Irony as a Political Demarcation Tool of the New Russian Nationalists


The article discusses how and why the new nationalists, who call for political self-determination of Russians but share some ideological concepts with liberals, use stiob - a form of ironic parody based on overidentification and decontextualisation, resulting in destruction of the authoritative discourse. Their entertaining, or educational-cum-entertaining projects, located in the gray area between politics and counterculture, strive to undermine domineering political discourses (liberal, neo-Soviet, leftist, official patriotic, and old nationalist) and to go beyond the left-right dichotomy. The author concludes that the main function of stiob and other forms of irony for the new nationalists is negative identification. Ambivalence of the language of stiob simultaneously attracts the target audience of nationalists (“those in the know”) and does not prevent solidarizing with any political platform when needed. The article is based on qualitative analysis of narratives produced by nationalist social media influencers, including fiction, essays, talks, lectures, interviews, live broadcasts, posts in blogs, social networks and messengers.

Author Biography

Anastasia V. Mitrofanova, Institute of Sociology, Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology, the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

Anastasia V. Mitrofanova (born 1973) is Leading Research Fellow at the Institute of Sociology of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (since 2019); Professor at the Financial University under the Government of Russia. She received her M.A. (1994) and Ph.D. (1998) from the Moscow State University, and her Dr. Habilitat degree from the Diplomatic Academy of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Russia (2005). Mitrofanova’s research interests include: religious politicisation, fundamentalism, Orthodox Christianity and politics, nationalism in Post-Soviet states, religiopolitical movements. Main publications: Politizatsiia “pravoslavnogo mira” (Moskow:  Nauka, 2004); The Politicization of Russian Orthodoxy: Actors and Ideas (Stuttgart: Ibidem-Verlag, 2005).


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How to Cite
Mitrofanova, A. (2020). Irony as a Political Demarcation Tool of the New Russian Nationalists. Changing Societies & Personalities, 4(3), 304–322. doi:10.15826/csp.2020.4.3.103