Georgy Satarov: Attention everyone! A message to future experts in politics

posted 26 Jan 2015, 04:34 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 26 Jan 2015, 04:40 ]
19 January 2015

Please distribute the information that follows about a certain idea as widely as possible

Source: Facebook

The relaunch of the “Politeia” group

The Moscow-based “Politeia” group met from the mid-1980s onwards and brought together a community of experts, some independent and some employed by various authorities, but all interested in practical policymaking. The meetings featured intensive debates on current problems, research findings and new methods of analysis. The political influence wielded by the group should not be overstated, but there are grounds to believe that the democratic quality of the Russian political process and the effectiveness of the country’s political institutions would have been significantly poorer without it.

This informal community of experts was run on the basis of two principles: (1) a capacity for reasoned and unbiased political debate and the counterposition of a variety of points of view, theoretical paradigms and specific manifestos; (2) a mutual acceptance of its members in ethical terms (“the ability to shake hands”).

This community ceased to exist at some point over the past 10 years, for reasons which are readily apparent – on the one hand the disappearance of a political sphere or any demand for objective political analysis, and on the other hand the fact that many of the experts were overcome by a spirit of servility and a willingness to sacrifice solidarity amongst its members and critical rationality for the sake of short-term benefits. We suspect that that it would be impossible to resurrect the earlier group, even if the political situation was more favourable – it must be rebuilt from scratch.

Nature abhors monotony, particularly in the sphere of politics, and there is no escaping the fact that one day objective and qualified political expertise will again be in demand, perhaps sooner than any of us suspect. Together with Svyatoslav Igorevich Kaspe, a friend and colleague who works as a professor at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, I have been inspired by this premonition to launch a radical renewal of the "Politeia" group. The people we want to participate in the group’s meetings and in specific research projects will be undergraduate and postgraduate students and recent graduates, and we shall also discuss current issues, research findings and new methods of political analysis. Social and political research in the rest of the world has moved on while Russia’s political experts shut up shop, and so we must discuss these new directions and approaches and analyse the most interesting and significant foreign publications. We hope to create a breeding ground for a new generation of intellectuals and experts, which will be attractive not only because of the level and content of the debates it holds, but also because it offers the potential for professional advancement.

This Facebook post is a first step towards turning our idea into reality, and I’m hoping for two types of feedback: from young people who would like to take part in the group in future, and from potential lecturers who would like to play an active role in its proceedings. Please send me a private message telling me about yourself, together with your contact details and any comments.

Translated by Joanne Reynolds