Professional Taboos in Russian Political Consultancy
National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, email@example.com_id: 822971 | ORCID: 0000-0002-9633-2776 |
The article was written within the framework of the project “Informal practices of organizing and conducting election campaigns in modern Russia” with the support of the Khamovniki Foundation for Social Research.
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This study examines the ethics of political consultants in Russia using the materials of 73 interviews with election campaigners (political consultants, chiefs of staff, field workers, lawyers, etc.). The study suggests that it is impossible to speak of Russian political consultants as a single community sharing common values. This professional group is heterogeneous and includes people with different perceptions of norms and ethical boundaries. Based on the analysis of the interviews, a classification of political consultants’ professional taboos was developed: universal human morality, ideological orientation, professional orientation, procedural taboos, and legal boundaries. Interestingly, some of the informants used the rhetoric of justification when talking about ethical restrictions. The existence of certain standards of behavior was justified by the fact that the informant was somehow different from the “correct” political consultants (professional biography, belief system, etc.). The absence of ethical boundaries in several cases could be interpreted as a norm and a sign of professionalism, as opposed to as an anomaly.
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