Public lecture on the cultural legacy of Russian transition
On Tuesday, 27 September, Leonid Polishchuk, Researcher at the Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Uppsala University, will give a public lecture entitled ” Chronicles of a Democracy Postponed: Cultural Legacy of the Russian Transition”. The lecture takes place at 14.15 at Lossi 36-214.
The synopsis of the lecture:
The Russian society today is strikingly different from what it was prior to and shortly after the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Contrary to some social theories and earlier expectations, a quarter century post-communist experience, including a decade of relative prosperity in the 2000s, did not cultivate liberal values and civic culture in the Russian society – in fact, social values and attitudes evolved in the opposite direction. We argue that the illiberal and paternalistic slant in today’s Russia originates in the early 1990s, being a cultural echo of reforms carried out without proper representation of the society.
It is often asserted that Russia’s rejection of liberalism and freedom is rooted in the country’s centuries-old political and social history. Our analysis reveals a much more recent social memory and path dependency reflecting a failure to establish inclusive economic and political institutions at a “critical juncture” on the ruins of the communist regime.
Leonid Polishchuk is an economist with broad interests and expertise in social and economic development, institutions, culture, and policy reform. Throughout his career he has held academic appointments in Russia (Higher School of Economics, Moscow), Canada (University of British Columbia, Vancouver), US (University of Maryland at College Park and California Institute of Technology) and Sweden (University of Uppsala). His current research is on the role of institutions and culture in transition and developing countries, and especially on the impact of norms and values for the quality of governance and political participation. His most recent publications include, for example, “Ruling elites’ rotation and asset ownership: implications for property rights” (Public Choice, 2015) and “How (not) to measure Russian regional institutions” (Russian Journal of Economics, 2015).
The lecture is organized in the framework of the project “Building Research Excellence in Russian and East European Studies at the Universities of Tartu, Uppsala and Kent” (UPTAKE), funded from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
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Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies
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