Abstracts 1, 2023

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Political Theories

N. A. Shaveko

Agonistic Pluralism and Competitive Model of Democracy: Problems of Normative Justification

Keywords: democracy, agonistic pluralism, competitive democracy, deliberative democracy, aggregative democracy

The article is devoted to the analysis of the main tenets of the theory of competitive democracy and its underlying principle of agonistic pluralism, which have become quite widespread among the Western political philosophers in the recent years. The author identifies two main approaches to the normative substantiation of the value of democratic competition. The first approach is based on the postulate about the importance of maintaining the diversity of public discourses and, therefore, inadmissibility of giving one of them the status of dominant or preferred. The second approach emphasizes the importance of constantly challenging the established power relations. Having demonstrated serious flaws in these approaches, one of which, in fact, promotes diversity for the sake of diversity, and the other — variability for the sake of variability, the author turns to the strategy of justifying competitive democracy that focuses on providing all stakeholders with an equal opportunity to change the existing power relations. In his estimation, this strategy, which largely overcomes the shortcomings of the above mentioned approaches, also has its weaknesses related to (1) the difficulty of disentangling between unequal opportunities for transforming power mechanisms and other social inequalities, (2) the unattainability of the complete equality of opportunities, and (3) the ambiguous relationship between the value of the opportunity to define and abolish social restrictions (political equality) and other values (in particular, the so-called intrinsic equality). A special attention in the article is paid to the identification of the deep value foundations of agonistic pluralism. The author notices that advocates of agonism want to evade clarification of these foundations and states that agonistic pluralism as the highest moral basis of politics is highly doubtful, while the part of the concept that is acceptable does not represent anything fundamentally new. According to his conclusion, all this speaks of the purely instrumental nature of this principle, and thus of its relative importance in comparison with those ideals that it intends to achieve.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-108-1-6-24

Pages: 6-24


V. S. Levytskyy

The Ontological Nature of Politics

Keywords: politics, metaphysics, ontology, ontological reality, polis

The article is devoted to clarifying the understanding of the nature of politics. Having documented the lack of consensus in the scientific discourse even regarding the very concept of politics, the author proposes an approach that, from his point of view, allows to obtain the most consistent conceptualization of the political.

In his study of the nature of politics, the author relies primarily on the analysis of the phenomenon of polis, because, despite serious disagreements in the scientific circles about what politics is, its origin is generally associated with polis. Based on the works of Plato and Aristotle and drawing on the works of modern historians and political philosophers, he demonstrates the inadequacy of the interpretation of polis as a city, state or society, and proposes to consider polis as a sphere of “supra-physical” and “supra-economic” activity of citizens in external and internal harmonization of public space. In the development of the transcendentalist tradition, the article shows that polis is primarily an ontological reality, a place where (in the eyes of the Greeks) the existence of being was manifested.

Taking into account the connection between polis and politics in the ancient world, the author comes to the conclusion that politics as a practice of organizing life in polis is an activity for the formation and maintenance of ontological reality. Such an understanding of politics, in his opinion, is valid not only in relation to antiquity. Therefore, he defines politics as an ontological action, in which a struggle for the fate of being unfolds every time. In this respect, the nature of ancient politics differs little from the nature of medieval and modern politics. Despite all the differences between modern and pre-modern political discourse, this definition quite adequately characterizes the nature of the political per se.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-108-1-25-39

Pages: 25-39


Ye. I. Uchaev, M. V.Kharkevich

Unthinkable Doomsday: Postapocalyptic Nature of Modern Political Realism

Keywords: political realism, post-apocalypse, Modernity, state, international relations, eschatology

The article discusses the relevance of political realism in the times when a total planet catastrophe is possible. According to Ye.Uchaev and M.Kharkevich’s hypothesis, modern political realism is a post-apocalyptic direction of thought, which is based on the belief that a final state of the world has arrived. Therefore, now that human survival is under threat, realism could be rejected due to the denial of the postapocalyptic worldview, which historically made realism possible, rather than external reasons.

The article defines political realism as an approach towards international relations that assumes the inevitability of conflicts between multiple political actors. The authors claim that such an approach requires interpretation of time as infinite. Based on the works of Bruno Latour and Eric Voegelin, Uchaev and Kharkevich show that such a perception of time was formed at the turn of the Middle Ages and the New Age through the self-positioning of Modernity as a post-apocalyptic era, and the state within the Modern era — as a post-apocalyptic subject. The study of the texts of modern political realism confirms the hypothesis about its post-apocalyptic nature. A consistent realist position is found only after the post-apocalyptic self-perception took root in Europe (roughly in the middle of the 17th century) as a result of the triumph of a sovereign state. The realist position is most clearly revealed in the concept of the balance of power of the late 17th—18th centuries. The authors who wrote before or on the eve of this turning point (Niccolò Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes) in their works turn to the apocalyptic-utopian horizon, where disunity is transformed into political unity. In turn, the threat of the total nuclear war that emerged in the middle of the 20th century becomes an incentive for Hans Morgenthau, John Hertz and Reinhold Niebuhr to overcome realism and develop projects for global political reform. However, according to Uchaev and Kharkevich’s conclusion, overcoming realism will remain incomplete until the problem of the political subject of global reform is resolved.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-108-1-40-63

Pages: 40-63

Paradigms of Social Development

V. V. Ustyuzhanin, V. A. Mikheeva, I. A. Sumernikov, A. V.Korotayev

Economic Origins of Revolutions: the Link between GDP and the Risk of Revolutionary Events

Keywords: modernization, revolutionary destabilization, armed revolutions, unarmed revolutions, wealth, cross-national studies

The recent years have witnessed numerous studies that analyze the influence of different factors on the probability of revolutionary events. At the same time, an important set of modernization variables (GDP, urbanization, education, democratization) still remains understudied. Moreover, the results of the contemporary quantitative studies show significant discrepancies in how wealth (operationalized through GDP per capita) affects the risks of revolutionary events. Herewith scholars usually consider such events in the aggregate, without dividing them into armed and non-armed rebellions.

This paper attempts to shed light on the impact of wealth on revolutionary instability, taking into account the distinguishing features of its armed and non-armed versions. On the basis of the analysis of 425 revolutionary episodes of various types over the period of 1900—2019, the authors document a strong linear negative relationship between armed revolutions and the level of GDP per capita, while the relationship between unarmed revolutions and wealth has a curvilinear nature. At first, as GDP per capita increases, the risks of unarmed revolutions increase, but after reaching a certain threshold they begin to fall. The inflection point, when the risk of unarmed revolutionary instability is the greatest, corresponds to the level of GDP per capita in the middle-income countries, which currently face the middle-income trap. In other words, their wealth stagnates at the level that is most risky for the emergence of unarmed revolutions. According to the authors’ conclusion, in addition to the obvious economic problems associated with the middle-income trap, the latter also leads to the increased probability of unarmed revolutionary instability

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-108-1-64-87

Pages: 64-87

Russian Polity

Yu. G. Korgunyuk

The Soviet Past Theme in the Electoral Campaigns in Post-Soviet Russia

Keywords: Soviet past, political parties, elections, post-Soviet Russia, factor analysis, correlation analysis, multiple regression

The article is devoted to the analysis of the place of the Soviet past in the inter-party discussion and the influence of this theme on the choice of the Russian electorate in the electoral campaigns of 1993—2021. According to the author’s conclusion, despite the moderate number of issues related to this topic, and their rather modest share in the general agenda of the campaigns, they formed confrontations that strongly correlated with the divisions within the major political dimensions and issue domain divisions and resonated in the mass political consciousness.

The 1993—2011 campaigns were about one confrontation — “communists vs. anti-communists (liberals)”. In 2016—2021 this confrontation was supplemented by a cleavage along the “conservatives — liberals” line, which manifested in the special position of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, that adjoined the liberals on some aspects of the Soviet past theme, and communists — on other aspects. In 1993 and 1995 the confrontation between communists and anti-communists (liberals) on the issues of the Soviet past successfully competed with political dimensions and issue domain divisions for the role of the “political face” of the first, or the main, electoral cleavage. In 1999, this confrontation moved from the first electoral cleavage to the second, within which it continued to successfully contend with the cleavage between Soviet traditionalists and modernists in the systemic issue domain. In 2003, it also withstood competition with the divisions between adherents of market and supporters of planned economy in the socio-economic issue domain and Soviet traditionalists and modernists in the systemic one, but in 2007— 2016 it lost such ability, although it retained a background presence in the political space.

In 2021, the theme of the Soviet past experienced some sort of renaissance, with not only communists and liberals, but also other political forces, including the “party of power”, starting to actively appeal to this topic. The influence of the confrontations around the theme of the Soviet past on electoral divisions also increased, however, only when regions with a voter turnout of more than 60% were excluded from the analysis. In this case, the confrontation between communists and liberals on the subject of the Soviet past determined “the face” of the second electoral cleavage, and the special position of the Liberal Democratic Party — of the third one.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-108-1-88-125

Pages: 88-125


N. S. Zubarev

National Pride as Mediator of Trust in President (Case of Russia)

Keywords: national pride, political support, subjective well-being, political behavior

How do leaders of non-democratic states retain support of the population? One of the most popular explanations in the modern Political Science suggests that people in non-democratic countries vote for incumbents and generally have a positive attitude towards them, because the latter possess maximum access to resources that can potentially be directed to improve the lives of the people. However, such an explanatory model leaves out the expressive component of political behavior. Meanwhile, citizens of authoritarian countries can sincerely express solidarity with the current rulers. The theory of social identity reveals this side of the problem, offering alternative explanations for the mechanisms of political support.

National identity as one of the forms of social identity shapes expectations, norms and patterns of behavior that are associated with the idea of a perfect representative of the nation. The specific characteristics of authoritarian states nudge citizens towards behavior and attitudes that contribute to maintaining the status quo. Moreover, since it is often difficult for an average person to rationally assess the actual performance of government and correctly attribute responsibility for social, political, and economic outcomes when deciding which politician to support, voters tend to use cognitive “shortcuts” based on their own satisfaction with life. The article proposes a hypothesis that national pride plays the role of a mediator between subjective well-being and the level of political support (operationalized via trust in president). The author tested this hypothesis using survey data and reveled that the mediation effect of pride for the nation is indeed present, however, it is partial. The results of the analysis indicate that subjective well-being has a positive effect on the support of the incumbent, both directly and through an increased national pride.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-108-1-126-140

Pages: 126-140

Religion and Politics

Yu. V. Karpich

Orthodoxy and Conservatism: Political Attitudes of Religious Russians

Keywords: religiosity, conservatism, Orthodoxy, political attitudes, traditional values

The article is devoted to the study of the influence of religiosity on the individual political choice of Orthodox Russians. Based on the analysis of in-depth interviews with believers who actively attend religious services, the author identifies a relationship between certain aspects of religiosity (beliefs, religious practices) and conservative attitudes of parishioners. The author reveals the logic of a conservative choice and shows how conservative attitudes associated with shifts in values are combined with conservative attitudes based on religion.

The results of the study allow the author to document three types of political positioning arising from a conservative worldview. In the case of loyalty to the current government the conservative logic manifests itself in the desire to maintain stability and avoid political changes. Opposition voting takes the form of a moral protest when voters want to punish the authorities for the actions that are inconsistent with their moral ideals. Non-participation in elections is conservative in the sense that believers avoid politics, which seems to them immoral and corrupt.

Employing the qualitative methodology and analyzing individual-level data, the author comes to the conclusion that believers make their decisions about voting largely on the basis of their political attitudes. Religious voters evaluate politicians’ actions and assess the potential ability to influence the political situation. The impact of practices is limited to political participation. The conservative logic of voting is closely related to secular attitudes; religious beliefs and practices of church cooperation can only adjust the choice that was already made.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-108-1-141-160

Pages: 141-160

Foreign Polities

A. I. Zhdanov, K. V. Kosolapov

Polarization of American Elites (Evidence from the Analysis of the Candidates' Policy Statements during the 2020 Presidential Election)

Keywords: USA, political polarization, political elites, network analysis, LDA analysis

The article is devoted to the study of political polarization in the United States through the prism of the influence of various groups of American elites on this process. Empirically analyzing the campaign messages of Joseph Biden, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, which were spread by their electoral staff during the 2020 presidential campaign, and using the methods of network and LDA analysis, the authors attempt to determine to what extent the Democratic and Republican leaders tend to use tools that polarize society and whether the nature of the influence of these parties on the American society differs.

Having documented the presence of all types of political polarization in the United States, the authors show that both Republicans and Democrats significantly add to polarization because, on the one hand, they fuel emotional tension in the society, and on the other hand, they deny legitimacy to the principles of their opponents. The analysis carried out in the article clearly demonstrates that all groups of the American political elites, regardless of party affiliation, are nearly equally susceptible to affective and positional polarization, including those whose political activity is usually assessed as depolarizing. All this refutes the widespread notion that the Republican Party, which exploits the Us vs. Them dichotomy for narrow political purposes, is primarily responsible for the polarization in the country, indicating that something bigger, rather than the rise of right-wing populism or the increased popularity of nativist movements, explains the crisis processes that have been unfolding in the recent years in the United States, as well as in other old democracies.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-108-1-161-181

Pages: 161-181

Political Parties

T. L. Rovinskaya

The Greens in Germany: Political Dilemmas and Compromises

Keywords: Union 90/The Greens, Germany, idealism, pragmatism, green ideology, Petra Kelly, Josef Fischer, Annalena Baerbock, Robert Habeck

The article analyzes the political path of the environmental party the Union 90/The Greens from the moment of the birth of the green movement in Germany to the present day. The author focuses on the transformation of the ideological platform of The Greens. Having thoroughly analyzed the stages of the party’s development and its policy documents, the author records the transition of the German Greens from conservative to liberal values, and then from the idealism and nonconformism of the 1970s—1980s to the realism and pragmatism of the 1990s—2000s, from an out-of-system radical position to the in-system centre-left position. The author also discusses the cost of their political success. Does the party manage to hew to the principles it stated? How does it deal with the political dilemmas it inevitably faces when it has to function in a real political environment in coalition with other parties? How far are The Greens willing to go in making political and ideological compromises? And does all this, in fact, correspond to the green ideology?

Based on the conducted research, the author comes to the conclusion that the dominance of the realist wing in the party, who rely on assuming power at any cost and sideline the idealists-(eco)fundamentalists who stood at the origins of the movement, leads to the erosion of the very essence of the alternative green ideology and, ultimately, to the loss of the party’s originality and attractiveness for voters. According to the author, the 2022 international crisis is a turning point in the history of the Union 90/The Greens, which will have a decisive impact on the political fate of the party in the near future.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-108-1-182-203

Pages: 182-203