Reacting to the mass protests in 2011-2012 and Putin’s fading popularity, the Russian political regime suppressed the political opposition and strengthened the control over civil society and independent media. Against this background, the popular uprising against the corrupted Yanukovych regime in the neighbouring Ukraine was perceived by the Kremlin as an immediate threat. After months of aggressive anti-Ukrainian propaganda, the Russian regime gained an unprecedented support by the population which reached its peak after the annexation of Crimea. In fact, now we are dealing with the effects of the unfinished dissolution of the Soviet system, and, even more, with recurrent totalitarian tendencies. Russia experiences the next phase of “abortive modernization” – a return to dictatorship after the failed attempt at liberalisation.
Lev Gudkov is a Russian sociologist, director of the analytical Levada Center, Moscow, and editor-in-chief of the journal The Russian Public Opinion Herald.
The seminar will be held in Russian with simultaneous translation into English by Kate Younger