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Cultural and Value Bases for Russian Resistance to Globalization and the Global Governance Structure

Although, as was shown above, the Russian official discourse sees the global governance system and its own foreign policy as well as foreign policies of other countries through a realist paradigm, since 2012, and especially 2014, interpretation of the cultural value of Russian and Western/European policies gained importance for the Russian political regime (Kalinin 2014).

This has manifested itself in the appeals of Russian politicians to the strengthening of traditional values, the increasing influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, and a particular interpretation of Russian history, culture and traditions in contemporary social life. These views became mainstream after 2012, when conservative ideas were enacted with new legislation that protects conservative family values, including anti-homosexual policies, corresponding cultural and educational policies, support for traditional patriotic NGOs, and so on. Perhaps the most prominent example of such an ideologically conservative turn came from the Ministry of Culture, through its proposal for Russia's Cultural Policy Concept, which would declare that 'Russia is not part of Europe', and that it should protect its own cultural values (Minkult 2014). Although many Russian cultural leaders supported this dec- laration,[1] [2] after discussion in the mass media and on the internet, it was decided to refrain from the 'not Europe' declaration in the final Cultural Policy Concept. But the adopted document still speaks about the particular role of culture, which 'concentrates and transfers the spiritual experiences of a nation to the new generations' and 'to a major extent defines the role of Russia in the world'.11

The political foundation of this ideological turn was expressed in the annual Addresses of President Putin to the Federal Assembly.[3] In October 2014, Putin spoke about Russian traditional values, and a 'particular way and role of Russia', by referring to prominent Russian philosophers of the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Putin 2014). This and another of Putin's speeches are characterized by many experts as the expression of a new 'conservatism'. Reigniting Russian ideology has served and will further serve to consolidate the Russian population and its elites around its political and ideological leader.

Traditional Russian culture and values have become the basis, not only of internal policies, but also the basis for interpretation of Russian foreign policy. This is explained with the application of the 'us' and 'them' mentality, which helps the elites to explain their own policies to the population at large, by differentiating Russian society from European or Western social practices. From this perspective, Russian policy became an 'answer' to the global 'spiritless' and 'perverse' European and Western policies and societies. Such a thesis has actively been propagated through propaganda in both real and artificially created news for the last couple of years. They are mostly oriented on the Russians or Russian-speaking people within Russia and outside of Russia, who gain special attention as a 'Russian world', which has some special values, culture, and even a special mission. But as result of this active internal and external propaganda, these ideas are also, to some extent, supported by conservative politicians and public figures in the West. In Russia it has even been said that Russia is now even 'more European' than Europe itself, which has in recent times strayed from the traditional European values of family and traditional culture. In taking this conservative tack, the Russian political elite intends to find supporters among the most conservative representatives of European and American political elites. This is a way to gain prominence in the discussion about the cultural and political values of the contemporary Western world.

At the same time, the NGOs, politicians, artists, and activists supporting universal human rights and liberties are being persecuted by the state through new legislation, state prosecutors, and other state authorities. This persecution particularly targets NGOs that have international foundation support or are connected with global networks through the new law on 'foreign agents', which was adopted in 2012. As a result, more than 120 NGOs, which are mostly critical of Russia's current repressive policy, are on the list of 'foreign agents', and many NGOs were either liquidated or are slated to be liquidated in the near future. Greenpeace has been persecuted as a result of its anti- Gazprom action in the Arctic in 2013, and some international foundations working on human rights and freedoms have been declared as 'undesirable' and banned. In general, these restrictive measures towards NGOs can be seen as a policy against the global networks of civil society that share in a universal set of values (for more on this policy, see Belokurova 2015).

  • [1] For more information see: (accessed 20 March2015).
  • [2] See the 16 May 2014 draft of the 'Foundation of the State Cultural Policy'. Available at: (accessed 20 March 2015).
  • [3] The Address of the RF President Vladimir Putin to the Federal Assembly of the RussianFederation, 12 December 2013, available at: (accessed20 March 2015);the address of the RF President Vladimir Putin to the Federal Assembly of theRussian Federation, 4 December 2014, available at: (accessed20 March 2015).
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