Keywords: political institutions, institutional traps, Russia, state-building
The article attempts to review the “informal institutionalization” in Russia from both theoretical and comparative perspective and critically analyze some explanations of the prevalence of the “subversive” institutions in the country i.e. norms and regulations that at first sight partly resemble the modern democratic institutions, but in reality inhibit the development of the latter. Having clearly demonstrated the comprehensive character of the factors that cause this pathology being one of the manifestations of the “institutional traps”, V.Gel’man draws a conclusion that neither long-term therapy in the form of the socio-cultural evolution nor radical surgical intervention taking shape of the political regime change guarantee overcoming of its effects and what is more, might even aggravate them.
Keywords: scenario, political regime, domination, monocentrism, deconcentration, elite settlement, “cartel” parties
The detailed theses of the report held at the scientific-practical seminar “Politeia”, March 25, 2010
The report presented at the scientific-practical seminar “Politeia”, March 25, 2010, analyzes the institutional and political changes in Russia in the recent years. A.Zudin argues that the core of these changes is the transformation from the consolidation process towards the controlled differentiation of the political regime. Having pointed out the alteration in the scenario of the country’s political development, Zudin hypothesizes that in the short-term prospect the implementation of this scenario will hinge upon the solution of three most important problems i.e. a status of the socially active minority, a new model of the party system, and the future of the tandem between V.Putin and D.Medvedev. According to his conclusions, if the planned political construction shows no serious dysfunctions, the hybrid model of government laid out in the Constitution of 1993 might turn into reality.
Keywords: Russia, future, prognostication, scenarios, focus groups, bifurcation point, development, non-linear dynamics
The authors in their article generalize the results of the new stage of the research project aiming at the construction of the alternative scenarios of Russia’s future and testing them through the method of focus groups. Four scenarios – “Kremlin Gambit”, “New Dream”, “Fortress Russia”, and “Russian Mosaic” – are being reviewed. The focus groups carried out in Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Voronezh, Kaliningrad, Novgorod, and Irkutsk at the end of 2009 not only proved again that respondents hold these scenarios for real ones rather than far-fetched or arbitrarily elaborated trajectories of the future development of Russia, but also revealed a range of additional important issues. For instance, the authors found that regional differences and electoral preferences have barely any influence on the perception of the alternative variants of the future. The research demonstrated the increasing dissatisfaction of the Russian citizens with the current dynamics and the clearly defined request for changes that combines feelings of patriotism and fear of the collapse of the country with the unambiguous pro-democratic choice.
Keywords: Cossacks, security contract, violence, power resource
Having conducted the analysis of the Don Cossacks’ community from the viewpoint of political economy of violence, S.Tulaeva demonstrates that treating Cossacks as being antagonistic towards the state does not capture the essence of this phenomenon, and its manifestation, development and transformation being closely tied to the formation of the centralized state should be regarded as a natural component of this process. Viewing the Russian young state and the Cossacks’ autonomy as special “security organizations” having possessed the power recourse, she interprets the relations between them as a “security contract” implying the government’s attraction of the Cossacks power resources with the purpose of more efficient fulfillment of its functions and describes in details the conditions under which the contract was concluded, its peculiar features and the reasons for the next transformation.
Keywords: regional legislature elections, single-member district, occupational status, factors of electoral success
Studying the elections to the Russian regional legislatures held under the single-member district subsystem of the mixed electoral system, Yu.Medvedev analyzes the dependence of the candidate’s electoral success on his/her occupational status. The article reveals the occupational categories that provide a candidate with the electoral advantage, sheds light on the resources that are necessary to reach that advantage, and evaluates the size of the latter with the help of the statistical tools. The author concludes that the social-occupational structure of the candidates’ corps at the elections to the Russian regional legislatures has already been formed and is unlikely to undergo any substantial changes in the near future.
Keywords: discourse, national rhetoric, ethnic communities, NPO, migratory policy
The article is devoted to the analysis of the changes in the discourse of the “national policy” in the Russian regions. The author in her research paper proposes a hypothesis that the political fears at the federal level caused by the hypothetical chance of the country’s collapse due to the “national factor” have transformed at the regional level into the system of power decisions and institutional innovations connected to the local conflicts. The acceptance of the discourse transmitted from the federal center appeared to be a condition under which the local problem could be heard and comprehended. At the same time, this discourse constituted the basis for the conceptualization of the reality being radically different from the one that aroused political fear. As a result, the regional discourse has seen the emergence of a specific two-layer structure being both a problem (since it was necessary to determine the piece of the reality that might be conceptualized in the framework of the “national issue”) and a resource (since the conceptualization process of the selected piece of the reality inevitably leads to its reformatting that changes the “funnel of opportunities”).
Cis – Terra Incognita: political processes in former Soviet Republics
Keywords: regime change, “colour revolutions”, post-communism, ruling elites
The article casts light on the comparative analysis of the regime transformations in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan under the influence of the “colour revolutions” being interpreted as the specific cases of the ruling elite change that showed their particular features in each of three countries. After conducting the analysis of these characteristics influence on the trajectories of the future transformations, A.Gilyev comes to the conclusion that the differences in the “colour revolutions” impact on the political regimes are due to the specific formats of the “winning coalition” and the outcome of the conflict between the ruling elite and the opposition that claimed to replace it. The coalition of the monolithic nature based on the negative consensus and its absolute victory encourage the maintenance of the monocentric regime, whereas the fragmentation of the elite and the equality of forces favour greater polycentricism.
Keywords: political culture (parochial, subject, participant), civic culture, democracy, political orientations
The last fifteen years have witnessed another “swing motion” in political science in the sphere of methodology. After the long-term passion with neo-institutionalism, political science seems to be coming back (no doubt at a new level) to the problematique of the cultural determinacy of political processes. Taking this tendency into account, the editorial board of the journal “Politeia” finds it reasonable to acquaint its readers with the translation of two methodological chapters from the classic work by G.A.Almond and S.Verba The Civic Culture that at its time was a starting point of the scientific revolution that at the turn of the century received the second wind. In Russia this work is known by more or less (usually less) intelligent retellings, presented in the so called “politology” textbooks. The translation will be published in the next three issues of the journal.
Keywords: ideology, eclecticism, monism, pluralism, right (left) political thinking
Stating that ideological eclecticism has turned into the predominant type of political thinking, L.Fishman interprets it as the main moral-political challenge of our times. One still can imagine politics being loaded with moral content when adherents of rather consistent, monistic political theories compete for political power, but when there is no monism in politics at all, the latter loses its moral side as well. According to the author, if the eclectic nature of these or those political programs and ideologies adds to people’s irritation, it is due to their moral feeling that does not stand pantophagy of worldviews and under certain conditions can serve as a basis for constructing new moral-political rationality.
Keywords: European Union, interest groups, informational strategies, policymaking
The article carries out the research on the information strategy of the interest groups striving to exert influence on the decisions of the political structures. After hypothesizing that different strategies of the actors who form supply in the information market depend upon the context and characteristics of the actors themselves, G.Garifullina tests it through the comparative analysis of the largest interest groups behavior during the preparation and adoption of two important European laws – Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals and Waste Framework Directive.
HOW DOMINANT PARTIES LOSE, OR WHAT ONE CAN LEARN FROM MEXICAN CASE (Greene K.F. Why Dominant Parties Lose: Mexico's Democratization in Comparative Perspective. – Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007)
Keywords: dominant party, dominant party authoritarian regime, resource conception
Having thoroughly analyzed the conception of party dominancy proposed by the author of the reviewed monograph, Yu.Korgunyuk considers opportunities of its usage within the realities of the modern Russia. He argues that despite the substantial differences between the situation in Russia and the one that took place in Mexico under the ruling of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, Russia could still draw some lessons from the Mexican experience. In the first place it regards behavior of the opposition that is today fragmented and pushed into reservations. The history of the Mexican party system demonstrates that the opposition can get rid of the stigma of being a built-in loser only if it refuses from the “niche” policy and moves towards mass electorate. However, approaching mass voters is impossible without different groups of opposition getting closer at the same time. The oppositionists, of course if they want to win sometimes in the future, should stop playing up to the government and switch to the elaboration of compromising approaches.
REVOLUTION MANTRA, OR ABRUPT MODULATIONS OF REVOLUTIONARY METAPHORICS (Kapustin B.G. On Subject and Applications of Notion “Revolution”// Criticism of Political Philosophy. Selected Essays. – Moscow: Territory of Future, 2010)
Keywords: concept, political discourse, metaphor, revolution, absolute event, everyday life
The article is written as a response to the polemic essay by B.Kapustin directed against the interpretation of revolution proposed by the authors of the collected book Concept “Revolution” in Modern Political Discourse (St. Petersburg, 2008). Focusing on the differences in their views with Kapustin, L.Blyakher supposes that the reason for such fierce criticism that resulted in the essay, which size is comparable to the book’ one, lies within the domain of politics rather than political science or political philosophy. The revolution as interpreted by Kapustin resembles atomic energy being daunted by science, but still able to cause “Chernobyl accidents”. While the main extra scientific intention of the collected book Concept “Revolution” in Modern Political Discourse was a feeling that the increasing application of the notion in very different spheres is a terrifying symptom that indicates the end of Modernity, Kapustin adjures the “revolutionary atom” not to blow up, but to continue Modernity.
Keywords: civil society, democracy, public sphere, diversity of social reality
Yu.Krasin argues that one of the main advantages of the reviewed monograph is its consistent and compelling argumentation of the idea of civil society and therefore democracy being of polyvariant nature and their dependence on the historical experience of the Western and Eastern countries. Although expressing some extent of disagreement with the author of the book, Krasin evaluates the latter as a fundamental work on the problems of civil society that elucidates difficulties of the development of democracy in the modern world. According to him, everyone who is interested in the acute issues of democracy and civil society should take a look at it.