Russia's regime at war: Quo vadis?

Webinar · 01.03.2023 14:00 - 15:15

Russiaʼs failed special operation aimed at defeating Ukraine within days has grown into a year-long war of the scale which Europe has not experienced since World War II. The invasionʼs colossal negative consequences for Russiaʼs relations with the West and country’s international status quickly gave birth to speculations about fatal consequences for Putinʼs internal political positions. However, the expectations of massive defections among the elites or large-scale protests have not materialized so far. Instead, the observed radicalization of the political leadershipʼs rhetoric and public discourse, as well as the unprecedented repressions against the critics of the war, raise the question as to how the legitimacy of Putinʼs power and a new social normal is being built around the war. The key challenge the Kremlin is facing is how to reconcile the now required comprehensive militarization of the society with the political passivity of the citizens that has hitherto consolidated Putinʼs power.

This webinar examines how Russia has changed over the course of its aggressive war against Ukraine. As the long-standing confrontation with the West has reached a level of an unrestrained ideological war against it, imposed at the society at all levels, is the Kremlin transforming into an ideological dictatorship, a fascist regime of the 21st century? Is the eliteʼs militaristic adaptation dependent only on Putin, or does it have a seedbed in society more broadly?


Jussi Lassila, Senior Research Fellow, FIIA
Andreas Umland, Analyst, Swedish Institute of International Affairs/Associate Professor, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

Comments & chair:
Margarita Zavadskaya, Senior Research Fellow, FIIA



Jussi Lassila

Senior Research Fellow, FIIA

Jussi Lassila is a Senior Research Fellow in the Russia, EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood and Eurasia research programme at Finnish Institute of International Affairs. He has published widely on issues related to Russian domestic politics, in particular identity politics, nationalism, populism and political communication. Latest publications include “Casting off Soviet chains? Conditions for the ideological renewal of communist successor parties in Russia, Ukraine and Moldova since the 2010s (with Ryhor Nizhnikau), Journal of Eurasian Studies 2022 (open-access), Attitudes to Putin-Era Patriotism Amongst Russia’s ‘In Between’ Generation (with Anna Sanina), Europe-Asia Studies 2022 (open-access) and Whose turn, for whom? Conservative values and Putinʼs social contract in Conservatism and Memory Politics in Russia and Eastern Europe, Routledge 2021. Full list available at

Andreas Umland

Analyst, Swedish Institute of International Affairs/Associate Professor, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

Andreas Umland is an analyst at the Stockholm Centre for Eastern European Studies (SCEEUS) at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs. Umland is based in Kyiv. He is also an Associate Professor of Political Science at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.

Umland holds a PhD in Politics from Cambridge, DrPhil in History as well Diploma in Politology from FU Berlin, MPhil in Russian Studies from Oxford, and MA in Political Science from Stanford (for full list see CV). Umland was a researcher at Stanford's Hoover Institution as well as Harvard's Weatherhead Center, and taught at the Ural State University in Yekaterinburg, St. Antony's College Oxford, Shevchenko University of Kyiv, Catholic University of Eichstätt, and University of Jena. He is the editor of the ibidem Press book series "Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society" and "Ukrainian Voices."

He is a member of the boards of the International Association for Comparative Fascist Studies, and Boris Nemtsov Academic Center for the Study of Russia at Charles University of Prague.

Comments & chair

Margarita Zavadskaya

Senior Research Fellow, FIIA

Margarita Zavadskaya is a senior research fellow at the Finnish Institute of Foreign Affairs. She obtained her doctoral degree in political science from EUI, has worked at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki. She has published broadly on elections, political behaviour and public opinion in Russia and post-Soviet states.