The Actors of Russian Politics
Russia, where there is no mature civil society and influential political organizations, is witnessing the rise of independent groups of interests, whose impact on governmental policies is getting more and more signifiant. These groups are being created by heads of enterprises, well-known buisnessemen, distinguished representatives of regions, many of whom become public figures. Lapina identifies five main groups of interests, characterizing their specificity and degree of ingluence at the federal level. She concludes that the current Russian policy is a result of a difficult compromise between the federal authorities and the most influential groups of interests, which are growing into genuine "political groups of interests".
The "Neformalnoye" (the non-formal) movement has been a notable phenomenon in the USSR and Russia. Born in the mid-50s and closely linked with "ottepel" ("thaw" – liberalisation of that period) and the dissent movement emergence, the "neformaly" continue to have an impact on the domestic social life. That mouvement was one of the key democratization elements in the USSR and Russia and a sort of school for numerous politicians. The author outlines some distinctive features of the non-formal environment, such as the prevalence of horizontal connections enjoying equal rights versus vertical, ruling administrative ones, a strong bias towards self-management and free information exchange, and other.
Political Parties System
The aim of this paper is to find the specificity of the interrelation of branches of power in the post-Soviet Russia, mainly after 1993. Two groups of variables are the object of analysis in this paper. The first are political factors and especially institutional ones (an imperfect Constitution, vague functions of different branches, political conflicts, etc.). The second group factors have a psychological nature. Along with the formal lines of separation of power new borders appeared and act in the contemporary political life of Russia. They affect legally separated powers. Power as a whole and its separate branches and institutions are perceived negatively by citizens.
Discussing political arguments, employed by various Russian parties in the 1993 and 1995 elections to the State Duma, the authors hope to find out to what extent different rhetoric strategies met the audience demands and which of them ensured succesful votes. They argue that politicians have not learned to manage the electoral process in the way to maximize their benefits, since the fragmentation of a significant part of the electorate adhering to similar views among many small parties tends to devaluate the vote results. Therefore, organisations of alike trends need to be brought together within one or, at most, two coalitions, whose leaders should subordinate their personal ambitions to common political objectives.
The multi-party system of Russia went into a state of crisis before even taking shape. The political groups acting in a "buffer zone" between "the party of power" and the CPRF opposition have proven to be weak. That results from a number of reasons, which include the inapt electoral law, parties negligence with regard to their ideological basis, interests of the ruling circles reproducing old political management technologies etc. Nevertheless, asserts Saveliev, the false political practices are inevitably to be abandoned due to a gragual building of the political interests both of society as a whole and its particular strata.
The paper focuses on four major schemes of financing electronic mass-media | television and broadcasting: state subsidies, benefits from advertising, service charges and voluntary taxes. The criterion for comparing the schemes of funding is found in their ability to ensure the electronic mass-media independence both from state and business tycoons. In that perspective a voluntary tax, paid by viewers (listeners) along with their utilities payments (check-off system), seems to be the most appropriate. The voluntary tax option has also been suggested by the results of sociological studies.
Analysing the contemporary migrations processes the author emphasises the inflow to Russia from the former USSR republics augmenting during the current decade, and the governmental mechanisms for regulating such processes. The paper suggests amendments both to the general Russian migration policy and its implementation models. That specifially applies to the issues, related to refuges and forced migrants.
To understand the current tasks of constitutional build-up in Russia Kravetz addresses the beginnings of constitutionalism in the Russian Empire of the early XX century. The author demonstrates that unlike that period, when the transition to constitution implied efforts to limit the monarchy, the actual constitutional system building is seeking the creation of a rule-of-law state. However, there is a tradition to associate the versions of constitutionalism with the character of conflict in today's Russia lie to a large extent in the failure of the early XX century attempts to transform the constitutional order and to create an efficient state-society relationship model, able to guarantee both the constitutional stability and the legal protection of fundamental individual rights and freedoms.
B. Orlov reviews the recent collection "Totalitatianism in Europe of the XX century", published by scholars of the Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences. Reflecting on the book contents has inspired the author to develop his own position on major characteristics of totalitarianism and to oppose some widely held assumptions about the topic.
In the appendix to the issue Yu. orguniuk provides an overview of the Russian parties dynamics during the summer of 1997 within the framework of major events.