Date of Submission

Spring 2020

Academic Program

Foreign Languages, Cultures, and Literature; Political Studies

Project Advisor 1

Marina Kostalevsky

Project Advisor 2

Jonathan Becker

Abstract/Artist's Statement

In this paper, I analyze the political legitimation of Russian President Vladimir Putin through sexualized media avenues and the resulting challenges this poses to producing effective women's policy. I examine the spectacle of Putin and the Duma in their handling of womens’ public health and economic issues, as well as female representation in spheres of power, by continuing the Soviet tradition of symbolic submission. I seek to answer the question of how these widely-produced images of the nastoyashiy muzhik, the real Russian man, influence political consciousness in contemporary Russia; and determine whether there are inroads to policy change outside of submission to the Kremlin.

Contemporary Russia has seen arduous regime change and economic upheaval––from the traumatic reorganizing of society’s systems under Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika reforms, to the instability of the Boris Yeltsin years, to Putin’s ascendance to power. Gender roles and the fulfillment of their performance, specifically the machismo of the male head of state and obligatory submission to his government, have maintained a continuous role in defining contemporary power and stability.

I hypothesize that policy-enforced gender inequality runs parallel to the machismo image of contemporary Russian power, and that this image has been woven through the political history of Russia as it stands today, emboldening its performative political relationship to women. I hypothesize that the concept of the “ideal,” submissive political woman is not gone and is central to the treatment of women and women’s issues in Russia’s political culture today.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

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