The intellectual discourse of any state can function within two broad paradigms: consensual and pluralistic. In the first case, political elites, intellectuals, and the public agree on the base parameters of what constitutes “the good life” and argue about the methods of application. In the second case, participants hold radically different, incommensurable views, which coexist in society. This essay argues that the Western political system broadly rests on the politics of liberal consensus, formed throughout the period of capitalist modernization. But Russia's history took a different turn, following a path of alternative modernization. This engendered the politics of paradigmatic pluralism, in which a number of radically different politico-intellectual frameworks struggle for the dominant discourse. This essay examines these paradigms and argues that, due to the nature and substance of these models, fundamental change of Russia's dominant discourse, along with its main politico-institutional parameters, is unlikely.