Studies of friendship in contemporary Russia have shown that there are two prevalent forms – the tight emotional interpersonal friendship, on the one hand, and the instrumental one that is practiced in patron-client relationships or that ties together cliques aspiring to win in economic or political battles. However, this finding ignores two other types of friendship – the one that is expressed and solidified in inter-country (international) treaties and the one that is residually practiced in those types of ties that ancient Greeks would call politick philia. The talk will consider all those variegated forms of friendship from the standpoint of the classical republican tradition, and evaluate the prospects of basing oneself on these forms of friendship to expand islands of republican freedom in contemporary Russia.
Oleg Kharkhordin is a professor of political science and sociology at the European University in St. Petersburg. After studying at the University of Leningrad and the Academy of the Sciences at the UdSSR, he earned a PhD at the University of California, Berkeley. He went on to serve as a visiting professor at Harvard, Yale, and the Institut d’études politiques de Paris. He studies political theory, the classical republican tradition, and the pragmatic turn in the social sciences. Some publications germane to the conference are “Friendship and Politics in Russia” (Common Knowledge, 2016), and “The Politics of Friendship: Classic and Contemporary Concerns” (Unravelling Ties, 2002).