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Online Public PhD Defense of Volodymyr Artiukh

CEU building
Friday, May 29, 2020, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm


Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology

cordially invites you to the

Online Public PhD Defense of

Volodymyr Artiukh



Friday, May 29 at 10 am

Defense Committee

Chair: Violetta Zentai, Center for Policy Studies, CEU

Supervisor: Don Kalb, University of Bergen, formerly at CEU

Internal examiner: Judit Bodnar, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, CEU

External examiner: Mihai Varga, Eastern Europe Institute, Freie Universität Berlin

The Belarusian working class lives under an authoritarian populist regime that combines paternalist welfarism and bureaucratic flexibilization of the labor market in a regionally unique developmental state capitalist model. Adding to the debates in the anthropology of postsocialism and of populism, this dissertation explores the interaction between the industrial working class and the state-employer on the levels of factory regimes, organizational capacities and imaginaries of power and resistance. Analyzing my informants’ life-stories and the unions’ organizational trajectories through a set of critical junctions within the Belarusian state-capital-labor nexus, I trace the class genesis of Belarusian populism through the lens of Gramsci’s notion of the passive revolution. This analysis shows that the Belarusian working class, rather than passively suffering under post-Soviet capitalist accumulation, co-determined the political trajectory of post-soviet capitalism through populist mobilizations in the early 1990s, contributing to a passive-revolutionary process of gradual marketization that I characterize as neo-perestroika. Labor’s structural strength in wresting economic concessions, however, dialectically coincided with the delegation of the political direction to a Caesarist leader who appropriated labor’s populist energy. Thus, in Belarus’ type of populism, paternalism is complemented by an expansion of quasi-feudal control over labor, as revealed in the cooptation and marginalization of trade unions on the one hand, and in the bureaucratic work flexibilization combined with what I call labor immobilization on the other.