Research Group for East Slavic Languages, Societies and Cultures
Project workshop

Cultural policies and practices in contemporary Russia

On April 11 we will be having a one-day workshop with invited speakers. Their lectures, as well as shorter presentations by research group members, will be open to the public.

Bolsjoj opplyst

Main content


9.30–10.00: Coffee and introductory remarks; info session on the project idea and role of research group

10.15–11.00: First keynote – Ulrich Schmid (Universität St. Gallen): The Constitution of the Current State: Art. 13 and Russian Cultural Politics

11.00-11.15: Short break with refreshments

11.15–12.00: Second keynote – Mikhail Suslov (Københavns Universitet): Between a ROC and a Hard Place: Russia’s Cultural Policy in the Times of the “Conservative Turn”

12.00–13.00 Lunch

13.00–14.45: Short presentations by members of the group:

Johanne Kalsaas (UiB): Disruptive Digital Discourse and the Diaspora: Representations of Norway in Russian-language ideological trolling and its reception by the Russian-language population in Norway

Irina Anisimova (UiB): Social and Technological Transformations in the Works of Viktor Pelevin

Stehn Mortensen (UiB): Vladimir Sorokin's “Belyi kvadrat”: Infotainment in the Age of Propaganda Television

Kåre Johan Mjør (UiB/Uppsala University/HVL): Ideologies, Politics of History and the Response of Literature in Contemporary Russia

Ingunn Lunde (UiB): Chelovek v istorii: notes on the works of Guzel Yakhina

14.45–16.00: Brainstorming about the project more generally

Dinner in the evening.


Ulrich Schmid, University of St Gallen

The Constitution of the Current State: Art. 13 and Russian Cultural Politics

Article 13 of the Russian constitution prohibits any forms of (or reliance on?) state ideology. As of late, however, government officials have come to question the timeliness of this regulation. What they propose instead is a new “constitutional identity” that is an idiosyncratic reinterpretation of Habermas’ famous concept of “constitutional patriotism.” Habermas claimed that in a postnational era the constitution must be the only object of patriotism. In the Russian Federation, by contrast, the constitution should embody the necessary multinational patriotism that is required for the coherence of the state. The significance of this move lies in the fact that the constitution turns into a cornerstone for the ambitious project by which the Kremlin seeks to create a “Russian federal nation” (Rossiiskaia natsiia). Against this backdrop, significant emphasis is placed on the politics of culture in the securitization of the Russian state. In the absence of a functioning public sphere that would guarantee the democratic institutions, cultural and historical narratives step in to legitimize the strategies of the current political order. 

Mikhail Suslov, University of Copenhagen

Between a ROC and a Hard Place: Russia’s Cultural Policy in the Times of the “Conservative Turn”

This paper examines the intertwining of cultural policies of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and of the Russian political leadership. It shows how the ROC is trying to recycle the Soviet-era cultural canon on the one hand, and on the other, how the state selectively utilizes “traditional values” discourses, promoted by the Church, in its conservative agenda. In the paper I will lean upon empirical examinations of some cultural products (such as the films Incredible Travellings of Serafima, Viking, and Matilda), and their receptions by various segments of society, cultural and political elite.