Conference e-mail

The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki

Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Alexandra Arkhipova (The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration) and Daria Radchenko (Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences, Russia)

"We Should (not) Repeat it All": Images of the Future in Russian Public Protest

Public activities are a key source for understanding the ideals, values and norms shared by key “stakeholders” – in the case of political activities, of major groups who support or oppose governmental policies. Since 2014, our interdisciplinary research group has conducted participant observations of the rallies, collected interviews and photos of verbal (slogans) and non-verbal signs of protest or support, and organized these materials into a database “Voices of protest”. The mixed methods approach, adopted by the group, allows to quantitatively assess the pervasiveness of certain ideas within key political groups. One of these is the construction of the image of the desired future. As the research shows, groups of people with very different political preferences tend to use similar models, instruments and content in the process of building their vision of the future: from stressing the usage of hand-writing in their placards to confirm the “vernacularity” of their position to appellation to the figures and events of the past which they see as a reference for building the future. The presented paper will show, how political discussion of the desired future of both opposition and supporters of the government actually focuses on a few key topics which all of the political actors see as crucial for the future of Russia: possibility to change the government, legitimacy of repressions, aggression towards or collaboration with other countries, etc.