Ļ 2 - 2005
Sokolov M.M.

Class as Ethnic: Rhetoric of the Russian Radical Nationalist Movement


Who and why are attracted by the Russian radical nationalist movementís rhetoric? According to the point of view currently dominating the field of Russian nationalism studies, the movement is mostly supported by paranoid individuals reacting irrationally to the hardships of the transition period. The present article provides counter-evidence calling for an alternative interpretation of the nationalistsí appeal. Rhetorical analysis is applied to extract the main themes of the discourse of the RNU, the most infamous of the Russian radical nationalist organizations of the 1990s. Two of these themes, ethnization and moralization, are then interpreted from the perspective of P.Bourdieuís theory of political field. It is demonstrated that they can be regarded as rational strategies of ideological struggle in the conflict over the distribution of cultural capital.