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  • Author or Editor: Tatiana Romashko x
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Since 2011, Russian ‘licensing civil society’ has predominated through censorship and the restrictive regulation of arts and cultural societies. The current conservative project has turned artistic space into public space, indicating moral abuse and a threat to the spiritual health of the Russian nation. Consequently, the symbolic borders of human creativity and individual freedom in arts and cultural societies have been reduced to patriotism, nationalism and moral deductive functions of the state-approved program. This paper will explore Russian state cultural policy and argue that biopolitics is its mainstream strategy. It examines how the ensemble of sovereign and disciplinary power defines and instrumentalizes the concept of culture while also producing lines of inclusion and exclusion within the conservative political project. The major emphasis is placed on the question of political control over the body, spirit and national identity.

In: Russian Politics

Abstract

The paper claims that contemporary Russian cultural policy has been determined by political transformations associated with the political project to establish sovereignty that has organized Putin’s regime since 2012. The idea behind it is traced to Putin’s 2006 intention ‘to make a people out of a mere population’. To understand that intention, and to explain the contribution of culture and cultural policy to its concretization, the paper draws on Foucault’s account of sovereignty and governmentality, and the development of the Gramscian notion of hegemony. The paper argues that Putin’s regime uses governmentality in its hegemonic project to establish sovereignty. To describe that project, and the contribution of culture and cultural policy to it, the paper presents evidence of the relation between Putin’s political actions and changes in the structure of Russian state and government, Russian culture, and the cultural policy infrastructure. The paper begins with a discussion of the draft Concept of culture introduced in 2018 and concludes with an examination of its fate in order to raise the question of the contingency of Putin’s hegemonic project.

In: Russian Politics