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Regular version of the site

Article

Экспертные семинары как коммуникативные площадки (Российский постсоветский опыт)

The article is devoted to the experience of the functioning in
Russia of public expert seminars on the problems of the socio-political life of
the country as a platform for interaction between the authorities and the expert
community, as well as within the community itself. The first section briefly describes
the history of the emergence of a prototype of such seminars in the late
USSR, which is interpreted by the author as the birth of a private-public sphere
under the conditions of a strict party control over the public sphere. The second
section discusses the development of public-political clubs of the perestroika period
and their role in expanding the public sphere and recruiting future political
and public figures. The third section covers the 1990s. The author shows that
at the beginning of that decade the Russian authorities were open to interaction
with the expert community more than ever. He proposes a hypothesis that such
openness can be explained (at least partly) by the arrival of a new team in the
government that included many people from the academic world.
The last section presents a comparative analysis of the three expert seminars
that were most active in the first half of the 2000s — the seminars of the
clubs “Civil Debates” and “Open Forum”, as well as the seminar “Politeia”.
One of the most important tasks set by their initiators was the formation of an
open expert environment, accumulating the expert potential scattered in the
bureaucratic, business and public structures, and overcoming the split of the
national elite into micro-communities that hardly contact with each other.
However, it was not possible to solve these tasks, and the activities of the seminars
gradually came to naught.