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Republicanism in Russia: Community Before and After Communism

Dates:
  • Tue 05 Dec 2017 15.00 - 17.00
  Add to Calendar 2017-12-05 15:00 2017-12-05 17:00 Europe/Paris Republicanism in Russia: Community Before and After Communism

If Marxism was the apparent loser in the Cold War, it cannot be said that liberalism was the winner, at least not in Russia. Thus it is not surprising that even if liberal discourse at time seemed predominant following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, institutions of liberal democracy failed to take root. In "Republicanism in Russia", his book forthcoming at Harvard University Press, Kharkhordin suggests that Russia is not averse to freedom, though this freedom is of a republican, rather than of a liberal kind, because Russia is close to a classical tradition of republican self-government and civic engagement.
Republicanism has had a steadfast presence in Russia, in spite of tsarist and Communist hostility. Originating in the ancient world, especially with Cicero, it continued by way of such modern authros as Machiavelli, Montesquieu, Tocqueville, and more recently Arendt. While it has not always been easy for Russians to read or write political philosophy of the classical republicanism, much less implement it, republican ideas have long flowered in Russian literature, and are part of a common background understanding of what is freedom, dignity, a worthy life etc. Contemporary Russian republicanism can be seen in movements defending architectural and cultural heritage, municipal participatory budgeting experiments, and shared governance in academic institutions. Drawing on diverse sources from recent empirical research done in Russia, Kharkhordin elaborates a theory of res publica in Russia, which is different from either tight circles of friendship or vast areas of “commoning” that are constituted by a shared material world—a genuine public life that is different from the common things on which it is based.
By reactualizing again the indigenous Russian reception of the classical republican tradition, Kharkhordin argues, today’s Russians can sever their country’s dependency on the residual mechanisms of the Communist past and realize a new vision for freedom.

Sala dei Levrieri, Villa Salviati DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala dei Levrieri, Villa Salviati

If Marxism was the apparent loser in the Cold War, it cannot be said that liberalism was the winner, at least not in Russia. Thus it is not surprising that even if liberal discourse at time seemed predominant following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, institutions of liberal democracy failed to take root. In "Republicanism in Russia", his book forthcoming at Harvard University Press, Kharkhordin suggests that Russia is not averse to freedom, though this freedom is of a republican, rather than of a liberal kind, because Russia is close to a classical tradition of republican self-government and civic engagement.
Republicanism has had a steadfast presence in Russia, in spite of tsarist and Communist hostility. Originating in the ancient world, especially with Cicero, it continued by way of such modern authros as Machiavelli, Montesquieu, Tocqueville, and more recently Arendt. While it has not always been easy for Russians to read or write political philosophy of the classical republicanism, much less implement it, republican ideas have long flowered in Russian literature, and are part of a common background understanding of what is freedom, dignity, a worthy life etc. Contemporary Russian republicanism can be seen in movements defending architectural and cultural heritage, municipal participatory budgeting experiments, and shared governance in academic institutions. Drawing on diverse sources from recent empirical research done in Russia, Kharkhordin elaborates a theory of res publica in Russia, which is different from either tight circles of friendship or vast areas of “commoning” that are constituted by a shared material world—a genuine public life that is different from the common things on which it is based.
By reactualizing again the indigenous Russian reception of the classical republican tradition, Kharkhordin argues, today’s Russians can sever their country’s dependency on the residual mechanisms of the Communist past and realize a new vision for freedom.


Location:
Sala dei Levrieri, Villa Salviati

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Lecture

Speaker:
Prof. Oleg Kharkhordin (European University at St. Petersburg)

Organiser:
Alexander Etkind (European University Institute)

Contact:
Fabrizio Borchi (EUI - Department of History and Civilization) - Send a mail
 
 

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