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Dignity as a Central Category of World Politics and its Russian Version

Oleg Kharkhordin, European University of St. Petersburg
Monday, October 7, 2019 -
4:30pm to 6:15pm
144 Louis A. Simpson Building
Monday, October 7, 2019 -
4:30pm to 6:15pm

Dignity has become a central concern in Russian politics in recent years. if the government is stressing the fact that the dignity of the country was put into question as a result of the collapse of the USSR, and thus it should be defended, the opposition is stressing that dignity is the main object of electoral battles around the swapping of places between Putin and Medvedev in 2011-2012, current campaign for seats in the Moscow city parliament and other cases of electoral authoritarianism. But if the government is stressing the dignity of the country, the opposition is stressing the dignity of an individual. Also, this debate on dignity happens in a larger context. Dignity is said to be the main driving force behind the Arab Spring, the motivation of Al Qaida and ISIS fighters, the revolution in Ukraine and even a disgruntled working class vote for Trump in 2016 or the yellow vests' protests in France. What can Russia contribute to this worldwide debate on issues of dignity that have decentered to a traditional political debates on freedom and justice? The presentation will articulate three quotidian understandings of liberty in Russia that can be registered already in Dostoevsky novels, and draw implications for this worldwide debate.

Sponsored by
Program in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies