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Russian Postcommunism and the End of History

Sergei Prozorov
Studies in East European Thought
Vol. 60, No. 3, Reviewing Perestrojka (Sep., 2008), pp. 207-230
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40345282
Page Count: 24
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Russian Postcommunism and the End of History
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Abstract

The article ventures a reading of Russian postcommunist politics from the perspective of the messianic turn in continental political philosophy, specifically Giorgio Agamben's conception of the 'end of history'. Taking its point of departure from a retrospective construction in the Russian political discourse of the 1990s as a period of ' timelessness', the paper argues that postcommunism may indeed be viewed as a paradoxical ' time out of time', a rupture in the ordinary temporality that entirely dispenses with the teleological horizon of politics. While the problematic of the 'end of history' has been popularized by Francis Fukuyama's liberal recasting of Kojève's reading of Hegel, the Russian experience is entirely contrary to this complacent and self-gratifying account of the triumph of liberalism and accords, instead, with Agamben's understanding of the end of history as the deactivation of the teleological dimension of politics as such. The effect of this deactivation is not a catastrophic disintegration of the social order but rather the opening of the possibility of an inoperative political praxis that is oriented towards the affirmation of existence in the pure present. The article proceeds with outlining the implications of this reading of Russian postcommunism for understanding the present conjuncture of Russian politics.

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