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Dramaturgia: on Russian Machiavellianism as exportable political strategy

  • Institute of Advanced Studies UCL, London (UK) WC1E 6BT London, UK (map)

The current outpouring of analyses of Russian internal and foreign politics give rise to a feeling of déjà vu, bringing to mind Cold War-era American Sovietology. Amidst assorted Novichoks, Brexits, Trumps and Bolsonaros, political science seems to be in global methodological trouble as predictions and foresights are consistently being proven wrong to the shock of both the think tanks and the public. Meanwhile in Russia, the key principles of the "dramaturgical" design of political space, introduced in Moscow in the early 2000s, are today floating on the surface sans masque. So what are the politics and aesthetics of Russian Dramaturgia?

Political theorist and curator Denis Maksimov will speak about Russian political ‘greyness’ - an engineered ambience, whose purpose it is to make it impossible to establish trust among actors - and its exportability. His talk will build on Avenir Institute’s transdisciplinary research of political auteurship. A former insider of several political near-Kremlin think tanks, Maksimov will look at the highly ambivalent work and thought of two crucial theorists of Russian political Dramaturgia: the former (2000-2004) head of the Expert Department of the Administration of the Russian President Simon Kordonsky's interdisciplinary analysis of Russian ‘administrative markets'; and the former Deputy Chief of Staff (1999-2011) of the same institution Vladislav Surkov’s interest in theatre and fiction.