Paradigms of Social Development
The article analyzes the dynamics of political processes in modern Russia. Considering the development of the Russian political system in the post-soviet period A.Galkin distinguishes three stages. The first stage – the stage of formation (1990s) – has formed the characteristics that determined the specifics of the country’s political process. It is during that period that the democratic procedures that emerged during the perestroika have been formally established. At the same time some limitations were imposed on them that opened the way to bureaucratic degeneration and autocracy. At the second stage – root-taking (early 2000s) – these limitations became the backbone of political structure. The beginning of the third stage – the search of new frontiers – is marked with increasingly visible exhaustion of the system’s moving forces, the loss of its motion vector with the deterioration of an economic crisis. A.Galkin believes that only intelligent, considered policy that takes into account the interests of all layers of population and the state of mass consciousness is capable of minimizing the dangers that are being accumulated in today’s society.
The article attempts to make cognitive analysis of Sicilian mafia as a form of social organization alternative to the state and supported by mechanisms of social integration alternative to state institutions. Interpreting mafia as a special type of the off-system social network that ensures the replacement of institutional confidence, that is for some reason lacking, by personal or particularistic confidence, E.Alekseenkova brings out clearly that the appearance of such social networks in the state of Modern is a mechanism of restoring real power and integration that are based on cognitive reasons, that is the legitimacy of social order. According to the author’s assessment, the social order that is being formed within mafia networks is close to the one typical of the earliest forms of social communities, where the cognitive nature of power legitimates the intervention into private life of community members and thus guarantees its high level of integration.
On 12 November 2008 the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences held a round table discussion that analyzed the reasons and possible social and political consequences of the world economic crisis. Despite the fact that crisis processes only started gaining grounds when the discussion was held, all the participants agreed that this crisis in terms of its scale could be compared to the Great Depression of 1929–1933. At the same time, the statements underlined that, unlike the Great Depression that only affected capitalist countries with high and medium levels of development, this crisis has right away become worldwide not metaphorically, but literally. The discussion also drew attention to the crisis’s resistibility in relation to the regulating impulses that earlier allowed to deal with crisis phenomena. Participants at the round table concluded that, unless efficient anti-crisis tools are found, the crisis might create serious difficulties for the acting government or even for the whole social system, especially in the countries with poorly developed or transitional economies.
50 years ago I.Berlin wrote his famous essay on two understandings of freedom. Since then the division of freedom on “negative” (“freedom from…”) and “positive” (“freedom to…”) ones turned into nearly a canon or even a truism of political and philosophic discourse and, as it usually happens with self-evident truth, it is the evident in it that not only ceased to be seen as true, but ceased to be seen at all. Thinking over the reasons that induced Berlin to introduce and thoroughly reflect upon the dualistic understanding of such crucial category as “freedom”, L.Polyakov turns to the roots of Berlin’s analysis and finds there, apart from T.Hobbes and other classics of neo-European philosophy, I.Bakunin and A.Gertsen who thought and reasoned within a different paradigm, that is within the paradigm of the “Russian mentality” as a culturally determined way to think the “unthinkable”.
Cis – Terra Incognita: political processes in former Soviet Republics
The article analyzes the ways of formation of nation-states on the territory of the Central Asia. L.Blyakher and S.Kizima believe that one of the key characteristics of the establishment of state systems in the region, as well as in the whole post-soviet space, is that states of a modernist type are being formed here at the time of Postmodern, global reality and formation of supranational political structures. Despite specific features of the Central Asia, the challenges that face the states of the region are practically identical to those that emerge in other post-soviet countries. Moreover, the specific features of the process of building a nation-state, i.e. the new political phenomenon of the period of Modern, during the post-modernist era are manifested there most clearly and explicitly. The authors conclude that the “case” of the Central Asia is not a “unique case” but rather a matrix of changes that are happening on the whole territory of the former Soviet Union.
The article analyzes the processes that are going on in today’s Georgia and the possible scenarios of the country’s further development. Having considered the situation that has formed in this former Soviet republic since the armed conflict of August 2008, A.Bolshakov suggests that the loss of two separatist territories that did not actually obey the central government can have a positive effect on the country’s development by giving impetus to its rapid modernization. According to the author’s estimates, the risks facing Georgia today, although considerable, are not catastrophic in nature, which gives hope for its gradual turning into a stable state.
Based on a detailed analysis of the “United Russia”’s experience in organization construction, Y.Korgunyuk convincingly proves that the seven years that passed since the party’s creation witnessed the extermination of all features of political subjectness. A thorough selection resulted in that the “United Russia” leadership came to consist of people whose main value is the ability to keenly catch the desires of high authorities and fluctuate according to the moods that prevail with the leaders. The same picture was seen at the local level. If initially in regional organizations there were people that were capable to challenge governors, a couple of years later they were replaced by obedient performers. At the same time regional offices of the “United Russia” remained an arena of opposition between Kremlin and heads of subjects of the RF, as well as between different clans of the local elite. Y.Korgunyuk concludes that the aspiration to make the “party of power” absolutely manageable has turned it into an absolutely inefficient political instrument. In the framework of the party’s “vertical of power” that copies the state’s bureaucratic hierarchy the attempts to increase the role of the “United Russia” by endowing it with the functions of political recruitment or the mechanism of feedback inevitably turn out to be nothing but imitation.
Historical Retrospective: Reflections and Hypotheses
The article offers an apologetic interpretation of Stolypin’s reforms as the first in the country’s history attempt of its systemic transformation. According to the authors, P.Stolypin, having caught the crucial tendencies of modernization of the post-reform period and having given them a new impulse, not only marked the contours of the “newly built” Russia, but also lay the foundation for qualitative changes. K.Mogilevsky and K.Solovyev assess as positive all the transformations initiated by Stolypin and state that under their influence Russia started to transform in its very bases and turn into a genuinely world’s great power.
The article distinguishes and analyzes the characteristics of three stages that Russian political science has passed since the time of its official legalization in the 1980s. According to V.Martyanov, at the first stage the main vector of the country’s political science development was determined by non-critical adoption of the body of theories from which Russian social studies had been isolated for ideological reasons. That period was characterized by the domination of methodological and conceptual directions of the transitological theories that postulated the inevitability of transition to “ideal types” of democracy and capitalism existing in developed countries. Disappointment in the efficiency of direct transfer of western institutions onto the Russian soil during the second state put in the forefront the civilizational and nationalistic concepts emphasizing social and cultural specificity of Russia. Finally, the third stage is linked with the theories of globalization, the attempts to overcome the excessive dependence on external intellectual and political imperatives and the search for a new universality of Russia in the post-bipolar world as an organic continuation of its “particularity”.
The article reviews the interpretations of social justice in modern liberal philosophic and political thought. I.Gavrilova focuses her attention on the J.Rowls’ theory of justice and considers it as the most prospective one. On the basis of her analysis I.Gavrilova makes a conclusion that modern theories of social justice are aimed at the search of an algorithm to solve current social problems, as well as to rightly direct further development of the society and the state.