Zakhar Prilepin, the National Bolshevik Movement and Catachrestic Politics

Jussi Pekka Lassila, Tomi Petteri Huttunen

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This article examines the Russian writer and publicist Zakhar Prilepin, a visible representative of Russiaʼs patriotic currents since 2014, and a well-known activist of the radical oppositional National Bolshevik Party (nbp) since 2006. We argue that Prilepinʼs public views point at particular catachrestic political activism. Catachresis is understood here as a socio-semantic misuse of conventional concepts as well as a practice in which political identifications blur the distinctions defining established political activity. The background for the catachrestic politics, as used in this article, was formed by the 1990s post-Soviet turmoil and by Russiaʼs weak socio-political institutions, which facilitate and sustain the space for the self-purposeful radicalism and non-conformism – the trademarks of nbp. Prilepinʼs and nbpʼs narrated experience of fatherlessness related to the 1990s was compensated by personal networks and cultural
idols, which often present mutually conflicting positions. In Pierre Bourdieuʼs
terminology, Prilepin and the Nationalist Bolshevik’s case illustrate the strength of
the literary field over the civic-political one. Catachrestic politics helps to conceptualize not only Prilepin’s activities but also contributes to the study of the political style of the National Bolshevik Party, Prilepinʼs main political base. As a whole, the paper provides insights into the study of Russiaʼs public intellectuals who have played an important role in Russiaʼs political discussion in the place of of well-established political movements.
TidskriftTranscultural Studies: a series in interdisciplinary research
Sidor (från-till)136-158
Antal sidor23
StatusPublicerad - 2016
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


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