Cover of Ideology and Meaning-Making under the Putin Regime by Marlene Laruelle
Ideology and Meaning-Making under the Putin Regime
Marlene Laruelle

January 2025
312 pages.
from $32.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503631397
Paperback ISBN: 9781503641594



Much has been written to try to understand the ideological characteristics of the current Russian government, as well as what is happening inside the mind of Vladimir Putin. Refusing pundits' clichés that depict the Russian regime as either a cynical kleptocracy or the product of Putin's grand Machiavellian designs, Ideology and Meaning-Making under the Putin Regime offers a critical genealogy of ideology in Russia today. Marlene Laruelle provides an innovative, multi-method analysis of the Russian regime's ideological production process and the ways it is operationalized in both domestic and foreign policies. Ideology and Meaning-Making under the Putin Regime reclaims the study of ideology as an unavoidable component of the tools we use to render the world intelligible and represents a significant contribution to the scholarly debate on the interaction between ideas and policy decisions. By placing the current Russian regime into a broader context of different strains of strategic culture, ideological interest groups, and intellectual history, this book gives readers key insights into how the Russo-Ukrainian War became possible and the role ideology played in enabling it.

About the author

Marlene Laruelle is Research Professor of International Affairs and Political Science and Director of the Illiberalism Studies Program at The George Washington University. Trained in political philosophy, she works on the rise of illiberalism in different national contexts and has published widely on Russia's society and politics, as well as foreign policy.

"The most comprehensive examination of how illiberal ideology is crystallizing in Putin's Russia. This book confirmsMarleneLaruelle's reputation as a leading expert in the field. It is essential reading to understand not only 'how Russia works' but also the broader dynamics of ideological contestation."

—Mikhail Suslov, University of Copenhagen

"One of the world's premier experts on Russian political thought, Marlene Laruelle offers a rich, nuanced, and lucid explication of 'Putinism,' its mélange of ideological formulations across a quarter century, its intellectual-historical heritage and grassroots sources, and its dissemination in contemporary media and popular culture."

—Edith W. Clowes, University of Virginia

"Marlene Laruelle's book is a major contribution to our understanding of the nature, evolution, and sources of popularity of Putin's regime. It forces us to rethink much of the conventional wisdom about Russia today."

—Ivan Krastev, Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski"

"Laruelle's thorough examination of the ideological trends underpinning modern Russia demonstrates how these are the product of a process of co-creation by state and society, rather than Kremlin diktat. Understanding Russia has rarely been more important, and this detailed and nuanced analysis is an important contribution to that cause."

—Paul Robinson, University of Ottawa