Elite conflicts in the three-century history of Russian modernization

Elite conflicts in the three-century history of Russian modernization

Article received: 2022.09.09. Accepted: 2022.10.28

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2023.01.13

Rubric: DIXI!

For citation:

Sergeev V.M., Koktysh K.E. Elite conflicts in the three-century history of Russian modernization. – Polis. Political Studies. 2023. No. 1. P. 173-182. (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2023.01.13. EDN: ECLGII


The article draws attention to the fundamental role of intra-elite conflicts during the modernization of Russia over the past three hundred years. In the process of modernization, two elite groups are distinguished: “innovators” and “guardians”. The fundamental role of conflicts in determining the political course of the country is shown based on three examples separated by significant time intervals: the fall of the “verkhovniki” at the end of the first third of the 18th century, the “Decembrists” movement and its fate after 1825, the conflict of the scientific and technical elite with the party leadership in the 1960-80’s. In Russia, in all three cases, the victory was won by the “guardians” – the opponents of political and socio-economic innovations, which led to the country’s significant lag behind from the trends of world development. It is shown that the outcomes of these “protective” policies were actions that delegitimized the political regime through repression against “innovators”. At the same time, the fundamental cause of the conflict was that neither the “innovators” nor the “guardians” were capable of cognitive deconstruction, and could not separate in the borrowed innovations, the scientific and technological component from the socio-political forms they had acquired in the West. The result was the destruction in Russian public opinion of the image of the government as a force leading to political success in the international arena. A country’s political leadership cannot be isolated from its leadership in scientific, technological and social progress. And awareness of the loss of prospects and development always inevitably leads to political and economic stagnation, and ultimately to the collapse of the regime, which is confirmed by the three studied examples from the history of Russian modernization.

intra-elite conflict in Russia, legitimization of power, scientific and technological progress, modernization process, scientific and technical elite.


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Content No. 1, 2023

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