This study investigates the role of discourses in processes of democratic decline. By bringing Jacques Rancière’s works on politics and depoliticization into dialogue with poststructuralist discourse analysis, the thesis argues that discursive depoliticization contributes towards authoritarian consolidation, and displays how domestic-international dynamics play a key role in such depoliticization. The thesis offers a method for unpacking discursive depoliticization empirically by conceptualizing Rancière’s logics as ideal-typical depoliticizing discourses. It probes the analytical value of the developed framework by applying it to Russian official discourse in recent years (2015-2020). Empirically, the thesis finds that depoliticizing discourses enable authoritarian consolidation in Russia under Putin, and that these discourses have been produced in a co-dependent space of domestic and international politics. The concept of ‘democracy’ has near-completely disappeared from official domestic discourse and has been transferred to the international realm, where it is reinterpreted as ‘respect for the particularities of states’. The thesis concludes that discourses matter for democratic because they delineate the space in which politics proper is perceived as possible. It puts forward the concept of discursive depoliticization as a novel perspective on ‘hybrid’ regimes, right-wing, populist and ‘illiberal’ movements, and argues for further refinement of the framework’s concepts to address authoritarian consolidation.