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

Evert van der Zweerde

Evert van der Zweerde is Professor of Political Philosophy at the Radboud University Nijmegen. He is interested in the various forms of established politics at a variety of levels (regimes and policies, democratic politics, government and opposition, etc.) and the underlying issue of 'the political', i.e. the ubiquitous possibility of conflict. Zweerde has analysed these topics in the contexts of European politics,

Democracy in Russia - Perspectives, Expectations, Concepts

"Democracy in Russia" may, today, strike as a contradiction in terms. The general opinion is that the Russian Federation, main heir of the USSR, went through a democratic period from 1990 until 2000, but then saw its democratic standard quickly deteriorate (according to some, the democratic period already ended in 1991). While there is little point in denying this, there is a lot more to say about it, especially when we connect and contrast the Russian democratic episode of the late 20th C, and the years since then, with both contemporary strands in democratic theory and development in the field of democracy worldwide. The key thesis in this lecture will be that "we" (meaning not only scholars in the field of Russia studies, and not only citizens of so-called stable democracies, but world inhabitants generally, including Russians) are seriously fooling ourselves if we fail to see the "failure" of democracy in Russia as part of broader, indeed global developments. The development of democratic politics in post-Soviet Russia has elements of caricature, but then we should pose the question what is the original of which the caricature is a version in the first place. In my lecture, I will, start by presenting an innovative (I think) political-philosophical concept of democracy, then offer three perspectives (Russia-focused, international, and global) to look at the state of democracy in Russia, and finally offer a number of possible expectations from different angles. Not only will I refrain from making any strong predictive or prophetic statements, I will also argue that such statements would in fact miss the point, namely that democracy is not an empirical phenomenon, but a quality of institutions, practices, and repertoires. Consequently, Russia's democratic future is as open as any other.


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