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Mischa Gabowitsch

Putting Out Putin - Russia’s New Protest Movement

(German title: Putin kaputt!?)
ca. 438 pages
Paperback
2013
Mischa Gabowitsch
Foto: Mischa Gabowitsch
© Alla Teterina

Mischa Gabowitsch, born in 1977, is a historian and sociologist. He studied in Oxford and Paris and holds a PhD from the School of Advanced Social Research (EHESS) in Paris. He has taught at Princeton University and is currently a research fellow at the Einstein Forum in Potsdam, Germany.

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English world rights (Polity)

About

The Russian parliamentary elections of December 2011 gave rise to a massive protest movement.

Turnout for the demonstrations against electoral fraud, Vladimir Putin, and the ruling United Russia party was unprecedented in Russia’s post-Soviet history. While the protests did not prevent Putin’s return to the presidency or force new elections, they have fundamentally altered Russia’s protest repertoire and generated a plethora of new self-organized groups and networks across the country.

Mischa Gabowitsch’s study is the first booklength account of the movement. In addition to hundreds of interviews with activists and regular protest participants, he draws on numerous written eyewitness accounts, blog posts, and videos of protest events from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok and from Paris to Seoul, many of them collected in a systematic database that documents the movement’s evolution. Gabowitsch provides a vivid narrative of the movement’s emergence, scope, and internal conflicts, but also explains its wider social, political and emotional context.

He links it to the local protest initiatives that have sprung up everywhere in Russia over the past decade or so, and shows how the movement is as much about new forms of social curiosity and the conquest of urban space as it is about politics and elections.
While informed by the academic literature on social movements and Russian history and politics, the book is written with a large international audience in mind and omits jargon or lengthy theoretical discussions from the main body of the text. Gabowitsch’s discussions of violence and nonviolence in Russia, domestic election observation as a social movement, and the emergence of new political diasporas is embedded in comparisons with countries ranging from Senegal to the United Stated, and from Argentina to Georgia.

Praise

»A study completed in an impressively short time, which succeeds in developing a snapshot into a compelling contemporary historical panorama.« Jens Mühling, Tagesspiegel

»With his appraisals Gabowitsch draws a multifaceted picture of the different forces vying for authority over the interpretation of society. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in contemporary Russian culture.« Ulrich M. Schmid, NZZ

»His book could go on to become one of the key works about the largest protests in the history of post-Soviet Russia. His obvious sympathy for the protesters does not prevent his writing from being soberly analytic and reflective.« Reinhard Veser, FAZ

»The most comprehensive report so far on this new Russian protest movement.« Maximilian Grosser, WDR5

»Gabowitsch’s Putting Out Putin subtly dissects the ongoing, long-lasting transformation of Russia. And in the process delivers the most comprehensive report on the protest movement against the Putin system.« SRF 4 News

»Because all of this is imbedded in a broad historical and cultural background and moreover because it is so well written, this book is easily accessible even for readers without any significant prior knowledge of the subject.« FAZ

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Table of Contents: 

PROLOGUE

Million-Strong March
A Kaleidoscope of the Protest Movement
Moving to Change

I THE PUTIN SYSTEM
Why Putin?
Origins of the Power Vertical
     Informal Practices
     The Principle of Loyalty
     Authoritarianism, Corporatism, Neopatrimonialism
National Unity, Cynicism, and Corruption
The Political Economy of Emotions

II AN OBSERVERS’ UPRISING

Election Day Shock
Domestic Election Observers as a Social Movement
Election Law and Electoral Fraud
The Municipal Revolution
Citizen Observer
What Makes Them So Angry?

III THE STRUCTURE OF PROTEST

Who Speaks for the Protesters?
From Opposition Parties to Extra-Parliamentary Scenes
     Parties in a Managed Democracy
     Extra-Parliamentary Coalitions
     Oppositional Scenes
Civil Society?
Social Protest and Civic Self-Organization
     Traditions of Collective Action
     The Anti-Monetization Protests
     New Local Movements
     From Vladivostok to Kaliningrad
     Attributing Blame
From Demonstrations to New Citizens’ Councils
     Who Represents Whom?
     How to Organize?
     The Coordinating Council of the Russian Opposition

   

IV PUSSY RIOT

Punk Prayer
Pussy Riot and the Protest Movement
Music, Art, and Politics
The Transformation of the Russian Orthodox Church
Religious Protest
Feminism and Homophobia

V PROTEST AND CURIOSITY

Spaces of Discovery
Protesting Counts and Counting Protests
Seekers and Researchers
Whose City Is It?
     Symbolic Geography
     Closed Spaces
     Topography and Dramaturgy

VI NONVIOLENCE AND FANTASIES OF VIOLENCE

Cultures of Violence
Nonviolent Resistance
The Fear of Rebellion
Toward Violent Resistance?

VII THE STATE’S COERCIVE APPARATUS

Men in Uniforms
A Collective Portrait of the Coercive Agencies
The Russian Army
The Security Services
The Police
From Protest to Prison

VIII THE TRANSNATIONAL DIMENSION

Who is the International Community?
What Western Influence?
The New Russian Diaspora Transnational Anti-Corruption Activism: The Magnitsky Act

IX A PRELIMINARY APPRAISAL

Abbreviations
Endnotes
Acknowledgments
Detailed Table of Contents