“Traditional Values” as a Cure: Putinite Biopolitics of HIV/AIDS

  • Date: –17:00
  • Location: IRES Library, Gamla torget 3, 3rd floor
  • Organiser: Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES)
  • Contact person: Mattias Vesterlund
  • Föreläsning

Ever since the first case of HIV was documented in the Soviet Union in 1986, the epidemic has been expanding and the authorities’ response to it has been largely delayed and inefficient. Already back in the 2000s, the epidemic transcended the traditional risk groups, and by 2021, Russia found itself among the five countries with the highest rates of HIV spread globally. 

The talk will focus on the biopolitics of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Russia in the aftermath of the turn to “traditional values” in the early 2010s and, most recently, the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. An early example of the now rapidly proliferating securitization of Russian healthcare, the state response to HIV/AIDS has been increasingly politicized and framed as one of the key battlegrounds in Russia's "clash of civilizations" with the West. Disregarding internationally endorsed evidence-based approaches to prevention and treatment, the state calls for relying on Russia’s “traditional values” to contain the epidemic, responsibilizing vulnerable individuals for their “choices” while reducing state funding on healthcare and refusing to address and even exacerbating structural inequalities.

Dmitrii Dorogov is postdoctoral researcher at the Center For Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES) and the Department of Gender Studies at Södertörn University, Stockholm. He holds a PhD in Comparative Gender Studies from the Central European University, Vienna (2022). His research focuses on the biopolitics of Putinism.