Russia : distinction 2.0 ou inégalité en réseau ?

Au hasard de mes explorations en ligne, je découvre, service de réseautage pour “l’élite de la société russe”. Tout comme son homologue international, ce site créé en 2008 permet à des personnes aisées d’afficher leurs goûts et leurs styles de vie distinctifs dans un cadre valorisant. Sponsorisé par le milliardaire Mikhaïl Prokhorov, le réseau a été souvent présenté dans la presse internationale comme un repaire de nouveaux beaufs, symptôme de la décadence anthropologique de la Russie de Putin.

Mais il est surtout une mine d’or pour tout chercheur travaillant sur les pratiques de consommation actuelles, et surtout une occasion unique pour mettre à jour certaines notions sociologiques, de la consommation ostentatoire de Veblen à la distinction de Bourdieu, de l‘élite du pouvoir de C. Wright-Mills au rôle de la violence symbolique chez Michel Pinçon et Monique Pinçon-Charlot.


When you listen to Russian music, you are downloading anarchy (Sociological Songs Special)

Let’s try something different: a Sociological Songs Special, completely focusing on a single band. And the band is Grazhdanskaya Oborona (Гражданская Оборона, “Civil Defense” in Russian), a landmark USSR punk number from the 1980s [1]. Now I know what you think. But please, suspend your disbelief. The former Soviet Union had, despite repression, a flourishing punk scene. Just have a look at this picture gallery of retro-crested, mirror-shaded, pin-pierced vodka-drinking rockers. Then we’ll talk. And as we are talking, please also have a look at this impressive media archive, where you can download an incredible amount of original recordings, bootlegs, and pictures.

As legend has it, Grazhdanskaya Oborona was the mindchild of Yegor Letov (1964-2008), the self-styled “psychedelic” poet and musician from Omsk, Siberia. Letov always had a talent for controversy. Which might explain why he started his career as an anarchist under a communist regime and ended up, after the fall of the Berlin wall, founding the National Bolshevik Party, a right-wing/left-wing (?) political organization whose symbol is everything but unequivocal. But this is a story for another time…

Like for many other punk bands, Grazhdanskaya Oborona’s songs were a mix of hard rock, noise, ska (sometimes), and unbecoming lyrics. A good example is probably the ironical (and definitely NSFW) винтовка – это праздник (The rifle, what a party)


Astroturf activism in Russia – a tribute to Oleg Kireev

We tend to think about the Web 2.0 as an enhancer for democracy and political participation. In this conference, activist and new media theorist Oleg Kireev explains how in Russia – as well as in other former Soviet nations – reactionary politicians and corporations have staged flash mobs with the cunning use of blogs and social networking services, notably Livejournal. That’s how grassroot internet activism turns into astroturf media manipulation. The conference was held on October 14th, 2006, in Graz (Austria), at the third edition of the Dictionary of War lectures.

Oleg Kireev committed suicide five days ago, on April 3rd, 2009.


Oleg Kireev in 2006