Head of the Organising Committee
Sanna Turoma
sanna.turoma [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Coordinator
Kaarina Aitamurto
kaarina.aitamurto [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Secretary
Maarit Elo-Valente
maarit.elo-valente [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Intern
Miikka Piiroinen
miikka.piiroinen [at] helsinki.fi

Conference e-mail:
fcree-aleksconf [at] helsinki.fi

The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki
phone +358-(0)50-3565 802

aleksanteri [at] helsinki.fi


Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Daniela Steila (University of Turin, Italy)

Is "Collectivism" part of the Ideological Dispositive in Putin's Russia?

During a conversation with some journalists, broadcasted on "Russia Today" TV in June 2013, Vladimir Putin stated that the "collectivist idea" is the basis of Russian self-consciousness. More recently, an historian of the Donbass National University stated that one of the reasons why people in Donbass feel closer to Russia, than to Ukraine, is that "collective values" predominate there for historical reasons. The supposed "typical" Russian stress on the Collective is an idea that keeps coming up in Russian debates, in order to emphasize the specificity of Russian culture comparing with the Western, European and American one. On the one hand it is an ideological statement, on the other it seems to have some solid grounds on the scholarly level. Russian intellectuals as well as scholars working on Russian intellectual history, while considering the specific context of Russian culture (before, during and after the Soviet period), often stress as crucial the existence of peculiar relations between Individual Subjectivity and the Collective, that is, the dimension of personal freedom and responsibility on the one hand, and the higher interests of the society, or the state, or the class on the other hand. This theme is widely considered as deeply rooted within the Russians' past and their religious and socio-political traditions—as something very characteristic, running across the whole of Russian history up to the most recent times. In Putin's Russia it seems that such a historical and cultural view can be used as a way to justify an "anomalous" political culture comparing to European traditions. My paper will examine some examples of the uses of "collectivist values" in contemporary Russian discussions, as part of the "official discourse" (for instance within the President's speeches), as well as within the wider ideological debates (for instance about Dugin's Eurasianism).