Discourse of Russian modernization: inevitability of the next failure

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Сhief research fellow, Professor
Institute of economics of the RAS
Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation
Address: 32, Nakhimovsky av. Moscow, 117218, Russia
Journal nameObshchestvennye nauki i sovremennost
EditionIssue 6

The theory of modernization presupposes the existence of a “magistral”, following which underdeveloped countries can achieve wealth and catch up with rich ones. For this, it is necessary to borrow not only technology, but also the institutions of Western countries. Some scientists are skeptical about this theory. It was criticized by historians, the existence of the magistral was denied by the school of world-system analysis (G. Arrighi, I. Wallerstein), the existence of historical laws (“historicism”) is denied by the Austrian school.

The emergence of the Soviet Union was seen as a proof of the theory of modernization in its Marxist version. Socialism was considered the next, higher socio-economic formation up until the 80s of the 20th century.

The collapse of the USSR and a return to capitalism were accompanied by large losses of national wealth, de-industrialization, and increased crime. After stabilization, a discourse of modernization reappears. Russia is returning to the magistral of development. Again, it is said about the need to transfer and adapt Western institutions to domestic soil. However, the twenty-first century is a time of postmodernity, during this period other social actors emerge and act. The bourgeoisie, workers, peasants are social groups from last. The discourse of modernization is an ideological construction that masks the inadequacy of the Russian economic science to the present realities.

Keywordsmodernization, postmodern, discourse, narrative, reforms
Publication date17.12.2017
Number of characters1117
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