This chapter starts to challenge the narrative introduced in chapters 1 and
2, and establishes the central relation within Prevent between security and
temporality. It argues that Prevent represents a novel ambition for the
state: early intervention into processes of becoming violent. It thus
intervenes within conditions of uncertainty, in that it is not certain
whether such an individual would go on to participate in violence or any
other illegal act. Engaging with the emergent academic literature in this
area, the chapter argues that such intervention necessarily acts within
conditions of uncertainty. This in turn requires discursive and
institutional mechanisms that make such a threat knowable and actionable.
The term preclusive is introduced here as a general term that emphasises
this relation between security and temporality, making clear that all acts
of securing are necessarily productive of a future threat they then
preclusively act on to mediate. The chapter then demonstrates how the
concept of radicalisation fulfils this function for Prevent, identifying
potential future violence in the present.
This chapter explores the reasons for the state of surprise, sketching them out from the starting point of the significant impact of the collapse of the USSR on Western understandings of Russia. It also explores the practical ramifications for the decline of Russia as a political priority on the wider political stage. The chapter outlines some of the problems of the current mainstream discussion of Russia, which is drowning in a discourse of speculation and rumour, 'Putinology' and historical analogies. Despite the dominance of transitological/regime question approach and the perceived eccentricity of Kremlinology, for many it has remained a truism of Russian political life that the final decisions are made behind the closed doors of the Kremlin. In fact, the collapse of the USSR has had serious ramifications for the study of Russia in the West, resulting in a major reassessment of Soviet studies, often bitter and acrimonious.