Abstracts 2, 2022

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Political theories

A. V.Yarkeev, D. V.Popov

Biopolitical Revolution: Pro et Contra

Keywords: biopower, biopolitics, revolution, counter-revolution, population, state, violence

The establishment of the biopolitical paradigm of state governance, which views its main task in the implementation of ambitious socioeconomic and military-political projects in close connection with the control over individuals and even care for their living, has produced a fundamentally new type of social contract that puts the authorities and the population who they patronize into mutual dependence. The balance of interests manifests itself in the form of a welfare state that embodies the positive side of biopolitical governance and provides the public with numerous benefits associated with the admission to participation in the economic and political life.

Based on the analysis of the processes unfolding in the recent years, the authors come to the conclusion that the consensus reached during the “great biopolitical game” is not unshakable. The long journey to include the population into the economy and politics in the interests of the authorities resulted in an unintended long-term consequence for the latter — a progressive decline in the productivity of the investment into the population within the established status quo. The effectiveness of such investments is almost exhausted. The growing demands of the population, who expects greater care from the authorities, reflect the trend towards a consumer revolution from below. However, these demands may turn out to be overwhelming for the biopower that could in the blink of an eye reverse the costly policy that stopped being beneficial, which creates a tendency towards the counter-revolution from above. Against this background, the authorities could regress to the forms of government that deny the people the living standards that they became used to.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2022-105-2-6-23

Pages: 6-23

Paradigms of Public Development

I. B. Philippov

Symmetrical Answer: Police Suppression of Protests as a Driver of Political Communication in Social Media

Keywords: political protest, repressions, police violence, social networks, political communication

The article presents the results of the empirical study about the impact of the police suppression of street rallies on the political communication in social networks. Based on the messages published in the social network VKontakte during the discussion of a series of protests that took place in Moscow in the summer of 2019 on the eve of the City Duma elections, the author analyzes how police violence affects publishing activity on the Internet and the demand for the published content. The author reveals a positive relationship between the use of force by the police and the intensity of the discussion of the relevant event. According to his conclusion, the effect can be explained not only by a surge of interest in the protest events of a lesser scale, but also by the ability of motivated users to search and find an additional audience via the commenting mechanism. By communicating about what happened in the comments on neutral messages within the initially non-politicized communities, such users draw new people into the protest communication. In the event of a police crackdown, the number of comments that make up the most “democratic” part of the political communication in the new media, which is available even to users with low media capital, increases dramatically. The effectiveness of these comments is also increasing, in a sense that they are attracting new users into the discussion, which results in spreading the content to the pages, where protest actions are normally not discussed.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2022-105-2-24-48

Pages: 24-48


F. Haiting

Unbalanced Reform (Comparative Analysis of Chinas and Russias Experience)

Keywords: China, Russia, reforms, balancing trap, policy experimentation, unbalanced reform

Transforming a political system is never an easy task. The reforms that launched this process can easily fall into the “balancing trap”, when a lion's share of political capital is directed to ensure a balance of interests of various social groups, which inevitably leads to the curtailment of reforms and, as a result, stagnation. The article is devoted to a comparative analysis of the approaches of China and Russia to solving this problem.

The essence of the Chinese approach, which is usually referred to as the “policy experimentation”, is that reforms are first carried out in a separate region, and then, if successful, gradually spread to the whole country. However, the key to China's success lies not only in experimentation, but also in a variety of reform strategies, the choice of which is determined by the specific conditions prevailing in a given region. Russia also uses this model, which is known as an “unbalanced reform” and aimed at spotting areas of least resistance to reforms in order to prevent the unification of the efforts of the opponents to reforms and direct confrontation between the state and the society. However, its Russian version differs remarkably from the Chinese one.

According to the author, the differences between the Chinese and the Russian models of reforms are rooted in the political sphere and are associated with the specifics of the electoral and party systems of these countries, and most importantly, with the nature of the relations in the “center-regions” system. In China, when carrying out reforms, the emphasis is placed upon the initiative from below, while Russia prefers political instruments that are under the direct control of the federal structures.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2022-105-2-49-70

Pages: 49-70

Russian regions

L. E.Bliakher, K. V. Grigorichev, I. O. Peshkov

On the Edge of the State: Political Formation of the Periphery of Power

Keywords: periphery of power, empty space, (re)development, power center, political actors, informal communication

The article is devoted to the analysis of a special political form that arises in the “empty space” on the “edge of the state”, where actors of power exist remotely, beyond the boundaries of the “emptiness”, but they can be materialized in it. The authors use the term “periphery of power” to describe this political form. The article shows that “empty space” is not a vacuum, but it does not contain what the observer (in this case, the authorities) expects to see, what he can read and comprehend as some kind of entity. It is the absence of the expected objects, actors and practices that makes the space “empty”.

The paper verifies the hypothesis that, being “empty” for an observer, such space is populated and has authorities. Empirically, the study is based on the results of two field works to the upper Lena River. The territory has neither settlement structure nor legal economic activity, and the number of registered residents is minimal. The nearest authorities (police, environmental protection, municipal authorities, etc.) are located on the borders of the territory, and the distance to the nearest large city (Irkutsk) is 500—700 km. Nevertheless, the field work there revealed a fairly large community with its own hierarchy, stable forms of communication, legalization and mobilization of remote authorities. For members of this community, staying in the “empty territory” makes no sense from the economic point of view. They are registered in other places (district centers or other regional cities, including capitals) and represent relatively successful citizens. However, the city remains for them nothing else but a source of resources (material, financial, etc.). They live exactly in the “empty space”. Social networks are formed in it, statuses and communication are built, which can be turned into the space of power.

The insights that the authors obtained give ground to assume that this process is not an outlier, but rather represented a more general process of separating a place to earn money and a place to live. According to their conclusion, while maintaining the current trends, the “exit space” documented by them will expand, forming more and more new forms of “emptiness”

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2022-105-2-71-101

Pages: 71-101


A. V. Semenov

Factor of Ethnicity in Voting at Local Level in Russia

Keywords: ethnicity, voting, information uncertainty, group effects, political machines

Ethnicity, being one of the most important forms of selfidentification, plays a significant role in many political processes, including the electoral process. Many research articles document a systematic relationship between ethnic identity and voting. At the same time, there is a dearth of studies about the concrete mechanisms on how ethnicity and voting are connected at the individual level. The question of their efficiency remains debatable. In the article, based on the materials of the focus group discussions in small towns in five ethnic republics of the Russian Federation, the author analyzes such mechanisms and tries to assess their possible effects in the Russian context.

The research study shows that the factor of ethnicity is very weak in voting at the local level. Although ethnic identification helps reduce information uncertainty due to the presence of the common cultural markers, these markers are not the only or even the priority basis for electoral choices — the socio-economic agenda and personal qualities of candidates are equally or even more important. Such mechanisms as group pressure and political machines that are driven by ethnicity almost fail to predict electoral behavior. The research findings call into question a number of conclusions based on the crosssectional analysis of aggregated data, indicating that even if ethnicity plays a role in voting, this role is mediated by other factors.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2022-105-2-102-117

Pages: 102-117


D. A. Stremoukhov

Political Conflicts between Governors and Regional Economic Elites (Case of the Republic of Karelia)

Keywords: regional politics, political conflict, economic elites, electoral authoritarianism

Why do some regional entrepreneurs engage in conflicts with the heads of the subnational units of the Russian Federation within a system that puts economic elites in a deliberately unequal position in relation to the authorities? Based on the analysis of conflicts between governors and businessmen in Karelia, the author hypothesizes that contradictions around redistribution, combined with the availability of the independent resources e.g., branchy patronal networks, drive such confrontation. According to the author’s conclusion, the federal center also plays a significant role. When deciding whether to start confrontation with governors, regional actors could count on the support from Moscow and resignation of an undesirable regional leader. However, due to the peculiarity of the external environment, primarily institutional and informational, the rationality of such behavior often turns out to be low. The opaque informal rules, which electoral authoritarianism relies upon, affect the ability of actors to create adequate cognitive schemata. The informational environment, in which the regional elites operate, sends them unclear and contradictory signals about the limits of acceptable actions and their possible consequences. In turn, the formal preservation of an institution of elections and parties leads to the formation of identities that narrow the set of available behavioral strategies. The mechanism of mutual learning does not work either: under conditions when the resources available to counter-actors cannot be verified, and the rules of the game change with a governor’s turnover, reliance on the previous experience is fraught with strategic miscalculations.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2022-105-2-118-135

Pages: 118-135

Foreign Polities

A. N.Medushevsky

Machiavellian Moment of Europe: Prospects of EU Integration Project under Global Political Equilibrium Destruction

Keywords: European integration project, political equilibrium, globalization, sovereignty, legitimacy, Machiavellian moment

The European integration project, after 70 years of the successful implementation, is now facing a significant number of difficulties caused by the process of globalization. The list of these difficulties includes: (1) the incompleteness of the process of formation of the European identity; (2) the deepening contradiction between two fundamental legal principles — transnational and national constitutionalism; (3) the growing asymmetry between the European regions; (4) dramatic disputes over migration issues; (5) the ideological confrontation between liberal and illiberal democracies. This situation, exacerbated by the challenges of globalization and officially defined today as the “existential crisis” of the EU, revealed certain significant flaws in the current integration model hung between confederalism and federalism. The shortcomings, such as weakened democratic legitimacy, ineffective decision-making and the absence of clear and stable European leadership, have resulted in the growing spread of Euroscepticism and rightwing populism, as well as the erosion of Europe’s mission in the world.

The increasingly obvious threat of a loss of political balance in Europe makes it important to comprehend the potential directions and scope of changes in the EU integration project, to assess the hypothetically possible legal and institutional forms of the new integration model and their political implications. The author describes the current situation as a Machiavellian moment in Europe: under the conditions when the preservation of the status quo only reinforces the contradictions within the integration project, the European elites are faced with the necessity to make a clear choice between a confederal and a federal system in order to find a new legitimizing formula for this fading project, and it should be done as soon as possible.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2022-105-2-136-162

Pages: 136-162

Cathedra

R. Yu. Belkovich, D. A.Konkova

Paleoconservative Movement in the USA through the Prism of Social Constructivism

Keywords: conservatism, paleoconservatism, “Old Right”, neoconservatives, (neo)isolationism, republicanism, USA

The rise of new players — neoconservatives — to the leading positions in the Republican Party and American politics on the whole during the years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency spurred a reaction from far-right intellectuals, who united in a movement called “paleoconservatism”. Although this movement was not able to secure any important victories in the political field, its representatives made a significant contribution to the revival of the republican ideological tradition, having produced a rich intellectual legacy, which still remains relatively understudied. The article attempts to partially fill this gap by reconstructing the paleoconservative identity on the basis of the methodology of social constructivism. Searching for an answer to the question of who paleoconservatives are, the authors analyze the ideals and guidelines put forward by paleoconservatives as well as the set of principles they oppose.

The conducted research shows that the identity of paleoconservatives includes two components. Its “positive” component is based on the partial identification with the agenda that the American right defended in the 1930s— 1950s, and its “negative” component is based on opposing themselves to neoconservatives and right-wing mainstream. According to the authors’ conclusion, paleoconservatism, being aimed at undermining the tacit consensus that developed in the United States between the center-right and center-left elites, de facto represents a struggle to define the essence of the American conservatism. Positioning true conservatism as anti-liberal, anti-(social)- democratic, anti-egalitarian, and anti-statist, paleoconservatives reject more moderate right-wing movements as blurring the boundaries of the conservative identity.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2022-105-2-163-175

Pages: 163-175


S. A.Sergeev, A. V. Kuznetsova, S. V.Kuzmina

From Storming Heaven to Normalization: the New Radical Left Parties in Western Europe

Keywords: radical left parties, Podemos, SYRIZA, France Unbowed, social movements

The article is devoted to studying the new radical left parties (NRLP) that either emerged or strengthened in Western Europe in the light of social protests against neoliberal policies and austerity measures. The mid2010s witnessed the peak of the electoral successes of the NRLP, when, after revisiting the mistakes of the past, the radical left challenged social democrats, who shifted to the right and thus freed up a niche in the political space. Despite the fact that the mass protests, which swept across Europe, created preconditions for strengthening the NRLP everywhere, not all such parties could claim significant electoral achievements. The purpose of the article is to identify the reasons why in some Western European countries the radical left managed to create effective political organizations, while in others they did not. The authors analyze SYRIZA (Greece), Podemos (Spain) and France Unbowed as examples of successful NRLP, which achieved the best results in the elections. However, only SYRIZA managed to become a senior partner in the government coalition. Podemos had to settle for the role of a junior partner, while the achievements of France Unbowed were even more modest.

The conducted research allowed the authors to single out several factors that can explain the successful performance of the NLRP in the electoral field. According to their conclusion, the existence of a pluralist democracy is a necessary condition for the efficiency of the NRLP. In addition, the electoral successes of the radical left were prepared by a change in the social structure, which provided the NRLP with a social base — young educated professionals. However, a country’s party system, primarily the role and the weight of social democratic parties in a country’s political life, is a decisive factor that defines prospects for the NRLP.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2022-105-2-176-190

Pages: 176-190

Book Review

N. N.Gudalov

Three Faces of Leviathan: Rationality, Institutions, Ideas Koktysh .. The Discourse of Rationalism, Freedom and Democracy. oscow: MGIMO-University, 2021 _

Keywords: Political Philosophy, political concepts, rationality, institutions, ideas

The monograph written by Kirill Koktysh is devoted to the issues of constructing languages of Political Science. These languages are diverse, but the author analyzes them through three basic concepts — rationalism, institutions and ideas. Masterfully combining a limited number of concepts, he builds a large-scale construction, showing in detail how one can study languages for describing politics.

According to Koktysh, the rational is constructed by specific institutions. He identifies three institutions that go back to the three functions of the Indo-European gods, highlighted by Georges Dumézil. These institutions correspond to the three functions of politics — “leader” (makes decisions), “priest” (forms and maintains norms) and “merchant” (is engaged in economic reproduction). These institutions seek to extend their rationality to the society at large, using for this purpose three “big ideas” — order, justice, and freedom. According to the author’s conclusion, the institutions of the leader and the priest form the basis of stable social conditions — “political architectures”, and it is the relations between them that determine the specifics of such “architectures”. At the same time, the book pays attention not only to statics, but also to dynamics. The cognitive-structural method used by the author allows him to explore the transformations of the societies through the analysis of changes in rationalism, institutions and ideas.

Koktysh’s book is valuable not only due to the novelty of its research question and fundamental nature, but also because it outlines important directions for further discussion. One of these directions concerns the popular criticism of the Enlightenment, with which the author agrees, as well as the justification for reducing rationality to mere derivatives of certain social contexts. Another direction for a discussion is about the evaluation of the Anglo-American model of democracy, which is denied the ability to produce generally valid meanings. In many ways, this book per se represents a significant contribution to a rational discussion of politics, convincingly demonstrating how complex and elusive the concepts of Political Science are.

DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2022-105-2-191-201

Pages: 191-201