Fatherland, Faith and Family Policy: Parental Mobilization against Children’s Rights in Contemporary Russia
Summary, in English
Policies related to family, children, and birthrates have since the mid-2000s become increasingly central to the general ideological shift toward nationalism and conservative values in Russia. A symptom of, and a response to, this development is the so-called Parents’ Movement; a rapidly proliferating grassroots mobilization in the defense of presumably traditional Russian family values against allegedly Western forms of moral degeneration. The catalyst and main target of the Movement is a current reform of the state structures of child protection in line with the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. The parental opponents claim the reforms to be a conspiratorial Western attack against Russian “tradition” and its presumed core, the family. Nonetheless the popular appeal of the Parent’s Movement also stems from a proliferated distrust in the Russian state administration, which is expected to intentionally exploit the CRC to increase corruption and authority abuse. The recent success of the Parents' Movement, this paper argues, resides in a simultaneous distrust in “Western” models of governance as well as in the Russian state bureaucracy. (Mis)representations of Western systems of child protection are used to draw up apocalyptic scenarios of a domestic future, and as the critique against Russian authorities are expressed in anti-Western terms an explicit challenge of an increasingly repressive regime is avoided.