Russia’s Many Futures

The following paper was presented at the conference “After the End of Revolution: Constitutional Order amid the Crisis of Democracy,” co-organized by the Telos-Paul Piccone Institute and the National Research University Higher School of Economics, September 1–2, 2017, Moscow. For additional details about the conference as well as other upcoming events, please visit the Telos-Paul Piccone Institute website.

Russia will have many futures because it has had many pasts. Three aspects in particular stand out in any discussion of Russia’s future. The first is what Marxists used to call the “present political conjuncture.” In other words, the fate of Russia is inextricably linked with the broader developments in global political practices. It is within this framework that one needs to consider the “post-revolutionary” character of Russia. Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika (restructuring) began in 1985 soon after his accession to the Soviet leadership, but the great ebb tide of emancipatory socialism had begun long before. The post-war Keynesian and welfare state consensus had already begun to unravel with the end of the long post-war economic boom in 1970 and the move to flexible exchange rates in August 1971 as Richard Nixon moved away from the Bretton Woods system of pegging the dollar to gold. The 1970s saw the first moves toward financial liberalization, and Margaret Thatcher’s election in May 1979 signaled, as Eric Hobsbawm put it in September 1978 in a famous article in Marxism Today, that the “Forward March of Labour” was halted. The election of Ronald Reagan in November 1980 further indicated the beginning of an offensive against the ideology and geopolitics of revolutionary socialism. In its place the gathering wave of the neoliberal transformation of capitalism transformed the relationship of state to society, the character of work, and the understanding of citizenship in advanced capitalist societies.

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Michael Millerman on Alexander Dugin, Russia’s Ideological Mastermind

On The Agenda with Steve Paikin, Michael Millerman discusses the philosophy of Alexander Dugin and its influence on Vladimir Putin and contemporary Russian geopolitics. It’s a wide-ranging interview that covers Dugin’s theory of Eurasianism, his critique of the West and liberal democracy, the defense of Russia as a unique, non-Western civilization in its own right, the compatibility of Dugin’s anti-communism with the view that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical catastrophe, the difference between Western multiculturalism and the kind of multicivilizational diversity that Dugin advocates, and much more. Watch the full interview below. In addition to co-translating Dugin’s The Fourth Political Theory (Arktos, 2012), Michael is also a former Telos intern. You can read more of his writing in the TELOSscope archives.

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