Sanctioned Contention in Russia: The Institutionalisation of Consentful Contention

Thursday, July 13, 2017
Gilbert Scott Conference Room - 251 (University of Glasgow)
Ammon Cheskin , Central and East European Studies, University of Glasgow
This paper aims to address the need for wider study of Russian societal participation in Russian political life than offered by conventional civil society approaches. Contrary to many analyses, simple dichotomies between state/society, co-optation/autonomy, repression/protest, etc. are far from clear-cut in today’s Russia.

This paper does not fundamentally challenge the prevalent view of an essentially authoritarian Russian state with a claim to set social norms, and managed political contention from above. Nevertheless, it highlights how individuals and groups aim to use this authoritarian framework for their own interests from below, often clandestinely, but often successfully.

By analysing social movements and social participation using the analytical lenses of consentful contention, dissentful contention, dissentful compliance and consentful compliance, it is possible examine how the Russian state not only suppresses contention, but also how certain, sanctioned forms of contention are even encouraged by the authorities.

This paper consequently outlines forms of consentful contention that are employed by the Russian state to prevent forms of mass, public contention, and which are often used in conjunction with more oppressive measures.