Abstracts 1, 2008

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Cis Terra Incognita: political processes in former Soviet Republics

Leonid Bliakher

WHETHER POST-IMPERIAL PROJECT IS POSSIBLE: FROM MUTUAL CLAIMS TO COMMON FUTURE

The article offers the interpretation of the CIS as a club of “non-accepted” states for which no place was found in the framework of the established geopolitical alliances. In the opinion of L.Blyakher, one of the key reasons for such turn of events is that the Soviet Union as a mental construct turned to be much more viable than its denotate. By praising or cursing the “soviet past” former republics of the USSR preserve their post-soviet status primarily for the reason that the Soviet Union is a starting point of their self-identification. Imperial meanings and imperial legacy hinder the construction of nation states. And although for the time being the aspiration for national sovereignty explodes any attempt to create something super-national, the inability of the CIS states to integrate into new imperial spaces, in view of L.Blyakher, opens up the possibility of turning the Commonwealth into a real union where “common past” could become common future.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-48-1-6-16


Svyatoslav Kaspe

COMMONWEALTH OF BARBARIAN KINGDOMS: INDEPENDENT STATES IN SEARCH OF EMPIRE

The article by S.Kaspe is a provocative text built on the analogy of the current position of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the situation in the early medieval Europe of about V–IX centuries. The basis for such defiant analogy is the qualification of both situations as post-imperial. Using the method and terms of Edward Shils, S.Kaspe demonstrates that the deficit of value legitimation is the general problem of political organisms that find themselves in such situations, whereas the search for an external center that could engender it – a general objective. The author considers the “Western empire” as the only realistic and at the same time acceptable candidate for such role and believes that Russia’s acquiring the status of one of its plenipotentiary sub-centers would be an optimistic scenario.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-48-1-17-26


Andrey Bolshakov

FROZEN CONFLICTS OF THE POST-SOVIET SPACE: DEADLOCKS OF INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPING

The article is devoted to the analysis of reasons hampering final settlement of the four “frozen” ethnic conflicts on the post-soviet space – the conflicts in Abkhazia, Karabakh, Transdniestria and South Ossetia. Having studied the course of the peacekeeping process, A.Bolshakov came to a conclusion that the settlement of “frozen conflicts” is impeded not only by contradictions between their immediate participants, but also by a tough geopolitical struggle. According to his conclusion, the “frozen conflicts” of the post-soviet space will in the nearest future remain “frozen”, for in a situation where the interest of geopolitical players competing on the post-soviet space objectively diverge, destabilization of the whole system of international relations could be the only alternative.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-48-1-27-37

TERRA INCOGNITA OF THE CIS

Terra incognita of the CIS

International political science seminar Terra incognita of the CIS: current political processes in former Soviet republics

An international political science seminar “Terra incognita of the CIS: current political processes in former Soviet republics” was held on 30 November – 1 December 2007 in Kazan in the framework of the project initiated by the “Politeia” journal “The CIS – Terra Incognita: political processes in former Soviet republics”. The review we publish here introduces the readers to the range of issues discussed during the seminar, as well as the most interesting and prospective vectors of further development of the project started in Kazan.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-48-1-38-41

Russian Polity

Victor Kovalev

OUR FANTASTIC FUTURE Political discourses and political prognoses in modern Russian fiction: pro and contra (I)

The article attempts to consider domestic political discourses based on the analysis of the works of fiction. According to V.Kovalev, in modern Russia, where due to the narrowing of the spheres of public politics and political competition the opposition is gradually being deprived of the possibility to follow the rules of democratic polities, and real politics increasingly falls back into the shadow, fiction becomes virtually an ideal object for revealing society’s political discourses, especially those of oppositional nature. The first part of the article, published in this issue, analyzes the works connected with liberal and communist discourses.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-48-1-42-64


Valery Dubovtsev

REAL AND IMAGINARY THREATS AS THE CONTEXT OF RUSSIAS DEVELOPMENT IN THE GLOBALIZING WORLD

The article analyzes threats to Russia as described by modern political scientists and publicists. Without claiming to give a comprehensive analysis of empirical facts that allow to assess the level of specific threats, V.Dubovtsev views his objective in analyzing the validity of arguments provided by different authors and, having separated the rhetoric, receiving some generalized image of possible threats as a real context of the country’s development. The basis for the study was provided by the materials of the discussion “Russian state: yesterday, today, tomorrow” organized by the “Liberal Mission” Foundation as well as by separate works of experts of liberal and pro-governmental orientation.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-48-1-65-79

Public Consciousness

Andrei Okara

ON NATIONAL PRIDE OF GREAT RUSSIANS Sub-ethnic, ethnic and super-ethnic identity as factors of modeling the discourse on official national character in modern Russia

How important is sub-ethnic identity for great Russians? Are its development and deepening productive? What is the optimal correlation between Russians as a political nation and great Russians as an ethno-cultural community? What is “Russianness” for today’s Russia and Russians? After thorough analysis of the processes taking place at sub-ethnic, ethnic and super-ethnic identity levels of modern great Russian A.Okara demonstrates that the deliberate and reflected upon sub-ethnic and cultural diversity of great Russian ethnos can become a pledge of Russia’s unity as a state. According to his conclusion, Russia, where sub-ethnic identity will be actualized and introduced into a cultural use, will no longer be a one-dimensional “Russia of Moscow and the Rest” and will transform into a country of multiple voices, where all the manifestations of metaphysical “Russianness”, political “Russianness” and ethno-cultural “great Russianness” would turn towards the future.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-48-1-80-94


Ivan Zabaev

ORTHODOX ETHIC AND THE SPIRIT OF SOCIALISM Towards substantiation of the hypothesis

The article traces possible channels of influence of a religious factor on the formation of a specific Russian version of socialism. Using the logics of the M.Weber’s work “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism”, I.Zabaev reveals the categories that played a dominating role in the people’s consciousness in the pre-revolutionary Russia. According to his conclusion, these categories were “obedience” and “resignation”. It was obedience and resignation that assured the salvation (main value in Orthodoxy) of an Orthodox person. In everyday life such orientations were easily transformed into the readiness to obey the “superior”. Once elaborated, they turned to be quite stable and, being separated from their religious roots, ensured a sort of asceticism on the secular path.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-48-1-95-113

Political Theories

Victor Sergeev

INNOVATIONS AS A POLITICAL PROBLEM

The article substantiates the thesis that the appearance and adaptation of innovations cannot be considered as purely economic problems. Proceeding in his argumentation from classification of societies depending on the ways of legitimating the innovations inherent in them, V.Sergeev shows that the very fact of “adopting” the innovations has a deep social nature and is inseparably linked with the society’s general ability to change. Based on the analysis of political, economic and social aspects of the process of legitimizing the innovations, he makes a conclusion regarding unavoidably political nature of innovation activities. In his opinion, such conclusion is of a fundamental meaning for understanding social evolution, which turns the study of innovation activities into one of the central dimensions of political science.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-48-1-114-125


Ekaterina Chimiris

REVOLUTION. EXPERIENCE OF COGNITIVE COMPREHENSION OF THE NOTION

The article of E.Chimiris presents a logical scheme that is capable, according to the author, of tracing the dimensions of further work on the classification of revolutions. Based on the decomposition of social processes determined as revolutions, E.Chimiris constructed a number of matrixes allowing to categorize revolutions upon such criteria as the source (catalyst) of revolutionary processes, vector of movement, revolutionary ideology and use of violence. Explaining the plurality of such categorization by the specificity of the very notion of “revolution”, Chimiris assumes that the phenomenon of revolution is unlikely to ever be completely analyzed, since the political practice provides for new examples of revolutionary processes that go beyond the customary schemes.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-48-1-126-141

Cathedra

Victor Chernov

SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT IN EUROPE: CLASSIFICATION AND COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS By the example of the EU countries

The article makes an attempt to assess the advantages and drawbacks of models of government in the EU countries in the context of Eastern Europe. Having analyzed different versions of parliamentary and presidential systems, V.Chernov found a number of structural drawbacks impeding the efficient functioning of such systems in transitional societies with their lack of deep democratic traditions and public consensus on fundamental values. According to his conclusion, it is a parliamentary-presidential system that overcomes these drawbacks most successfully, because it is capable of creating and maintaining a stable and at the same time flexible, responsible executive power. A transition to such system, in his view, represents the most prospective option for constitutional transformation of the systems of supreme power in the European states of the CIS.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-48-1-142-159

Laboratory

Fuad Aleskerov, Nina Belyaeva

QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE MATURITY OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN RUSSIAN REGIONS: PARAMETERS, METHODS, PILOT STUDIES

The article describes new methods of quantitative analysis of the maturity of civil society and presents the results of pilot studies conducted on its basis in Rostov Velikiy, Petergof and Vidnoe. The methods presented by the authors were based on those of the World Alliance for Citizen Participation CIVICUS adapted to the context of Russian regions.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-48-1-160-168

Chronicle

Yury Korgunyuk

TWILIGHTS OF ELECTORAL ENGINEERING Towards party-political results of the State Duma election campaign 2007

The traditional for the “Politeia” journal review presents key events in the life of Russian political parties in November-December 2007. As usual, the chronicle analyzes the alignment of political forces in the country during that period. The main emphasis, naturally, is placed on the State Duma elections held in December. The author comments on the “electoral engineering” that was used, assesses the prospects of all the established political trends in considerably different co-ordinates.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2008-48-1-169-192