Putin, Masculinity, and Protests in 2011/2012: Why the Spectacle is Falling Apart


Location: O'Shaughnessy Hall, Room 242

Since August 1999 Vladimir Putin and his team have been running a well-orchestrated PR campaign to manage Putin’s public opinion. That campaign, as I will show, has been based very strongly in the articulation of a model masculinity that appears to give Putin both super-political status as the heroic male and everyman status as the man of the street. Yet when Putin announced on September 24, 2011 that he would run for another twelve years in office, the spectacle began to fall apart. As the spectacle became disappointing, ordinary Russians took their cameras to the voting booths to document what they already knew—that the elections were awash in fraudulent behavior. This paper will explore the ways in which the masculine spectacle of Vladimir Putin both continues and changes in the face of public dissatisfaction.

Elizabeth Wood, professor of history, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Wood, a leading scholar of Soviet history and Women and Gender Studies, has published books including Performing Justice: Agitation Trials in Early Soviet Russia (2005) and From Baba to Comrade: Gender and Politics in Revolutionary Russia (1997). Wood has also published articles on prostitution, trade union organizing of women, and revolutionary theater trials.

Sponsored by the Union of Graduate Historians with support from the Russian and East European Studies Program

Originally published at al.nd.edu.