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Laruelle, Marlene. “Ideological Complementarity or Competition? The Kremlin, the Church, and the Monarchist Idea in Today’s Russia.” Slavic Review 79, no. 2 (2020): 345-364.


In 2018, Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II, was the most popular of all Russian historical figures of the twentieth century; the fame of White officers such as Alexander Kolchak and Anton Denikin was also on the rise. Obviously, broad sympathy for the last Romanov does not imply support for a potential restoration of the monarchy, yet the past few years have seen the activation of several monarchist lobbies, especially around the Russian Orthodox Church and in some well-connected Kremlin circles that seek the ideological hardening of the Putin regime. In this article, I use the case study of the monarchist idea to explore how the Kremlin manages the production of a large and diversified set of ideologies. I explore how the relationship between state authorities, ideological entrepreneurs, and some societal actors such as the Church is articulated along a continuum of permanent complementarity and competition in the production of ideologies.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.