Russia and the West: struggle for normative hegemony
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In the spring of 2012 Vladimir Putin was elected as the President of Russia for the third time. With his return as the head of the state, new conservative discourse, with normative dimension, started to emerge in the Russian politics. Cases of the Pussy Riot, the gay propaganda law or anti-blasphemy law, are examples of this conservative turn. This discourse also implies portrayal of the West as deviant and perverted, while Russia stands as the last bastion in defense of traditional values. Such articulation is widely supported and enhanced by the Russian Orthodox Church. As it is argued in the present study, this discourse serves not only domestic political purposes, but also provides important bases for the Russian normative hegemony to be projected outwards. Hegemony is defined from the Neo-Gramscian understanding and it is illustrated how the civil society institutions inside Georgia help to articulate, project and maintain the Russian discourse to the Georgian society and subsequently counter an alternative, the Western discourse, expressed within the Association Agreement with the EU. Discourse analysis, more specifically, the discourse theory was applied as a methodology to analyze ongoing discourse. Findings illustrate that the Georgian society is still struggling to associate itself with the Western normative discourse and it can serve basis for the Kremlin to achieve its political goals without brute force, through normative hegemony.