ABSTRACT

This chapter opens up a sequence of discussions on the varying dimensions of civil society proposed by Edwards in his trilateral paradigm. The analysis will focus on the nature and evolution of the public sphere in Russia. The public sphere is a central feature of modern democratic society. Its main function is to promote popular control over the government to be exercised by means of public opinion formed in a free and critical environment. However, Western scholarship agrees that the public sphere today has many structural problems. It falls under the influence of economic and political elites. Thus, it becomes a means of popularising and imposing ‘appropriate’ behavioural patterns within the economic and political domains. This chapter discusses how the state and hegemonic elites influence the public sphere in Russia. It is in four sections. The first section expands the previous introductory discussion and analyses historical and theoretical dimensions of the public sphere. The second examines how trivial culture emerges and colonises the public domain. The third and fourth sections delineate the problems of political and socio-economic domination. The chapter concludes that the values and behavioural patterns that the state and elites propagate in the public sphere could impede ongoing economic and political modernisation.