During the time-period preceding elections, political preferences of citizens are exposed to intensive influences, usually referred to as «administrative» and «information-related» resources. The authors make an attempt to demystify and specify these notions, including by numerical evaluation of their impact on the electoral process. The analysis undertaken by the authors shows that these factors are rather significant, especially the administrative resource. At the same time, the fact that in the Russian democracy, as in any other democracy, a whole broad range of forces seek to shape political preferences, using all available channels of influence, does not give grounds to talk about a «manipulatable» democracy: the efficiency of the efforts applied, both administrative and information-related, is far from 100%.
It would not be true to say that there are two, three, four or numerous civilizations in the Caucasus. Although fragments of ancient and medieval civilizations have survived, the long-term experience of coexistence and common history have largely leveled many of the purely civilizational differences. We can talk about the Caucasian cultural and historic community characterized by the existence of many interconnected and colliding subcultures. each of them including plenty of idiosyncratic groups. Such community is different from Middle Eastern and Central Asian cultural-historic communities.
The key problem of public regulation in the North Caucasus is to find the optimal and acceptable mechanism that would allow to combine republican sovereignty and ethnic sovereignty (first of all among titular peoples), as well as popular sovereignty which belongs to all citizens. The difficulty is that ethnic sovereignty of each North Caucasian nation calls for the resolution of territorial problems and should be constitutionally formalized. North Caucasus' natural weakness of the civil basis for national sovereignty has conditioned the close link between statehood and ethnicity. The stability of ethno-national entities is largely secured by their inclusion into Russian legal space.
The ethnic issue is the key problem for Dagestan. Without its radical resolution any attempts of democratization and reform of the political system will be only palliative in nature. A promising way to resolve the ethnic problem is to introduce elements of so-called co-public democracy. Its main feature is that the political leaders of all major segments of the society govern the country in a big coalition which enjoys the support of the overwhelming majority of the population. The principle of the big coalition presupposes moderation in political views and the readiness to compromise on the part of all ethno-political communities.
Democracy and Democratization at the Turn of the Century
Indeed, political parties have lost their monopoly on mediation between the society and the state. However, this loss has not weakened their position in the political system. At the same time, the evolution of the parties and the limitations on their functions have adversely affected the quality of politics, reinforced the technological aspect to the detriment of the strategic one, weakened the link between political parties and the civil society. Elements of direct democracy, which are gaining ground in Europe, are called on to oppose these negative trends.
In the United States, assistance to democratization has traditionally been considered to be in line with the interests of national security. At the same time, american political scientists are debating which countries and according to what criteria can be considered to be developing towards democracy, and whether the trends of global development are conducive to the proliferation of democratic values. Many reputed american scientists are skeptical of the prospects of democracy even in those countries where it is organic. The author puts forward the hypothesis that the changes in the economic and socio-cultural parameters of the global development will be followed by an adjustment in the democracy paradigm.
During the time of the Fifth Republic in France, parliamentary control over the activities of the government was for a long time distorted by the discipline of the parliamentary majority and its loyalty to the president of the country. Members of the Cabinet reported only to the head of the state, which brought about moral decay in the political community. The control over the executive was increasingly performed by the judiciary. However, the «ñî-existence» of the president with the parliamentary majority and the government, a practice that has taken shape in the last few years, make political life less centralized and more open.
A general trend in the development of the global «Non-West» has been the retreat of authoritarianism. In this context, modernization (globalization, post-industrial development) is a dependable ally of democratization. However, the present situation is ambivalent, and it may develop according to various scenarios. Menaces to democratic processes come from the past that has not been overcome, from the crisis-ridden present and from the future. The new social and economic paradigm («de-industrialization,» fragmentation of manufacturing and consumption, unresolved labor disputes) carries inside a powerful momentum of social polarization and generates «democratic involution».
Due to the implacable animosity between two political parties - Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle and Golkar, that won the Indonesian elections in 1999, Muslim parties managed to pull together and secure presidency for their own candidate, Abdurrahman Wahid, a prominent religious leader and Muslim theologian committed to the spirit rather than the letter of Islam. So far, Islam has little influence on the country's policies and public life. However, the threat of Indonesia's Islamization should not be overlooked.
Perspectives of Foreign Policy
Russia in the New European and World Order (Speech delivered at the Second Gorchakov Readings at Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation on May 23, 2000)
With the bipolar world coming to its end, the strategic task is to optimize Russia's position in it, utilizing all opportunities and resources available, in spite of the rather unfavorable external and domestic start-up conditions. The practical, and practically impossible, mission is not to become one of the poles in the international system, but rather to have Russia actively involved in the shaping of this system and its functioning in the foreseeable future. This is the crossroads, the divergence of two foreign policy strategies. One of them reaffirms the already existing trend of isolating Russia from the rest of the world and is conducive to overstrain, general degradation and, in the worst-case scenario, to decay. The other trend would lead to a reasonable adequacy of foreign policy and defense efforts, to the rational integration into both existing and tentative legal, economic and defense structures.
The new Russian and American presidents will face the difficult task of framing a new agenda for our bilateral relations. So far, neither country has fully disposed of the heritage of the cold war. In spite of the dramatic reductions in their arsenals carried out in the past decade, both nuclear «superpowers» are still capable of destroying life on earth several times over. Hence the need for the two countries to maintain a permanent dialog on the problems of strategic stability. In the last few years, commercial, economic, as well as, more importantly, scientific-technological cooperation with the United States has become of paramount importance to Russia, since the success of leading industries has become fully dependent on the capacity to enter and conquer the U.S. market.
The Kosovo crisis has concluded the first decade of the development of the post-bipolar world and has scuttled the excessive optimism which emanated from its architects in the early 1990's. Building a common European home which would provide equal and comprehensive security has proved to be a more difficult task than originally anticipated. It became evident that the economic, social and political transformation of Russia, its readiness to build its relations with the West, primarily with the United States, as with strategic partners could not automatically provide a single security system for the northern hemisphere, «from Vancouver to Vladivostok».
A dangerous situation is taking shape in international politics which is unfavorable for Russia: the intensive formation of greater Europe does not cover the post-Soviet area. The previous bipolar confrontation is being replaced by a new European bipolarity rather than a single-polar world dominated by the United States. The rationale behind the new European bipolarity is prompted, on the one hand, by the expansion of western institutions (such as NATO or EU/WEU) and the deepening of European integration, on the other, by the growing trend of excluding Russia from the future Europe. No matter whether Russia is a world or European power, its fundamental interests and strategic policy are interwoven with the development of the European integration center.
In spite of the fact that relations with the European Union have been declared to be the goal and means of Russia's integration into the world economy, the country has not developed a strategy for cooperation with the EU. Neither has it added necessary substance to the documents already signed. The time has arrived to reconsider this approach. Both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and foreign economic agencies are developing a strategy for the cooperation with the European Union. We would like to hope that the strategy will be devoid of nostalgia for lost greatness, neo-imperialist overtones or stereotypes dating back to the era of bipolar confrontation.
The centerpiece of the article is the analysis of views held by Fyodor Stepun (1884-1965), an original Russian thinker, regarding the reasons of the October Revolution, «the unique nature of Russian revolution», the idiosyncrasy of the work ethic in Russia. Stepun argued in many of his works that the revolution succeeded because Russia lacked a party of «businessmen», genuinely «business-like extinguishers of the revolutionary flame», a «spirit of creativity and law-abiding efficiency».
Moscow State Institute (University) of International Relations of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation has been actively involved in raising the political elite of both Russia and other countries for over fifty years now and boasts one of the well-known schools of political science. In the late 1980's MGIMO inaugurated a separate political science section which organically relied on the expertise accumulated during the preceding decades. In 1998 a new political science department was opened within MGIMO (of which Andrey Melvil is dean), originally oriented at international issues in the broadest sense of the term. Such bias was chosen because the international aspect is organic to modern comparative political science in general. The community of MGIMO political scientists is continually engaged in creative research, attracting gifted youth to their ranks and pursuing a harmonious combination of scientific tradition and innovation.
The author covers unification processes in Russia’s party landscape following the presidential elections and discovers links between these processes and changes in the social basis of political organizations. The analysis is accompanied by a timeline of key events in the life of the country's political parties.