The article provides an introduction and context for this section of Against the Day, which analyzes the ongoing protests in Russia. The mainstream interpretations of Russian events create a stereotypical picture formed by liberal narratives as a struggle with an authoritarian regime waged by a rising urban middle class. The goal of the essays here is to challenge this view and demonstrate a different and radical perspective on the process. This introduction stresses several points important for understanding the protests: the prolonged effects of privatization and neoliberal “shock therapy,” the manipulative and managerial approach to politics in the ruling elites, and the highly specific and heterogeneous constitution of the emergent subject of struggle. It also gives further insight into the global meaning of the Russian protests as the result of an “overdetermination” of electoral procedures under the conditions of the regime of managed democracy and as an expression of the limits of any “really existing democracy” in the age of biopolitical governmentality. This introduction also highlights the engaged positions of the authors, who have been active participants in the protest movement.
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Alexei Penzin; Tumult in the Land of Managed Democracy: An Introduction. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 January 2014; 113 (1): 162–168. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-2390464
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