Cover Osteuropa 5-6/2013

In Osteuropa 5-6/2013

Fatal Continuities
From Soviet Totalitarianism to Putin’s Authoritarianism

Lev Gudkov

Deutsche Fassung


With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the communist party’s monopoly on power in Russia came to an end. The central planning authority was also dissolved. But central pillars of Soviet totalitarian rule, such as the intelligence services, the army, the prosecutor’s office, and the judiciary system persist. On them rests the authoritarian state that emerged under Vladimir Putin. The schools, the central media, and the conscript army are reproducing the values and practices of the Soviet Union. The people are responding to the legal nihilism and violence as they did in the past: by conforming. Bureaucratic arbitrariness and repression are considered inevitable, even “normal”. This is the typical mentality of homo sovieticus, which, even after the demise of the Soviet Union, is being passed on from generation to generation.

(Osteuropa 5-6/2013, pp. 283–296)