Competing Ideologies of Russia's Civil Society

Elena Chebankova
2015 Europe-Asia Studies  
Many analysts and public opinion makers in the West conflate the notions of Russia's nonsystemic liberal opposition and the country's civil society. Indeed, despite garnering the support of a minority of Russia's population, non-systemic liberal opposition represents a well-organized civic group with a clearly articulated agenda and the ability to take action. Yet, does Russia's civil society end there? A closer look at the country's politics shows that Russia has a substantial
more » ... al conservative-traditionalist faction that has also developed agenda for action and formulated opinions. This group is anti-liberal rather than illiberal ideologically and pro-strong state/pro a geopolitically independent Russia rather than pro-Kremlin politically. The interaction between liberal and conservative civic groups represents the battle of meanings, ideas, and ethics, and ultimately determines the future trajectory of Russia's evolution. Thus, the analysis of Russia's civil society must represent a rather more nuanced picture than a mere study of the liberal nonsystemic opposition. This article will examine the complexity of Russia's civil society scene with reference to the interplay between the liberal opposition and conservative majority factions. The paper will argue that such complexity stems from ideological value pluralism that falls far beyond the boundaries of the liberal consensus, often skewing our understanding of political practice in Russia.
doi:10.1080/09668136.2014.1002695 fatcat:aaqvwqmeybcelnth4cjgfwql4a