Varieties of Russian Activism
State-Society Contestation in Everyday Life
Published by: Indiana University Press
Despite decades under Putin's rule, it is too simplistic to assert that authoritarianism in Russia has eliminated activism, especially in relation to everyday life. Instead, we must build an awareness of diverse efforts to mobilize citizens to better understand how activism is shaped by and, in turn, shapes the regime.
Varieties of Russian Activism focuses on a broad range of collective actions addressing issues from labor organizing to housing renovation, religion, electoral politics, minority language rights, and urban planning. Contributors draw attention to significant forms of grassroots politics that have not received sufficient attention in scholarship or that deserve fresh examination. The volume shows that Russians find novel ways to redress everyday problems and demand new services. Together, these essays interrogate what kinds of practices can be defined as activism in a fast-changing, politically volatile society.
An engaging collection, Varieties of Russian Activism unites leading scholars in the common aim of approaching the embeddedness of civic activism in the conditions of everyday life, connectedness, and rising society-state expectations.
1. Everyday Activism: Tracking the Evolution of Russian State and Society Relations, by Jeremy Morris, Andrei Semenov, and Regina Smyth
Introduction to Part 1: The Building Blocks of Everyday Activism: Identity, Networks, and Social Trust
2. Cultural Production as Activism: National Theaters, Philharmonics, and Cultural Organizations in Russia's Regional Capitals, by Katie L. Stewart
3. The Promotion of Minority Languages in Russia's Ethnic Republics: Social Media and Grassroots Activities, by Guzel Yusupova
4. From Neighbors to Activists: Shared Grievances and Collective Solutions, by Regina Smyth, Madeline McCann, and Katherine Hitchcock
Introduction to Part 2: Organizational Roles in Mobilization for Activism: Communication, Cooperation, and Conjunction
5. Social Activism in the Russian Orthodox Church, by John P. Burgess
6. The River of Urban Resistance: Renovation and New Civic Infrastructures in Moscow, by Anna Zhelnina
7. Activists and Experiential Entanglement in Russian Labor Organizing, by Jeremy Morris
8. Skateboarding Together: Generational Civic Activism and Nontransition to Politics in Sosnovyi Bor, by Anna A. Dekalchuk and Ivan S. Grigoriev
Introduction to Part 3: Institutional Environment and Opportunity Structures for Urban Activism
9. Policy Activism in Urban Governance: The Case of Master Plan Development in Perm, by Eleonora Minaeva
10. Urban Planning and Civic Activism, by Carola Neugebauer, Andrei Semenov, Irina Shevtsova, and Daniela Zupan
11. Manipulating Public Discontent in Russia: The Role of Trade Unions in the Protests against Pension Reform, by Irina Meyer-Olimpieva
12. Active Urbanites in an Authoritarian Regime: Aleksei Navalny's Presidential Campaign, by Jan Matti Dollbaum, Andrei Semenov, and Elena Sirotkina
13. Why Grassroots Activism Matters, by Jeremy Morris, Andrei Semenov, and Regina Smyth
"Much has been written about Russian activism, but this volume takes the reader into unexpected realms, to the (almost) hidden and liminal spaces of everyday life. The excellent studies of this book give dedicated tribute to the many forms of Russian engaged citizenship way beyond political apathy. This volume is an eye opener and an enjoyable, even adventurous read for academics and interested parties alike."~Christian Fröhlich, HSE University, Russia
"What Russian citizens want from their state—and from one another—has become a question of global significance. By embracing the complexity and contradictions of authoritarian contention, Varieties of Russian Activism does more than any recent book to help us understand how Russian society functions today, and what might happen when Russia once again belongs to its citizens."~Sam Greene, Director, Democratic Resilience at the Center for European Policy Analysis and Professor, Kings College Russia