20 years under Putin: a timeline

Since the earliest forms of democracy, public intellectuals have been playing a crucial role in the state political life: constructing ideologies, advising politicians,influencing public opinion. As noted specialists in a particular field of knowledge, well-known members of academia or think tanks, the role of public intellectuals is to provide wider public with knowledge to make informed decisions on governance and to keep the authorities accountable for their activities. However, with Vladimir Putin rise in power in today’s Russia, a number of prominent Russian intellectuals have become subservient to the Kremlin, providing ideological rationale for the country’s rising authoritarianism; only few intellectuals voiced their criticisms and warned of the dangers of an undemocratic path. This paper will explore a diverse group of Russian public intellectuals (focusing on think tanks and popular political commentators—from conservatives to liberals), the ideas that they put forward and their role in the country’s democratic rollback.