Interview: “From the Event to New Political Subjectivities: Comparing Euromaidan and ‘Bolotnaya’”
Oleg Zhuravlev is a researcher at the Public Sociology Laboratory and is now working on his PhD at the European University Institute in Florence. In his research, Zhuravlev focuses on the evolution of political subjectivity in Russia and Ukraine. For the case of Russia, he investigates how such protest movements such as rallies ‘For fair elections’ to postprotest local activism that emerged from the mass mobilization shape “civic identity”. In the Ukrainian case he studies the evolution from Euromaidan and anti-Maidan manifestations to military volunteering and formation of new public consensus. Protest movements, Zhuravlev observes, always claim to represent the wholeness of a nation: In case of the Euromaidan protests, many people participated who had never been politically active before – a phenomenon that creates publicity and emotionality. However, Zhuravlev’s research group tries to find out, with an interdisciplinary approach, how and if this collective emotion of citizenship could have become an obstacle for the movement itself: by pretending a political entity, there was a lack of political agenda to actually ensure that the whole nation was included in the idea of protest. The interview was conducted by Gesche Schifferdecker, press officer at the Max Weber Stiftung. The conversation took place in Berlin during the Winter Academy “Beyond History and Identity: New Perspectives on Aesthetics, Politics, and Society in Eastern Europe”, organised by the Forum Transregionale Studien and the Max Weber Stiftung.
The Winter Academy was conducted in support of the Berlin-Brandenburg Ukrainian Initiative, a new project initiated by Andrii Portnov (Forum Transregionale Studien/Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin) to proliferate and re-think the current debates in the field of East European Studies. The Academy was chaired by a group of scholars that includes Rory Finnin (University of Cambridge), Susanne Frank (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Ilia Gerasimov (Ab Imperio), Olena Haleta (Ivan Franko Lviv University), Anna Colin-Lebedev (Sciences Po Paris), Magdalena Marszalek (Universität Potsdam), Andrii Portnov (Forum Transregionale Studien/Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin), and Annette Werberger (Europa-Universität Viadrina). Cooperation partners were the Freie Universität Berlin (FU), Centre Marc Bloch, Literarisches Colloquium Berlin (LCB) and Europe in the Middle East – The Middle East in Europe (EUME).