Skip to main content

Russia against Modernity: Resource Dependency, Family Structure, and the New Militarism

Etkind portrait
Friday, September 23, 2022, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm


No single explanation for a major historical event such as the Russo-Ukrainian War (2014-?) is sufficient; many energies, wills, and transmission gears interact in making such event happen. Oil curse is a mechanism that does have an explanatory power. There is also a human transmission, a disbalanced system of agency that convert the energy of the engine into the agony of the machine. Combining political economy with demography, I see Putin’s war as a major attack on modernity, and the Russian family structure as a transmission belt that passes a counter-modern energy from the household to the battlefield, and then back to the wedlock.


Alexander Etkind  is a Professor at the Department of International Relations of Central European University. He previously taught at European University Institute at Florence (2013-2022), University of Cambridge (2004-2013), and European University at St Petersburg (1999-2004). Trained as a psychologist, Etkind defended his PhD in cultural history in Helsinki (1998). He is the author of Eros of the ImpossibleThe History of Psychoanalysis in Russia (Westview Press 1996); Internal Colonization: Russia’s Imperial Experience (Polity Press 2011); Warped Mourning: Stories of the Undead in the Land of the Unburied (Stanford University Press 2013); Roads not Taken. An Intellectual Biography of William C. Bullitt. (Pittsburgh University Press 2017); and Nature’s Evil: A Cultural History of Natural Resources (Polity Press 2021). He coedited Remembering Katyn (Polity 2012), Memory and Theory in Eastern Europe (Palgrave 2013) and Cultural Forms of Protest in Russia (Routledge 2017). Etkind’s is working on a new book, Russia against Modernity, also for Polity.


Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 950 7372 7560
Passcode: 193862