The Anatomy of Secularisation of a Religious Phenomenon: Messianism in Russian Politics
27 aprile h 9.00-18.00
28 aprile h 9.00-13.00
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Messianism is often referred to as one of the inherent features of Russia’s culture and politics. It functions almost as a self-evident truth, i.e. everybody knows about Russian messianism and there is therefore no need to elaborate on it. The annexation of Crimea, the war in Ukraine and the so called “conservative turn” in Russian politics have revived talk of Russian messianism. Some have interpreted these developments as a manifestation of the revival of Russian messianic imperialism.
Considering the increasing prominence of messianism in the contemporary debate on Russia, it is surprising how little substantial data and analysis has been produced concerning the contemporary dynamics of this phenomenon. In regard to the fundamental issue whether contemporary Russian foreign policy is messianic, experts’ opinions are divided. Some hold that messianism disappeared with the fall of the USSR. This is also the position with which most of the Russian political elite would agree. Others, however, insist that the sense of mission is an indispensable part of the Russian worldview. In my talk I will present the main findings of my research whose main goal was to characterise messianic motifs in the foreign policy of the Russian Federation (2000-2018).
Alicja Curanović is Professor at the Faculty of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Warsaw. She holds a PhD in political science (PhD thesis: “The Religious Factor in the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation”). Her main research interests are: Russian foreign policy; religious factor in international relations; international relations in the post-Soviet area, perception, identity, image and status, messianism in politics. She has conducted research inter alia at the Harvard University, Columbia University, Stanford University, the Russian State University for Humanistic Studies and MGIMO. Her articles appeared in academic journals, e.g. Problems of Post-Communism, Politics and Religion, Nationalities Papers or Religion, State and Society. Her recent monograph – The Sense of Mission in Russian Foreign Policy (Routledge 2021).