Conservative Criticism of Europe in Russian Public Sphere: from Orthodox Anti-Westernism to Political Mistrust in Europe
This paper analyses how the Orthodox discourse colonised political discourse. To clarify what role the Russian Orthodox Church played in the creation of conservatism hegemony in Russian politics during 2006-2015, we analyse references to the Orthodox discourse found in the official political speeches, especially in discussions of economic, political, social and cultural issues that dominate the domestic and international agenda. Since national ideology is constructed in opposition to other nations, we restrict our analysis to criticism of Europe onlyб since it is one of the core elements of Russian conservatism. Critical discourse analysis was used as a methodological and theoretical framework for studying materials. As a result, we have identified three dichotomies in the criticism of European values: (1) religion vs secularism, (2) collectivism (sobornost’) vs individualism, (3) collective morality vs liberal moral pluralism. Within the period of 2006-2012, the Orthodox discourse has been appropriated in domestic agenda. After 2013, the Russian political discourse featured conservative rhetoric in the evaluation of European modernity through the two dichotomies: secularism vs. Orthodoxy and individualism vs. sobornost’.