in the US, Part III

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The white supremacist fascination with Putin’s Russia is not alarming only because it represents a distasteful admiration for anti-democratic and authoritarian values but also because it presents a direct threat to US national security. White supremacists are not merely racists who otherwise favor the US and its institutions; they actively seek to undermine American society and governance, and they will almost certainly welcome help from Russia, who seeks the same.

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New-Generation Warfare and the Fringe Right: How Russian Interference Impacts Right-Wing Extremism in the US, Part II

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It is difficult to say whether anyone, Russia included, could purposely engineer another QAnon movement. However, QAnon is a masterclass in manipulating an audience by playing to its expectations and fears. Russia will almost certainly take QAnon as a model for evoking an extreme and compelling response among right-wing targets, and microtargeting will make it easier than ever before.

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The Russian Private Sector Today: Challenges and Prospects in a Post-Pandemic World

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On April 12th, the Jordan Center and the Harriman Institute co-hosted a panel on the private sector in Russia as part of the NYC-Russia Public Policy Series. Panelists included Simeon Djankov, Director of Development Economics at the World Bank; Dinissa Duvanova, Associate Professor of International Relations at Lehigh University; Alena Ledeneva, Professor of Politics and Society at University College London; Ivan Nechepurenko, Moscow bureau reporter at The New York Times; Andrei A. Yakovlev, Director of the Institute for Industrial and Market Studies and the International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development at the Higher School of Economics. The panel was chaired by Jordan Center Director Joshua A. Tucker and Alexander Cooley, Director of the Harriman Institute at Columbia University. In case you missed it, you can stream it here.

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In Putin’s Vision of Ukraine’s Past, A Warning About Russia’s Future

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On 12 July 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin published a historical essay titled “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians.” He frames the essay as a follow-up to a comment he made on “Direct Line,” the annual call-in show where Putin answers questions from constituents. On this occasion, Putin characterized Russians and Ukrainians as “a single people” [Rus. voobshche odin narod]. Expanding on his original comment, the Russian president offers a version of historical events suggesting that today’s ruptures between Russians and Ukrainians have no basis in reality, but are instead rooted in artificial divisions constructed and exploited by both foreign powers and the Soviet Union.

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