Abstracts 1, 2024

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L. G.Fishman

No Disrespect to the Reactionary

Keywords: Marxism, Modernity, alienation, progress, reaction, retropractices, socialism

The article addresses the question of why, despite the seemingly long-standing accumulation of economic and technical conditions sufficient for building, if not communism, then socialism, the left-wing forces are unable to take advantage of this, and yield the initiative to the right-wing, conservative, and even reactionary forces. The author explains this situation by the rationale that the mindset of the left is still dominated by a flat liberal progressivism characterized by cliché ideas about the progressive and the reactionary, but it lacks tools to adequately assess the reasons for the “reactionary” sympathies of the broad masses and to admit that these masses have “grounds for concern” at the very least.

As a theoretical basis, the article uses the concept of human prehistory of the classics of Marxism. The author demonstrates that the underlying dichotomy of the alienated and authentic, human and inhuman does not coincide with the dichotomy of “reactionary” and “progressive”. The Modern Age is examined as both an epoch of reaction (in the literal sense of the word, net of ideological connotations) and that of progress. In order to resolve these issues, the author introduces the concept of retropractice, which is supposed to help adequately describe these seemingly “reactionary” and “conservative” sides of Modernity. Retropractices, in contrast to “reaction”, possess an emancipatory and alienation-reducing potential. The flaw of the left is that they fail to comprehensively conceptualize the meaning of retropractices because they view them only as “reaction” and “conservatism” in the usual sense. However, socialism, if realized, will largely turn out to be precisely a set of retropractices.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2024-112-1-6-28

Pages: 6-28

D. A. Davydov

Stumbling Socialism, or Problems of Left-Wing Populism

Keywords: socialism, left populism, counter-hegemony, anti-capitalism, intersectionality, identity politics

The first quarter of the 21st century became a time of revival of the idea of socialism. However, the working class is no longer the assumed main subject of the progressive change. The rise of left-wing populism is replacing workers’ movements and corresponding parties. The key feature of such populism is its desire to unite all the oppressed and exploited in the struggle against capitalist “hegemony”. This attitude is reflected, in particular, in the idea of intersectionality, according to which different “systems” of oppression (racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.) and capitalist exploitation are intertwined and can reinforce each other. This idea leads to constant allusions to the general, so to say, “people’s” struggle against capitalism and various forms of oppression. Moreover, some leftist theorists directly insist on the necessity to turn to populism and build strategies for leftist “counterhegemony”.

The author thoroughly analyzes modern left-wing populist concepts and reveals serious flaws. The desire for justice and equality often disguises a thirst for privilege and radical hostility towards those who are viewed — often unfairly — as oppressors. Moreover, the struggle for socialism often means emphasizing freedom from labor for some, while ignoring economic hardships of others. The author classifies the contradictions of left-wing populism as insurmountable due to the impossibility of disentangling between the struggle for equality and for the private interests of individual groups. According to his conclusion, under the conditions when zero-sum games are inevitable, for the poor and socially vulnerable strategies for defending their own interests will become increasingly profitable and attractive in contrast to both populist projects and the idea of socialism per se, which increasingly implies the abandonment of these interests without guarantees of any returns in the future.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2024-112-1-29-44

Pages: 29-44

Electoral Process

Yu. G.Korgunyuk

Cleavages Structure and Distortion of the Electoral Space

Keywords: elections according to the proportional system, political parties, electoral cleavages, political dimensions, electoral fraud

The article presents the results of testing the hypothesis, according to which ballot stuffing in favor of the “party in power”, while causing minor distortions to the structure of electoral cleavages, does not fundamentally change it. The author tested the hypothesis on the data from the 2016 and 2021 elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation held via proportional system rules. He used the following method: in the regions where ballot stuffing was allegedly used in favor of the United Russia party, a certain number of votes were subtracted from the United Russia electoral results in accordance with the difference between the maximum and effective ranges of the electoral cleavage related to the confrontation between of the United Russia and the rest of elections’ participants. The author employed two models to run calculations: in the first model the threshold for deduction was a difference of 50% between the maximum and effective range, in the second model the difference was 5%.

For 2016 elections, the first model took away more than 6.1 million votes from the United Russia, the second model subtracted more than 12.5 million votes; for 2021 elections — more than 5 and more than 10 million votes, respectively. Nevertheless, there was no radical change in the structure of electoral cleavages, let alone its elimination. The study showed that although ballot stuffing in favor of the “party in power” artificially overemphasizes the role of the authoritarian-democratic confrontation, sidelining other confrontations, the structure of electoral cleavages per se is largely preserved. Mathematical methods, especially factor analysis, can be efficiently used to detect this structure.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2024-112-1-45-76

Pages: 45-76

A. V. Semenov, E. Yu.Minaeva

Mobilization Momentum and Electoral Results of Party in Power

Keywords: mobilization momentum, collective action, electoral politics, “party in power”

The article examines the connection between protests and elections in an authoritarian context. Using the concept of mobilization momentum, the authors attempt to find out whether intensive and massive collective actions on the eve of elections can affect electoral mobilization and support for the “party in power”, and if so, in what direction.

Based on the modern literature on this topic, the authors identify two alternative models of the possible electoral effect of the mobilization momentum. According to the first model, by breaking through the information blockade and signaling to citizens about the widespread dissatisfaction with the authorities’ policies, intense mass protests contribute to an increase in voters’ turnout and a decrease in support for pro-government forces. According to the second model, such protests may easily increase the electoral performance of the “party in power,” since they often lead to the mobilization of an electorate that is loyal to the ruling circles.

The authors test these hypotheses against the evidence from the 2011— 2016 parliamentary electoral cycle in Russia using methods of standard multiple linear regression, difference-in-differences and synthetic control. The results are mixed. It appears that the mobilization momentum has a weak electoral effect or even a positive effect on the performance of the “party in power,” but its influence may depend on threshold values: in the most protesting cities, support for the United Russia turns out to be lower than it would be in the absence of the mobilization momentum. At the same time, the findings convincingly demonstrate that the evidence and data from the Russian context, combined with modern methods of analysis, opens up an excellent opportunity for research at the intersection of the spheres of political participation and electoral politics.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2024-112-1-77-97

Pages: 77-97

V. A. Usova

Mixed Parallel Electoral System Optimal Choice under Authoritarianism? (Cross-National Comparative Study)

Keywords: electoral engineering, mixed electoral system, political regime, electoral authoritarianism, dominant party

Over the past 30 years, the mixed parallel electoral system has become one of the popular types of electoral systems used in elections to national legislatures. Curiously, it received the highest popularity in authoritarian regimes. The article attempts to identify internal political factors that contribute to the introduction of mixed parallel electoral systems under the conditions of electoral authoritarianism. To perform this task, the author uses the binary logistic regression method. In this study, the author makes an assumption that when implementing electoral reform under authoritarianism, the ruling elite is largely guided by the desire to maintain and strengthen its power.

The study shows that the mixed parallel electoral system is most likely to be introduced during the period of regime transformation. At the initial stage of the consolidation of an authoritarian regime that allows multi-party competition, the ruling elite faces the challenge of institutionalizing electoral uncertainty. The effectiveness and durability of the political regime depends on how the risks associated with elections are neutralized. The mechanical combination of majoritarian and proportional representation principles opens up an opportunity to utilize the advantages of each of the electoral formulas conditional on the political situation, allowing the existing authorities to gain control over the sweeping majority of seats in parliament even when electoral competition is increasing and the support for the dominant party is falling.

According to the author’s conclusion, the use of the mixed parallel system plays an important role in the consolidation of an authoritarian regime. Due to the mechanisms inherent in this system, the ruling elite can efficiently manipulate elections, ensuring the survival and stability of the authoritarian order.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2024-112-1-98-113

Pages: 98-113

Russian Regions

L. E. Bliakher, E. O. Leontyeva

Other Migrants in the Far East of Russia, or Search for the Soviet People during the Period of Nation Building in the Post-Soviet Space

Keywords: migration, country of origin, diaspora, host community, Soviet people, imperial city, nation-building

The article examines a new, not very important from the statistical viewpoint, but extremely unusual flow of migrants from the former republics of the USSR, primarily Central Asian and, to a lesser extent, Transcaucasian. In the recent past a typical migrant in the Far East, as well as in Russia as a whole, can be described as a resident of a small city or village, who is focused on a short-term or cyclical stay in the region for the purpose of earning money and minimally interacting with the host community. However, the new flow of migrants includes residents of large cities who travel to Russia with an intention to integrate. For these types of migrants the usual economic push/pull factors do not play a significant role. The representatives of this group possess sufficiently high qualifications and did not experience any serious economic problems in the country of origin. The motives for their move are rather political in nature, and this is not persecution for dissent or participation in opposition activities, but rather what the authors refer to as the search for the Soviet people.

According to the authors’ conclusion, the emergence of this migration flow is associated with the growing process of ethnicization (as a form of nation-building) in the states of the post-Soviet space, which is increasingly becoming less post-Soviet. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the authorities of the newly independent states pursued an extremely cautious national policy, which was largely explained by the artificial nature of the contemporary borders of these states and their ethnic foundation. The former imperial cities, the previous centers of power, whose population most closely corresponded to the image of the Soviet people, preserved their high status. However, in the recent years the situation has changed. As ethnicization intensifies, accompanied by the ousting of the Soviet, which was equated with the Russian, the “debris” of the Soviet people lose not only their social status, but also the foundation for self-identification. They move to Russia in search of such foundation, with the hope to find confirmation of their own professional and socio-political identity.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2024-112-1-114-135

Pages: 114-135

Paradigms of Social Development

R. F.Turovsky, E. V. Bragina

Factors of Social Trust in Europe and Russia

Keywords: social trust, political trust, social capital, political regime, social stratification, Russia, Europe

. The article analyzes the factors of generalized social trust in the modern states. The authors rely on the “up bottom” approach, which assumes that trust in political institutions has a significant impact on social trust, while also accounting for socio-economic factors.

The research study of the modern European states that employed regression analysis of the sociological data from the World Values Survey and Eurobarometer shows that political trust continues to have a positive effect on the level of social trust. However, economic development and low levels of social stratification are equally important. A potentially important new factor is the increase in trust in urban communities, while the presence or absence of the communist past has lost its influence on social trust.

The authors examine the case of Russia separately due to the specifics of political trust in personalist presidential regimes, Russia’s longer exposure to communism, as well as the modern increase in the level of political trust, which radically exceeds the level of social trust. Based on the comparative study of sociological trends and factors of social trust in the country, they document the gradual development of a situation where social trust is inversely correlated with political trust. They tend to explain this phenomenon by the exaggerated importance of the personal and public security agenda, which negatively affects social trust, while simultaneously increases the demand for political trust. Socio-economic factors in Russia play a limited role, but can resume their influence during periods of reduced social tensions. According to the authors’ conclusion, given the current political system, the potential for increase in social trust in the Russian Federation is limited.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2024-112-1-136-163

Pages: 136-163

V. E.Belenkov

Long-Term Effect of Online and Offline Repressions on Post-Electoral Protest Participants Number (Cross-National Empirical Study)

Keywords: repressions, street protest, Internet, number of protesters, longterm effect, triggering event

Although the relationship between state coercive measures and protests has long been studied in Political Science, there are a number of gaps in the modern research studies about the impact of repressions on street protest activity. A serious flaw in these studies is their focus on the influence of repressions on the existing protest campaigns, with little attention to their long-term implications. The impact of repressions on the scale of protest and number of protesters, as well as the role of the Internet as a factor mediating the impact of state sanctions on protests, is understudied. The article attempts to bridge these gaps.

The author has first examined theoretical arguments in support of three possible forms of correlation between the severity of repressions and street protest activity — negative, positive, and parabolic (n-shaped), after which he tests relevant hypotheses on a sample of country cases that share the same trigger for protest — suspicions of electoral fraud. To test these hypotheses, the author utilized data on the maximum strength of repressions against civil society organizations, participants in protests and authors of anti-government messages on the Internet in the pre-electoral years, as well as data on protests in the first week following the elections.

The study confirmed the influence of repressions on future protest activity. At the same time, the relationship between the severity of repressions and the number of protest participants in the long term has a quadratic n-shaped form: at low and high levels of repression, the number of protesters is minimal, at medium — it is maximal. As for the impact of the Internet, it was not detected on data on repression in the offline environment, but it was revealed on data on the strength of sanctions for political activity on the Web: if the share of Internet users in a country is low, repressions decrease the number of protest participants; if it is high, repressions of medium strength correspond to the maximum number of protesters.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2024-112-1-164-186

Pages: 164-186

Book Review

A. N.Kozhanovsky

Instability of Social Life as Spanish Distinctiveness Khenkin S.M. Spain: Modern Unstable Society. Moscow: Aspect Press, 2023

Keywords: Spain, unstable society, socio-political conflicts, democratic transition, regional separatism

The published article represents a review of the monograph by S.M.Khenkin Spain: Modern Unstable Society. The monograph examines Spain’s experience at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries, as a country that, due to historical circumstances, faces instability and unpredictability of development (so typical in the modern world) in an especially acute and concentrated manner. Khenkin identifies and describes, one by one, factors that characterize and explain the unstable state of the modern Spanish socio-political system, consistently integrating the current issues into the general context of the historical development of the Spanish society, its political and cultural traditions and comparing what is happening there with the situation in other European countries. Based on his research, he comes to the conclusion that several acute and persistent socio-political conflicts make high instability a distinctiveness of the country’s life.

In the monograph the author provides careful and multilateral analysis of the transition from Francoism to consolidated democracy; various aspects of the ongoing transformations in the society; the specifics of the Spanish party-political system and its evolution; national-regional issue. He documents a radical change in the sentiments in the Spanish society with the appearance of a new generation, which clearly manifested in the reassessment of the transition, with harsh criticism replacing earlier approval, and in the conflict around “historical memory”.

The author analyzes the relationship between the central government of the country and regional separatists and does not see any prospects for a prompt resolution of the conflict. According to his reasoned assessment, separation from Spain of any of its regions will inevitably cause irreparable damage to all parties to the conflict.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2024-112-1-187-196

Pages: 187-196