Contemporary Russian Conservatism

Problems, Paradoxes, and Perspectives


This volume is the first comprehensive study of the “conservative turn” in Russia under Putin. Its fifteen chapters, written by renowned specialists in the field, provide a focused examination of what Russian conservatism is and how it works. The book features in-depth discussions of the historical dimensions of conservatism, the contemporary international context, the theoretical conceptualization of conservatism, and empirical case studies. Among various issues covered by the volume are the geopolitical and religious dimensions of conservatism and the conservative perspective on Russian history and the politics of memory. The authors show that conservative ideology condenses and reworks a number of discussions about Russia’s identity and its place in the world.

Contributors include: Katharina Bluhm, Per-Arne Bodin, Alicja Curanović, Ekaterina Grishaeva, Caroline Hill, Irina Karlsohn, Marlene Laruelle, Mikhail N. Lukianov, Kåre Johan Mjør, Alexander Pavlov, Susanna Rabow-Edling, Andrey Shishkov, Victor Shnirelman, Mikhail Suslov, and Dmitry Uzlaner

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Biographical Note

Mikhail Suslov, PhD (2009, European University Institute), is Assistant Professor of Russian History and Politics at the Institute for Trans-Cultural and Regional Studies at the University of Copenhagen. He has published and edited a variety of studies on Russian intellectual history, including “The ‘Russian World’ Concept: ‘Spheres of Influence’ in the Post-Soviet Geopolitical Ideology,” Geopolitics 23, no. 2 (2018).

Dmitry Uzlaner, Ph.D. (2009, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University), is a research fellow at the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences (MSSES) and at the University of Innsbruck (Austria). He is editor-in-chief of the journal Gosudarstvo, religiia, tserkov v Rossii i za rubezhom published by the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.

Table of contents


Notes on Contributors
Part 1
1 Dilemmas and Paradoxes of Contemporary Russian Conservatism: Introduction
  Mikhail Suslov and Dmitry Uzlaner
2 A History of Russian Conservatism, from the 18th Century to the End of the 20th Century
  Mikhail Loukianov, Kåre Johan Mjør, Susanna Rabow-Edling and Mikhail Suslov

Part 2
Conceptualizing Conservatism
3 Russian Conservatism as an Ideology: The Logic of Isolationism
  Mikhail Suslov
4 The Logic of Scapegoating in Contemporary Russian Social Conservatism
  Dmitry Uzlaner
5 Postmodernity and Modernity as Political Terms in Russia’s New Conservatism
  Katharina Bluhm

Part 3
Russian Conservative Tradition in the Post-Soviet and International Context
6 The Great Expectations of Russian Young Conservatism
  Alexander Pavlov
7 Mirror Games? Ideological Resonances between Russian and US Conservatism
  Marlène Laruelle

Part 4
The Geopolitical Dimension
8 Russia’s Contemporary Exceptionalism and Geopolitical Conservatism
  Alicja Curanović
9 “Making Europe Great Again”: Anti-Western Criticism from Orthodox Conservative Actors Online
  Ekaterina Grishaeva
10 From Expansion to Seclusion and Back Again: Boris Mezhuev’s Isolationism and Its Roots in Solzhenitsyn and Tsymbursky
  Irina Karlsohn

Part 5
History and Memory Narratives in Russian Conservatism
11 “Russia’s Thousand-Year History”: Claiming a Past in Contemporary Russian Conservative Thought
  Kåre Johan Mjør
12 The Monument to Grand Prince Vladimir in Moscow and the Problem of Conservatism
  Per-Arne Bodin

Part 6
Religion and Traditional Values
13 Eastern Orthodoxy, Conservatism, and (Neo)Palamite Tradition in Post-Soviet Russia
  Andrey Shishkov
14 Russian Neoconservatism and Apocalyptic Imperialism
  Victor Shnirelman
15 Framing “Gay Propaganda”: Morality Policy Arguments and the Russian Orthodox Church
  Caroline Hill



The target audience of this volume consists of experts on Russia, scholars of intellectual history, religion and politics, as well as university students, studying contemporary Russia, and anyone interested in the ideological scaffoldings of Russia’s present regime. Keywords: conservatism, Putinism, conservative turn, moral values, ideology, Russian Orthodox Church, geopolitics, anti-Westernism, right-wing politicians

Index Card