Biopolitics and Hegemony in Contemporary Russian Cultural Policy

In: Russian Politics
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  • 1 University of Jyvaskyla, Finland; Herzen University, Russia

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Since 2011, Russian ‘licensing civil society’ has predominated through censorship and the restrictive regulation of arts and cultural societies. The current conservative project has turned artistic space into public space, indicating moral abuse and a threat to the spiritual health of the Russian nation. Consequently, the symbolic borders of human creativity and individual freedom in arts and cultural societies have been reduced to patriotism, nationalism and moral deductive functions of the state-approved program. This paper will explore Russian state cultural policy and argue that biopolitics is its mainstream strategy. It examines how the ensemble of sovereign and disciplinary power defines and instrumentalizes the concept of culture while also producing lines of inclusion and exclusion within the conservative political project. The major emphasis is placed on the question of political control over the body, spirit and national identity.