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Nationalism and Civicness in Contemporary Russia: : Grassroots Mobilization in Defense of Traditional Family Values

  • Tova Höjdestrand
  • Katalin Fábián
  • Elżbieta Korolczuk
Publishing year: 2017
Language: English
Pages: 31-60
Document type: Book chapter
Publisher: Indiana University Press

Abstract english

The so-called Parents' Movement is a Russian conservative grassroots mobilization against a presumed Western cultural attack on Russian tradition and sovereignty. The primary target is an ongoing legal implementation of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, which is conceived of as a Western feint contrived by hostile global agencies and a Russian fifth column of treacherous NGOs and state administrators.

This article elucidates how the Parents' Movement navigates between seemingly incompatible ideals to construct itself as an authentic “voice of the people. The notion of civil society is vital in this pursuit, although Western conceptions of liberal democracy are rejected in favor of President Putin’s vision of a patriotic civil society loyal to common national goals. The movement is harshly critical to many government policies, however, and rejects the state administration as well as other elites as corrupt and morally polluting. At the same time, it
has to negotiate the fact that attempts to influence the despised political elite also imply the risk of becoming usurped by it.

Since the movement’s campaigns to a large extent take place on-line, this study is based on Internet sources as well as interviews with activists. Exploring how concepts such as civil society and civic activism are translated and operationalized into the contemporary Russian sociopolitical context, it contributes to the understanding of contemporary popular nationalisms and how these are shaped by a simultaneous negotiation of local tradition and global discursive flows.


  • Sociology
  • Social movements
  • Russia
  • Civil Society
  • social policy
  • children's rights
  • Nationalism
  • family values
  • Tradition


  • ISBN: 978-0-2530-2667-5
  • ISBN: 978-0-2530-2626-2
  • ISBN: 978-0-2530-2673-6
Tova Höjdestrand
E-mail: tova [dot] hojdestrand [at] soc [dot] lu [dot] se

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Social Anthropology

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Department of Sociology
Lund University
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Faculty of Social Sciences