Most authoritarian regimes and populist parties today claim they are committed to democratic values. On the one hand, this testifies to a world-wide triumph of democracy. On the other, however, the use of democratic concepts and symbols by the authoritarians and populists is no innocent operation. It depreciates these concepts and symbols and transforms them into empty signs. In which ways does Putin’s propaganda deprive notions and symbols of the democratic culture of memory of their true sense and transform them into empty signs?
Nikolay Koposov is a distinguished professor of the Practice at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. He was Founding Dean of Smolny College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a joint venture of St. Petersburg State University and Bard College. His academic interests include modern European intellectual history, post-Soviet Russia, historical memory and comparative politics of the past. His books include Memory Laws, Memory Wars: The Politics of the Past in Europe and Russia (2017).