Back to the issue

Full text - PDF


UDC 323.23:172.2: 130.2(450)

M. M. Rohozha, Doctor of Philosophical Sciences, Professor

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv,

60, Volodymyrska Street, Kyiv, 01033, Ukraine


The paper deals with populism as the phenomenon of political culture in Ukrainian context. The President Election in Ukraine, 2019, has opened the new page in the development of populism not only in Ukraine, but in the world in general. Before that, no political force had won in such a persuasive way. Political analysis and prognoses, proclaimed before the election, look weak today. The paper outlines that populism is homological to democratic foundations of public life, but hypertrophied and unbalanced. It upraises as the reaction on social crisis and challenge to the stable way of life in the presence of political disturbance in different social segments and is connected with the appearance the political leader who uses specific logics of articulation of messages, the shape and the way of their representations to get and keep the political power. Such messages concern the people, like the appeal to it as to the certain integrity; the immediacy of its perception; the adjustment to its demands; the simplification of its view on the public life up to the black and white tones; the offer of the simple and unambiguous decisions. Populism as the phenomenon of political culture provokes the spectrum of ethical problems. Among them such as: manipulation of concepts of the people's internal homogeneity, integrity and moral purity; opposition of the "people" and the "elite" in the terms of good and evil; active use of moral demagogy and the practice of opportunism; cohesion of business and the state, corruption, nepotism; destruction of public spirit; activation of ressentiment and so on. Today S. Žižek mentions culturalization of politics, and many scholars outline correlation of processes in culture and arts and in politics. Also they call contemporary form of populism as postmodern populism. Independent Ukraine is very sensitive to populist challenges. Here postmodern populism and its technologies of the games with reality have won the victory. It is not only the source of new political experience. It creates new political culture here and now, that demands from scholars to comprehend these processes in real time mode. Postmodern populism does not leave the hope for catharsis, for social stress relief. Soaked in laughter, contemporary political culture is ridicule, and it destroys the political space. Sense of unreality and futile strengthens the comprehension of the impossibility to change such order of things on the due one.

Key words: populism, elite, people, political culture, demagogy, opportunism, ressentiment, postmodern populism, laughter, ridicule, carnival.


1. Arendt, H. (1999). The Human Condition. L'viv, Litopys (In Ukrainian).

2. Barkar, D. (2019, March 21). Populizm u zajavah kandydativ – 2019: Zelens'kyj, Tymoshenko, Poroshenko, Bojko I Grycenko [Populism in the statements of the candidates – 2019: Zelensky, Tymoshenko, Poroshenko, Boyko and Hrytsenko. Radio Svoboda. Retrieved from

3. Bakhtin, M. (1990). Rabelais and His World. Moscow, Hud. lit (In Russian).

4. Bourdieu, P. (2007). Espace social et genèse des "classes". In Bourdieu P. Sociologie de l'espace social. Saint Petersburg, Aletejja, 14–48 (In Russian).

5. Weber, M. (2006). Politic als Beruf. In Weber, M. Izbrannoe [Collected Writings]. Moscow (In Russian).

6. Weber, M. (1994). Die Wirtschaftsethic der Weltreligionen in: Izbrannoe. Obraz obshhestva [Collected Writings. Image of a Society]. Moscow, Jurist, 43–77 (In Russian).

7. "Vybir mizh zhyttjam i smertju": Portnykov pojasnyv koaliciju Zelens'- kogo z Poroshenkom ta Vakarchukom ["Choice between Life and Death": Portnikov Explained the Coalition of Zelensky with Poroshenko and Vakarchuk] (2020, March 31). Novynarnja. Retrieved from

8. Guseynov, A. A. (2009). Velikie proroki i mysliteli: nravstvennye uchenija ot Moiseja do nashih dnej [Great Prophets and Thinkers. The Moral Teachings from Moses to Our Times]. Moscow, Veche.

9. Guseynov, A. A. (2004). Moral'naja demagogija kak social'nyj fenomen [Moral Demagogue as a Social Phenomenon]. Shkol'nye perspektivy, 1, 10–14.

10. Debaty Zelenskogo i Poroshenko: polnyj tekst vystuplenij i otvetov kandidatov [Zelensky and Porochenko Debates: Candidates Full Text of Speeches and Answers] in Retrieved from politika/debaty-zelenskogo-i-poroshenko-polnyy-tekst-vystupleniy-i-otvetov- kandidatov-1332675.html

11. Dmitriev, A. V., Sychev, A. A. (2005). Smeh: sociofilosofskij analiz [Laughter: Socio-Philosophical Analysis]. Moscow, Al'fa-M.

12. Zhezhko-Braun, I. V. (2019). Serial "Sluga naroda" kak polittehnologicheskij scenarij prezidentskoj kampanii Zelenskogo [TV series "The servant of the people" as the political technology scenario of Zelenskyi president campaign]. Idei i ideally. Vol. 11, 3, 94–122.

13. Iz komika v prezidenty: kak teper' shutjat nad Zelenskim v "Dizel' shou", "95 kvartale" i na "5 kanale" [From the Comedian to Presidents: How Do They Joke on Zelensky in "Dizel Show", "95 Quarter" and on "5 Chanel"] (2020, April 1). 5 Chanel. Retrieved from obshchestvo/yz-komyka-v-prezydenti-kak-teper-shutiat-nad-zelenskym-v- dyzel-shou-95-kvartale-y-na-5-kanale-211729.html

14. Corruption Perception Index – 2019. Transparency International Ukraine. Retrieved from koruptsiyi-2019/

15. Kant, I. (1966). Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklärung? In Kant I. Sochinenija v shesti tomah. Vol. 6, (25–36). Moscow, Mysl' (in Russian).

16. Kokors'ka, O. І., Kokors'kij, V. F. (2004). Polіtichna kul'tura: teoretiko-metodologіchnі problemy [Political culture: theoretical and methodological issues]. Polіtichna kul'tura: teorіja, problemi, perspektivi. Kyiv, PARAPAN, 7–15.

17. Kravchenko, I. I. (2010). Populizm [Populism]. In Novaja filosofskaja jenciklopedija V 4 t.. Vol. 3, (p. 289). Moscow, Mysl'.

18. Kryvko, A., Kuziva, O. (2017). Radykal'na degradacija vid Franka do Ljashka [Radical Degradation from Franko to Lyashko] in: Civic movement CHESNO. Retrieved from: cdn/graphics/2017/12/radykalna_degradacija/

19. Laclau, E. (2009). On Populist Reason. Vestnik Mosk. un-ta. Ser. Politicheskie nauki, 3, 54–68.

20. Lenin, V. I. (1981). "Left-Win" Communism: An Infantile Disorder. In Lenin V. I. Polnoe sobranie sochinenij. 5th ed. Vol. 41, (1–104). Moscow, Izdatel'stvo politicheskoj literatury (In Russian).

21. Ministr justicii pohvastalsja jarkim shopingom vo vremja karantina (foto) [Minister of Justice Showed off the Bright Shopping during the Quarantine (photo)] (2020. June09). Glavcom. Retrieved from vo-vremya-karantina-foto-685684.html

22. Müller, J.-W. (2018). What is Populism? Moscow, Izdatel'skij dom Vysshej shkoly jekonomiki (In Russian).

23. Nietzsche, F. (1996). Zur Genealogie der Moral. In Nietzsche F. Sochinenija v 2 t.. Vol. 2, (407–524). Moscow, Mysl'.

24. Peredvyborcha programa kandydata na post Prezydenta Ukrayiny Volodymyra Zelens'kogo [Candidate on the Presidency Volodymyr Zelensky Election Program]. Retrieved from

25. Petuhov, I. #proaktua''ne "Ironichnyj komentar Vladimir Kazanevsky" [#ontopical "Ironic commentary Vladimir Kazanevsky" (2020, July 10). TV Channel. Retrieved from aktualne/26834-proaktualne-ironichnyi-komentar-vladimir-kazanevsky

26. Plan Ljashka. Chergovi vybory Prezydenta Ukrayiny 2019. Programa kandydata v prezydenty Ukrayiny Olega Ljashka [Lyashko Plan. 2019 President of Ukraine Regular Election. Candidate on the Presidency Oleh Lyashko Election Program]. Retrieved from

27. Popova, O. V. (ed.) (2018). "Politika postpravdy" i populism ["Post Truth Policy" and Populism], St. Petersburg, Skifija-print.

28. Crawford, C., Makarenko, B. I., Petrov, N. V. (eds.) (2018). Populizm kak obshhij vyzov [Populism as Common Challenge]. Moscow, Politicheskaja jenciklopedija.

29. Portnikov, V. Velosyped prezydenta Goloborod'ka. Pro vybory i serial [President Goloborodko's Bicycle: On Election and Series] (2019, March 3). Radio Svoboda. Retrieved from 29803975.html

30. Rawls, J. (2001). A Theory of Justice. Kyiv, Vydavnyctvo Solomii' Pavlychko "Osnovy" (In Ukrainian).

31. "Ruka dotjagnet'sja". Ministr Malyuska zaliz pid stil, aby pidtrymaty Goncharuka (foto) ["The Hand Will Reach". Minister Malyuska Climbed under the Table to Support Honcharuk (photo)] (2020, January,17). Glavcom. Retrieved from ministr-malyuska-zaliz-pid-stil-abi-pidtrimati-goncharuka-foto-653390.html

32. Rousseau, J.-J. (1969). On the Social Contract or Principles of Political Rights. In Rousseau J.-J. Traktaty, (151–256). Moscow, Nauka (In Russian).

33. Swift, J. (1984). Gulliver's Travels. Moscow, Metallurgija (In Russian).

34. Spinoza, B. (1957). Ethics. In Spinoza B. Izbrannye proizvedenija v dvuh tomah. Vol.1, (359–618). Moscow, Gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo politicheskoj literatury (In Russian).

35. Sychev, A. A. (2003). Priroda smeha, ili Filosofija komicheskogo [On the nature of laughter or The philosophy of comic]. Saransk, Izdatel'stvo Mordovskogo universiteta.

36. Tejze, Je. (2019, March 28). Yulia Tymoshenko: mynule jak tjagar [Yulia Tymoshenko: The Past as the Burden]. Deutsche Welle. Retrieved fromюлія-тимошенко-минуле-як-тягар /a-48081854.

37. Tomenko, M. (2016, November 22). Cja vlada vtratyla prava na moralizatorstvo [This Authority Has Lost the Rights on Moralization]. Retrieved from vtratila_pravo.html

38. Chernyshev, R. (2014, September26). Ljudi i vily. Analiz predvybornogo spiska partii Olega Ljashko [People and a Pitchfork. Analysis of the Oleh Lyashko Party Electoral List]. Retrieved from ka_partii_olega_lyashko

39. Shcherbak, S. (2020). Populizm z pogljadu politychnoyi filosofii [Populism from the perspective of political philosophy]. Filosof''ka dumka [Philosophic Thought], 3, 61–78.

40. Yushchenko: Tymoshenko – jeto demagogija v vyshivanke [Yushchenko: Tymoshenko is the Demagogy in Embroidered Shirt]. Retrieved from

41. Bell, D. (2020). Communitarianism. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from

42. Mudde, C. (2004). The Populist Zeitgeist. Government and Opposition. 39 (4), 541–563.

43. Ionescu, G., Gellner, E. (eds). (1969). Populism: Its Meaning and National Characteristics. L., Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

44. Žižek, S. (2008). Tolerance as an Ideological Category. Critical Inquiry. Vol. 34. No 4, 660–682.

© M. M. Rohozha 2020