The Russian interference in the 2016 American Presidential election brought Russia to the forefront of conversations about international relations. But it has also given us a one-dimensional view of this complex country. Today’s conversation is about Russian Conservatism with historian Paul Robinson. We talk about conservatism as an ideology, we talk about its history, and we talk about the many dimensions of Russian Conservatism today that offer a complex and nuanced view.
Our conversation is not an endorsement of Russian Conservatism. It is a largely undemocratic and anti-liberal school of thought. But even this statement is misleading because there are elements of democracy and liberalism in the ideas of some Russian Conservatives.
Consider how your views on Russia change throughout its history. Today, it is largely considered conservative at least socially or culturally. But not long ago, it was Communist and associated with the far left. The reality is few of us have thought much about Russian political thought beyond broad generalizations. This podcast will scratch the surface on a particular political tradition but hopefully it offers a broader context as Russia becomes a topic in Western politics in the 2020 election and beyond.
Paul Robinson is Professor of History of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa and the author of Russian Conservatism. He is author of several books, including The White Russian Army in Exile, 1920–1941, and co-author of Aiding Afghanistan.
Thanks to Apes of the State for permission to use their tracks "The Internet Song" and "Bill Collector's Theme Song." You can find their music on Spotify or their Bandcamp. Thanks to Cornell University Press for providing a copy of Russian Conservatism.
Please visit my blog at www.democracyparadox.com. I have written 70 reviews of both classic and contemporary works of political science with an emphasis on democracy. This week I reviewed Crises of Democracy by Adam Przeworski. Please visit the website and read my book reviews. And don't forget to subscribe to keep up with future episodes.