The Policy of “Mainstream” and Its Alternatives in the Modern Western World: on the Way from the World Economic Crisis to “Impossible Politics?”

The Policy of “Mainstream” and Its Alternatives in the Modern Western World: on the Way from the World Economic Crisis to “Impossible Politics?”

Sergeev V.M.,

Dr. Sci. (Hist.), Professor, Principal Researcher, Institute for International Studies, MGIMO University, Moscow, Russia,

elibrary_id: 1447 |

Kazantzev A.A.,

Principal Researcher, Institute for International Studies, MGIMO University; Professor, HSE University; Principal Researcher, Science and Education Laboratory of political geography and contemporary geopolitics, HSE University,

elibrary_id: 123521 | ORCID: 0000-0002-4845-1391 | RESEARCHER_ID: H-2728-2016

Petrov K.E.,

researcher, Institute of International Studies, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University), MFA of Russia,

elibrary_id: 251393 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2017.03.02

For citation:

Sergeev V.M., Kazantzev A.A., Petrov K.E. The Policy of “Mainstream” and Its Alternatives in the Modern Western World: on the Way from the World Economic Crisis to “Impossible Politics?” – Polis. Political Studies. 2017. No. 3. P. 8-29. (In Russ.).


The article is devoted to the formation and crisis of the “mainstream” – the system of nation-state governance based on the symbiosis of the right and left ideological approaches. Formation of this system has occurred in the developed countries during the 1990s – early 2000s. Important conditions were as follows: the collapse of the Soviet system, the acceleration of globalization and economic growth, the rise of the middle class and the dominance of economic determinism in the decision making. At present, this governance system is in crisis. The erosion of middle class threatens the stability of its democratic procedures. Traditional voters of the center-left and the center-right are no longer willing to support their parties. The challenges from alternative parties and alternative political movements are becoming stronger. The victory of Donald Trump in the presidential elections in the United States, “Brexit” in the UK, the defeat of Renzi’s center-left government in the constitutional referendum and electoral successes of the “Five Stars” movement in Italy provoke further destruction of the “mainstream” core. The growing number of alternative movements’ supporters is increasingly affecting the traditional parties. The “alternatives” are closely connected with well-known “populism”, but they go beyond it in the direction of destruction of the existing consensus. “Alternatives” appeal to the citizens directly, avoiding “filters” of party structures. They seek the removal of the “political correctness”. The alternative movements have currently found a form that allows them to seriously harm the mainstream. However, they do not have content that is able to replace mainstream management practices. Nevertheless, a simple return to a period of sustainable and competitive party-political systems that existed prior to mainstream formation is also impossible. The deepening political crisis will create new forms of alternative policies with varying degrees of their success. At the end of the article the authors make conclusion about the impact of alternative movements’ rise on the contemporary political process. 

national state; far right; ultra-left; political parties; democracy; democratic systems; populism; globalization; party systems; criticism of ideology.


Almond G.A., Verba S. The Civic Culture. Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations. (Russ. ed.: Almond G.A., Verba S. Grazhdanskaya kul’tura. Politicheskie ustanovki i demokratiya v pyati stranakh. Moscow: Mysl’. 2014. 500 p.)

Art D. The Organizational Origins of the Contemporary Radical Right: The Case of Belgium. – Comparative Politics. 2008. Vol. 40. No. 4. P. 421-440.

Barthes R. Mythologies. (Russ. ed.: Barthes R. Mifologii. Moscow: Izdatel’stvo imeni Sabashnikovykh. 1996. 312 p.)

Bell D. The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting. New York: Basic Books. 1973. 507 p.

Bell D. The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture of Social Forecasting. (Russ. ed.: Bell D. Gryadushchee postindustrial’noe obshchestvo. Opyt sotsial’nogo prognozirovaniya. Moscow: Akademia. 1999. 956 p.)

Bornschier S. Germany: A Constricted Ideological Space and the Failure of the Extreme Right. – Bornschier S. Cleavage Politics and the Populist Right: The New Cultural Conflict in Western Europe. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 2010. P. 165-198.

Casadio M.C. The New Right and Metapolitics in France and Italy. – Journal for the Study of Radicalism. 2014. Vol. 8. No. 1. P. 45-86. DOI:

Conti N. The Radical Right in Europe, between Slogans and Voting Behavior. – Análise Social. 2011. Vol. XLVI. No. 201. P. 633-652.

Duverger M. Les partis politiques. (Russ. ed.: Duverger M. Politicheskie partii. Moscow: Akademicheskii Proekt. 2000. 538 p.)

Ezrow L, Hellwig T. Responding to Voters or Responding to Markets? Political Parties and Public Opinion in an Era of Globalization. – International Studies Quarterly. 2014. Vol. 58. No. 4. P. 816-827. DOI:

Flamini R. The UK Independence Party: Euroskeptics Rattle Cameron. – World Affairs. 2013. Vol. 176. No. 2. P. 35-41.

Foucault M. Les Mots Et Les Choses. Une Archeologie Des Sciences Humaines. (Russ. ed.: Foucault M. Slova i veshchi. Arkheologiya gumanitarnykh nauk. Moscow: Progress. 1977. 408 p.)

Foucault M. Surveiller et punir. Naissance de la priso. (Russ. ed.: Foucault M. Nadzirat’ i nakazyvat’. Rozhdenie tyur’my. Moscow: Ad Marginem. 1999. 480 p.)

Fukuyama F. The End of History? – The National Interest. 1989. No. 16. P. 3-18.

Fukuyama F. The Future of History: Can Liberal Democracy Survive the Decline of the Middle Class? – Foreign Affairs. 2012. Vol. 91. No. 1. P. 53-61.

Giddens A. The Consequences of Modernity. (Russ. ed.: Giddens A. Posledstviya sovremennosti. Moscow: Praxis. 2011. 352 p.)

Hayek F.A. The Road to Serfdom. (Russ. ed.: Hayek F.A. Doroga k rabstvu. Moscow: AST, Astrel’. 2010. 320 p.)

Hockenos P., Haider J. Austria’s Far Right Wunderkind. – World Policy Journal. 1995. Vol. 12. No. 3. P. 75-80.

Karitzis A. The Dilemmas and Potentials of the Left: Learning From Syriza. – The Politics of the Right: Socialist Register. 2016. Vol. 52. NYU PressP. 374-382.

Krugman P. The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008. New York: W.W. Norton. 2009. 224 p.

Kuhn T.S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. (Russ. ed.: Kuhn T.S. Struktura nauchnykh revolyutsii. Moscow: AST. 2003. 605 p.)

Löwy M., Francis S. The Far Right in France: The Front National in Europe and Perspective. – The Politics of the Right: Socialist Register. NYU Press2015. P. 51-67.

Marcuse H. One-Dimensional Man. (Russ. ed.: Marcuse H. Odnomernyi chelovek. Moscow: REFL-book. 1994. 368 p.)

Marx K., Engels F. Die deutsche Ideologie. (Russ. ed.: Marx K., Engels F. Nemetskaya ideologiya. Kritika noveishei nemetskoi filosofii v litse ee predstavitelei Feierbakha, B. Bauera i Shtirnera i nemetskogo sotsializma v litse ego razlichnykh prorokov. – Marx K., Engels F. Collected Works. Second edition. Vol. 3. Moscow: Politizdat. 1955. P. 7-544.)

Michael G. A New American Populist Coalition? The Relationship between the Tea Party and the Far Right. – The Promise and Perils of Populism: Global Perspectives. Ed. by C. de la Torre). Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky. 2015. P. 265-292.

Minchenko E., Kornilov V., Petrov K., Pakhomov N. The Autopsy of the Hillary campaign: how Trump won. Political Technology Analysis of US Presidential Elections. – Minchenko Consulting. December 2016. URL: (accessed 15.03.2017). (In Russ.)

Mitchell T.P. Carbon Democracy. (Russ. ed.: Mitchell T.P. Uglerodnaya demokratiya. Politicheskaya vlast’ v epokhu nefti. Moscow: Izdatel’skii dom “Delo”, RANKhiGS. 2014. 408 p.)

Naim M. The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be. (Russ. ed.: Naim M. Konets vlasti. Ot zalov zasedanii do polei srazhenii, ot tserkvi do gosudarstva. Pochemu upravlyat’ segodnya nuzhno inache. Moscow: AST. 2016. 512 p.)

Ovenden K. Syriza: Inside the Labyrinth. London: Pluto Press. 2015. 200 p.

Pardos-Prado S. How Can Mainstream Parties Prevent Niche Party Success? Center-Right Parties and the Immigration Issue. – The Journal of Politics. 2015. Vol. 77. No. 2. P. 352-367. DOI: https://doi. org/10.1086/680040

Parshin P. Territoriya kak brend: marketingovaya metafora, identichnost’ i konkurentsiya [Territory as a Brand: Marketing Metaphor, Identity and Competition]. Moscow: MGIMO-University Publishing. 2015. 195 p. (In Russ.)

Parsons T. The System of Modern Societies. (Russ. ed.: Parsons T. Sistema sovremennykh obshchestv. Moscow: Aspect Press. 1998. 270 p.)

Petrov K. Political Marketing in the Social Networking Market: The Rise and Fall of Subcultures. – Politeia. 2009. No. 2. P. 177-186. (In Russ.)

Popper K. The Open Society and Its Enemies. (Russ. ed.: Popper K. Otkrytoe obshchestvo i ego vragi. Moscow: Phoenix, Mezhdunarodnyi fond “Kul’turnaya initsiativa”. 1992. Vol. 1. 448 p. Vol. 2. 528 p.)

Rogoff K. The IMF Strikes Back. – Foreign Policy. 2003. No. 134. P. 38-46. DOI:

Sakwa R. Jeremy Corbyn and the Politics of Transcendence. – Russia in Global Affairs. 28.12.2015. URL: (accessed 20.12.2016).

Sergeev V.M. Narodovlastie na sluzhbe elit [Democracy in the Service of the Elites]. Moscow: MGIMO-University Publishing. 2013. 265 p. (In Russ.)

Sergeev V.M., Tsymburskii V.L. Prinyatie reshenii: kognitivnaya model’ [Decision Making: The Cognitive Model]. – Formal’nye i neformal’nye rassuzhdeniya. Trudy po iskusstvennomu intellektu. Uchenye zapiski Tartuskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta [Formal and Informal Reasoning. Works on Artificial Intelligence. Scientific Notes of the Tartu State University]. Tartu. 1989. Issue 840. P. 139-150. (In Russ.)

Soros G. The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Open Society Endangered. (Russ. ed.: Soros G. Krizis mirovogo kapitalizma. Otkrytoe obshchestvo v opasnosti. Moscow: INFRA-M. 1999. 262 p.)

Stiglitz J. Interpreting the Causes of the Great Recession of 2008. – Financial System and Macroeconomic Resilience: Revisited. BIS Papers. 2010. No. 53. P. 4-19. URL: (ac­cessed 24.12.2016).

Stiglitz J., Greenwald B. Towards a New Paradigm for Monetary Policy. London: Cambridge University Press. 2003. 327 p.

Stiglitz J.E. The Price of Inequality. How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future. (Russ. ed.: Stiglitz J.E. Tsena neravenstva. Chem rassloenie obshchestva grozit nashemu budushchemu. Moscow: EKSMO. 2015. 512 p.)

Toffler A. The Third Wave. New York: Bantam Books. 1981. 537 p.

Tóth A., Grajczjár I. The Rise of the Radical Right in Hungary. – The Hungarian Patient: Social Opposition to an Illiberal Democracy. Budapest: Central European University Press. 2015. P. 133-164.

Weber M. Die protestantische Ethik und der “Geist” des Kapitalismus. (Russ. ed.: Weber M. Izbrannoe. Protestantskaya etika i dukh kapitalizma. Moscow: Rossiiskaya politicheskaya entsiklopediya. 2006. 656 p.)

Zaslove A. The Re-invention of the European Radical Right: Populism, Regionalism, and the Italian Lega Nord. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. 2011. 296 p.  

Content No. 3, 2017

See also:

Kochetkov A.P.,
National state in the conditions of globalization. – Polis. Political Studies. 2014. No4

Alekseyenkova Ye.S.,
The decline of populism? Crisis of trust and parties of political alternative in modern Italy. – Polis. Political Studies. 2024. No4

Lapkin V.V., Pantin V.I.,
Global Dynamics of Political Institutions in the Context of the Destabilizing World Order (cases of the EU and Russia). – Polis. Political Studies. 2020. No4

Peregudov S.P.,
Parties and interest groups: to a new model of interaction. – Polis. Political Studies. 2014. No1

Eremeev S.G.,
Education in the modern political agenda. – Polis. Political Studies. 2015. No1

Screen version