Lecture with Matthew Blackburn: The Transformation of Russia’s Political System 2012-2022

Professor Matthew Blackburn will be visiting the University of Oslo on Tuesday May 10 to give a lecture on the processes of transformation taking place in Russia after 2012.

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Matthew Blackburn (photo: Uppsala University)

Matthew Blackburn is a visiting research fellow at the Department of Political Science at the University of Warsaw and a researcher at the Institute of Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University. His research focuses on political legitimation, memory politics, nationalism and identity politics in the post-Soviet space.

This is what professor Blackburn is saying about his upcoming lecture:

"The decision to invade Ukraine not only represents the crossing of a deadly Rubicon; it is tempting to see it as the culmination of ten years of political transformation in Russia, a decade marked by political restructuring, elite reconfiguration and ideological hardening. This lecture unpacks the key elements in the radicalisation of the Kremlin: (1) policies and reforms; (2) elites and institutions; (3) ideological actors and identity politics.

The point of departure is 2011-12, when key developments were set in motion. Political transformation is interpreted in relation to external dynamics (geopolitics and foreign relations) alongside internal factors (regime stability and legitimacy) related to Russia. The process of transformation is examined across two periods: the post-Crimean consensus (2014-2018) and Putin’s third term (2018-2022). I argue Russia remains an electoral authoritarian system (albeit in a securitised ‘emergency’ mode) and represents a certain type of Limited Access Order (North et al 2012). In ideational terms, I focus on how a set of discourses (“Fortress Russia” against the West, Russia as a “unique civilization-state”, Russian culture as vulnerable body in need of protection) has become dominant and unifies a still relatively diverse group of systemic politicians and ideological actors into loyal stances.

I conclude with some key points in understanding the nature of the current system and raise issues for future research on the evolution, consolidation and future stability of such regimes in a broader comparative perspective."

The lecture will be given in English. 

Published Apr. 8, 2022 12:17 PM - Last modified May 6, 2022 12:39 PM