Putinism beyond Putin: The Political Ideas of Russia's Top Elite
Why did and will Russia behave in international affairs the way she did and will do? This project aims to add to previous research of Russian federal institutions, national elites and ideological trends by providing insight into the political thought and foreign outlook of some of Russia’s key decision-makers and official speakers, apart from Putin.
Methodologically, we follow earlier reapplications of concepts from fascist studies to post-Soviet Russia, like Richard Sakwa’s employment of Fraenkel’s “dual state” to deciphering key aspect’s (though not the nature) of Putin’s regime. Our method of choosing certain elite members for closer analysis is derived from an approach previously employed by Frank-Lothar Kroll in the design of his seminal study (Utopie als Ideologie) of political ideas relevant to the outlook and policies of the Third Reich’s leadership. We will study the historical interpretations, geopolitical views and strategic thoughts of select elite members as ideas that, along with Putin’s own ideological preferences, co-determine the formulation, direction and justification of Russia’s foreign policies especially vis-à-vis the post-Soviet space and West. Our conclusions will try to identify continuities, changes, and nuances in the political elite's thought as informative clues to explaining past actions and interpreting future behavior of Putin’s regime.
Project duration: 2020-2021.
Project members: Andreas Umland and Martin Kragh