The paper describes the political use of symbols of childhood and orphanhood in the current policy of the Russian authorities. At the beginning of the Bolshevik regime, homeless children (bezprizorni) became a subject of interest for the security apparatus organized by F. Dzerzhinsky. At that time, A. Makarenko developed his innovative pedagogical approach. These activities were designed to create a “new Soviet man”. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia again faced the problem of homeless children. After several years, however, children and orphans are now being used as a symbol of vulnerability in the government policy of the Kremlin. As an answer to the so-called “Magnitsky Act”, the Russian authorities implemented the “DimaYakovlev law” prohibiting adoptions of Russian children to the United States. In addition to this, the child as a symbol of innocence and vulnerability is an invariant element in the policy of the Russian authorities. This combines symbolism associated with bravery, dedication and sacrifice, allowing justification of the current political course of power in Russia.
The article outlines the conceptual assumptions of pedagogy underlying university education, re-defined with regard to the dynamic conditions underlying contemporary culture. The authors concentrate on constitutive educational forms that define the nature of semiosis in education, as well as their exposure and transformation. In connection with this, there is a focus on the concept of “symbolic politics”, which aims to liberalize the practice of pedagogy, freeing it from the dictatorship of a transmission form of education, as well as creating conditions for strengthening discursive relationships and a reflexive discursive attitude. As a result of the implementation of this form of symbolic politics, those involved in education do not promote the prevailing discourse but become agents capable of discursive reflection in action as well as participants in processes of discursive design and creation.