Cover Osteuropa 1/2007

In Osteuropa 1/2007

Russia’s Systemic Crisis
Negative Mobilisation and Collective Cynicism

Lev Gudkov

Deutsche Fassung


Since Vladimir Putin came to power, Russia seems stronger than it has been for a long time. But appearances are deceiving. Russia is degenerating into a corrupt police state, society is sinking into poverty, and the country is heading towards isolation. The system of government’s crisis of legitimacy is shown by a targeted negative mobilisation which foments hatred of “the oligarchs”, the United States and NATO, of Georgia and Ukraine. Fear of the future, cynicism, imagined enemies and diffuse aggression are spreading. The need for a protective collective is growing. Anyone who identifies an enemy and demands his annihilation becomes a conveyor of meaning. Nonetheless, the political determination on display conceals only omni-present state incompetence.

(Osteuropa 1/2007, pp. 3–14)