Abstracts 1, 2018

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Paradigms of Social Development

A. I. Soloviev

Discourses and Practices: Whether Ideology Can Contribute to Public Administration

Keywords: public administration, political ideology, patron-client relations, political-administrative networks, leadership network

The article reveals the factors of positioning ideological constructs in the system of public administration. The author pays special attention to the situation in the contemporary Russian society, where the intensification of public and academic discussions about the role of ideology allows one to understand the implicit and explicit interests of the key political players.

On the basis of the analysis of the universal and specific parameters of the ideological influence on the system of state regulation and mechanisms of public policy formation, the author demonstrates that ideology, as an instru- ment alien to the public administration system, can play a positive role only under the conditions of the regime crisis, which requires a sharp increase in the solidarity of power and society. At other times, ideology is not in a position to set in motion the necessary vector of development in public administration, because ideology promotes a narrow set of social preferences used by the ruling classes to enhance their dominance rather than strengthens the discursive foundations for the choice of solutions and increase in the number of goal-setting alternatives.

Ideology decreases possibilities of including society into the process of public policy formation, by serving an ideological barrier for choosing government decisions. From a managerial point of view, for the society ideologization forebodes an increasing abuse of power in designing and evaluating the results of state regulation. This expands the non-economic criteria for the production of government decisions and allows the authorities to write off failures on the intrigues of enemies. Politically, the use of ideology as an instrument of public administration (reflecting the elite’s fear of future changes) means the inevitable growth of populism, which denies public pluralism and discredits political institutions.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2018-88-1-7-29

Pages: 7-29


Nikolai Rozov

Dynamics of Hybrid Regimes and Sustainability/Fragility of Neo-Totalitarianism

Keywords: political regime, neo-totalitarianism, neo-patrimonialism, bureaucracy, socio-political crisis, social protest, political strategies, repressions

Hybrid regimes, which combine democratic institutions, to some extent cosmetic, with real authoritarian relations and orders, strikingly differ in their stability. Under such regimes the non-institutionalized conflict dynamics becomes crucial, because power issues are not solved through open political competition during elections. The article sketches a model of interaction between The Regime and The Protest, which includes 10 postulates on the basis of the results of the synthesis studies. The author shows that if these postulates are correct, a sufficiently flexible hybrid regime, which is able to adapt, inevitably slips to neo-totalitarianism in accordance with the principle of a ratchet mechanism. Neo-totalitarian practices, as well as the relationship between bureaucratic institutions and neo-patrimonial orders, were shown to exert an ambiguous influence upon the stability of hybrid regimes.

Some modern hybrid regimes are quite stable (post-revolutionary Iran, Kazakhstan under Nursultan Nazarbayev, Russia under Vladimir Putin, etc.). There are also regimes characterized by the intermittent and unstable dynamics (Russia in the 1990s, Egypt after Tahrir, Venezuela after Hugo Chavez’ death, etc.). Each of these cases provides an empirical basis for testing the presented model. In its turn, this model opens up opportunities for analyzing reasons for the success and failure of the regime and protest strategies, for explaining the significant diversity in the nature and stability of the regimes, for identifying the conditions, scale and effects of neo-totalitarian practices and institutions, and for monitoring socio-political dynamics and predicting its trajectories.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2018-88-1-30-46

Pages: 30-46

Russian Polity

Anastasia Kazun

Cover or Ignore? Alexei Navalny in Russian Media

Keywords: mass media, public opinion, Internet, Alexei Navalny

The article analyzes how the Russian media cover activities of Alexei Navalny, an opposition politician. On the basis of the data from the company Medialogy, the author examines the intensity and tone of the discussion about Navalny in print and electronic newspapers, blogs, and also on the three largest federal channels — “Channel One”, “Russia-1” and “NTV”. Her research shows that the tendency to ignore Navalny’s activities is almost an exclusive feature of television, which seeks a trade-off between silencing this activity and discrediting the politician, while other types of media cover it quite widely. According to the author’s conclusion, Navalny attracts heightened attention due to both state actions directed against him, as well as his own political and anti-corruption activity.

Despite a slight increase in the share of positive messages in the discussion about Navalny, it is predominantly of a critical nature. Curiously, the tone of the discussion depends on the communication channel itself rather than the occurring events. Different types of media cover the politician’s activities in a different way: the same information can trigger criticism of Navalny in the traditional (pro-governmental) media and a campaign in his defense in the Internet publications and blogs.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2018-88-1-47-64

Pages: 47-64


Dmitry Goncharov, Valery Nechay

Anti-Corruption Protests 2017: Reflection in Twitter

Keywords: political mobilization, connective action, contentious politics, social networks, Twitter

Although the number of Twitter users is significantly lower than other social networks in our country (primarily, Vkontakte and Facebook), its social and political significance is quite high, due to both the network’s technical features, and the specificity of public and political communication in modern Russia. Against the background of the strict state control over the key social media, Twitter is an independent and efficient platform for interactive exchange of information. During the protests on March 26, 2017, and immediately thereafter, Twitter not only supplemented (or even replaced) the federal media’s role in disseminating important information, but also acted as a channel for social and political discussion and construction of offline networks.

The article attempts to show how one can draw conclusions about the evolution of the Russian protest politics on the basis of the analysis of Twitter communication. The authors focus on whether Twitter messages shed light on the mechanisms of socio-political mobilization and protest potential in general.

The conducted research shows that Twitter can be viewed as an effective tool of social and political mobilization, which opens up opportunities for overcoming collective action problem in the process of social movements for- mation. Twitter communication can help strengthen solidarity and crystallization of offline networks, by creating favorable conditions for collective action. At the same time, similar to other social networks, it can be used to mobilize not only the opposition, but also the loyalist segment of the society.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2018-88-1-65-81

Pages: 65-81


George Borshchevskiy

Senior Civil Servants as Russian Political and Administrative Elite

Keywords: civil service, political and administrative elite, bureaucracy, senior civil servants, career

Abstract. The article aims to identify the peculiarities of career paths and recruitment channels of Russia’s political and administrative elite. The author studies federal ministers, their deputies, and directors of the departments of federal ministries. He innovatively employs the term “Senior Civil Servants” (SCS), which is widely used in the world, but not in Russia. The empirical basis of the study is the biographies of the senior federal bureaucrats available on official websites. The author collected biographical data on senior civil servants from all the federal ministries. The sample size is 381 people.

The research shows that most senior civil servants in Russia are career- oriented bureaucrats and technocrats, although the share of the political appointees at the ministries is also significant. By their socio-demographic char- acteristics, SCS can be considered part of the elite: most of them were born in large cities, they are well-educated, and many of them hold academic degrees and state awards. At the same time, SCS are a heterogeneous group, which affects the activities of the corresponding ministries. Ministries headed by the career-oriented bureaucrats tend to be more successful in implementing state programs. The sectors headed by the career-oriented bureaucrats show a better dynamics of development than those headed by the political appointees.

According to the author’s conclusion, the process of SCS recruitment in Russia is opaque and unsystematic. He thinks that the key to solving this problem lies in the creation of the Senior Civil Service as in the developed countries, the functions of which will include recruiting and evaluating senior civil servants.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2018-88-1-82-99

Pages: 82-99

Political Theories

Arthur Yusupov

Conceptualization of the Center and Centrality in the Theory of Federalism

Keywords: federalism, center, centrality, polity, political form

The main purpose of this paper is to construct a new conception of federalism by reinterpreting the logical-theoretical relationship between the categories of the federal center, the subjects of the federation and the federal whole. In the author’s opinion, the task of comprehending the factual material, despite the importance of this procedure, is of secondary importance in comparison to the task of identifying a common plan, or scheme, hidden in the existing empirical foundation. The author starts with discussing the phenomenon of the federal center, which becomes the logical and theoretical point of intersection of all basic categories of the theory of federalism. On the basis of the phenomenological analysis of the center as a general category, the author formulates a non-trivial justification why it is necessary to distinguish between the center and centrality as an ontological content of the system, which allows the author to rethink the relationship between the real political centers and centers of social unification. The author concludes that the federal political unity represents an integral expression of a united (political, social) center, which dialectically reflects the unity of the federation itself. Therefore, the fundamental problem of the theory of federalism consists not so much in answering the question “who is more important?”, but rather in searching for a way of describing the special unity of the political center of the federation, which manifests itself in the federal center and the political centers of the subjects of the federation, while preserving an arbitrarily wide variety of elements of a federation.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2018-88-1-100-116

Pages: 100-116

Foreign Policy Perspective

Marina Kukartseva, Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann

The Franco-German Axis of the EU and Russia

Keywords: France, Germany, Russia, the European Union, crisis of the European Union, geopolitics

The crisis in Ukraine has led to the deterioration of relations between Russia and both France and Germany. If these two countries fail to mobilize their political will and hold constructive negotiations with the Russian Federation, the further development of the European Union, which faces a profound existential crisis today, will be in question.

The key research question of the article is whether and to what extent the renewed Franco-German axis is able to optimize relations between the EU and Russia.

The article considers the major parameters of the EU crisis, as well as the main systemic mistake committed by the architects of the integration process in Europe. From the authors’ point of view, the mistake is rooted in assessing the unifying potential of Europe in a too optimistic way and ignoring search for the tools for reconciling important differences between the EU member states in the level of economic development and the political culture. The authors reveal pros and cons of the European Union further expansion and discuss a danger associated with membership in both the EU and NATO. The authors analyze in detail the similarities and differences in the approaches of Germany and France to building relations with Russia. They also specify these countries’ national interests and geopolitical strategies in the EU that directly influence the prospects for reviving a constructive dialogue with the Russian Federation.

According to the authors’ conclusion, although a certain restructuring of the European Union under the new Franco-German leadership is quite possible, it is yet premature to expect systemic changes in the relations between the EU and Russia.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2018-88-1-117-134

Pages: 117-134


Nikolai Gudalov, Dmitry Tulupov

Semiotics of Resilience in International Relations: the Diversity of Academic and Political Meanings

Keywords: resilience, sustainable development, foreign policy, security, European Union

In the recent years the Western countries have increasingly used the concept of resilience in the political science and politics discourses. This concept characterizes the reaction of subjects to the impact of shocks of any kind and origin, however, its conventional definition has not been elaborated yet. The authors have turned to semiotics as their theoretical basis and attempted to identify the nature of the relationship between the use of the term “resilience” in the scientific discourse and its application to political practice. They analyzed the scientific interpretations of “resilience” and forms of the use of this concept in the documents, which reflect the approaches to foreign and defense policy of the European Union, Germany, France and Britain.

The study showed that the concept of resilience has a very broad denotation and a large number of connotations, which makes its use in the structure of discourse problematic from both syntagmatic and paradigmatic views. There- fore, according to the authors, the pragmatic dimension of the concept, i.e., how the concept is used and interpreted in foreign policy of different states, gains particular importance for comprehending “resilience”. At the same time the very amorphousness of the term “resilience” broadens the freedom of maneuver by the interested actors when dealing with equally amorphous risks and threats to the international security, the proliferation of which accompanies the development of globalization.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2018-88-1-135-147

Pages: 135-147

Historical Retrospective: Reflections and Hypotheses

Leonid Bliakher, Mikhail Bliakher

Zomia on the Amur, or State Order against the Order Outside of State

Keywords: Zomia, Leviathan, space, Far East, self-organization

In the article the authors utilize the term “Zomia” coined by Willem van Schendel, the Dutch researcher, to refer to a giant “mountainous country” located at the junction of a number of states in South-East Asia, in order to derive a concept, which reflects a specific form of social self-organization, a special type of everyday life that does not require the usual structures of the state of Modernity — it coexists with them and defends its right to be different. The authors study such form of self-organization using the example of the community of the resettled peasants that developed in the east of Russia in the second half of the 19th — early 20th centuries. Having analyzed the factors that led to the emergence of Zomia on the Amur, they come to the conclusion that the main factor was the big size of the territory, which killed any administrative efforts. The control over the giant territories with a relatively poor network of roads was too costly, which rendered it meaningless. The situation inevitably triggered the mechanism of social self-organization, which made the usual political forms superfluous and hostile to the people. They developed specific practices of distancing themselves from the state and using the latter in their own interests. The article describes these practices, as well as the resistance of the resettled peasants to the attempts made by the power structures to “domesticate” the disobedient territory thatincreased as the state strengthened. Although Zomia lost its fight against Leviathan, its defeat, as shown by the authors, was a mere transition to a different form of existence. Zomia continued to exist so that at a time when the Leviathan, exhausted by the vast void space, retreats, Zomia will appear out of nowhere and once again save the Far East.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2018-88-1-148-171

Pages: 148-171

Gubernatorial readings

Digital Economy and Artificial Intelligence: Status Quo and Challenges (Thirty-First Gubernatorial Readings. Tyumen, December 5th, 2017)

Keywords: digital economy, artificial intelligence, IT-technologies, “e-government”, breakthrough into the future, Tyumen region

The material published here is a report on the Thirty-First Gubernatorial Readings held in Tyumen, December 5th, 2017, under the framework of the joint project conducted by the journal Politeia and the administration of Tyumen region. The topic of the Readings is problems and prospects for the development of the digital economy in Russia. The mainreport presented by A.N.Raikov, the President of the Analytical Agency New Strategies, gives a detailed analysis of the state of the digital economy in Rus- sia and identifies the most important obstacles that hamper its implementation. T.V.Pogodaeva, the Vice-Rector of the Tyumen State University, in her report emphasizes the challenges that the development of the digital economy faces in the sphere of education. O.F.Danilov, the Head of the Department of Automotive Transport, Construction and Road Building Machinery of the Tyumen Industrial University, devoted his speech to the program of “smart cities” and the conditions favorable for its realization. I.B.Khusainov, the Director of the real estate company Etazhi, and K.A.Bazhin, the General Direc- tor of KB-Inform, shared their experiences in the practical application of the digital technologies in business. Summing up the discussion, V.V.Yakushev, the Governor of the Tyumen region, drew attention to the fact that, regardless of people’s attitude to it, digitalization and its repercussions will continue, significantly changing our lives. He admitted that we will not be able to lead in the race for the global dominance in this sphere and listed concrete steps the region can take to support the IT direction.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2018-88-1-172-195

Pages: 172-195

Book Review

Andrei Teslya

Creating and Protecting a New Society Hoffmann D.L. Cultivating the Masses: Modern State Practices and Soviet Socialism, 19141939 / Translated from English by A.Tereshchenko. Moscow: New Literary Observer, 2018

Keywords: Soviet socialism, Modernity, welfare state, state violence, citizens’ rights, David Hoffmann

The article presents a review of the Russian translation of the book by David Hoffmann, the US historian, “Cultivating the Masses: Modern State Practices and Soviet Socialism”, published in the original language in 2011. According to the author of the review, this book is valuable and interesting particularly because it presents the comparative analysis of a number of practices and institutions that were traditionally viewed as the Soviet specificity. However, this is not about “generalizing” the Soviet experience. In contrast, the main point of the book is that the Soviet system that developed by the 1930s was unique, but its uniqueness is not determined by the unprecedented, or fundamentally new practices. The specificity of the Soviet Union lies in the fact that the country used and developed the worldwide methods of state violence formed before and during the World War I with an unprecedented intensity. The example of the Soviet Union allows Hoffmann to clearly demonstrate the consequences of the situation, when the institutions and practices of the “welfare state” are not checked by the rights of citizens. The Soviet case is extreme precisely because such institutions and practices were able to fully develop, albeit without any meaningful resistance from the citizens.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2018-88-1-196-203

Pages: 196-203