RUSSIAN POLITICAL SYSTEM
The author of the article makes an attempt to interpret the process that is called law enforcement using as an example relations between tax inspectors and businessmen in post-soviet Russia. The empiric base of the study was the series of autobiographic interviews with businessmen from Saint-Petersburg, Moscow, Khabarovsk, Novosibirsk, and Leningrad region. E.Paneyakh analyzes the institutional consequences of the inconsistency, variability and inapplicability of Russian laws. She shows what Russian officials really control and how this control is carried out under the situation when it is not possible to get the full law enforcement. The author reviews the informal rules that regulate relationships between businessmen and officials and the pressure techniques used by the officials from control bodies to force counteragents to the fulfillment of informal conventions. E.Paneyach concludes that existing informal practices of dealing with the formal law has already been institutionalized and this makes them independent on the quality of formal laws.
The article covers the analysis of sociopolitical processes taking place in the big cities of one of the most problematic Russian region — the Far East under the impact of the municipal reform started in 2004. The authors characterize the Far East as the region with “flowing culture” that neutralized the innovation drive conditioned by constant big migration flows and that was built on the simplest network systems. They show how with the disintegration of the organized recruitment system and consequently the disappearance of constant innovation “feeding” the “flowing culture” turned into a mechanism that “damped” any innovations. According to their conclusion the conduct of the municipal reform in Far East could not but disturb links between big cities and the “chorus” and cause the factual disintegration of the system of the interactions between the city and the territorial state. According to L.Blyakher and S.Levkov today, instead of “gateways into the global world”, “municipal units” appear legally and factually separated from the external impact and more and more reminding of an oligarch cityrepublic of the 16th century rather then of a global city of the 21st century.
PARADIGMS OF PUBLIC DEVELOPMENT
On May 27, 2007 at the Institute of Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences, a round table discussion on social policy and its role in the modern political process took place. In this issue we give the extracts from the most interesting contributions of the round table discussion. In his introductory presentation A.Galkin analyzes the general problems of the social policy of the 21st century and the “hot buttons” of Russian social policy. V.Lyublinsky addresses the problem of balance between the efficiency and fairness of social policy. L.Mosckvin touches upon the influence of social policy on national security. I.Nedyack speaks about the latest management approaches to the development of social policy. M.Kargalova focuses her attention on the prospects of the development of European social model. One block of materials deals with the specific historical experience of addressing social problems in different countries. S.Levanskiy analyzes FRG experience, O.Velichko — Austria, I.Danilevich — Spain, M.Orlova — Ireland, I.Yazhborovskaya — Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe. In her contribution E.Sroganova reviews the social motives of the “left turn” in Latin America.
The author analyzes the impact of social inequality on the Russian political process. Yu. Krasin speaks about the Russian phenomenon of “excessive inequality” conditioned by poverty and scrutinizes such its consequences as “culture of inequality” that penetrating into politics creates the atmosphere of intolerance and confrontation, stays in the way to national unity and destroys the basics of civil solidarity; and “political poverty”, i.e. the exclusion of the bigger part of the population from the public sphere, the loss of the ability to represent one’s interests in front of the society and the state. And although “poor Russia” keeps silence, in the depth of the society dangerous processes are engendering and the energy of protest is being accumulated, without getting openly into the political sphere it is expressed in socially deviant behavior (drug addiction, alcoholism, crime, religious fanaticism, etc.). Yu.Krasin believes that such forms of protest are as detrimental as a revolt since they exhaust the creative potential of the people thus challenging the future of Russia.
The article covers the analysis of the discussions on the consequences of the global climate change and the mitigation measures taken by such international institutions as the UN Security Council and the G8 Summit. Noting with approval the growth of the world public attention to the issues of global warming, A.Veber, nevertheless, draws attention to deep differences between industrially developed and developing countries in the approach to these problems. He is also concerned about the fact that governments and the leaders of big corporations put all their hopes on new technologies and market mechanisms in their attempts to design the mitigation measures of climate change consequences. The author believes that without changes in social and economic development neither the technological progress nor the market will resolve problems caused by the global warming.
The article covers the research of the geopolitical component of Russian Conservatism. Russian Conservatives' geopolitical concepts are reviewed in interrelation with their historisophic constructs and other aspects of conservative Weltanschauung. Having thoroughly analyzed the ideas of I.Kireevsky, A.Khomyakov, N.Danilevsky, K.Leontiev, N.Ustryalov, Y.Iliin, the Eurasians, the representatives of the Communist Party patriotic faction and modern “white” Conservatives (V.Aksyuchits, N.Narochnitskaya, K.Myalo etc.) N.Rabotyazhev comes to the conclusion that although the development of Russian Conservatism was far from being linear it is possible to speak about a certain continuity of the Conservative thought in this country. In his opinion Russian Conservatives are as a rule characterized by organic understanding of the society and the rejection of liberal individualism; and their geopolitical views are based on the idea of Russia's original historical way and its opposing to Europe (often transferring into more or less expressed anti-Western moods) and on the belief into the messianic predestination of the Russian people and (quite often) pan-Slavism.
The article covers an attempt to reveal the borderline areas of an expert interview where the basics of expertability, i.e. the knowledge of the subject are falsified. On the basis of the conversation analysis of the expert poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation on regional elections in February 2005 the authors identify seven falsifications of expertability: (1) busyness and/or lack of time, (2) lack of the knowledge of the rules of the game, (3) the obscurity of the interviewer’s status, (4) the one-sided standardization of a dialogue, (5) the inadequate correction of a no-response, (6) the nonmotivated filling of pauses, (7) the irrelevancy of specifications, resulting in false responses, behind the expert cover of which there is doubt, uncertainty and very often just a denial of further reasoning on the proposed topic. In the article it is very well shown that expertability proliferation results in profane knowledge masked as personal opinions and assessments. The authors conclude that under the lack of mechanisms confirming the expertability of a response it is impossible to assess the quality of the data being gathered. Hence, the consumers of the information created by kind of an expert discourse may be easily caught into the trap of profane assessments not even taking a notice of the catch.
The material offered to the readers is not a review in the literal meaning of this word. The collection of works is just an excuse for S.Barsukova to discuss the phenomenon of corruption in general and Russian corruption in particular. When analyzing the reasons of wide-spread corruption in the third world countries and in Russia Barsukova uses the logic behind the interpretation of corruption as a political process proposed by one of the authors of this collection. She convincingly shows that the channels of political influence stopped at the “entrance” to the legal space are inevitably formed at the “exit” taking the form of corruption. At the same time in her opinion the level of the corruption discourse exploitation is quite weakly related to the scale of this phenomenon. The image of the “corruption at the top” as the incarnation of the model of the “usurpation of the state” by business plays the role of a smoke screen that covers the cardinal change of the line and the transfer to the “usurpation of business” by the state. Under the new conditions it would be wrong to interpret the “gifts” of business in the terms of corruption since they are built into the power economic vertical of the new Russian order and the big business does not buy the right to use the power for their interest (the essence of corruption) but a place in the system “power-property”.
The readers of Politeia interested in the life of Russian political parties are used to get information from very detailed and thoughtful reviews by Yuriy Korgunyuk. This review offered to their attention is on his not less profound work that covers the experience of modern Russian party system development for more then one hundred years. K.Kholodovsky finds it one of the biggest merit of this monograph that Yu.Korgunyuk does not only give the full chronicle of the Russian party life events and facts but there is also a theoretical section; and unlike similar sections in books by many other authors the theoretical postulates are based on vivid Russian material and are pointed to a specific research guiding the analysis and helping to organize particular conclusions into a system. K.Kholodovsky believes that we did not have works on this topic where the cover of specific historical material would so successfully match its conceptual interpretation. Of course, not all Korgunyuk's conclusions seem convincing; the reviewer challenges some of them. However, the main thing, and it is well seen in the review, is that he likes to challenge them because behind each construct let not always irreproachable there is a living thought.
In the traditional for the magazine review Yu.Korgunyuk presents the main events in the life of Russian political parties in summer 2007. As usual the chronicle is accompanied by analysis of the alignment of political forces in the country for this period. According to the author's conclusion already today long before the start of the Duma campaign practically all Russian parties count on the “bear speculation” which implies not the mobilization of supporters but the direct appeal to voters (via the mass media.) The material convincingly shows that by now in Russia there is not a single party-club that engages politically active people. If at the elections of 2003 there were some elements of the club structure at the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the Union of the Right Forces and “Yabloko” then now they turned into “election machines” like “Edinaya Rossia” and the LDPR.