Encounters with liberalism in Post-Soviet Russia
The chapter analyses the process of discursive construction of the image of “liberalism” in post-Soviet Russia. The author sticks at the reputation approach, i.e. considers as “liberals” the politicians and pubic intellectuals who call themselves this way or are regarded as such by their contemporaries. Analyzing the texts of the “liberals” and their critics the author argues that the current crisis of liberalism in Russia is partly a consequence of the form in which it was invented in the 1990s. Liberalism in Russia is associated with the Westernism, obsession with the market economic reforms, paternalist approach to the illiberal majority, criticism of the authoritarian regime and renunciation of imperial ambitions. In the context of political and ideological shifts of the 2000s and the 2010s this combination of ideas facilitated a development of the negative image of liberalism and its political marginalization.