Thomas Steininger in dialogue with Denys Bakirov
Russia has always had its own history, different from the rest of Europe. The Age of Enlightenment, which transformed many countries in Europe into modern and mostly democratic states, never happened in the same way in the vast Russian empire. Yes, the tsar “Peter the Great” introduced some early modern principles to his country, but Russia stayed a repressive autocratic empire. Also, the Soviet regime copied and radicalized many of the tsaristic structures. What does this suggest for today and the war in Ukraine?
The other history of Russia becomes a tale of humiliation and hubris. During the short democratic experiment in the 1990s, centralized money was under the control of the “old and new” secret service. Humiliated by US-American dominance and demoralized by power games of the KGB and the new oligarchs, Russian society looked for security and identity under president Putin. That started an experiment that in itself became more and more repressive and more and more felt like a hybrid version of the Soviet Union and Tsarist Russia. That is the nation that Ukraine is up against.
Denys Bakirov, a lecturer at the University in Charkiw in Ukraine, writes about metamodern theories of society. His particular focus is on the meaning of Putin’s regime for the world we are in now.
Dr. Thomas Steininger talks with Denys Bakirov about the nature of Putin’s regime in Russia.