"Great Projects" Politics in Russia: History's Hardly Victorious End

By Reshetnikov, Anatoly | Demokratizatsiya, Spring 2011 | Go to article overview

"Great Projects" Politics in Russia: History's Hardly Victorious End


Reshetnikov, Anatoly, Demokratizatsiya


Abstract: The article addresses the problem of political identity in contemporary Russia by engaging with and extending the temporal scope of the constructivist analysis conducted by constructivist Ted Hopf. It suggests that the "great projects" politics of contemporary Russia, which are linked to the specificity of the country's political identity and seem to be similar to that of the late-Soviet period, can in fact be better understood when Hopf's approach is complemented by the post-structuralist analysis of Sergei Prozorov. The former, while providing a valuable theoretical framework and linking the state's identity to its status as a great power, cannot account for the digression that is revealed in the discourse analysis of contemporary "great projects" politics. The latter, while being able to interpret these oddities, is limited within the domestic realm and fails to address the idea of great power, which Hopf believes to be an integral part of Russian political discourse and which is possible to interpret, only if the analysis extends beyond national borders. The article incorporates Prozorov's theoretical contribution into the framework of Hopf, thus merging the two approaches and making them applicable to the contemporary Russian condition, both domestically and within the field of international relations.

Keywords: end of history, great power, political identity, Russia's revival, social constructivism

**********

Today, an international relations scholar encounters the claim that "Russia is back to the world stage" (1) with increasing frequency. Indeed, the vision of Russia as a resurgent power is, no doubt, present in political discourse, "[i]rrespective of whether one refers to the recovery of Russia's economy or its assertive foreign policy, the success of its sporting teams or the wealth of its oligarchy ..." (2) On the international level, this vision is reflected in a number of works that address the problem of Russia's revival. When in 2008 Edward Lucas published his New Cold War: How the Kremlin Menaces both Russia and the West, the book enjoyed unprecedentedly wide popularity and received a considerable number of positive reviews. (3) In Lucas's view, Russia is reinventing herself as a milder version of the Soviet Union, and hence should be seen as a serious threat to the West.

Such a comparison could also be found earlier in the Steven Rosefielde's Russia in the 21st Century: The Prodigal Superpower. The author emphasizes the similarity between contemporary Russian policies and those of the USSR, thus virtually equating the two and prophesying the comeback of history unless the Russian Federation manages to alter its path by taking the route of genuine Westernization. (4)

Moreover, during the last couple of years, some IR scholars yet again began using the term "empire" to refer to the contemporary Russian state. (5) This once almost forgotten practice explicitly shows the concern that renowned scholars and policymakers have regarding Russia's current status in the international arena and the prospects of its political development.

The domestic dimension of the above-mentioned revival is not only characterized by the seeming stability of Putin's presidency (and his premiership), but is also reflected in the realization of various "great projects" that are either closely intertwined with the commemoration of Russia's glorious history or aimed at modernization and economic growth. Excessive glorification of the victory in the Great Patriotic War, construction of huge cathedrals, (6) canonization of state's former rulers, (7) accomplishment of expensive modernizing projects in business (8) and social spheres, (9) restoration of Soviet symbols and rehabilitation of Joseph Stalin--all of these policies, indeed, look similar (at least in scope) to the forceful urbanization and ideological propaganda of the Soviet empire. Yet, if the ideological undertone of the Soviet "great projects" was rather explicit, the current ones seem to be anything but ideologically coherent.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

"Great Projects" Politics in Russia: History's Hardly Victorious End
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.