Ilya Budraitskis: Conservative turn and the contradictions of the Russian cultural sphere
Today, it is common to contrast the statism of today’s Russia with the Western order, which is based on the primacy of political and economic freedom. Nevertheless, the conservative rhetoric holding sway in Russia today, including attacks on market “individualism”, is organically combined with neoliberal practices in the Kremlin’s socio-economic policies. Clericalism and authoritarian political methods do not meaningfully contradict the neoliberal principles of subordinating all spheres of social life to the logic of competition and market
effectiveness, but create an overall hybrid ideological construct.
The cultural domain in Russia in recent years has been both the place in which this hybrid ideology has been produced and the place of its application. This situation creates a new challenge for those working in the cultural domain, who must defend their independence in the face of conservative ideological offensives and the logic of the market, guided in equal measure by an authoritarian state. In my presentation I’m going to analyse the particular features of Russian authoritarian neoliberalism’s cultural politics, the changing place of contemporary art in the existing ideological set-up.
Ilya Budraitskis is a historian and curator based in Moscow, Russia. He is on the editorial boards of several print and online publications, including Moscow Art Magazine and LeftEast. For now he is lecturing in the Moscow High School for Social and Economic Sciences and the Institute for Contemporary Art. With Ekaterina Degot and Marta Dziewanska, Budraitskis co-edited and authored the book Post-Post-Soviet?: Art, Politics and Society in Russia at the Turn of the Decade (University of Chicago Press, 2013). His book Dissidents among dissidents (FMP press, Moscow, 2017) was recently awarded the Andrei Bely prize.