Personalism or instrumentalism? Grassroots authoritarianism and the escape from freedom in socialist and post-socialist cities

  • Mark Kleyman Ivanovo State University of Chemistry and Technology
Keywords: city, moral climate, state socialism, instrumentalism, personalism, grassroots authoritarianism, escape from freedom


This article aims to examine certain socio-psychological factors that foster the “escape from freedom” in countries after state socialism, with a particular focus on the case of Russia. At the same time, the study concentrates on the characteristics that may impact on the emergence of sustainable democracies. In this context, the concept of solidary personalism is considered to be crucial for providing grassroots democracy within a society, which, in return, may impact the development of democracy at the national level. In contrast, the cases of the cities in Central and Eastern European countries under state socialism are regarded as examples of the emergence of grassroots authoritarianism, resulting in mass support of the policies and practices of violence committed by the totalitarian regimes. This legacy persists in Russian cities after state socialism, but, at the same time, the need to rethink the very essence of democracy goes far beyond the boundaries of the post-socialist world.