"Grazhdanin Politolog" about Populism in Europe and Russia

On November 7, the bar "Bachelor" hosted the second discussion of the sixth season of lectures under the topic "Populism in Europe and Russia: General Trends or Another "Special Way of Development".

"Grazhdanin Politolog" about Populism in Europe and Russia

Professor Irina Busygina, Dmitry Ryabov (both – Higher School of Economics) and professor Leonid Tomin (Saint-Petersburg State University) discussed the heterogeneity of definitions of the term “populism”, its causes and effects on society, and Dmitry Goncharov (Higher School of Economics) moderated the meeting.

After the opening speech from Dmitry Goncharov, each of the invited speakers for fifteen minutes expressed their visions of the problem of populism. Dmitry Ryabov, for example, called the lack of democracy one of the reasons for the growing popularity of populism. Professor Irina Busygina pointed out that populists do not like institutions. At the same time Leonid Tomin is sure that it is precisely the destruction of institutions and old worldviews that leads to the emergence of populism.

After such a short lecture from three speakers, the event moderator decided to create an atmosphere of discussion and asked: what is so bad in populism?

“Populists sell illusions! No one promises an easy life, and they promise..” - said Irina Busygina, who does not support populism and believes that with them “we're just wasting time”.

Although Dmitry Ryabov as well as Leonid Tomin shared some warm feelings to populism, he pointed out some of its shortcomings: “appeal to fears and emotions” and “manipulation”.

After discussing this issue, Dmitry Goncharov, as if completing the discussion evening, addressed the audience with a request to ask questions. Each of the speakers tried to answer everything briefly, although it was quite difficult, because the topic is really interesting and controversial: populism does not have one clear definition.

The session ended with the words of gratitude to all who came, an invitation to the next one and the distribution of stickers “Grazhdanin Politolog” to all who expressed a desire to ask questions.

Text by
Viktoria Grebennik