Putin and Chaos (How Chaos Theory is Interpreted in the Kremlin)

Keywords: large-scale complex system, chaos theory, “managed chaos” concept, hybrid war, critical complexity


The article considers chaos theory as a scientific concept that was developed to explain nonlinear dynamics in objects of a complex nature and to solve applied problems in engineering, meteorology, economics, construction, etc. Application of chaos theory in sociology provides for good outcomes in big social systems. In the context of social management, it opens the discourse of models that overcome “the curse of complexity”. It explains the social transformations processes that include the critical complexity. The research reveals that in modern Russia the pseudoscientific concept of “managed chaos” is developed and is being used to wage the hybrid war. Russians are erroneously attribute to the USA strategists and in fact legitimizes subversive activities against countries where the Russian Federation conducts or plans to start military operations. V. Putin is well informed about the “managed chaos” tactics; content-analysis of his public narratives detected at least 50 mentions of the term “chaos” in the following contexts: 1) as a as a difficult legacy of the 90's, which he skillfully overcame; 2) to characterize different countries and regions of the world, where the culprits of chaos are allegedly created the the USA; 3) conceptualization of chaos as a global phenomenon and a weapon of hybrid warfare. The analysis of Russian sources shows that the “managed chaos” tactic is understood as a politics of deep invasion in the internal affairs of the sovereign states, subversive operations, economic and diplomatic pressure, interference in the electoral process, political corruption, information interventions, the formation of the fifth column and any kinds of destructive measures. From the experience of the 2014 events of the so-called "Russian Spring" in Ukraine, operations of "managed chaos" unfolded in three directions: 1) chaos of the mass consciousness, 2) obstruction of state institutions, 3) organization of street protests and riots. The conclusion is formulated that the chaos of large systems is a necessary and specific element of social dynamics and social changes; as for the nature of the transformation, it depends on the choice of the model of the system's existence in the near future.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Ihor Rushchenko, V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Svobody Sq. 4, Kharkiv, 61022, Ukraine

Doctor of Sociological Science (Sociology), Full professor, Professor of the Department of Applied Sociology and Social Communication

Nataliya Zubar, Maidan Monitoring Information Center, 27, Chernyshevskogo St., Kharkiv, 61002, Ukraine





How to Cite
Rushchenko, I., & Zubar, N. (2021). Putin and Chaos (How Chaos Theory is Interpreted in the Kremlin). Visnyk of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. Series "Sociological Studies of Contemporary Society: Methodology, Theory, methods", (47), 7-17. https://doi.org/10.26565/2227-6521-2021-47-01
Theoretical and Methodological Problems of Sociology