Putin and Virtu: Historicizing Machiavelli in twenty-first century Russian politics

Nigar, İbrahimova
This study investigates how seemingly archaic political concepts may still be usefully applied in the analysis of current or recent politics. By identifying the importance of historicism in the history of political thought, this thesis examines the work and concepts of the Renaissance Florentine political thinker Niccolo Machiavelli. Focusing on his concept of virtú, and the related concept of fortuna, this thesis explains their use by Machiavelli and then elaborates these concepts against recent Russian politics, with a particular emphasis on the career and leadership of Vladimir Putin. The concept of virtú is examined with special reference to three areas of Russian politics, namely, energy politics, the politics of the new oligarchs, and the conflict in Chechnya. The objective of the thesis is to test the applicability of Machiavelli’s early sixteenth century concept in relation to a wholly new and recent politics. This study finds that Machiavelli’s concepts, particularly virtú, when suitably historicised continues to be useful for current political analysis.


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Scholars in the field of political psychology examined the psychological factors that underlie political orientation and contributed greatly to our understanding of the concept. However, there is still more to learn on the processes by which these factors result in ideological orientations. Integration of worldviews in the study of ideology would be valuable since they have effects on a wide range of sociopolitical beliefs attitudes and they show the route from feelings and ideas about everything, to concre...
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Citation Formats
İ. Nigar, “Putin and Virtu: Historicizing Machiavelli in twenty-first century Russian politics,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2013.