Putin’s Medieval Dreams

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  • Dina Khapaeva Dina Khapaeva

Dina Khapaeva, professor in the School of Modern Languages at the Georgia Institute of Technology, wrote the Project Syndicate, December 29, article, “Putin’s Medieval Dreams.” The School of Modern Languages is part of the Georgia Tech Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.


Ivan the Terrible is not the only medieval vestige being revived in Russia. Cultural vocabulary is also reverting. For example, the word kholop, which means “serf,” is returning to the vernacular, a linguistic devolution that parallels a troubling rise in Russia’s modern slavery. Data from the Global Slavery Index show that more than one million Russians are currently enslaved in the construction industry, the military, agriculture, and the sex trade. Moreover, serf “owners” are also happily identifying themselves as modern-day barins.

Even Russian officials speak approvingly of modern slavery. Valery Zorkin, who chairs the Constitutional Court, wrote in Rossiyskaya Gazeta, the official government newspaper, that serfdom has long been a “social glue” for Russia. And another medieval term – lydi gosudarevy, which translates to “servants of his majesty” – has returned to favor among high-ranking bureaucrats.

For the full article, visit Project Syndicate’s website.

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Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, School of Modern Languages

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  • Created By: T. Jesse Brannen
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Jan 5, 2018 - 10:59am
  • Last Updated: Jan 16, 2018 - 10:58am