Satire and censorship in Putin’s Russia

Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2016
End date: 31/12/2018
Funding: 2505000 SEK


The proposed project will study the censorial control over political satire on TV, radio, the Internet, theatre, and literature in modern Russia from a relatively unrestrained period of the 1990s to Putin’s third presidency (2012–), which is characterized by the rise of censorship and state propaganda. The main goal of the project is to present a history of modern Russian satire and to elucidate the complex and somewhat paradoxical processes of state control of satire and the counter-strategies of resistance as a dynamic system of mutual influence. Using the conceptual framework of myth as understood in Yuri Lotman’s semiotic theory of culture, the project will combine the longitudinal analysis of satirical texts (written texts, performance texts, digital texts including the so-called memes, images, and videos) during the 15-20 years with the in-depth interviews with authors, performers and producers, thus presenting the detailed picture of this phenomenon of modern Russian culture. The study will also compare the relation between satire and censorship during the present period with the Soviet era and contemporary political satire in the West. The proposed project is thus based on an interdisciplinary approach that comprises cultural studies, textual analysis and cultural semiotics in a diachronic and synchronic perspective. In a broader sense, the results of the proposed approach can be applicable not only in the Russian/Soviet context but also in other studies of censorship, satire and textual survival in culture. One of the most far-reaching results of this project is that some mechanisms of censorial control might be also relevant for countries that are not considered to be oppressive regimes.

Last updated on 2017-27-07 at 11:59