Russian Polity: demarcation lines
For several centuries an objective need for modernisation in Russia has been constantly provoking a differentiation of the society along some demarcation lines (cleavages) that did not coincide. With each other the same demarcation lines are reproduced in the post-communist Russia, making up the main co-ordinates that the political actors abided by. Ideological and political differentiation is not limited to the elite, but to this or that extend is applicable to the bulk of the society. We can speak not only about its social roots but also about its relationship with historic sub-cultures. Ideological and political differentiation lays the basis for a modern party system in Russia.
The article is based on the data of the National Sociological Polls, conducted in April 1997 in a representative respondent group all over the territory of Russia among the citizens above 18 years of age. The number of respondents approximately equalled to 1600. Alongside with traditional sociological and political questions, the respondents were also asked existential questions (for example, their attitude to Life and Death, to the Law, to the Freedom of will, to the Freedom of creative activity, to the Joy and the Grief). There were three prompt model-answers to each of the existential questions : a responsible moral answer, a cynical and egoistic and a responsible escapist ones. It turned out that every 2 out of 3 respondents preferred a moral responsible choice while 1 out of 4 used to give a cynical egoistic answer. A comparative analysis of the respondents’ answers to the social, economic, political and formally religious questions with the answers to existential questions shows the levels of consolidation of the modern Russian society. The results of the polls show that the population in its majority is oriented on moral and creative goals, gives preference to a market economy democratic society of a western type and is still characterised by a high degree of unanimity on the level of sub-conscious values and motivations that predetermine the vital, religious and political choice.
Political Process in Russia in the 90-s
The article considers specific historic, political and socio-economic background preconditions of specific models (the Soviet and the Russian ones) of corporatism – first “bureaucratic” and then “oligarchic”. Analysing the main traits of the latter the author singles out the following forms of interaction of the state and the financial oligarchy: pawn privatisation, investment competitions, the responsible banks system, special aim programmes and projects etc. The main goal of the participants of this interaction is to derive a so-called political rent, the search of which is most negatively reflected on the investment process. According to the author, it is the miserable state of Russian industry, that makes the investments (especially the short-term investments) absolutely disadvantageous or even leads to direct loses that has predetermined the misbalance in the real positions of both private and state financial institutions. Another factor is the weakness of the state that is unable to stimulate the investments into industry and has practically concentrated its effort on promoting the speculative activity of the banks. But the situation is not absolutely hopeless: there is a number of facts showing that both the «oligarchs» and the state have reconsidered the priorities and have turned to a constructive co-operation for the benefit of the national economy.
Permanent social tension in Russia despite numerous gloomy forecasts practically does not turn into the large scale explosions with serious consequences on a national level. There is a number of factors that alleviate the dissatisfaction of the population. Among them are such phenomena as the disintegration of the social tissues and the atomisation of the Russian society, in combination with the non-developed interests of many social groups that are a part of it, weak trade unions, the lack of interest to politics and a retreat to private life of the majority of population, adaptation of citizens to the new socio-political realities, specific traditions of Russian culture – in the first place, the traditions of the Orthodoxy, that has always demonstrated its disrespect to the wealth and preached up frugality and patience as the supreme virtues. All that taken into consideration the protest activity still does increase and the year 1998 saw the peak of the confrontation between the authorities and the population for the whole of the post-communist period. The protest acts of hundred thousands workers and clerks make the social conflict management problem ever more acute. However, Russian authorities and the society did not prove to be ready to face it.
Foreign Policy Foreshortening
The article formulates a principally serious question: what should be the position of the West European Union towards Russia in the situation of a financial crisis that burst out there in August, 1998. Both extremes, namely, following the former line or adopting a strategy, in accordance with which Russia should be left alone, do not seem to have much of a prospective. Renouncing to co-operate with Russia, the West would have shown that it has lost hope to develop there modern and ever more European state institutes. This would have meant giving a hand to the imperial forces in Russia, that preach the national political, economic and cultural peculiarity and thus oppose the West. At the same time the economic and political crises outlaw the former policy. In the new conditions, proceeding from their deep understanding of the amendments in the strategic line of Russian development, the Europeans might modify their support to Russia (provide «intellectual support», work more actively in the regions, etc.).
The bloody break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991–1995 was determined by the searching for new forms of national self–determination. Disintegration of the former state was not and could not be caused by a foreign intervention, but it was a result of the previous course of domestic history. The clash of interests and purposes of national movements was inevitable, it took the form of a conflict between pan-ethnic and pan-state ideologies of nations in the process of national self-determination. A certain stage of development of a multinational state the centralistic policy together with social conservatism began to contradict integrating tendencies in economy, and led to disintegration instead of preservation of state integrity.
In the Supplement to the review Yuri Korgounyuk analyses the processes that developed in summer1998 in various parts of the political spectrum of Russia; alongside with the analyses there is a chronological scheme of the main events.
Center of Political Technologies
The forecast of the political development of the Russian Federation in 1999 , prepared by the Russian Center of Political Technologies considers the results of the Evgenii Primakov’s Government first months of activity: a new place of the State Duma among the main centers of power, decrease of the authority of the Council of Federation; disintegration of the party of the power and the attempts to rehabilitate it; specific political party system on the eve of the parliamentary campaign of 1999.