Security has become a catchword. And the "security narrative" is now pervasive at a global level. It is even hard to enumerate all the kinds of security concerns that political and civic leaders urge people to worry about. There may be issues of state, economic, food, information, geopolitical and physical security, but then even of spiritual and ethnocultural security. Yet it is by no means easy to find an answer to the question of what is the concrete danger underlying each of these security concerns and whether the vagueness of the concept of danger is little more than a justification of convenient pretext for manipulating public opinion and the distribution of public spending. It is the analysis of these multifarious problems that is the focus of the articles collected in this issue of Otechestvennye Zapiski under the omnibus title of "Fear Management."


Kirill Martynov

The Birth of Security: The Genesis of the Liberal State and Privatization of Surveillance

The article discusses the specific features of the current situation in the world and in Russia with respect to the concept of security. Today the struggle against terrorism, which ostensibly calls for vesting law enforcement agencies with emergency powers, is combined with neoliberal rhetoric about minimum state involvement. Analyzing Michel Foucault's concepts fundamental to this problem, which are set forth in his sets of lectures entitled Security, Territory, Population and The Birth of Biopolitics, the author exposes the essence of the new strategy of state administration and new forms of surveillance over the conduct of individuals.

Niklas Luhmann

Risk and Danger

The author examines the concept of risk, which he regards as one of the main themes of modern sociology. Having shown that in contrast is not the concept of certainty, but the concept of danger, he explains the distinction between them: it depends with whom and in what way the possible damage is correlated. In the case of correlating it with oneself, this means risks and in the event of correlating it with others, it means dangers.

Simon Kordonsky

Threats as an Institution of a Resource Economy

According to the commonly accepted opinion, some forces are constantly threatening the state and its social stability. Therefore, the security of the state is permanently at threat. In order to neutralize threats, the Russian state removes resources from the market and distributes them among the government departments assigned to combat threats. The amount of resources being distributed is proportionate to the significance of the threats. In competing for resources, the government departments exaggerate the threats and invent new ones.

Dmitry Kralechkin

The Time for Mechanical Foxes

The article examines modern approaches to the analysis of expert political judgment. The main focus is given to Philip Tetlock's project under which a quantitative study of the accuracy of expert predictions was carried out over many years. It is shown that the methodology of war games can be regarded as a major premise for scientific criticism of an expert judgment. The prospects for quantifying expert judgments are indicative of substantial changes both in understanding politics and in knowledge producing systems.

Alexander Rubtsov

The Philosophy of Danger

In Russia, the institutionalization of long-term forecasting and planning is practically nonexistent. This is related to the fact that those in the government focus exclusively on immediate issues and, in addition, they regard political opponents as enemies and are afraid that these enemies will use honest analysis against them. And yet the country cannot live without distinct scenarios of the future, in particular, because today it has to block threats that may arise tomorrow. The author outlines one such catastrophic, yet not impossible, scenario for Russia. In the event of its implementation, the country will, in effect, simply cease to exist, and therefore ignoring it can be equaled to a crime.


Dmitry Serov

The Security of the Russian Individual in the Early 18th Century: Threats Coming from the Underworld, "Strong Men" and the State

The article provides a systematic reconstruction of the set of threats to the personal security of a resident of Russia that were relevant in the 1700s-1710s. Drawing on archival materials, it shows that, in the everyday dimension, the greatest dangers for Russians at the time came from members of the underworld, and also from officials' abuses of power. Alongside this, the question of how effective the protection by the state of the personal security of individuals was in the period in question is treated at length.

Igor Kurukin

The Police of Old-Time Russia: Police Sentinels, Gendarmes, Policemen on the Beat

The author begins this rather detailed overview of measures to improve the maintenance of public order taken by the Russian authorities from pre-Petrine times. At the time, the country lacked a professional criminal investigation apparatus, and catching thieves and robbers was, so to say, the public duty of nobility and townspeople. In the reign of Peter the Great, the growth of the army resulted in an increase in the number of deserters, and heavy taxes and compulsory labor burden brought about a growth in the number of fugitives and discontents. And so, by his decree of June 7, 1718, the emperor appointed the first general police master of St. Petersburg in order to "establish better order" in the capital. This failed to bring any particular improvement: robbers remained active all over the country. It was only after the Pugachev revolt that Catherine the Great finally introduced regular police in Russia. Since then and until the revolution of 1917 the police apparatus was constantly improved, yet it never became really effective.

Dmitry Gorin

"Imposed Security/Threat" or, The Phenomenology of Threats in a Utopian Culture

The article examines the phenomenology of threats in a culture going through the rise and fall of a utopia. The author views the phenomenon of "imposed security/threat" as a tool for maintaining the stability of a utopian picture of the world. Particular attention is paid to the chronotope characteristic of a utopian culture and the transformation of this chronotope in a situation of disintegration of a utopia. The article is based on the material from Soviet and post-Soviet history.


Vladimir Malakhov

Security Technique: Policy of Fear as a Management Tool

The author analyzes the impact of security preoccupations on the nature of public discourse and the way in which this language deforms the discussion of the problems of migration. Security turns out to be a fear management technique rather than an objective state existing independently of human perception. The state first instills various fears in society and then acts as a force capable of protecting it. As a result, the security theme not only becomes dominant in public discussions but is given ontological priority. The paradigm of domination, which became established by the mid-1990s, cannot but rely on the language of security. Public discourse is thus inevitably "se-curitized." A major component of this process is the securitization of immigration—the discussion of immigration issues solely in the threat mode. However, reducing the entire management process to the management of fear is to display one's total inability to manage anything at all.

Richard Seymour

Al-Qaida as a Brand (Richard Seymour. The Uses of al-Qaida)

Translated from the English by Ye.V. Malakhova

There is a huge gap between the expert knowledge of al-Qaida produced for the state and how the state presents this knowledge to citizens. And the state, naturally, demonizes its enemies in every way, representing them as a universal power controlled from a single center. This policy often does harm to those who pursue it, since it prompts individual groups of radical Islamists to a closer interaction under the brand of al-Qaida. Today quite a number of groups radically different in their composition, local interests and methods of struggle claim their membership in this organization. Therefore, the author regards the use by states of the label of al-Qaida in their practice of combating terrorism as counterproductive.

Alexei Tereshchenko

Critical Security Studies: An Introduction

(Summary of the book Critical Security Studies: An Introduction, New York, Routledge, 2010, by Columba Peoples and Nick Vaughan-Williams)

The book deals mainly with the analysis of the approaches of modern European philosophical and sociological schools to the problem of security. In particular, the Welsh School should be mentioned among them. Its founders propose, in the first place, to stop linking human security with the security of the state, for it is the state which, more often than not, turns out to be the main source of danger for its citizens.

Unlike the Welsh School, aiming to extend the concept of security to all spheres of life, members of the Copenhagen School note that certain restraint should be displayed in this regard, since governments, claiming one phenomenon or another to be dangerous, often act so as to give themselves a free hand in taking extraordinary measures. Examining these and other concepts, the authors note that the West departs ever further from the traditional presumption of innocence. Every individual becomes a source of danger, and security is understood to mean surveillance and control rather than legitimacy and human rights.


Boris Zhukov

Threatening Environment

Characteristic of the popular notion of ecological security in Russia is a kind of anthropocentrism (only what can inflict direct harm on humans is regarded as a threat to ecological security). In addition, Russians are not inclined to take any responsibility for their own ecological security, which is the result not so much of ignorance or selfishness as of the profound cultural and psychological features of present-day Russia. This attitude of society seriously complicates the operation of mechanisms for ensuring ecological security that are standard for democratic countries and, if shared by the power elite, prompts the dismantling of these mechanisms.

Yulia Krasheninnikova

Children and Fears in Mass Media

The article focuses on the problems of policy in the sphere of children's media security. This subject became particularly acute in Russia after the law on protection of children from information harmful to their health and development entered into force. The author recounts the history of the emergence of the idea of special protection of minors from threats in mass media, its integration into the global agenda, the complexities of its conceptual substantiation, and the effectiveness of practical measures. In the author's opinion, there can be no simple and quick solutions in this sphere. Information bans will only become effective after a consensus is reached in society on the need to protect children from "harmful" information and on what content is dangerous.

Ivan Geronimus

Roots of Domestic Violence

Judging by indirect data (direct data are not available), the level of domestic violence in Russia is higher than not only in developed but also in many developing countries. The article examines the causes of domestic violence in different societies—above all, in Russian society. It is in part a cultural phenomenon, yet a great part in this is played by substantial alcoholization of the population, and also a traditionally high level of state violence, which makes it something that is taken for granted. Unlike other European countries, where laws against domestic violence have been adopted nearly everywhere, in Russia neither the government not society consider this problem critically important, and therefore no such law has so far been adopted in the Russian Federation.

Sergei Yenikolopov

An Indicator of Trouble or, Why We Should Not Be Permitted to Possess Arms

In his interview, clinical psychologist Sergei Yenikolopov tries to answer the question why people in Russia today are experiencing an increase in the feeling of anxiety and insecurity. People are feeling this insecurity virtually in every aspect of social, economic, political and personal life. The scholar speaks about the causes of an increase in the number of suicides and growth in aggression in Russia. A major place in the interview is taken by the law permitting possession of short-barreled firearms, which is now being actively discussed and which will most likely be adopted despite the resistance of criminologists, and not just them alone.

In the psychologist's opinion, in case this law is actually adopted, living in Russia will become an unpleasant experience.

Andrei Korbut

Ethnomethodology and Security

The article centers on the ethnomethodological approach to security. It is shown that ethnomethodology makes it possible to reveal the practical grounds of security practices. One of these grounds—the usage of membership categorization devices—is examined in detail using a case of the airport security checkpoint by way of an example. The work of maintaining social order is considered to be a crucial element of the security production.

Inna Kushnareva

Apophatic Criminology of New York

A review of the book: Franklin E. Zimring. The City that Became Safe: New York's Lessons for Urban Crime and Its Control. USA, Oxford University Press, 2011


Sergei Bogoslovsky, Yevgeny Bragin

Feudal State Regulation

The article analyzes the causes of repeated failures of attempts to reform the sphere of relations between the state and the business community—in particular, Russian legislation in the field of technical regulation. The main cause is that the regulatory authorities themselves are not interested in transforming the established system which is the source of their power and well-being. What the authors view as the solution is the elimination of unnecessary licensing procedures constraining normal economic activity.

Georgy Satarov

Police Reform between "What" and "How"

The article compares two processes, evolutionary and project-based, of shaping institutions. An analysis is given of the specific features of both processes and the causes of poor results yielded by the project-based approach are described. The requirements for projects aimed at switching over from the traditional approach to "cultivation" of institutions are examined. General principles are illustrated with an example of developing a concept of reforming the police function in Russia.

Kirill Titayev

Roots of Russian Justice: V.I. Poludnyakov. Sud prodolzhayet priyom

An archaeoreview

The review highlights the book Sud prodolzhayet priyom (The Court of Law Continues to Receive People) by V.I. Poludnyakov, published in Leningrad in 1987. The book gives a first-person account of a single working day of a Soviet judge, describing in detail his daily routine, and provides extensive explanations for non-lawyers. The author of the book is a prominent Soviet lawyer commanding great respect in the professional community, who headed the Leningrad City Court from 1981 until 2003. The review is structured as a small historical and sociological case study, an analysis of a single source. It analyzes how prosecutors and lawyers, parties to a trial, the aggrieved and the accused and, certainly, judges themselves are represented. The focus is on the description of the daily practices that play a major part in the contemporary Russian judiciary system, as the practices that have been preserved since Soviet times.

Maria Shklyaruk

Is the Year 1937 Possible Today?

The authors analyze the changes that the Procedural Code of the Russian Federation underwent in 1960, 2002 and 2007-2011 and demonstrate that, despite their ostensibly democratic orientation, they were, in effect, aimed at curtailing the procedural independence of investigators and the supervisory powers of prosecutors. As a result, prosecu-torial supervision over investigation has today been practically reduced to naught, and an investigator is often compelled to be guided by the instructions of his boss and not by law. The conclusion made in the article is not comforting: there are no technical obstacles to unfolding mass repression in Russia today.


Vladimir Sollertinsky

Where God Looks

The author of the reminiscences in an excerpt, which is published in this issue of OZ, was exiled to Siberia together with his family when he was a boy. Quite a few tribulations fell to his lot and the lot of his near and dear ones, and yet Sollertinsky managed to graduate from a technical college of radio engineering. Having become a high-class specialist, he was selflessly building a new world. Neither the horrors of collectivization nor the unwinding of the flywheel of repression could shake his faith. It was with this faith that he went to the prison camp.

Polina Zherebtsova

Chechen Diary: The Year 2003

The Diary of Polina Zherebtsova is a collection of documentary records of which only one volume, covering the period from 1999 to 2002 spent in the Chechen Republic, that has so far been published on the territory of Russia. The other volumes have been rejected by different Russian publishing houses on censorial grounds. All the volumes of the Chechen Diary were written by Polina Zherebtsova when she was between 9 and 19 years of age. As of today, there are a total of 12 books (in addition to three volumes about the Chechen Republic, there are six volumes about other regions of Russia and another three, about refugee camps in Europe).


Published in this issue is a review of an original anthropological study entitled Kompleks Cheburashki, ili obshchestvo poslushaniya [Complex of Cheburashka, or the Society of Obedience] (A collection of articles compiled and edited by I.S. Veselova; St. Petersburg, Propp Center, 2012), and reviews of Russian translations of Georges Sorel's Reflections on Violence (Moscow, Falanster, 2013) and Corey Robin's Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin (Moscow, Gaidar Institute Press, 2013).