Alexander Akhiezer

Eurozine Logo
4 March 2003

How different are we?

In this reply to Axel Kaehne’s article Russian conceptions of statehood and Western political theory, Akhiezer refutes some of Kaehne’s notions on political theory. Western science has, until now, by and large neglected the socio-cultural rifts that determine Russian attitudes towards the state: The lack of a functioning civil society and an – on the surface at least- strong, coercive state that has been unable to make its aims intelligible to the populace, have led to a reinforcement of antagonism rather than the creation of a more tolerant and diverse dialogue between state and society. Akhiezer maintains that Russia has no liberal tradition to speak of and nor can Russian political philosophy claim to have solved the question “how a state is possible at all” in Russia.