Ilya Kalinin. "Stilyagi of the 21 century". "Stilyagi of the 21 Century". Stylistic Autonomy and Parochialism of the Political Horizon

"I had stylistic differences with the Soviet regime," said Andrei Sinyavsky, one of the most refined and insightful critics of the Soviet regime, while already in immigration. Such position that transferred the resistance to political regime within the framework of cultural criticism and aesthetic alternative, has both its benefits and limitations. Its positive potential is often the subject of well-disposed analytical attention whereas its political parochialism often escapes the researchers. 

On the one hand, strategy of the stylistic resistance allows to create a different, cultural, discursive environment while escaping mirror memetic reproduction of hegemonic language. On the other hand, this protest logic that places its main emancipation expectations on creating new forms of representation and artistic creativity, soon runs into the inner growth limit. Lack of politically articulated program (in case of Russian protest movement of 2011–2012 it was limited to the criticism of a specific persona, appeal for fair elections and fighting corruption) makes such protest relatively safe for the regime that intersepts or makes irrelevant (after the end of electoral campaign) most of the protest agenda. But, which is more important, the stylistic, cultural component of the protest movement regarde by the "creative class" as its major achievement on the ways to self-representation is quite idiosyncratic (stylistic and narrowly social simultaneously). It was this artistically stylistic accent that in many ways blocked the transformation of this movement into a truly mass protest, which in its turn led to the unfolding of liberal opposition discourse that was explaining the downfall of the movement by "indifference of mass voters dumbed down by official mass media", as well as of the official discourse that explained this downfall by the fact that the program of protest movement was initially "terribly far from the people." 

The materials for analyzing internal limitations that were imposed on the protest movement by its accent towards producing new stylistic forms of self-representation are films by Valery Todorovsky, "Stilyagi" (2008) and "Thaw" (2013), which outline the format of modern "creative class" analysis of the non-conformity of the 1960s as well as specific forms of street and discursive representation of cultural and social "otherness" characteristic of participants and leaders of 2011–2012 protests.